Pushback Against Possibly Leaving Moodle At Sonoma State

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Pushback Against Possibly Leaving Moodle At Sonoma State
“Sonoma” by Lisa Williams is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Faculty member Elizabeth Stanny lists a few issues worthy of suspicion regarding Sonoma State University‘s (SSU) announcement to consider dropping Moodle as the institutional Learning Management System in favor of proprietary contender Canvas. For their “Next-Gen LMS,” SSU is comparing their existing Moodle system not only against Canvas, but against another Moodle bundle, except this one would be supported by Moodle Partner eThink Education and hosted on the cloud instead of on-site servers.

For starters, Stanny is not sure the LMS evaluation process should have even taken place. Historically, SSU’s satisfaction towards Moodle has been high, with over 79% of the community deeming it at least “somewhat favorable.” Given that there is reportedly no major dissatisfaction or any significant complaints about limited functionality, the switch could potentially cause a significant reduction of features and compatibility with third-party services.

Another reason she shares is the sheer volume of educational content that is not compatible with Canvas, amounting to “years of work.” Although her impartiality could oversize the implication, the figure might not be far off considering the sum of efforts by the whole faculty. SSU serves close to ten thousand students concurrently. To be sure, this is a problem on the Canvas importing side, as Moodle does allow content exporting in a standard format.

Not content with voicing her concerns, Stanny is taking a few measures that might influence SSU’s final procurement decision. She has announced she will personally offer coaching in Moodle-compatible r-exams to anyone at who wishes, but only if SSU stays with Moodle. It is only a matter of time before SSU announces its final decision, scheduled to be between May 17th and June 17th, and we will know whether her grassroots movement in favor of Moodle had any sway.

The evaluation process will continue to unfold over the next several months.

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