ISU Headlines

New ISU computer learning management system goes online this year

Posted July 30, 2008

Idaho State University will begin the 2008-2009 academic year with a new learning management system – or LMS – after 10 years with WebCT/Blackboard.

Moodle –Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment– is the new LMS that has been selected by students and faculty for electronic assessment, content and communication activities with popular tools for employing profiling, wikis, blogs, RSS feeds, instant messaging and portfolios, said Randy Stamm, e-learning coordinator, ISU Instructional Technology Resource Center at ISU – Boise.

ISU students can interact with the LMS through their computer from home, on campus, or anywhere they have access to the Internet. After a two-year study, Moodle has demonstrated to be more productive, user friendly and cost effective for ISU, Stamm said.

Educators often struggle with how to get more for their dollar. ISU believes it has found a way to save the institution funding through licensing fees that have expanded to over $38,000 and were expected to grow 15 percent annually for the foreseeable future.

Institutions using Moodle can add or remove applications within the LMS for specific learning initiatives with no extra expense. Many commercial products have additional pricing for special applications and support, which is causing institutions’ research and teaching efforts to be stymied by the lack of funding and flexibility.

Martin Dougiamas, an Australian educator, developed Moodle in 1999 out of frustration with the existing commercial LMS software. Moodle has now blossomed into an open community of educators eagerly seeking dynamic tools for the 21st–century student.

“The Moodle community is growing with the needs of educators because it was developed to serve educators by educators,” said Randy Stamm, ISU’s e-learning coordinator.

This type of collaborative approach to teaching and researching is being practiced by 38,896 registered sites, 16.9 million users and 1.7 million courses worldwide, Stamm said.  

Moodle continues to surprise many ISU faculty and students with its robust feature set for expanding their teaching and learning endeavors.

“I’ve used Blackboard’s WebCT product in the past, but Moodle seems to be very intuitive with the flexibility to develop learning communities that fit both student and faculty.” said Linda Boyd, director of ISU’s online graduate dental hygiene program.

An ISU student adds, “I like to see the other students in my class through the profile feature, but it really has improved some communication barriers with my instructor,”

This past spring, ISU professors have developed 1,200 Moodle courses and this number is expected to increase as more instructors distribute courses activities online.

For more information, contact Randy Stamm, e-learning coordinator, ISU Instructional Technology Resource Center, (208) 373-1744.