MnSCU, MSUM phase out Moodle

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By Spring 2014, MSUM will have completely phased out the use of the instructional management system Moodle with all professors and students using Desire 2 Learn.

“Based on McSCU’s policy of not having redundant systems, the tech committee looked at all of our systems and one thing we had redundancy in was our learning management systems, and because we have the support from MnSCU for D2L, that was chosen to be our system,” said Catherine Artac, instructional designer at Instructional Technology Services.

The ratio of faculty that use D2L over Moodle is 3 to 1, which should contribute to a faster switch to D2L. Another benefit of becoming D2L based is other MnSCU schools will be primarily using the system as well, so if students or professors transfer, they will already be familiar with MSUM’s system.

ITS is working with faculty to teach them the new system and help with migration. A number of faculty members have already started the switch to D2L.

“We’ve worked hard to stay in close contact with faculty so that together we can build a plan to complete all of the remaining courses before January of 2014,” said Dan Heckaman, chief information officer at ITS.

Almost all the professors understand the reasoning behind the switch and are willing to work with ITS to insure a smooth transition.

“Decisions are sometimes made at a system level and if you are apart of a system, you live with it,” said CT Hanson, mass communications chair.

Some professors that have been avid users of Moodle are sad to see it go.

“I have been a Moodle user for several years and feel that it is an excellent course management system,” said Tracy Gompf, paralegal professor. “I understand that the decision to go with D2L was a system-wide (MnSCU) decision rather one made at MSUM.  Although, I personally believe that Moodle is superior, I will work with IT to transition to D2L.”

Several students do not prefer one system to the other, but agree that it will be nice not switching back and fourth between the two for different classes.

“I’ve used both,” said Amanda Voelkel, psychology sophomore. “It’s difficult having two separate ones (instructional technology services). I think switching to just D2L will be better, or either one. I don’t really have a preference.”

Jessica Ferrian, a business management and accounting sophomore, echoed Voelkel.

“I have experience with both and gotten used to both, but I think it’s better we’re switching to just one so we don’t go back and forth,” she said.

Moodle will still be active during fall 2013; however, many students may notice professors already making the switch to D2L. Now that D2L will be MSUM’s main service, it will be updated once an academic year to ensure the school has the most recent software. The next version of D2L, 10.1, is tentatively scheduled to be updated in June.

BY MEREDITH WATHNE
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