A Message from the Provost
May 17, 2012 - Southeastern Moving to Moodle
As indicated in my Campus Notice of February 22, 2012, a pilot of Moodle, an open-source learning management system (LMS), began in Fall 2011 and continued this spring. The pilot has now ended and the overall results indicate that Moodle is a viable system.
While we have enjoyed much success with Blackboard, as a proprietary system the annual licensing and related costs have continued to rise. Although the Student Technology Fee budget has borne much of the cost associated with Blackboard in recent years, this budget has also increasingly provided funds for other technology-related campus initiatives that support our students, faculty and staff. The current situation with the university’s operating budget and the anticipation of further reductions in state support cited in President Crain’s Campus Notice of April 25, create a greater sense of urgency to move forward with a less-costly, open-source LMS.
The administration realizes that a transition to Moodle will not be without certain challenges, as users have become accustomed to the current LMS. The Office of Technology and the Center for Faculty Excellence continue to explore and refine software, technical tools and other opportunities to help facilitate the transition. For example, Moodle Mentors have been identified in each college to assist the Center in working with faculty and students in the transition to Moodle. These Mentors have begun basic Moodle training for departments and will continue to serve as Moodle liaisons as we move to full implementation of Moodle in Fall 2013. This time line gives users more than a full academic year to transition existing course material and participate in development opportunities that will help ensure effective utilization of instructional tools and features in Moodle.
As you know, one of our performance goals in the GRAD Act addresses increased distance learning offerings despite ongoing financial challenges. Our success in meeting the performance expectations set out in the GRAD Act is essential in order to maintain the autonomies provided by the Act, including tuition authority. Adopting an open-source LMS will increase cost efficiency and insure sustainability as we balance diminished resources with GRAD Act demands to increase distance learning offerings.
Thanks in advance for your support and diligence in this important transition.