A citizen of the world
In the past year, CEO of Moodle Pty Ltd, Martin Dougiamas flew 38,000 KM world round to visit 64 different cities. He reports Moodle is up and running in 226 countries with impressive stats since his last Moot AU talk: 8 million forum posts and 200 million new quiz questions. Get the latest Moodle stats at moodle.net/stats
After his intro, Martin proceeded to take a quick look around the continents he’s traveled to:
“Lots of centralization.” Also, “lots of training initiatives going on,” “lots of things being tried” and “lots of SaaS.”
“There’s not many other software products in the world that can talk to the Education Ministry in Cambodia and say, ‘Hey, why don’t you run a MoodleMoot’ and they say ‘Oh, that is a good idea, yes we will.’”
It’s worth mentioning that the indisputable national LMS leader in Higher Ed and K-12, according to Digital Cambodia, is locally grown SALA, who provides an integrated, “paperless” LMS-SIS solution, with steady growth and enviable first-round funding.
At the time of this post, we don’t know of confirmed dates or venues for MoodleMoot Cambodia in 2019 or 2020.
China, the silent giant
“China is interesting. I was amazed walking in the streets. It’s just silent. There’s cars and bikes everywhere, but they’re all electric, all quiet and clean.”
He reports what seems to be the largest Moodle site known: Beijing University, boasting 2 million users, 20,000 concurrently active on average at a given time. So, if you’re wondering if Moodle can scale, here’s your answer.
“they don’t really use Google. they don’t use Android Or Apple apps that much either. they have WeChat, which does everything. They’re working out a lot of things. Of course, the government’s hand is in everything and the surveillance thing going on there is quite an interesting story .”
MoodleMoot India is particularly development-driven, he claims.
“College and university users cannot afford to come.”
Next year he’s planning a tour across several Indian cities.
Rwanda is advanced in so many ways “I did not expect.” Community building initiatives, known as Umuganda, are an example of community rebuilding and moral leadership.
“Imagine if we did that.”
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While Spain ranks on an impressive second place in terms of registered sites, Latin America holds without a doubt the largest userbase, and it is also the main reason why Spanish is the number one Moodle language. Martin summarized the energy in the region with:
“South America: so much going on there.”
Then he moves on to “Central America,” by telling an anecdote on Mexico. The world’s third largest Moodle country impressed him with an amazing turnout for an impromptu gathering that coincided with Dia de los Muertos. It also begs to wonder why he communicated with UNAM, perhaps the largest Spanish-speaking Moodle operation (350,000-user strong site, 10 years old) two weeks before his arrival.
Meet Moodle’s ‘Hi-5’
Moodle Pty Ltd has an approximate staff of 80 people. Moodle has two main offices (Perth, Barcelona) but workers are “scattered all over the place.” The push for remote working however, is intense and as a result “we’re actually downsizing our Perth office.”
“I sometimes use the metaphor of a ship to refer to Moodle, the organisation. Sometimes it’s a spaceship, but more often lately it’s been this sailing ship or a pirate ship”
These positions do not appear in any official Moodle communications or the website. As of the Moot, these are:
- Martin Dougiamas, CEO and Chairman
- Gry Stene, Chief Product Officer. The head of the “masts” that are Moodle products.
- Juan Lucca, Chief Commercial Officer. In charge of sales through the Moodle Partners.
- Kaye Cheung, Head of Marketing & Communications.
- Fiona Ong. The exact title is unclear, but she is in charge of Channels. Her LinkedIn profile lists her as Moodle’s “APAC Commercial Services Channel Manager.”
The values Moodle keeps upfront
“We don’t bury our values deep in our website.”
They can be found at moodle.com/about:
“We try to be open as much as we possibly can.”
The 9 Moodle products today
“I hate talking about things in the future. I don’t want it not to work out and then be vaporware. You say ‘this is going to happen,’ and then it didn’t, so I really try and avoid [saying] too many stuff until I know it’s going to happen.”
- Moodle LMS (License-free Moodle). Plugins and relations with developers are included here.
- Moodle Workplace. Expected to be publicly available by November.
- The Moodle Apps. They include the mobile apps for Android and iOS which are available as standard and “Branded.”
- Moodle Partners. It includes the current “Certified Moodle Services Providers” which are now classified as regular and premium; which a current total of 88 (counting the same partner in different countries separately). It also includes the “Moodle Integration Partners,” formerly “Moodle Premium Integrators,” with a total of three.
- MoodleCloud. Currently tallied at 38,000 sites, mostly single-course sites.
- MoodleNet. The federated learning network will still keep a central server “for searching.”
- Moodle Development Partners. Mentioned for the first time ever: United Nations, Unesco, African Development Bank, Save the Children, World Vision, The World Bank, and World Education.
- Moodle Educator Certification. It includes 22 Moodle-based competencies.
- MoodleMoots. MoodleMoot Global, scheduled for November, will replace MoodleMoot Spain, and will be followed by Open EdTech Global. It will be bilingual, simultaneously delivered on English and Spanish.
Other facts reported:
- 60% of Moodle revenue come from corporate sites.
- Education for the Many’s $5 million AUD stake for 20% of Moodle Pty Ltd means the company was valued at $25 million at the time of the announcement, two years ago.
In closing: Why Open Source makes sense
“The big companies that are dominating the planet these days are focused on profits. Profit is extra money, so, you’ve done the business, you got leftovers, that’s the profit. Why does that go to just a few people who are in the business? That’s not great. That means there’s a lot of exploitation going on at some level. It doesn’t make sense to charge for digital copies of things, right? Physics says that doesn’t make sense. Once you’ve made something, to duplicate it costs zero. You’re moving some electrons around. That doesn’t cost anything. So to charge for it is to try and replicate some older model … To try and bring that in the digital world doesn’t make sense. That’s why open-source makes sense.”
References, Resources & ‘Ripples’
- Watch the keynote on youtube.com/moodle
- Download an automated transcript from his talk. (Timestamped version)
- His Twitter
- His podcast: RSS, Spotify
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