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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, Which, why & how much? in Technical; At our school we've reached a tipping point in deciding which VLE to go for, and after a meeting with ...
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    beeswax's Avatar
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    Which, why & how much?

    At our school we've reached a tipping point in deciding which VLE to go for, and after a meeting with my line manager yesterday I need to ask Edugeek members some questions. I currently provide a Moodle site from my own web space which teachers use via the IWB, it's not ideal.

    1. Which VLE do you use?
    2. Why was it chosen?
    3. How much did/does it cost?
    4. Do you have a dedicated VLE "operative" or do you manage it from within the IT department?
    5. Do staff/pupils find it easy to use?
    6. How well does it integrate with other software?
    7. If you were offerd the chance, would you trade it in for another VLE?
    8. Why would you trade it in?

    I'm not looking for long answers, or arguments for or against a particular VLE. Thanks.

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    steve's Avatar
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    Re: Which, why & how much?

    1. Netmedia - MyDesktop / MyClasses / MyMail
    2. RBC Tender
    3. About £2500 pa
    4. Admin side managed by IT support, one of the ICT teachers trains other staff - try to give all teacher ownership.
    5. Yes, its pretty straight forward
    6. Not very well. Its pretty much stand alone.
    7. It would have to be something amazing to get us to move everything.
    8. The product doesn't sem to be moving on. Development appears to be stagnent.

    What I would say is wait until Jan before making any choice on a VLE. Becta are publishing a purchasing framework for Learning Platforms.

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    mark's Avatar
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    Re: Which, why & how much?

    1. Which VLE do you use? Moodle
    2. Why was it chosen? LEA descision - all school techs settled on it as their favourite, possibly the OU takeup a big influence, and we're an open source authority
    3. How much did/does it cost? CIF bid 14 - 19 money is paying for - 2 support guys, server, and training for teaching staff from the local FE college. Costs schools £0
    4. Do you have a dedicated VLE "operative" or do you manage it from within the IT department? See Q3 + schools can have as much input as they like
    5. Do staff/pupils find it easy to use? Yes somewhat - tho' it's early days to say - programmers working on the front end helps
    6. How well does it integrate with other software? ? Auhenticates, SIMS module in development, Elgg and Drupal connectivity
    7. If you were offered the chance, would you trade it in for another VLE? No
    8. Why would you trade it in? -

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    Re: Which, why & how much?

    Quote Originally Posted by beeswax
    1. Which VLE do you use?
    2. Why was it chosen?
    3. How much did/does it cost?
    4. Do you have a dedicated VLE "operative" or do you manage it from within the IT department?
    5. Do staff/pupils find it easy to use?
    6. How well does it integrate with other software?
    7. If you were offerd the chance, would you trade it in for another VLE?
    8. Why would you trade it in?
    1. Fronter
    2. It offered us exactly what we wanted
    3. about £3000 per year (not exactly sure)
    4. I look after it as the NM
    5. Yes - Very
    6. Reasonably, although it seems to be becomming more of a communication platform than a work platform recently.
    7. Nope.
    8. I wouldn't, it does exactly what we need it to do and does it with ease of use.

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    Re: Which, why & how much?

    1. Moodle
    2. Integration, support, reliability, cost, usability, frequency of updates, addons, documentation.
    3. some time setting up, but paid support is possible
    4. We do have a web manager, but we all muck in, depending upon particular area of expertise.
    5. 1 hour training to staff, naturally students find it easy "coz its like bebo"
    6. CMIS integration, Active Directory integration, Email integration, uses a web browser (standards based). Even works with MSOffice files (though often IE crashes trying to view them - but thats hardly moodles fault)
    7. I don't see any reason to , it does everything required and then some
    8. er. bribery - maybe a helicopter

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    Re: Which, why & how much?

    1. Which VLE do you use?
    2. Why was it chosen?
    3. How much did/does it cost?
    4. Do you have a dedicated VLE "operative" or do you manage it from within the IT department?
    5. Do staff/pupils find it easy to use?
    6. How well does it integrate with other software?
    7. If you were offerd the chance, would you trade it in for another VLE?
    8. Why would you trade it in?

    1. Moodle
    2. ICT Teacher started using it on his own webspace, then we installed it on a dedicated server, open source, good support.
    3. As much or as little as we want to spend on it.
    4. IT Department with staff training
    5. Linked to our Active directory, so no additional passwords.
    6. Doesn't link with our MIS systems yet......
    7. No
    8. N/A

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    beeswax's Avatar
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    Re: Which, why & how much?

    I hope you folk don't mind, but I'd like to bump this to get a (hopefully) wider viewpoint.

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    Re: Which, why & how much?

    1. Moodle
    2. Cost, Features and Flexibility.
    3. Open Source. Only costs have been hardware and manpower.
    4. There is myself who looks after the technical side of running the Linux server. Something I was specifically employed for (1hr/day). The newest technician was employed with 'web development' in his job description so he looks after the look and feel of the VLE. The Network Manager is ex-teacher so he does the content and the training of other staff (After school sessions, etc).
    5. Some do some don't. There's an interesting correlation with age though. Younger teachers seem to use it more than the older ones. On the pupil side of things it really depends if the teacher doing the course/module/whatever is using the VLE effectively and combining it with the other teaching.
    6. It intergrates with Active Directory (so Single Sign On) and our Email systems just fine. We haven't seen a need for any futher intergration with other systems.
    7. No
    8. N/A

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    Re: Which, why & how much?

    1. Which VLE do you use?
    FirstClass from Open Text / Centrinity ... and still heavily used by the OU (and will be for the next 4 years)
    2. Why was it chosen?
    It was already in place when I joined here but we have signed up for it again , year on year ... it is very powerful and I know it doen't meet the future standards, but it does what we need it to do at the moment ... we are looking at alternatives though.
    3. How much did/does it cost?
    £4000 per year. We could buy into a cheaper model if I knew we were sticking with it for the next 5 years, but I cannot commit to that at the moment.
    4. Do you have a dedicated VLE "operative" or do you manage it from within the IT department?
    Mainly me ... a few other staff can do stuff, but it is mainly me.
    5. Do staff/pupils find it easy to use?
    Fairly ... it is quite easy to use, but can be a pig to set up.
    6. How well does it integrate with other software?
    We have a one-way sync with AD (pulls AD users and authenticates against AD including updating local passwords) but that is it at the moment. They are working with MIS manufacturers but this is not sort atm.
    7. If you were offerd the chance, would you trade it in for another VLE?
    Possibly ...
    8. Why would you trade it in?
    Only if I could replicate large chunks of the functionailty (communication, document storage, easy to use interface), but I am more likely to opt for something in addition ... be that Moodle and WSS 3.0 I am not sure.

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    alan-d's Avatar
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    Re: Which, why & how much?

    We are looking to do the same thing - so far we have come up with the following:

    1. Which VLE do you use? We are playing with Moodle at the moment.
    2. Why was it chosen? Our Science department are trialing it on an external host and seem to like it, it's free (less new hardware and training) and is one of the few free VLEs that can intergrate with AD.
    3. How much did/does it cost? Nothing but we intend to buy another server to host it together with another CMS which will form our new Intranet.
    4. Do you have a dedicated VLE "operative" or do you manage it from within the IT department? Currently within the IT department, but I've spoken with SMT, and got an agreement that a dedicated individual will be employed if it gets any use.
    5. Do staff/pupils find it easy to use? From the trials by the Science Dept so far - yes - easy to use.
    6. How well does it integrate with other software? Not hit any problems yet, but still testing.
    7. If you were offerd the chance, would you trade it in for another VLE? Looked at some others, but as Science were already using it we'll probably stick with it. Although our ICT Coord has been looking at TALMOS which intergrates the timetable into it but that is way to expensive at the mo. Also we need to consider the changes to KS3 + coming in in 2008.
    8. Why would you trade it in? Not at the moment - but still early days.

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    beeswax's Avatar
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    Re: Which, why & how much?

    Sorry about the delay, but can I thank everyone for taking part in this (not very rigorous) survey?
    The VLE clamour from various members of the SMT seems to have died down at school, but I'm waiting for the aftermath of BETT before trying to tie people down to something specific. I don't want this to fall in my lap on December 15th 2007 with a deadline of February 2008.

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    Re: Which, why & how much?

    Hi Guys
    Just joined your forums sounds like a nice community.
    I was wondering with VLE what exactly do we want them to do? From both a teachers point and from technical side.

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    Re: Which, why & how much?

    Without sounding as if I just talking manglement speak ... surely we should be considering what the learning gets out of it?

    I'll get my coat ... it's the one with the pack of chocolate hob nobs, rescued from a different thread.

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