JOURNAL OF INFORMATION SYSTEMS RESEARCH AND INNOVATION Study of Comparison between Moodle and Blackboard basedon Case Studies for Better LMSPriyavahani Subramanian1Nursyafeeka Zainuddin2Salem Alatawi3e-mail: [email protected]: [email protected]: [email protected] Javabdeh4Ab Razak Che Hussin5e-mail: [email protected]: [email protected](s) Contact Details:1-5Faculty of Computing , Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, UTM Johor Bahru,81310 Johor MalaysiaAbstract — This paper discusses the successful online learning of Learning Management Systems (LMS) including theeffects of interactive and learning structures enabled by different LMS on satisfaction and learner engagement in onlinecourses. This study discusses how the Learning Management System (LMS) harnesses student ability to take actions in anonline course. The use of teaching strategies such as learning partnership for students through online learning can motivatestudent participation in activities leading to enhanced learning and understanding. Moreover, the flood of technologicalinnovations can be overwhelming and necessitates the careful consideration of which technologies are the most effectiveand provide the highest cost or benefit ratio to the organizations using them. Currently the most popular open sourcelearning management systems are Moodle and Blackboard(WebCT). For that the main purpose of this study is to comparebetween the leading proprietary solution, Blackboard, and the leading open source solution, Moodle is based on previousthree case studies. First case study is "A Study of Virtual Learning Environments”. The second case study is entitled “AComparative Study of MOODLE with other e-Learning Systems" and final case study is “Comparison of Blackboard 9.1and Moodle 2.0". Therefore, depending on the results of these studies, we will compare the features of the basicfunctionality of each system such as communication tools, productivity tools, and student involvement tools. Finding of thisstudy will present the effectiveness of using Moodle and Blackboard in Learning Management Systems (LMS) on studentsand learner to enhance their learning and understanding.Keywords- LMS;Open Source; Blackboard; Moodle1. INTRODUCTIONThis paper discusses the successful online learning including the effects of interactive and learning structures enabledby different Learning Management Systems (LMS) on satisfaction and learner engagement in online courses [5]. Learningtools using information and communication technologies (ICT) offer flexible, interactive learning environments whicheducational institutions are using to provide high quality education customized to the learner requirements. The needs of thestudent in the global environment include the fast exchange of information, which can facilitate more rapid learning. Inonline courses, all instructions are mediated by technology; in most cases this is a Learning Management System (LMS)such as Blackboard or Moodle.Blackboard and Moodle are two Learning Management Systems with a lot in common, but there are some keydifferences which make each one special in its own way [6]. The Blackboard Learning System allows instructors to postcourse information and course materials, readings and assignments and provides functionality for basic discussion and othercollaborative tools from Blackboard [6]. Moodle system is a course management system (CMS) a free Open Sourcesoftware package designed using sound pedagogical principles, to help educators create effective online learningcommunities [6].The technology used to support an online course may affect the frequency and manner in which students and facultyinteract with one another, provide and receive feedback, and interact with course materials. Therefore, this paper explainshow students perceive the LMS used to host an online course, and whether those perceptions affect the success of onlineinstruction. This study will present the effectiveness of using Moodle and Blackboard in Learning Management Systems(LMS) on students and learner to enhance their learning and understanding by trying to answer this question:What are the differences on Moodle and Blackboard features in term of success in implementing the LMS?ISSN: 2289-1358P a g e 26

JOURNAL OF INFORMATION SYSTEMS RESEARCH AND INNOVATION purpose of this study is to compare between the leading proprietary solution, Blackboard, and the leading opensource solution, Moodle based on some previous studies. This study begins with section (1) which gives an introductionabout two different Learning Management Systems (LMS), Blackboard and Moodle. This is followed by section (2)describes the (LMS) and compares the features between Blackboard and Moodle. After that, section (3) shows the result ofthe comparison. Within section (4), contain the discussion of the result. Finally, the conclusion is given in section (5).2. BACKGROUND AND MODELThe World Wide Web has opened new feature for computer-based teaching and learning in the last 10 years. One of themajor stream of Web-based Education systems is the Learning Management Systems (LMS), which focus on themanagement of learning contents and on the administrative support (lectures, chat rooms, task management and so on). Forexample Web CT, Blackboard Course Info and Lotus Learning Space are now used by thousands of educationalinstitutions.While there are several versions of definition on what is learning management system (LMS) both in academy andpractical field. There are some consensuses on the core of LMS. Based on ASTD s definition [7], the basic description is asoftware application that automates the administration, tracking, and reporting of training events. However, it’s not thatsimple. A LMS should be able to do the following: Centralize and automate administration Use self-service and self-guided services Assemble and deliver learning content rapidly Consolidate training initiatives on a scalable web-based platform Support portability and standards Personalize content and enable knowledge reuseSzabo & Flesher defined LMS as the framework that handles all aspects of the learning process. An LMS is theinfrastructure that delivers and manages instructional content, identifies and assesses individual and organizational learningor training goals, tracks the progress towards meeting those goals, and collects and presents data for supervising thelearning process of an organization as a whole [23]. The other definition describes LMS as “an information system thatadministers instructor-led and e-learning courses and keeps track of student progress. Used internally by large enterprisesfor their employees, an LMS can be used to monitor the effectiveness of the organization's education and training. It is alsobeneficial in ensuring state-and federal-mandated courses are delivered in a timely manner.LMSs are frameworks that support teaching and learning and are usually used to support classroom education.Typically they provide management, distribution and sharing of learning contents, student tracking, assignmentmanagement, and online peer collaboration. They aim at providing flexibility, accessibility and convenience to their users.The concept of LMS is still relatively new. As historical data becomes available, some authors have studied the pros andcons of LMS and, in general, online education. In an Information Age model of education, an LMS will assess learners’current knowledge and skill level, work with teachers and learners to identify appropriate learning goals, identify andsequence instruction appropriate for the individual learner, assess learner performance products, store evidence ofattainments, support collaboration and generate reports to provide information to maximize the effectiveness of the entirelearning organization. In addition, like many information technology innovations from the past few decades, LMS softwareis able to add a level of efficiency to companies’ learning systems, with a number of other benefits emerging as well, suchas: Easily adapting and reusing materials over time. More choices for creators of curriculum, such as method of delivery, design of materials, and techniques forevaluation. Creating economies of scale that make it less costly for organizations to develop and maintain content for whichthey used to rely on third parties.Improvements in professional development and evaluation allow companies to get more values from human resourceswhile empowering individuals with additional tools for self-improvement. Whilst they have recognized advantages, theycan also bring a lot of user frustration [8, 9]. Some of the problems identified in the literature are the student’s frustration ofISSN: 2289-1358P a g e 27

JOURNAL OF INFORMATION SYSTEMS RESEARCH AND ling lost in the mass, of not receiving appropriate and timely feedback on their work and of feeling isolated. On theteachers’ side, time consuming tasks, poor visibility of students’ progress and problems seem to be dominant.Briefly current trends in technology and business are favoring the increase of collaborative, web-based applications,user-oriented design, and other features that are often grouped together under the term “Web 2.0.” By further inverting thetraditional forms of interaction between instructors and pupils, and enabling a great amount of content to be created andmanaged more easily, the future of LMS appears to be a dynamic one.2.1 Blackboard Learning SystemThe Blackboard Learning System is an industry-leading software application used to power virtual learningenvironments. Blackboard is a Web-based learning management system designed for students and faculty to allow them toparticipate in classes delivered online. On the other hand, the Blackboard Learning System is a comprehensive and flexiblee-Learning software platform that delivers a complete course management system. Following are the features that we areusing in this system: Creating courses: through easy workflow. Instructors can use the wizard to complete the initial setup of a Course in oneeasy-to–follow process. Course management: allows teachers to update any feature of the course. Course content: allows teachers to post article, materials, assignments, videos etc. Calendar: can be used to post due dates for assignments and tests. Assessments and Surveys: allows instructors to deliver online, automatically-scored assessments and surveys. Assignments: can be posted and for students to be able to submit assignments online. Availability Control: Instructors can create custom learning paths by determining when students can access content items,discussions, assessments, assignments or other learning activities. Grade center: Stores student performance results, including support for custom grading scales, grade weighting, itemanalysis and multiple grade center views.2.2 WebCT and BlackboardWebCT was originally developed at the University of British Columbia by a faculty member computer science, MurrayW. Goldberg. In 1997 Goldberg created a company, WebCT Educational Technologies Corporation, a spinoff company ofUBC. Since foundation of WebCT, use of online learning management software by higher education institutions and otherorganizations has increased rapidly. During the early 2000s WebCT and rival company Blackboard held the majority shareof the education software market and were leaders in the move by colleges to wider use of online learning applications. [10,11]. The services and products offered by learning technology companies diversified, and Blackboard and WebCT began tooffer technology packages that provided administrative functions, in addition to online course management[11]. On theother hand the first version of Moodle was released on 20 August 2002 which was developed by Martin Dougiamas to helpeducators create online courses with a focus on interaction and collaborative construction of content and is in continualevolution.In February 2006, WebCT was acquired by Blackboard Inc. As part of the merger terms with Blackboard, the WebCTname will be phased out over time in favor of the Blackboard brand. Moodle has continued to evolve and nowadays itsmajor improvements are in accessibility and display flexibility was developed in 1.5. In July 2012, Moodle developedMoodle Mobile on HTML5 and PhoneGap while Blackboard acquired a company which had developed an iPhoneapplication for students at Stanford University In 2009, and made the application available for other campuses and 2013, Moodle has been translated into 82 different languages. For example the Open University of the UKcurrently uses a Moodle installation for their 200,000 users. Nevertheless as of 2009, this is Blackoard Company which had60 percent of the market [12].As of December 2013, Blackboard's Learning Management System had over 20,000organizations signed up with more than 20 million users which show the popularity of this company compared with itsfamous rival, Moodle.ISSN: 2289-1358P a g e 28

JOURNAL OF INFORMATION SYSTEMS RESEARCH AND INNOVATION MoodleMoodle is a course management system (CMS); a free package designed using known pedagogical principles to helpthe educators to create effective online learning communities. Moodle is provided freely as Open Source software under theGNU Public License. This means Moodle is copyrighted, but you are allowed to copy, use and modify Moodle providedthat you agree to: provide the source to others; not modify or remove the original license and copyrights, and apply thissame license to any derivative work.In the following section, we will describe the architecture of Moodle and how the Moodle works at a technical level: AMoodle installation comprises the Moodle code executing in a PHP-capable web server; a database managed by MySQL,PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server, or Oracle; and a file store for uploaded and generated files (the moodledata folder). Allthree parts can run on a single server; or they can be separated with many load-balanced web-servers, a database cluster,and a file-server; or anywhere between those extremes. On the other hand, Moodle core provides the entire infrastructurenecessary to build a Learning Management System. It implements the key concepts that all the different plugins will needto work with.A. Blackboard vs. Moodle ArchitectureA blackboard-system application consists of three major components:i. The software specialist modules, which are called knowledge sources (KSs). Like the human experts at a blackboard,each knowledge source provides specific expertise needed by the application.ii. The blackboard, a shared repository of problems, partial solutions, suggestions, and contributed information. Theblackboard can be thought of as a dynamic "library" of contributions to the current problem that have been recently"published" by other knowledge sources.iii. The control shell controls the flow of problem-solving activity in the system. Just as the eager human specialists needa moderator to prevent them from trampling each other in a mad dash to grab the chalk, KSs need a mechanism toorganize their use in the most effective and coherent fashion. In a blackboard system, this is provided by the controlshellFIGURE 1: Blackboard ArchitectureISSN: 2289-1358FIGURE 2: Moodle Follows FairlyClassic Three-Layer ArchitectureP a g e 29

JOURNAL OF INFORMATION SYSTEMS RESEARCH AND INNOVATION Blackboard vs. Moodle Interface Student ViewThe following Figure 3 and 4 show the comparison of the interface in student view for both Blackboard and Moodlemodel:FIGURE 3: Blackboard Interface Student ViewFIGURE 4: Moodle Interface Student View3. RESULTSWe have compared the features in 3 phases, in terms of: Communication Tools, Productivity Tools and StudentInvolvement tools. The following comparison is based on comparison of Blackboard (version 9.1) and Moodle 2.0.A. Communication ToolThe communication tools in LMSs can encourage active engagement in classes by students and promote constructivistrather than instructivist styles of learning [4].The various communication tools can help manage the sharing of informationand promote interactions between members. LMS and its communications and collaboration tools also allow them to have adiscourse with students and teachers through discussion forums. Students can receive accurate alert/notification in a timelyway about the classes, subjects, exams and other issues.TABLE 1: Features Comparison Based on Communication ToolsBlackboard Learn(Release 9.1)Moodle 2.0Discussion Forum[2 , 3 ]Students can enable or disable posts to be sentto their email. Students can receive posts byemail as daily digests of subject lines or wholeposts.A spell‐checker is available for student andinstructor responsesFile Exchange[2 , 3 ]Students can submit assignments using dropboxes. Students can share the contents of theirpersonal folders with other students.Administrators can define disk space limitations for each user.Not availableNEW (from v 9.0)‐ New content that's been added to the course andEmail notificationNotificationsdashboardISSN: 2289-1358Students can enable or disable posts to be sent totheir email. Students can receive posts by email as dailydigests of subject lines or whole posts.Students can subscribe to forum RSS feeds.A spell‐checker is available for student andInstructor responses.Students can submit assignments using dropBoxesUsers can receive email notification of any courseA current feature that is improved in Moodle 2.0the Recent Activity block [unit within a page]P a g e 30

JOURNAL OF INFORMATION SYSTEMS RESEARCH AND information for all courses in which a studentisenrolled or the instructor is teaching are funneled to this pageproviding information about recent events, andlinks to more detailed reports.Majority of content tagged with time and userwho last changed it.B. Productivity ToolsProductivity tools help learners stay on top of their studies. Student productivity tools in a comprehensive andsecure online learning solution allow educators to create dynamic interactive courses and content fortheir students, and facilitate collaboration, resource access, instruction, assignments, grades and muchmore.TABLE 2: Features Comparison Based on Productivity ToolsBlackboard Learn(Release 9.1)Moodle 2.0Calendar/Progress Review[3]Instructors and students can post events in theonline course calendar.Instructors can post announcements to acourse announcement page.Students have a personal home page that lists allcourses in which the student is enrolled, newemail and all course and system‐wide eventsfrom their personal calendar.Students can view their grades on completedassignments, total points possible, course grade,and compare their grades against the classperformance.Searching WithinStudents can search all discussion threadsCourse [3]Module Page[2,3]Similar to dashboard notifications on theBlackboard home page. Modules containinformation for instructors and students aboutnew content and due dates for the current course.Instructors and students can post events in theonline course calendar.Instructors can post announcements to a courseannouncement page.Students have a personal home page that listsallcourses in which the student is enrolled, newemail and all course and system‐wide events from their personal calendar.Students can view their grades on completedassignments, total points possible, course grade,and compare their grades against the classperformance.Students can subscribe to RSS feeds to benotified of changes to materials.Students can search all discussion threads.Students can search chat or virtual classroom session recordings.Modules Upcoming events and recent activityboth displayed left hand side of the coursematerial. Can be docked as a tab to the left ofthe page.C. Student Involvement ToolsStudent involvement tools are to help the students see, understand, contribute to, and appreciate their own journey ofachievement success. Students can use student involvement in the assessment, record-keeping, and communicationprocesses to teach these lessons.GroupOrganizing[3]ISSN: 2289-1358TABLE 3: Feature Comparison Based on Student Involvement ToolsBlackboard Learn(Release 9.1)Moodle 2.0Group created first and then modified manuallyGroups created first then group members selectedlater to add users. Instructor can allow studentsfrom list on same page. Automatic allocationto create their own self‐enrolled groups and edit available. Students can also self‐select groups.their student‐created groups.P a g e 31

JOURNAL OF INFORMATION SYSTEMS RESEARCH AND munityNetworking [3]If allowed, at system level, students can createonline clubs, interest, and study groups. Thesegroups can have their own catalog, templates,discussion boards and more.Course Menu[3]Assignments[2, 3]Click ‘ ’ icon to access the choice listCustom gradingview andgradingpreferences[2, 3]New 9.0 –Multiple attempts for submission (examplerevisions)New 9.0 –Assignment submission for groups byan individual.Smart view can be used and in turn made afavourite making it available from the frontpage example showing on instructor’s front pagestudents who are falling under a certain grade.Major focus of Moodle 2.0 allowing differentMoodle installations to network. Idea is forinstructors to be able to access a location wherethey can share with peers ‐ in their own topic ‐best practice, ideas and resources. Also allowusers to join in with communities of practice thatmight be hosted by other sites. The functionalaspect is to allow anyone to turn their Moodle siteinto a Moodle Community Hub, with seamlesslog‐in between Moodles, but also with the loginsecure and fully controlled by site administratorsMenu is automatically updated with links to newAssignments can be completed online or offline(file uploads). Moodle allows for multiple fileuploads. Also assignments are treated as ‘draft’until the “send for submission” button pressedEnhanced Gradebook in Moodle 2.0, withfunctionality such as assignment of personalgrade letters to percentages. Can also edit directlyinspreadsheet view4. DISCUSSIONAs a result from this review, we can see the important criteria in choosing Blackboard or Moodle as a learningmanagement system. Our review has been based on three papers and comparison in terms of Blackboard (Version 9.1) andMoodle 2.0 communication tools, productivity tools and student's involvement tools. This comparison has been made toanswer our research question, "What are the differences on Moodle and Blackboard features in term of successimplementing the LMS?" From the first case study, "A Study of Virtual Learning Environments " most of the SpanishUniversities migrated from WebCT to Moodle platform because it is an open source while WebCT is a commercialplatform. [1] For the second case study, entitled "A Comparative Study of MOODLE with other e-Learning Systems ", theauthor has choose Moodle as the optimal elearning platform based on architecture and technical aspect compared with othere-learning system.[2].Our final case study is " Comparison of Blackboard 9.1 and Moodle 2.0" based on the user feedback at the Institute ofEducation, London. The tutors commented that multi level structure of Blackboard means that courses need to be carefullyconstructed and managed so that students and other tutors are aware on what materials are within each branh or folder.While for Moodle 2.0, was reported as smaller in size compared to Moodle 1.9.8. For another case study, at KingstonCollege who are in process to change from Blackboard to Moodle, they felt that Moodle is much cheaper in term of cost,more flexibility and it is an open source software. [3] There are pros and cons when choosing Blackboard or Moodle asLearning Management System in higher education. Its all depends on how the users use it, what they need most and howthe IT department arrange the Learning Management System for more user friendly interface.5. CONCLUSIONVirtual learning environments are the future in the academic field, not only for higher education but also for secondaryeducation where they are being introduced. They are used by all universities around the world and every day, newapplications are added to the virtual learning platforms. The objective is to improve the efficiency and the interactionbetween the students. This paper has made a comparative study between Moodle and Blackboard, and it was based on 3kinds of comparison. The first was based on communication tool, and second was productivity tools and third was based onstudent involvement tools. From this paper we aimed to discover the best and most suitable e-learning system. The virtualISSN: 2289-1358P a g e 32

JOURNAL OF INFORMATION SYSTEMS RESEARCH AND rning environment that gets better results has been Moodle. Although both have different features, it still depends oneach individual preference. Moodle system is basic tools that transform and update present educational system.Nonetheless, they should continue improving existing applications and creating new for [12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21]Diana Bri,Miguel Garcia, Hugo Coll, Jaime Lloret(2007).A Study of Virtual Learning Environments.Sheo Kumar, Anil Kumar Gankotiya, Dr Kamlesh Dutta(2011). A Comparative Study of MOODLE with other eLearning Systems.Kit Logan,Tim Neumann (August 2010). Comparison of Blackboard 9.1 and Moodle 2.0Chris Leeder,Steven Lonn (April 2013). Faculty Usage of Library Tools in a Learning Management SystemRubin, B., Fernandes, R., Avgerinou, M. D., & Moore, J. (2010). The effect of learning management systems onstudent and faculty outcomes. The Internet and Higher Education, 13(1), 82-83.EduTools. (2006). CMS: Product Comparison System.Ellis, Ryann K. (2009), Field Guide to Learning Management Systems, ASTD Learning CircuitsPittinsky, M.S., The Wired Tower: Perspectives on the Impact of the Internet on Higher Education, EnglewoodCliffs Prentice Hall (2003).Hara, N. and R. Kling, "Students' Frustrations with a Web-Based Distance Education Course". First Monday,4(12)(1999)McCarthy, Ellen (2004). "Blackboard Set to Go Public Today". The Washington Post. p. E04Daniels, Alex (2001). "Big company on campus: Blackboard hopes an IPO will help it dominate the Interneteducation market". Washington Techway. p. 26.Beth Kowitt (2009). "Blackboard software rules the schools". Retrieved 13 June 2013.Blackboard vs. Moodle, Dr. Kathy Munoz and Joan Van DuzeDamnjanovic, V., Jednak, S., & Mijatovic, I. (2013). Factors affecting the effectiveness and use of Moodle:Studentsperception. Interactive Learning Environments, 1-19. doi: 10.1080/10494820.2013.789062M. Michael, T. E. (2007). Blackboard vs. Moodle: Comparing User Experience of Learning Management Systems.Machado, M., & Tao, E. (2007, October). Blackboard vs. Moodle: Comparing user experience of learningmanagement systems.McCarthy, Ellen (2004). "Blackboard Set to Go Public Today". The Washington Post. p. E04.Rubin, B., Fernandes, R., Avgerinou, M. D., & Moore, J. (2010). The effect of learning management systems onstudent and faculty outcomes. The Internet and Higher Education, 13(1), 82-83.S. Campanella, G. Dimauro, A. Ferrante, D.Impedovo, S. Impedovo , M. G. Lucchese, R.Modugno, G Pirlo, L.Sarcinella, E. Stasolla, C.A. Trullo, E-learning platforms in the ItalianUniversities: the technological solutions attheUniversity of Bari, WSEAS Transactions onAdvances in Engineering Education. Volume 5 Issue 1. January 2008Sánchez, R. A., Hueros, A. D., & Ordaz, M. G. (2013). E-learning and the University of Huelva: a study of WebCTand the technological acceptance model. Campus-Wide Information Systems, 30(2), 135-160.Szabo, Micheal; Flesher, K. (2002). "CMI Theory and Practice: Historical Roots of Learning ManagementSystems". Proceedings of World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and HigherEducation 2002 (White Paper) (Montreal, Canada: In M. Driscoll & T. ReevesISSN: 2289-1358P a g e 33

source solution, Moodle based on some previous studies. This study begins with section (1) which gives an introduction about two different Learning Management Systems (LMS), Blackboard and Moodle. This is followed by section (2) describes the (LMS) and compares the features between Blackboard and Moodle. After that, section (3) shows the result of