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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, Moodle vs Fronter, need opinions in Technical; We Run Fronter here and have done since 2004. It works for us. Tech support is spot on (rarely needed ...
  1. #16
    simongrahamuk's Avatar
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    Re: Moodle vs Fronter, need opinions

    We Run Fronter here and have done since 2004.

    It works for us.

    Tech support is spot on (rarely needed it).

    It all depends on what you intend to use the platform to deliver. For us it was to enhance our communications, so all our email, Instant Messaging and messages go through it. Getting staff to use it as a learning platform is another matter entirely!

  2. #17

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    Re: Moodle vs Fronter, need opinions

    I recently attended a series of demos of the main players and (for us) Fronter is looking the best.

    I am surprised to hear from the OP that the presentation wasn't good, perhaps it was just the person who turned up. The guy who presented Fronter for us was very knowledgeable and answered all our technical questions in some detail. In fact he was very impressive.

    I was very impressed at the way Fronter holds user group meetings across Europe to incorporate user feedback into the next release (two releases a year). The whole approach of the company seemed very different from the others - the rest were "this is how the system is and you fit in with it" whereas Fronter was "tell us how you want it and we will fit in with you"

    Moodle was ruled out at quite an early stage for a number of reasons. I feel that an established player has all the back up of experience and resources that you just don't have when starting from scratch. According to the stats, Fronter has been unavailable for 2 days in about 15 years (or around that). I'm honestly can't promise my schools that kind of uptime running our own Moodle.

    Although these things aren't purely money oriented, it was a big sway that the LA cut a deal for very cheap subscription for the next few years and is paying setup costs.

    Honestly, I would love to implement Moodle but just don't think its the right choice for us.

  3. #18

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    Re: Moodle vs Fronter, need opinions

    Good use of a blog, many issues.

    I work with SE, FE and HE organisations on a number of VLE platforms, namely all those mentioned above, and think all point raised are very valid points. Bottom line for me and most other ppl though is the end user.

    In education we are by and large dealing with a population of digital immigrants, i.e. technology is not and will not be a natural thing for them. With this in mind education decision makers, managers and practitioners are not the best ones to make decisions about technology per-se, but the do understand the issues of the end user - students, teachers, adminstration staff, community. If an application is easy for such people to use, and more importantly they WILL use it, then it cant be bad.

    With regards to the Fronter marketintg strategy, take it or leave it. But the product is probably the most suited to te sector at its current stage of tech adoption.

    With regards to the management of the technology itself, scalability and interoperability are key issues. And it is a concern that there are so many providers out there wanting to push their own proprietary wares - ad hoc implementation across the sector is a concern. I would aim to come up with some key evaluative terms with which to assess the pros and cons of any VLE or MLE - i.e scalability, interoperability, security, and other product support offered. And dont think too far ahead - tech moves too fast to go too far beyond a five year plan, budget for this.

    With these points in mind, the cost benefit of LGfLs Fronter partnership is viable. Bearing in mind the average budget of 1000 student high school is about £3Million, £10-15K p/a on an MLE that Will be used is quite acceptable.

    Regards to Moodle, it does offer more felxibility and is easy to use, but the interface is under-developed and depending on your host, it can be prohibilitvely slow. Further more who is there to fix it if there is a problem?; forget about WebCT, too expensive for this sector (and often unreliable); blackboard, same as moodle but less felxibility.

    Reagrds to training, all change, be it technology or otherwise, requires training and upskilling.

    Final word - the technology is secondary to managing the change: Manage the change, use the technology.

    Cheers,

    Steve

  4. #19
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    Re: Moodle vs Fronter, need opinions

    I'm going on a five day training course on Fronter in a few weeks time and will post a sales pitch free review. I'm with Grumbledook "school meals" moddle has some big advanatages but when your "head chief" leaves and is replaced with a "burger and chips cook" it becomes unsustanable. Fronter did manage to beat off ms sharepoint and with BSF around the corner.....

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    Re: Moodle vs Fronter, need opinions

    Moodle was ruled out at quite an early stage for a number of reasons. I feel that an established player has all the back up of experience and resources that you just don't have when starting from scratch. According to the stats, Fronter has been unavailable for 2 days in about 15 years (or around that). I'm honestly can't promise my schools that kind of uptime running our own Moodle.
    I'm not sure why you think moodle isn't an established player, it's been around since 1999 has nearly 11 million users, it is the second most adopted VLE inthe world - second only to Blackboard - what are Fronters stats? It is Scorm compliant so educational resources should be an issue. There are also several companies that offer 99.9% uptime on moodle.

  6. #21
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    Re: Moodle vs Fronter, need opinions

    We've implemented moodle but we also have external support from a moodle development team. So if I for instance as the "head chef" left they wouldn't be up the creek without a paddle they'd have another boat to use lol analogy after analogy . I think in the end as long as the VLE does what you want then use it I have no problem with Fronter if it works for you then why worry? I used moodle so that I could get a VLE in quickly for the staff to practise creating content and getting their head round the idea which is more difficult that you'd think, the staff here aren't computer illerate or technophobic but when you've been teaching via whiteboards or blackboards then it takes some organising to create good VLE content not just a lesson plan a some notes but nearly an entirely virtual classroom environment. Also we can implement news things for the teachers and pupils quickly without waiting for a big company release them.


    Wes

  7. #22

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    Re: Moodle vs Fronter, need opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd
    I'm not sure why you think moodle isn't an established player, it's been around since 1999 has nearly 11 million users, it is the second most adopted VLE inthe world - second only to Blackboard - what are Fronters stats? It is Scorm compliant so educational resources should be an issue. There are also several companies that offer 99.9% uptime on moodle.
    Er, yes quite right, seems I didn't really say what I meant to be saying ops:

    Anyway the point was supposed to be over implementation issues. The choice with Moodle is whether you want to develop it yourself or have a third party involved. Although I would love to develop it is not the most sensible option for us, perhaps for some it is. Third party? Perhaps, but then you lose some of the benefits of the nature of Moodle as essentially you are waiting for your developers to implement the changes you request. Then you are straying into Fronter territory where they hold their user groups and implement requests as well (of course not as personally tailored of course).

    When I said established players I was referring to the products that provide the whole service - implementation to maintenance. I should have been clearer.

    As to stats: I believe that Fronter is the most used VLE in Europe.

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    Re: Moodle vs Fronter, need opinions

    Regards Moodle and its number of registered users, a significant number are recreational sites that have little or no bearing to Education, commercial or professional communities, I would half that 11 million figure.

    Get what you pay for really, it is a peanuts and monkeys issue (although there are monkeys ... and there are monkeys).

    Have a look at the online collabration providers to construction, law, facilities management etc,. These products are secure, simple and hosted, although they do lack some diversity and flexibility. Point being that each should chosse a product suited to a situational context.

    I cant (and dont) see tech shy (and thats a vast majority of) teachers using Moodle because of the interface. I can see them using a more tailored and structured interface that can be found in proprietary products.

    Use what suits your staff and your budget, bearing in mind what you need now and how those needs will change over the next 5 years.

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    Re: Moodle vs Fronter, need opinions

    A few points. With regard to speed we have the advantage of hosting our Moodle installation in school - obviously faster than using any external connection. CLEO (our RBC) then reverse proxy it so that out of school hours it is still available and, because there are less users on it at any one time, speed is less of a consideration.

    Our Moodle is running on Linux and "Geoff" makes it run smoothly. So what would happen if he left? I would hope that one of the other technicians could continue to make work but CLEO offer a external hosting solution so there is a fallback position. CLEO are also involved in various Moodle developments that will make it easier to use in a school environment.

    Teaching staff don't find the Moodle interface difficult. Even the technophobes can add resources and link to websites. They may not use all of the features but I am sure that as they gain confidence they will.

    As a final consideration I have seen so many presentations that promise the earth and, expensively, don't deliver. Moodle does deliver.

  10. #25

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    Re: Moodle vs Fronter, need opinions

    svanvloten: I see you have a very narrow view of open source solutions ("you get what you pay for"). And from a 'company' (your www link) who does not publish an address on their website and provides a mobile number as a primary contact, I would take their comments with a pinch of salt.

    You say proprietary products are 'secure, simple and hosted'. This is not exclusive to proprietary solutions - open source can be one or more of these, and more. You also say they 'do lack some diversity and flexibility' - this limitation is not present with open source as flexibility can be added as and when required, and can be as diverse as anyone wants them to be. This is the freedom that open source has by default; and is not available with proprietary offerings at all or without paying through the nose for so-called 'consultants' to recommend something above and beyond what was initially required.

    May I ask what experience you've had with schools, learning platforms and VTLEs?

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    Re: Moodle vs Fronter, need opinions

    webman: Thanks for your comments, your passion for open source is clearly noted, although your criticism I feel somewhat misdirected:

    Please read my Thu Jun 07, 2007 3:05 pm post a little more carefully:

    quote: 'Have a look at the online collabration providers to construction, law, facilities management etc,. These products are secure, simple and hosted, although they do lack some diversity and flexibility. Point being that each should chosse a product suited to a situational context.'

    As you can see it is the proprietary products I feel lack the diversity and flexibility, not open source applications as you wrongly accuse me of.

    Regards the mobile phone number, I spend most of my time onsite. And please look a little closer at my website, the address does appear as required by UK (business) law.

    Regards to my work: take (another) look at my website www.svanvloten.eu


    Now, regards the merits of Moodle over Fronter ... (?!)[i]

  12. #27
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    I have seen the Fronter sales pitch andit makes Moodle look like glue and string to a professional product

  13. #28

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    Here's a teachers tv video featuring Moodle. The school is in Cumbria so it'll be a CLEO run Moodle too.

    Secondary ICT Management - VLE in Action | Teachers TV

  14. Thanks to Geoff from:

    beeswax (7th April 2008)

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