Why is Cardiff Met changing its VLE?
The decision to move from Blackboard to Moodle was made following a VLE review, led by LDTU during the 2011-12 academic year, which aimed to establish VLE practice, and explore whether the current system, Blackboard, was meeting needs. Functional requirements for a VLE (both current and future) were identified through staff and student surveys. These survey questions focused on:
* user satisfaction * learning needs
* course navigation * course content
* communication tools * organisational tools
* assessment &feedback * ease of use
The survey revealed that staff generally lacked confidence using Blackboard and wanted a more user-friendly, intuitive system that offered greater flexibility. Students said they'd like a more personalised, engaging learning experience with greater opportunities for interaction and collaboration as well as improved standardisation of modules.
An appraisal of the VLE options was then carried out. This involved a detailed comparison of Blackboard and other VLEs against the key criteria identified. The outcomes showed Moodle was the strongest option and that overall, the system would better meet the needs of staff and students. The main advantages of Moodle are:
- Research indicates that Moodle is the most user friendly VLE product available
- Its open source architecture offers greater adaptability to staff/student needs
- It has a highly customisable interface and course design
- VLE development and support can be managed in-house
- Moodle is widely used in schools and further education and therefore has the potential to ease learner transition due to familiarity
- Moodle has a large community of users who are involved in its development, offer pedagogical advice and provide technical support
How/when will the transition happen?
A crucial element in the Cardiff Met VLE transition is the focus on learner experience, rather than the technology involved. So the approach for developing content on Moodle, is that rather than simply copy materials over from Blackboard, staff will be encouraged (through a programme of workshops) to critically evaluate their use of the VLE, and will be supported in enhancing their provision, making use of the tools within Moodle.
The transition from Blackboard to Moodle is already underway! The Cardiff Met Moodle system has been developed and the e-portfolio plugin (Mahara) is installed. The Learning Development Team within LTDU is working with a small group of Moodle 'early adopters'. These individuals have been nominated by Schools or Units to undertake the transition early. Working with early adopters offers a useful opportunity for LTDU to evaluate and refine training materials & workshops, and to undertake system testing.
A training schedule is currently being developed by Schools in consultation with LTDU. For the majority of programme teams, Moodle training began in Autumn 2014.
The timeline below depicts the key milestones of the project and when each of these activities are planned: