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LMS Proposal for Moodle 1Running head: LMS PROPOSAL FOR MOODLEMoodle as a Viable Solution:A Learning Management System (LMS) Selection ProposalDiana BangThe University of British Columbia

LMS Proposal for Moodle 2PrefaceThis LMS selection proposal is for the Co-Chairs of the Saskatchewan HealthInformation Resources Partnership (SHIRP), a key decision-maker in funding andproviding access to the health region library’s electronic resources. One of SHIRP’smandates includes the greater integration of technology in education, practice, andresearch to inform purchasing decisions of resources and services. Thus, I propose thatMoodle is hosted by SHIRP’s web server in order to fully implement an accessible,province-wide e-learning library resource for all healthcare practitioners inSaskatchewan. It will provide on-demand library training sessions for busy clinicianswho are unable to attend in-person and address their learning needs particularly for thosein rural locations. As part of an e-learning initiative, it is imperative that libraries offerchoices and flexibility for independent and group learning opportunities. The addition ofMoodle would help develop a blended learning environment by complementing theexisting suite of face-to-face instruction with self-directed modules and has the potentialfor complete e-learning library service delivery in the future.What is Moodle?Moodle, an acronym for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic LearningEnvironment is a popular open source LMS designed for educators to create dynamiconline courses (Moodle, 2011). It is the leading open source LMS used by NorthAmerican and European universities (Beatty & Ulasewicz, 2006), and there are currently53,891 active registered sites from 211 countries with 86 language packs available fordownload (Moodle, 2011). Martin Dougiamas developed Moodle with constructivistlearning principles, social networking and the needs of students and educators in mind(UBC Wiki, 2011). Thus, Moodle is well-suited with Web 2.0 features.Why Moodle is the SolutionMoodle is multifunctional and its interactive features are conducive to e-learning,making it a superior alternative to traditional library resource guides. Rhodes (1999) &Wheeler (2006) state that as educational institutions increasingly utilize IT infrastructurethey face mounting financial constraints due to base licensing fees, training and supportrequired for application software (as cited in Pan & Bonk, 2007). Therefore, an opensource solution is evident. Unlike proprietary LMSs, Moodle can be freely downloaded,modified, and distributed under the General Public License all without a licensing fee(Pan & Bonk, 2007). Furthermore, Moodle works without modification on any systemthat supports PHP including most web host providers (Moodle, 2011). Data is stored in asingle database: MySQL and PostgreSQL are optimally supported, but can be used withAccess, Interbase, ODBC, and Oracle (Moodle, 2011). Weber (2003) acknowledges that“as an open source product, Moodle is flexible in its customizations and its use is onlylimited by the knowledge, learning, resources, and innovative spirit of its users ratherthan by the proprietary rights of vendors” (as cited in Elias, 2010, p.114).A significant advantage of Moodle over its leading competitors is their foundationin social constructivist pedagogy embedded in its features to support student learning(Moodle, 2011). Hartley & Fallon (2005) surveyed IT executives from 52 colleges anduniversities, and found that pricing and scalability were crucial factors in their

LMS Proposal for Moodle 3institutional LMS purchasing decisions as all were dissatisfied with the escalating cost ofproprietary LMSs (as cited in Pan & Bonk, 2007). Also, with the rise of handheld PDAusage by healthcare practitioners, Moodle can be customized to address mobile learningneeds. Koole et al. (2010) examined the usability, learning and social interaction ofstudents’ mobile access to Moodle course materials using a system called MobiGlam.Learners accessed their course notes and reference materials wherever they were. Thisexample illustrates how m-learning can significantly amplify the prospects of usingMoodle as part of an overall e-learning strategy.Evaluation Method for LMS SelectionThe selection of Moodle compared to other LMSs were based on an adaptedcourse rubric from Bates & Poole’s (2003) SECTIONS framework (see Appendix A,Table 1), Chickering and Ehrmann’s (1996) seven principles of implementing technologyas a lever, and Edutools (2011) LMS product comparison and summative decision tools.Another valuable tool was Fetaji & Fetaji’s (2009) standardized e-learning indicatorsused to evaluate different e-learning platforms and inform successful planning. Theirresearch also conveyed the need for close correlation of software development and elearning pedagogy which confirmed Moodle was the most viable solution.As part of the initial testing phase, I developed a sample webpage and discussionforum in Moodle accessed via UBC’s course site. The discussion thread’s functionalitywas examined by posting a reply and I navigated the layouts using both UBC andMoodle’s demo sites. Overall, the instructor interface was intuitive and easy to use inMoodle. One of the preferred differences between Moodle and Blackboard in terms ofease of use was the system interface which was far more superior as it could be easilymodified for visual learners (Beatty & Ulasewicz, 2006).To highlight, Moodle’s cost-free, open source nature was preferred and in regardsto speed, it was the clear winner over commercial systems as it enables developers fromaround the world to fix issues and build new components without waiting for a fullrelease of changes. It is also possible to enlist the support of students with programmingskills to help in the development without a significant cost. Although some technicalproficiency with html coding is required this can be alleviated through IT support and agrowing online community.Resources Required for Moodle ImplementationImplementing Moodle will involve the collaboration of stakeholders, systemadministration, and long-term sustainability efforts including: IT support for installation, administration and troubleshootingTime commitment from librarians to develop content for modulesTraining and testingPartnerships/funding from SHIRP, health regions and other key stakeholdersAssistance from instructional designers

LMS Proposal for Moodle 4ConclusionOverall, it is easy to understand why Moodle is the most viable solution forSHIRP to implement a province-wide, accessible e-learning library resource for allhealthcare practitioners. It will address the e-learning needs of clinicians by offeringgreater flexibility and choices for self-directed learning opportunities. Developing ablended learning environment is within reach and ultimately could lead to the futureimplementation of complete e-learning and m-learning library service delivery solutions.ReferencesAnderson, T. (2008). Teaching in an online learning context. In T. Anderson & F.Elloumi (Eds.), Theory and practice of online learning, (pp. 271-294). Edmonton,AB: Athabasca University.Bates, A.W. & Poole, G. (2003). Chapter 4: A framework for selecting and usingtechnology. In Effective teaching with technology in higher education: Foundationsfor success (pp. 77-105). San Francisco: Jossey Bass Publishers.Beatty, B., & Ulasewicz, C. (2006). Faculty perspectives on moving from Blackboard tothe Moodle learning management system. TechTrends: Linking Research andPractice to Improve Learning, 50(4), 36-45.Bradford, P., Porciello, M., Balkon, N., & Backus, D. (2007). The Blackboard learningsystem: The be all and end all in educational instruction? Journal of EducationalTechnology Systems, 35(3), 301-314.EduTools. (2011). CMS: Product comparison system. Retrieved June 9, 2011 fromhttp://www.edutools.info/compare.jsp?pj 4&i 599,616,621,625Elias, T. (2010). Universal instructional design principles for Moodle. InternationalReview of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 11(2), 110-124.Fetaji, B., & Fetaji, M. (2009). E-learning indicators: A multi-dimensional model forplanning and evaluating e-learning software solutions. Electronic Journal of eLearning, 7(1), 1-28.Gibbs, G. & Simpson, C. (2005). Conditions under which assessment supports students’learning. Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, 1(1), 3-31.Jensen, L. A. (2010). Extend instruction outside the classroom: Take advantage of yourlearning management system. Computers in Libraries, 30(6), 76-78.

LMS Proposal for Moodle 5Jonassen, D. (1999). Designing constructivist learning environments. In C. Reigeluth(Ed.), Instructional design theories and models: Volume II. Mahwah, NJ:Lawrence Erlbaum.Koole, M., McQuilkin, J. L., & Ally, M. (2010). Mobile learning in distance education:Utility or futility? Journal of Distance Education, 24(2), 59-82.McGreal, R., & Elliott, M. (2008). Technologies of online learning (e-learning). In T.Anderson & F. Elloumi (Eds.), Theory and practice of online learning, (pp. 115135). Edmonton, AB: Athabasca University.Moodle. (2011). About Moodle. Retrieved from http://moodle.org/about/Moodle. (2011). Language packs. Retrieved from http://download.moodle.org/lang16/Moodle. (2011). Registered Moodle sites. Retrieved from http://moodle.org/sites/Open Source Initiative. (n.d.). Mission. Retrieved from http://www.opensource.org/Pan, G., & Bonk, C. J. (2007). The emergence of open-source software in North America.International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 8(3), 1-17.Panettieri, J. (2007). Addition by subtraction. University Business, August, 58-62.Retrieved aspx?articleid 845Perkins, M., & Pfaffman, J. (2006). Using a course management system to improveclassroom communication. Science Teacher, 73(7), 33-37.UBC Wiki. (2011). Moodle. Retrieved from http://wiki.ubc.ca/moodle

Appendix ATable 1: Detailed Evaluation Rubric for the Selection of a Learning Management System**(adapted from ETEC 565A group assignment by Alison Baillie, Diana Bang, Leslie Dawes, Kirklan Lum, Deborah Schell)Name of LMS Evaluated: MoodleDate: June 7, 2011Criteria based onSECTIONSframework byBates and Poole(2003)Does Not MeetExpectations(1)Meets Expectations(2)Exceeds Expectations(3)Score(1-3)orN/AAdditional Comments(S)StudentsStudents are unable toaccess the site 24/7due limitedconnectivity.Students have accessmost of the time andelements account forsome differences instudent demographicsand language.Students have access24/7, can workcompletelyindependently, allelements account fordifferences in studentdemographics.3Students can access the course site24/7 via the Internet.Restrictions on accessto information, e.g.frequent crashes, LMSrarely available.Time investments intechnology are neededto understand theaffordances.Students haveunlimited access to allinformation withoutrestrictions.2(E)Ease of Use andReliability(C)CostsUpgrades arefrequently required forboth administratorsand users.Upgrades areoccasionally requiredfor both administratorsand users.Upgrades are rarelyrequired for bothadministrators andusers.Cost per student is toohigh.Usage costs arereasonable and perstudent ratio ismanageable.Is cost effective.Moodle is designed withconstructivist principles in mind tomeet students’ diverse needs.Interface is easy-to-use as itshowed the instructor what thestudent would see in addition to acommon set of editing toolsMoodle works withoutmodification on any system thatsupports PHP including most webhost providers.3No cost for use, licensing fees,training, and support.

Criteria based onSECTIONSframework byBates and Poole(2003)Does Not MeetExpectations(1)Meets Expectations(2)Exceeds Expectations(3)Score(1-3)orN/AAdditional Comments(T)Teaching andLearningOne-shot instructionalsessions cannot beused as an assessmenttool.Assessment methodscould permit use ofone-shot instructionalsessions.Assessment methodswould permit use ofone-shot instructionalsessions.3One-shot instructional sessions orfull-length courses can be createdand information can be organizedto include links to catalogues,search strategies, tutorials, etc.(I)Interaction andInteractivityMaterials arecompletely static, e.g.students are only ableto download and read.Dynamic materials,such as videos andaudio, but fewopportunities to interactwith other students.Offers tools such asautomated feedback,discussion boards, andsoftware to simulatemanipulation ofproblems.3Calendar, quizzes, announcements,chat widgets, RSS feeds, anddiscussion forums can be used.Customized content is available asassignments can be uploaded, andlinked to instructional videos.(O)Organizational IssuesTechnical assistance tosupport users is notavailable whenneeded.Technical assistance tosupport users ispartially available whenneeded.Technical assistance tosupport users is readilyavailable when needed.3Moodle’s online communityprovides support and technicalassistance can be sought from theIT department.(N)NoveltyProgram does notappeal to learners andis out dated.The program appeals tolearners.Program is appealing,engages and motivatesstudents.3Program is new andhas not been tested.The program is fairlycurrent.The program is currentand in demand.It is the leading open source LMSused by North American andEuropean universities (with moreplanning to convert fromproprietary LMSs).Technology makes itdifficult to updatecourse materials forchanges.Technology issomewhat flexiblewhen updating coursematerials for changes.Technology allows theflexibility to updatecourse materials easilyto incorporate changes.3Developers can fix issues and buildnew components without waitingfor a full release of changes.Total Score 23Moodle is a viable solution.(S)Speed

LMS Proposal for Moodle 3 institutional LMS purchasing decisions as all were dissatisfied with the escalating cost of proprietary LMSs (as cited in Pan & Bonk, 2007). Also, with the rise of handheld PDA usage by healthcare practitioners, Moodle can be customized to address mobile learning needs.