Poll: Which do you think is the best VLE?

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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, Best VLE in Technical; At the risk of being a heretic ... none of them or any of them. Other than being a walled ...
  1. #16

    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    At the risk of being a heretic ... none of them or any of them.

    Other than being a walled garden I cannot see the point in restricting yourself to a single platform ... the students won't so why should we.

    It also has to fit in with the curriculum you are delivering. If you are working with other schools you need something common and accessible, but that could be locally hosted, centrally hosted (RBC) or externally hosted ...

    Personally I like FirstClass ... but it is way too much hassle to sort out, after that I am split between sharepoint and moodle ... I would still like to see a hosted sharepoint and seperately hosted moodle working together ... and hopefully Santa will bring it this year since I have been a good boy!

  2. #17
    Jay
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    Interesting that Frog came up quite high, I've seen it a fair bit and though although the extras that came with it were very good, the basic system was no more than a CMS for storing files. Wonder if I've not seen it as its best?

    I've used or reviewed most of the others. Fronter is very good for interoperability and functionality, you do have to buy plus packs though, (also just been bought by Pearson so it's future direction is a little uncertain). RM's system is superb for primary schools due to its look and feel. Uniservity was liked by a lot of students due to its speed of use (fewer clicks). Netmedia is improving, the new look is much better.

    Have to admit, I'm not a fan of the sharepoint VLE's, I've yet to see one that really stands out as more than just a content management system.

    Moodle is great, as long as you have someone looking after it with plugins, add ons and branding etc.

    One thing where I think it's hard to be impartial, its not *always* best to host the server yourselves. If the server room burns down and you're off sick and can't take off site backups... (frankly, who wants to take off site backups.)

  3. #18

    webman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay View Post
    One thing where I think it's hard to be impartial, its not *always* best to host the server yourselves. If the server room burns down and you're off sick and can't take off site backups... (frankly, who wants to take off site backups.)
    What if your internet connection fails or is unreliable or slow? What if your VLE provider has a fire and they can't be trusted or are incompetent or take X amount of months to restore access?

    In my opinion it is far safer, quicker and more reliable to host a VLE internally and allow secure external access than to farm it out to some random company who you have no idea how their operations are ran, how secure your data is or how it's backed up (if at all).

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    Jay
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    Quote Originally Posted by webman View Post
    What if your internet connection fails or is unreliable or slow? What if your VLE provider has a fire and they can't be trusted or are incompetent or take X amount of months to restore access?

    In my opinion it is far safer, quicker and more reliable to host a VLE internally and allow secure external access than to farm it out to some random company who you have no idea how their operations are ran, how secure your data is or how it's backed up (if at all).
    Those are the kind of thing contracts are suppose to take care of.

    You could also argue why bother buying web hosting services from say Rackspace when you could host in-house. I'm not suggesting its always the best idea, but its not always the worse option either.

  5. #20
    soapyfish's Avatar
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    Frog !

    We have had it in place scince September and it works wonderfully. The support is 1st class and its locally hosted. Anyone looking at VLE's should start here and see what "CAN" be done

  6. #21

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    @soapyfish:
    don't feel you have to be impartial on this one hehe!
    with it being your first post and all?
    Have you used any other VLEs BTW?

  7. Thanks to bossman from:

    webman (16th December 2008)

  8. #22
    soapyfish's Avatar
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    I have had several demos from Netmedia and RM, Built and run a moodle server for a start. I might not have been very impartial sorry about that but I would not be enthused by a terrible product !

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    LP+

    At our school we use LP+. The biggest bnefit of the system is that it based on sharepoint. This allows us to add Meta data to resources we pu up and allows searching.
    It can be customised and even with my limited knowledge of wb design I have been able to create work spaces and document libraries for staff and pupils to search to help n all aspects of teaching and learning.
    The team behind the VLE are always looking to develop the platform and constantly liase with schools to help customise it for them and look at new ways it can be used within schools.
    I believe it is a VLE which will grow and develop to meet school's needs and will never get to the end of it's life. It is adaptable and can meet needs of all learners and adults.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sylv3r View Post
    We are curently implementing our own system, creating our own webparts for sharepoint as well as using the SIMS webparts. And I much prefer our in house system - it is catered exactly for our needs.
    Then you may be interested in visiting The Kraal. We do the same - an in house SharePoint implementation - with SLG2. We are also writing our own web parts to supplement those already around. At least it means we have an MLE which does what we want it to, and which we can customise every step of the way!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Personally I like FirstClass ... but it is way too much hassle to sort out, after that I am split between sharepoint and moodle ...
    Wow I've not seen much mention of FirstClass for a while. We used to use it for a few years - and loved it - but when the VLE wave came along they really dragged their heels, so we jumped ship for SharePoint.

  12. #26
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    It's a bit like saying which is the best football team.. (which is naturally Arsenal)

    Moodle evangelists will say 'Moodle' FROG users will say 'FROG', Uniservity users will say 'Moodle'

    Seriously though I've only really used Moodle and Uniservity. I love Moodle, but I also like Uniservity for some perverse reason.

    As our LA has opted for Uniservity I'll be spending most of my time, when I move to VLE / curric development, making Uniservity the best it can be for the school, pupils, staff and parents.

    I don't really get too involved with which is the 'best' type things as, as Tony rightly says, there is no 'best'. Whatever I get given whether good or crap I'll make it work for my school.

  13. #27
    Ian_CUP's Avatar
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    agree with what you say Karl, except the bit about Arsenal, but as a Spurs supporter you might not be surprised about that!

    "What VLE" is very individual, and interesting that for 2 years now this debate has sparked such territorial debate within many circles! - Having worked with a number of them I would say that they all do something different from the next one so you as a school have to decide what suits your requirements best, and think about the level of support offered. For a school to buy a VLE it will require a fair investment of time and effort so perhaps understandably after taking a leap of faith people will defend that decision with a passion.

    Ian

  14. #28

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    Horses for course but what about the long term

    Well I voted for Moodle.

    But I agree with those that said it depends. Moodle is not great for infants IMHO. Studywiz has a pretty good primary interface based around the idea of a lesson or topic rather than a course. However once you get into the activities (tests, assignments, forums etc. it is just like Moodle but worse. Not very good implementation of the TinyMCE Editor (Much better in Joomla for example) and poorly laid out forms especially in the tests. There is a QTI assessment activity that is more flexible but it's implementation is too esoteric especially the editing of questions. Moodle is way ahead on anything else regarding testing and it's implementation of Ajax for drag and drop is getting better by the day. What it is missing is the big graphic/type interface.

    Key to any VLE is the content libraries and examples of it being used for full courses or topics sets. The best Moodle examples I have seen are at Alton College but like the Open University Moodle courses they do tend to be wordy text and graphic "books" online rather than interesting use of tests, forums or wikis. If you are a primary school and want to see good use of Studywiz I'd suggest asking at Hampshire.

    One of the great things about Moodle is it's shareable scales and gradebook. But that doesn't do image scales yet and some VLE vendors for primary are. You know being able to set up a traffic light system or smiley system for rating or grading things. moodle also lets you apply its editable scales toi any rateable/gradeable activity. i've soome really clever uses oif this.

    Studywiz has an activity called gallery that was originally just an image gallery tool. Buit it does now let you have a gallery of any type of file. Once they get these files producing useful thumbnails or other visualisations of say mp3 files or documents it will be even better. Where Studywiz falls down is its handling of comments, forum threading etc. The ePortfolio tool and ILP/Personal Learning Plans tools are good though and ePortfolio will be even better in 9.4 as its structure becomes editable. Some Local Authorities have bought it for their schools (Unlike Oldham). Yet to see it used in anger though.

    Haven't used Frog but seen lots of demos and talked with the developers. It's seems a very flexible system but I haven't seen any demo that shows a school using it's full potential. I'd also be concerned about how supportable it would be if you let your techies loose creating forms and data sets that are just too idiosyncratic. The advantage of a fixed structure is clearly the way in which everyone can see the same thing from school to school etc.

    If you put yourself in the shoes of a year 6 pupil moving from junior to secondary or a teacher working in more than one school, having an LA "standard" solution makes sense. Collaboration and sharing of activities can work better too. Secondary schools do tend to be a bit like islands sometimes.

    I also have some sympathy with the lets just use lots of web 2.0 free stuff etc. But how sustainable is that and again what about the kiddies. They are not all brilliant at adapting despite the fact they are digital natives. My 3 teenage sons are OK and comfortable with ICT but they really do take ages to do somethings that should take minutes. And I think that's because they don't spend enough time learning a few apps (online or otherwise). Yes we have to be able to transfer skills but someone who really knows an app will knowck spots off the person with broad knowledge when it comes to getting a specific job done swiftly. So again I think standardisation does help.

    Sharepoint? Well it is really Microsoft's best bit of software IMHO and I reckon it will become a stadard portal into which VLE vendors and MIS vendors will plug in. Problem with that is which forum tool do you use? The VLE one or the sharepoint one? Which survey tool? Which gallery tool? Which wiki tool? Which messaging system? There's a lot of doubling up in the Sharepoint with VLEs plugged in via web parts. And you will also have at least 3 databases (MIS/Sharepoint/VLE) maybe 4 if you count the messaging one if its a separate email system like Exchange. But boy is it resource hungry, slow to render and costly to licence and maintain and develop/skin. Just look at SIMS Learning Gateway to see how badly Capita have skinned Sharepoint. Why not? Maybe it costs a lot. (And WSS is not free - you are paying for Windows Server are you not?) Maybe not too hard to maintain if you don't bother about backup, disaster recovery and don't do anything complex with groups and integration but wait until you've got an SQL database that has been going for a few years without proper clearing out of old stuff. Maybe one server per school is reasonable to support but try setting up an LA sized Sharepoint implementation with full school level restore points and data that's built up over a few years. Then tell me its not costly to maintain. ANd wait till you start to really get parents online with it having to maintain accurate login details handing out passwords etc. etc.

    TBH I have yet to see a really good scaleable Web 2.0 like drag and drop, aninmated, mashable easy for non-techies to do nice graphical stuff type VLE.

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    secretlife (6th January 2009)

  16. #29

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    TBH I have yet to see a really good scaleable Web 2.0 like drag and drop, aninmated, mashable easy for non-techies to do nice graphical stuff type VLE.
    Hi,

    I work at Frog and I think you would be pleasently suprised at what we are showing at Bett this year.

    Please see the screenshot as a taster and come along and see us on the stand.



    Karl

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    AndyD (21st January 2009)

  18. #30
    alan-d's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kbolland View Post
    Hi,
    Please see the screenshot as a taster and come along and see us on the stand. Karl
    What does the secondary school version look like?

  19. Thanks to alan-d from:

    webman (8th January 2009)

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