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LMS comparison February 24, 2010

Filed under: CECS 5510 Technology- based learning environments — Echang @ 4:32 pm
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I just start to investigate two LMSs: Blackboad Vista 8 VS Moodle 1.8. In the beginning, I didn’t know the Moodle version of what I am using these days, so I visited ” Moodle Tutorial” where Becky let me know.

Moodle Tutorial  http://www.moodletutorials.org/video.php?category=mr&viewtype=

In Moodle tutorial, I looked into several versions of Moodle, and I assume that I use  Moodle 1.8 because the   graphic icon is the same as my current Moodle environment. Moodle 1.9 looks different. I hope it will be right.

Then I made a comparison table using WCET’s Edutools website.

I clicked product list and select Bb8 and Moodle 1.8 in the list page.  Then I got the a comparison table.

        table1.   http://www.edutools.info/compare.jsp?pj=4&i=592,555

Before I got this table, I made another table applying “UNT’s Learning Management System Evaluation Project website ” http://web3.unt.edu/lmseval/vendors.htm (http://web3.unt.edu/lmseval/EduTools_Comparison2007.htm#discfor ) for a long time. Oh, if I tried above site, I din’t have to spend so much time for this.  Anyway, I will use this table which I made , applying feagure1.

This is the table which I made:  table2 Bb_vs_Moodle

I will try these two LMSs with their features of a communication tool, a productivity tool and  a student Improvement tool from the student’s point of view. In addition, I will evaluate two LMSs with with their features of a communication tool, a productivity tool, a student Improvement tool, administration tool, a course delivery tool, content development tool, and cost & licensing  from the administrator(instructor)’s point of view.

The tutorials will be much helpful for this investigation.

Blackboard Vista    https://ecampus.unt.edu/webct/urw/lc5122011.tp0/cobaltMainFrame.dowebct

                                       http://tutorials.webct.com/exploring/exploring_interface/interface.htm

Moodle  http://www.moodletutorials.org/video.php?category=mr&viewtype=

As a student view point, communication tools consist of discussion forum, e-mail, file exchange, online journal/ note, Real time chat and white board. Blackboard Vista(BV) and Moodle (MD) have all these functions except online journal/ note  which is available in BV, but we use outside Blog sites which the instructors recommended. Note function would facilitate e-learning in a place. All these functions can be used frequently in e- learning, and I don’t feel any differences between two LMS though there are more functions in BV according to the table2. Real time chat and whiteboard function sound great, but we never used them for the courses. Instead of them, we used vyew.com or other IM tool, so I am just curious why the instructors recommend the other tools instead of them. I can’t find Spell-checker on the both LMS, even in the tutorials. If I can use the function, it will be more convenient for me. I always write down on the MSN Word which corrects my grammar and spelling mistakes. This communication tools facilitates us to communicate with peers and instructors, accomplishing the online socialization, the second stage which Salmon said in the five step model.

Productivity tools provide bookmarks, calendar/ process review/ searching within course, work offline, orientation/ help functions which are convenient tools in e-learning. I experienced these functions in the BV, but it is hard for me to find these functions in the MD. I can easily set up the calendar, use work offline, orientation on BV, but I never used them on MD and hard to find them on the site. However RSS feed function can be used in MD, so it would be more convenient. These functions are good for the beginners of the semester, so I don’t feel any inconveniences without these functions in MD because I can see the whole module at a glance on the MD.

With Student Improvement tools, I can collaborate with other classmates, but we are recommended wikispaces, other web authoring programs for this purpose.

As an administrator, I tried to manage two LMS, but it was not easy to do that because of lack of administrator’s perspectives. Anyway, on BV, with teach view and student view, I can set the BV in comfortable mood seeing them together. On the MD, I used turn edit on/off, but it was little bit confusing about my situation. As an administrator, I can have more functions like administration tools, course delivery tools, and content development tools.

I cannot give clear and accurate investigate result in this because it is not that easy to do this as an ordinary person. I just can say the methods are not easy and intuitive for setting. Compared with MD, BV seems little bit easier that MD with understandable icons. I need more time to try out this part.

In conclusion, two LMS provide convenient and proper tools for e-learning. According to the table 2, BV provides more functions than MD, but I feel good on the MD without more functions which BV provides.

The interface of MD is more readable from student’s viewpoint while the administration part looks clearer for instructor’s viewpoint. Their tools can provide proper functions for both students and instructors. I will try more and figure more in the future with this framework.

Then I can evaluate these LMS with Divis’ infrastructire Model, considering functionality, usability, and flexibility.

Infrastructure Model

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