moodle first commit turns 20

On Thursday, November 22, 2001, Martin Dougiamas would “commit” the first line of code for what would become the open repository for Moodle™, the Open Source Learning Management System which would define the digital learning experiences of millions of educators and learners for decades to come.

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Today, an official post tells a story in numbers. Over 128 thousand commits (accepted submissions to the source code), 871 submitters representing developers and teams alike from 57 countries, all serving a 184 thousand registered sites and 299 million registered users at writing, accounting for 1.7 billion enrollments, 39 million courses, 662 million Forum posts and 5.7 billion Quiz questions.

Watch a visualization of Moodle™’s development on the open repository up to June 2019.

Without a doubt impressive figures that yet tell only part of the story. The Moodle™ economy, while hard to estimate, encompasses several times more code from plugins and core customization —with countless vendors like Open LMS1 adding entire modules, extended functionality and compatibility—; added to the number of sites, users and courses from unregistered sites. Unlike other open source projects, Moodle™ does not require registration to get your LMS running.

Likewise, the economic benefits of Moodle™ are also largely unquantified yet likely monumental, not unlike massive open source projects. From the cost savings when accessing cutting-edge eLearning technology for millions around the world, to the spillover effects in innovation, to the long-term effects of improved educational investment, particularly on underserved learners around the world. It’s also significant that a noncommercial software product has remained relevant and competitive through the ages, influencing and facilitating conversations in the intersection of learning and technology.

Martin Dougiamas, creator of the software, and Founder and CEO of Moodle™ Pty Ltd (or Moodle™ HQ) is, according to the official release, “proud that many, many millions of people benefit from the openness of Moodle: educators, students, governments, and organisations in every country in the world.” Moodle™ 1.0 would only see the light of day the following August, but the collaborative process was already underway. The software was the result of Dougiamas PhD thesis, which introduced a digital and open source solution for distance education.

As for the future, the world’s open source LMS is set to debut a complete makeover with Moodle 4.0, with a slightly delayed release date of January 2022. A highly anticipated refresh that is expected to remain truthful to Moodle’s foundational values of openness, liberty, empowerment and collaborative creation in education.

1. LMSPulse is part of Open LMS.

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