Fall 2014 LMS Update

Deliverables: 
Provide Moodle 2.6 to all instructors for course management, which replaces current Moodle 1.9 & 2.3 offerings
Development of reliable synchronization process of course and enrollment data
Configuration of Moodle options that supports the needs of CCA faculty
Development of technical and support structures to ensure system reliability and optimal performance
Communication to faculty regarding availability of new Moodle
New Moodle training options and help documentation
Project Summary: 

Faculty: Visit the FAQs for Faculty Transitioning to Moodle 2.6 for information about how this project will affect your courses.

In an effort to standardize the LMS platform for the campus and offer a single, reliable and functional LMS to faculty and students, ETS will undertake an effort to upgrade the campus LMS to the latest stable version of Moodle, version 2.6. Moodle 2.6 offers feature and usability improvements that will be attractive to faculty and students, and technical enhancements that will result in improved performance and reliability. Incorporated into this project is a development effort focused on integration of course and enrollment data from Colleague (aka Datatel or WebAdvisor) into Moodle.

Additionally, this project will address other issues in an effort to increase Moodle adoption, including offering a comprehensive training and developing effective messaging to faculty. End users will continue to be supported by the ETS help desk, and a system support plan will be established for resolving technical issues and needs as they arise.

Current Status: 
Closed
Start date: 
Feb 2014
Projected completion: 
Sep 2014
Business Case: 

For the past several years, ETS has offered the Moodle Learning Management System (LMS) to CCA faculty for course administration. Our experience working with faculty indicate a clear need for a functional LMS solution for the campus. Instructors require an intuitive, online course-specific space to which enrolled students are automatically granted access, and which supports course-related communication, sharing of resources, and management of assignments and grading.

Moodle 1.9 was launched in 2008 by ETS, and remains as the primary LMS for instructors’ use. Currently, this instance of Moodle supports approximately 50 courses each semester, which is fewer than 6% of all courses offered. In an effort to increase adoption and improve the service, ETS conducted a pilot with a newer version of Moodle 2.3 during the Spring 2014 semester with a select few courses (while Moodle 1.9 remains in place to the rest of the campus). ETS outsourced implementation and data integration work for this effort. However, data integration with the student information system was never achieved. Courses had to be created and students added to courses through a manual process. Additionally, a custom theme was implemented, which unfortunately rendered many features inoperable and generated many bugs in functionality. To date, most of these issues remain unresolved.

Meanwhile, new technical issues have surfaced in Moodle 1.9 this semester, a significant effect of which is students unable to access their Moodle courses. ETS does not currently have the technical expertise to resolve these issues, so are resolving problems as they arise using manual workarounds. This approach is not sustainable in support of the interest to increase use of Moodle, and results in a sub-optimal experience for instructors and students.

In addition to technical barriers, a lack of instructional support and communication to instructors about the availability and uses of Moodle are also believed to contribute to the low rate of Moodle adoption by instructors. Many instructors are turning to alternative, free online sources for course administration. This results in increased overhead for instructors to manage their courses, as they need to manage student enrollment manually, and a disconnected and disjointed experience for students, who may have to use multiple learning management systems to engage in coursework.

Project Scope: 

For the past several years, ETS has offered the Moodle Learning Management System (LMS) to CCA faculty for course administration. Our experience working with faculty indicate a clear need for a functional LMS solution for the campus. Instructors require an intuitive, online course-specific space to which enrolled students are automatically granted access, and which supports course-related communication, sharing of resources, and management of assignments and grading.

Moodle 1.9 was launched in 2008 by ETS, and remains as the primary LMS for instructors’ use. Currently, this instance of Moodle supports approximately 50 courses each semester, which is fewer than 6% of all courses offered. In an effort to increase adoption and improve the service, ETS conducted a pilot with a newer version of Moodle 2.3 during the Spring 2014 semester with a select few courses (while Moodle 1.9 remains in place to the rest of the campus). ETS outsourced implementation and data integration work for this effort. However, data integration with the student information system was never achieved. Courses had to be created and students added to courses through a manual process. Additionally, a custom theme was implemented, which unfortunately rendered many features inoperable and generated many bugs in functionality. To date, most of these issues remain unresolved.

Meanwhile, new technical issues have surfaced in Moodle 1.9 this semester, a significant effect of which is students unable to access their Moodle courses. ETS does not currently have the technical expertise to resolve these issues, so are resolving problems as they arise using manual workarounds. This approach is not sustainable in support of the interest to increase use of Moodle, and results in a sub-optimal experience for instructors and students.

In addition to technical barriers, a lack of instructional support and communication to instructors about the availability and uses of Moodle are also believed to contribute to the low rate of Moodle adoption by instructors. Many instructors are turning to alternative, free online sources for course administration. This results in increased overhead for instructors to manage their courses, as they need to manage student enrollment manually, and a disconnected and disjointed experience for students, who may have to use multiple learning management systems to engage in coursework.

Project Sponsor: 
Mara Hancock, CIO, VP of Technology
Project Manager/Lead: 
Michelle Ziegmann
Functional Leads: 
Bobby White, Instructional Designer
Cian Phillips, Assoc CIO Infrastructure & Technology Support Services
Todd Larson, Director of Technology Support Services
Key Stakeholders: 
Tim Smith, Associate Chair & Professor, Design MBA
Jordana Moore Saggese, Visual and Critical Studies, Diversity Studies
Annemarie Haar, Director of Libraries
Stuart Kendall, Chair, Critical Studies
Jazmine Applin, First Year Program Manager