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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, Please help fact check my report comparing Moodle and Fronter in Technical; Dear All, I have written a report which will be circulated as a white paper comparing the usability features of ...
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    Please help fact check my report comparing Moodle and Fronter

    Dear All,

    I have written a report which will be circulated as a white paper comparing the usability features of Moodle with Fronter. This is a general overview of the main features and does not attempt to study the systems in an in-depth way. The report looks at the two systems from the point of view of teachers.

    I'm a frequent (though not expert) user of both systems and would really welcome comments from users of these systems, particularly if I've made any errors in my assumptions.

    The report is attached as a Word doc.

    All comments welcome please!

    Best wishes

    Cheryl
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    mb2k01's Avatar
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    As you've had views but no comments I'll step up.

    It looks fine for what it is. That said, whitepapers don't generally excite me!
    The information there is factual, accurate (certainly for Moodle anyway - I don't know much about Fronter) and will probably be a useful document for schools looking to opt for either solution without much internal technical ability.

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    witch's Avatar
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    The only thing I noticed is that you mention that Moodle needs a server to run on, implying that you might need another server for the Moodle alone- this is not necessary - it doesnt take up much space and sits happily on my main server.

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    Edu-IT's Avatar
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    Witch that will depend on your setup. I much prefer to keep web services away from the DC.

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    powdarrmonkey's Avatar
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    "We asked Shift Learning to help us review several aspects of our usability and accessibility to a very tight schedule. Their expert analysis, professional approach, clear advice and above all their understanding of our requirements was very impressive. As a result, their work has been extremely helpful to us and will guide the continuous improvement of our online publishing."
    Chris Fell, Online Systems Director, Cambridge Journals
    Wait, so you want people to help proof-read and fact-check your work, so that you can make money, for nothing? Something is wrong here.

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    It is a bit cheeky on a copyrighted document! at least publish it under creative commons so that others can benefit from the work...

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    powdarrmonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    It is a bit cheeky on a copyrighted document! at least publish it under creative commons so that others can benefit from the work...
    CC and friends aren't about copyright, they're an enabling tool. They guarantee consumers the right to use, modify, adapt and improve works, and for their contributions to be recognised (which almost certainly won't happen here, which is why I disapprove).

    (although, IMO, the only CC license that actually gives any freedoms is CC-BYv3. All others should be allowed to die.)

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    I'd run screaming from anything which says:
    However, schools need the following resources in order to be able to manage and run a Moodle site, all of which cost money:
    and doesn't make the same points about any other VLE (or whatever they're trying to sell you instead of open source software)

    Fronter may or may not be better than Moodle (I don't know; I've never even seen it) but neither package runs by magic and at least with Moodle you don't have to pay for the software.

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    witch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edu-IT View Post
    Witch that will depend on your setup. I much prefer to keep web services away from the DC.
    Yes I know that would be better, but my point is that it makes it look as if you *can't* run Moodle without a dedicated server (which you would have to buy at some expense) and that isnt true.


    As for the cost - most larger schools would have the expertise in-house to install and configure both Moodle and Fronter, and you can get a VLE hosted for not a lot - I have been quoted a few hundred pounds a year.

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    Edu-IT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by witch View Post
    Yes I know that would be better, but my point is that it makes it look as if you *can't* run Moodle without a dedicated server (which you would have to buy at some expense) and that isnt true.


    As for the cost - most larger schools would have the expertise in-house to install and configure both Moodle and Fronter, and you can get a VLE hosted for not a lot - I have been quoted a few hundred pounds a year.
    Can you purchase Fronter and install it yourself then? I always thought it was a hosted solution.

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    witch's Avatar
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    Sorry, I meant that there would be the expertise in-house to configure Fronter with the hosting company

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    You stated: 'Resources seem to be quite hidden, they’re not immediately visible from the course’s home page and you have to actively go and look for them.'

    Actually you can add a documents/resources block on the students MyToday page which shows all the latest files uploaded into a room which a student is a member of.

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    Quote Originally Posted by powdarrmonkey View Post
    Wait, so you want people to help proof-read and fact-check your work, so that you can make money, for nothing? Something is wrong here.
    Sorry you feel like this. This document will be offered free of charge on our website for anyone who might find it useful. Obviously we want our clients (publishers) to see it but other people (such as schools, who aren't our clients) could also find it useful...

    Thanks to all those who have offered really helpful replies. My main concern here was to avoid making statements which are incorrect and therefore upset supporters of either system by making untrue claims.

  14. Thanks to cherylluzet from:

    powdarrmonkey (4th March 2010)

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    powdarrmonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cherylluzet View Post
    Sorry you feel like this. This document will be offered free of charge on our website for anyone who might find it useful. Obviously we want our clients (publishers) to see it but other people (such as schools, who aren't our clients) could also find it useful...
    That's much more laudable, thanks for clarifying.

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    not everything that follows touches on usability but here's some of my tuppence worth from a Fronter viewpoint.

    page 3 (Background) mentions that Fronter code can be downloaded and customised. Not sure that's correct.

    One of the comparisons listed on page 4 is that Fronter has Full Technical Support whereas Moodle doesn't. In reality Fronter support isn't anywhere near as good at it should be. Can't comment on the community based support received for Moodle.

    One thing not mentioned is the usability of SCORM courses loaded into the VLEs.

    In Fronter, the Help displayed is not role based - the same content is displayed if you are a student, teacher, administrator, support staff. Don't know about Moodle. Fronter assumes all staff are teachers and has no concept of a TA, technician, Student Advisor, Governor etc..

    Fronter supports Learning Paths which is very nice for managing students of different levels. Creation of polls, news items, messages, surveys, tests, assignments very easy. Tracking completion of assignments very easy. Sound recording feature very nice and easy to use.

    Calendar feature in Fronter is very poor. Parent access mechanism......woeful. System administration reports poor.

    Lack of easy Single Sign on for staff and students when inside school is a minor usability issue.

    Upload and download of content in Fronter uses 2 different interface objects both of which are "clunky", especially the download.

    Very little training needed for staff or students to get up and running with Fronter.

    If set up correctly, teachers do not have to worry about the creation/administration of "virtual teaching" rooms and the room membership. Very easy to setup and manage other rooms e.g. for House groups, clubs, Governors etc.

    Very easy to open access to others outside the school (feeder primaries, partner schools abroad, Connexions, extended schools, college connections) without the need to give access to our internal network.

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