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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, VLE Cost in Technical; ...
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    VLE Cost

    I was wondering how much your VLE cost your school?

    1. Which VLE are you using?
    2. How many pupils at your school (If you had to pay per pupil)
    3. Was there a first year setup cost
    3a. If so what is renewal or annual cost?

    Im talking simply about buying in a VLE, if you host say Moodle yourself the costs are more complicated so you maybe unable to comment.

    I just wanted to get an idea of what each VLE (realisticly) cost a school.

    E.g.

    1. Moodle

    2. 1000 pupils

    3. £2000 (included 1 days training split over 2 half days and unlimited support by Tel and Email for 1 year.)

    4. £900 annual cost, with additional costs coming from increased storage requirements.

    Guestimate costs are also relevant.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    In my new school i am sorting out the VLE, these are things we need and how much it costs.

    1. Server - Free the school already has a few spare Dell Poweredge 2900
    2. Server OS - Free using Linux
    3. Public IP - Free already have a few unused.
    4. Training - Free i will be doing it
    5. VLE Platform - Free will be using moodle.

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    Where the outcome is 'Free, Free, Free' would it be expand upon roughly how much time it is going to take you to setup your VLE (for free)?

    The reason i commented in my starter post about schools "doing it for themselves" (<--Is that a song?) and that cost being difficult to work out is that although you have existing hardware to utalise, free OS and free VLE how much is it costing the school, time = money.

    Training, is training staff on a VLE in your job spec:

    a: If it isnt are you being paid extra (Or as i suspect from my own experience you will do it out of the own goodness of your heart in your own time)

    b: If you are doing this in your contracted hours, this take you away from your actual job (unless training is specified in your job spec) and in turn this is costing money.

    This is whay its difficult to work out when your setting it up yourselves for 'free'.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FN-GM View Post
    In my new school i am sorting out the VLE, these are things we need and how much it costs.

    1. Server - Free the school already has a few spare Dell Poweredge 2900
    2. Server OS - Free using Linux
    3. Public IP - Free already have a few unused.
    4. Training - Free i will be doing it
    5. VLE Platform - Free will be using moodle.
    At the risk of sounding like I am knocking open source solutions you need to get into the habit of doing a true budgetary model on this for future years.

    1 - The server had an initial cost and even if you do not need to replace it you need to assign a value to it in case of a disaster and it needs to be replaced. Likewise if you have remaining hardware support on it that this has an associated cost that you have already paid out.

    2 - Linux is free but may have support or training costs. If you have these in place now then you can justify further training when new versions of the OS come out. This could be courses or simply dedicated time for self-study.

    3 - Public IP : already paid for but negligible really and the same cost whether you use OSS or other systems.

    4 - Training : your time is money and is already paid for. Again, you need to include this in your costs because other VLE providers will include it in theirs and your costs (by the hour) are likely to work out cheaper anyway.

    5 - Moodle : again, it is free but there are implications for development (themes and modules) and setup configuration. By including these in your model you cover all bases.

    Most people are happy to do the above as the TCO does work out better for OSS VLEs, but you need to be sure you are thorough as some sales reps for VLEs have been known to use the above as arguements against in house and OSS VLEs.

    Now, there is another cost that you have to consider. Although the training for how to use Moodle may be paid for in your wages already, what about training about how to use it to make a difference to T&L. There are plenty of books and sites about this out there so you should be able to include that in there too ... you can be sure other VLE providers will use this as a selling point and it is pretty much on of the most important ones.

    HTH

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    Training is in my job spec, not sure how and when it will be done yet. It will be done inside school hours. It's hard to say how much time will be spent on it. It all depends on how the VLE develops if it gets large i will need to spend more time even possibly dedicate certain days of the week on it. If there is a problem with it be the server itself or the install i will need to spend time on it.

    1 - The server had an initial cost and even if you do not need to replace it you need to assign a value to it in case of a disaster and it needs to be replaced. Likewise if you have remaining hardware support on it that this has an associated cost that you have already paid out.

    2 - Linux is free but may have support or training costs. If you have these in place now then you can justify further training when new versions of the OS come out. This could be courses or simply dedicated time for self-study.

    3 - Public IP : already paid for but negligible really and the same cost whether you use OSS or other systems.

    4 - Training : your time is money and is already paid for. Again, you need to include this in your costs because other VLE providers will include it in theirs and your costs (by the hour) are likely to work out cheaper anyway.

    5 - Moodle : again, it is free but there are implications for development (themes and modules) and setup configuration. By including these in your model you cover all bases
    No idea of the initial cost of the server, it has 5 year warrenty on it. in 5 years the school will be under BSF so who knows what will happens then.

    Good point about Linux

    You pay the same if you use the public IP's or not
    Last edited by FN-GM; 11th January 2009 at 10:18 PM.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    The thing to be careful of then is that when it does get larger (not if) and you do have particular days allocated to it, then who looks after the jobs that you are no longer doing.

    If you are employed already as 2 days for VLE then that cost has to be considered.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    Another very good point i guess the jobs would be split between the other 3 technical staff.

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    We did a full TCO and running our own Moodle site worked out at around 50% of the cost of using the LEA provided solution. In reality it has worked out far less than this, as the Technician who was going to be spending 70% of his time on it is only spending 30%.
    Training - the Teachers are grasping the concept of Moodle and able to use it within 1-2 training sessions (we had run 14 full day courses on the LEA one and they were still stumped).
    OS - as long as you use a Linux variant with a Long Term Support plan (we use Ubuntu 8.04) then the training/upgrade costs are negligable. I'm not a massive Linux guru, but it took me half a day to get the server set up and nicely tuned.

    Your mileage may vary depending on the commercial solution, but based on the experience we have had then Moodle is saving us a fortune and is actually used.

  9. Thanks to teejay from:

    bossman (12th January 2009)

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    @teejay:
    Totally concur with you on this one.
    Having seen what our LA has provided so far we opted for Moodle and so far the costs are as follows:
    Server Dell Poweredge 2950 £1500
    Ubuntu and Moodle setup and maintenance 4hrs plus 1hr per month total yearly cost approx £200
    Training 3 days at £300 per day in house £900
    ISP costs approx £300 per year
    Total cost £3700 for first year then approx £500 per year thereafter plus any hardware requirements.

    @Grumbledook:
    Any other third party offering comes no where close especially the LA's.

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    1. Moodle
    2. 1500ish
    3. Initial Hardware cost + Time to set-up the software and get it configured how we wanted
    3a. Generally just the time cost of doing software updates. There's a storage issue looming on the horizon though that will have to be addressed soon.

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    This is a good thread with people starting to think and question. Tony as usual is right. There are other things that you need to build in to the equation.

    Risk is often over looked. Assess the situation with people being away or leaving.

    Future projections need also to be considered.

    I also did not see much mention of security costs.

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    To have any value, this cost needs to highlight what the uptake has been by staff and students. What percentage of staff and students use it, and how happy are they doing so?

    We have just had a similar conversation here. We could spend 10 - 15K on a solution that proves unpopular with teaching staff, and then sits there unused.

    We could employ somebody on 18K a year to implement a full moodle solution and provide training.

    We could buy into a solution and pay for staff training days, but surely the cost is meaningless without an understanding of how successfully the solution matched the expectations, and the overall take-up from users.


    We haven't gone with a solution yet,- but i have seen many!!!




    I have seen Sharepoint and moodle installations that the NM's and tech's love, but the staff hate, and the students don't have any reason to use it.

    I'm not saying this is the case for every school. But i do think each schools needs will be different. One of the most successful installations i have seen had two web developers working on it full time(£££), and another school completely outsourced the entire product and is simply bound to an annual subscription.
    Last edited by steele_uk; 14th January 2009 at 02:12 PM.

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    1. Going with Office Sharepoint Server 2007 enterprise
    2. needs terminal servce which we all ready have due to another product, not idea of the cost *shrugs*
    3. setting it up on a 2003 system in a VMware enviroment which the school already had.

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