If Your Moodle Were Rated, Would It Get 5 Stars?
“Three Stars of Happiness” by China via The Metropolitan Museum of Art is licensed under CC0 1.0

Chances are that, thanks to popular demand, or due to an entrepreneurial mind confident of its market value, we might soon find a site or an app that rates LMS. If (when?) this tool appears, assuming a scale of 1-5 stars, what sort of ratings would your Moodle get, and what can you do to keep your scores high?

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Are star-based ratings unfair?

As Hope Warner (K-12 Product Marketing Manager at Blackboard) warns, people tend to put a lot of weight into other people’s reviews. She’s the first one to admit it:

«I always read online reviews.»

For better of for worse, online users are growing accustomed to summing up every aspect of an experience into a handy score. Never mind that what each of us finds fantastic, or lacking, is completely subjective. Or that some of us are more benevolent, forgiving, or demanding than others. Or that these reductive, ambiguous, and potentially-biased mechanisms, perhaps born out of a well-intentioned effort to quantify and aggregate experiences, can make or break products, careers, and businesses.

So, are ratings worth it… ever?

Absolutely! When taking a look at a rating, it’s always a good idea to keep in mind the “wisdom of the crowds” principle. In short: the more people there are behind a rating, the more trustworthy it is. Of course, this is not always the case. Groups of people can agree beforehand on rating something according to a group bias (something most rating systems consider a violation.) Or the rating could be open to anyone, even those without even basic knowledge or experience that would make their scoring valuable. But at the end of the day, all things being equal, the more often something is rated, the more confidence you can place on its final score as these kinds of issues balance out.

How can I obtain and keep a high rating?

In the world of “online media presences,” good ratings are desirable. But before that, there is perhaps a more important quality: earnest. Nobody is perfect, and a good response to a review, no matter its verdict, is usually a much better policy than aiming for perfect scores from everyone. Warner agrees: Responding to reviews is practice number one in her online reputation handbook.

Other good measures include:

  • Respond to every rating. This shows that you are “on the case,” whether taking action if something is wrong, or that it’s no accident that your LMS exceeded expectations.
  • Be genuine and thankful. Even a “bad” reviewer has taken the time to evaluate your LMS and give you hint for improvement.
  • Learn. Some reviews are more obvious than others. Stay tuned to trends or repeated complaints. Of course, if you see ill intentions behind a rating, don’t be afraid to respond, cordially and with the facts.
  • Stay optimistic. Good reviews are worth sharing, especially when they reflect listening and reflection.
  • Last but not least, encourage lots of diverse ratings and reviews from your LMS users!

Read Warner’s full “warning,” featuring good practices in reputation management and a “free social media ebook” (upon sign-up) at blog.blackboard.com.

eThink LogoThis Moodle Practice related post is made possible by: eThink Education, a Certified Moodle Partner that provides a fully-managed Moodle experience including implementation, integration, cloud-hosting, and management services. To learn more about eThink, click here.

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