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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, Wondering what VLE to choose? in Technical; About two months ago I wrote a thread on this site, asking about the future plans for my VLE , ...
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    EduMaster's Avatar
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    Wondering what VLE to choose?

    About two months ago I wrote a thread on this site, asking about the future plans for my VLE , and whether or not there was going to be an upgrade from their SharePoint 2007 solution. I then received an email that there was an upgrade to the platform but not the technology and after receiving my somewhat uninspiring demonstration I decided to cut my losses and look further afield.

    Thanks to a few great suggestions from yourselves I looked into a number of SP 2010 solutions, and have managed to find one that looks suitable and is also offering me a Six month, no questions asked, money back guarantee. The question I have though is not about the platform but more so about the cloud.

    Is this really where we are all destined to be, or not?

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    VLEs have been 'cloud' for a long time ... depending on which marketing version of the cloud you are talking about. If you are talking about a hosted service outside of the school building with a variety of levels of management / control / integration, with scope to expand (costs will vary) and options to add more functionality, whilst making most of the work someone else's problem .. then yes, it has been that way for many, many years.

    For some schools this is most effective and for others it isn't. There are 2 separate (but linked) areas. Does it deliver what you need for T&L? What is most effective and efficient for the management, integration and administration of the system?

    As for the platform, there is a difference between a Developer, an IT Pro and a Business User ... work out where you sit in this and why. Hosted services will have an impact here as well.

  3. 2 Thanks to GrumbleDook:

    EduMaster (19th December 2011), funkyfin2000 (19th December 2011)

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    EduMaster's Avatar
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    Interesting point I will have to think about my seating arrangment for this one. Like I said though I have 6 months for them to prove themselves, which to be fair shouldn't be to difficult if it does what the demo did.

    Are we saying then that in many ways that a hosted cloud based solution reduces some of the headaches and time restraints involved in the day to day running of a VLE and If so why then is it not an effective option for some schools?

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    Quote Originally Posted by EduMaster View Post
    Interesting point I will have to think about my seating arrangment for this one. Like I said though I have 6 months for them to prove themselves, which to be fair shouldn't be to difficult if it does what the demo did.

    Are we saying then that in many ways that a hosted cloud based solution reduces some of the headaches and time restraints involved in the day to day running of a VLE and If so why then is it not an effective option for some schools?
    Yes and no - a VLE can be just as time consuming as say keeping a modern day library up to date. If you are going for an externally hosted solution what are you going to do with regards to users/passwords. When we had our Moodle hosted offsite by our LEA we where always (like 10 a day) reissuing passwords for the site. Now with our VLE hosted internally on our own webserver using LDAP with ad. Once the initial setup is running it is similar to a Library - where new resources need to be acquired all the time - in a library this is books on the VLE this is user created content. In both scenarios if the content is not available it does not for fill its function.

    IMHO there is no point shelling out lots of money if the staff are not going to keep the content up to date with the information needed by the students for there course.

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    EduMaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glennda View Post
    Yes and no - a VLE can be just as time consuming as say keeping a modern day library up to date. If you are going for an externally hosted solution what are you going to do with regards to users/passwords. When we had our Moodle hosted offsite by our LEA we where always (like 10 a day) reissuing passwords for the site.

    Whilst I Agree this was certainly an issue we had with our supplier last year, it is something that the new provider seems to of rectified, we can either change and reset our own passwords or if required get them to do it, the choice has ben given to us.

    IMHO there is no point shelling out lots of money if the staff are not going to keep the content up to date with the information needed by the students for there course.
    As well as uploading content I think that usage and engagement are the big fear factors around VLE's, I know it was certainly an area that we had to be convinced would be looked after, this time around.
    But whether it is an internally managed or externally hosted the issues will surely be the same. After all what is the point in having something for nothing if it isn't used? I for one couldn't get my head around Moodle as I was always fearfull that if my technical team left I would always be back at square one. I also felt that the training side of things would have been an issue with staff as there were just to many ways of doing the same thing.

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    A couple of qu's...

    - what audience will be using the VLE, primary, secondary or FE students?
    - if hosting internally do you already have the server etc or will this need to be costed in?
    - what other features do you want integrated with the VLE i.e. email, access to network drives, LDAP etc?

    Moodle can work really well if set up right and choosing the right activities etc... as with any VLE the real benefits come with time and training to make it interactive rather than a resource dump...

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    Quote Originally Posted by gshaw View Post
    A couple of qu's...

    - what audience will be using the VLE, primary, secondary or FE students?

    - if hosting internally do you already have the server etc or will this need to be costed in?

    - what other features do you want integrated with the VLE i.e. email, access to network drives, LDAP etc?


    Moodle can work really well if set up right and choosing the right activities etc... as with any VLE the real benefits come with time and training to make it interactive rather than a resource dump...
    1. My school goes from KS1 through to YR11

    2. The platform is based in the Vitual Cloud and hosted by the provider on a SharePoint 2010 platform

    3. It syncs with my Liv@edu or I can choose to have their solution. It is also possible for me to link it to my internal network drive at a charge and can also link to third party suppliers via a single sign on

    If it can do all of the above though, why do we still treat Cloud based solutions with such uncertainty?
    Last edited by EduMaster; 21st December 2011 at 03:12 PM. Reason: Code failure

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    There are several reasons why there is uncertainty about cloud / hosted offerings ... some have been around for years, others are more current.

    1 - Hosting removes control.
    2 - Hosting is not as secure.
    3 - Hosting is not as flexible.
    4 - Hosting removes work for the local team.
    5 - Hosting is more expensive.
    6 - Hosting has too many dependencies.

    I am not saying any of the above are right or wrong ... there will be plenty of cases where some or all might be right and some or all might be wrong. It will vary from school to school, the service you are buying from the hosted / cloud provider and what happens in between your school and their service (broadband providers, the way that connection is managed / filtered and other services that sit on the connection).

    I can give you examples for and against for all of the above and the argument on both sides ... but it is down to the school to choose the most appropriate offering.

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    EduMaster's Avatar
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    These were also some of the objections I had to overcome. However when weighed against one another the benefits of staying on a cloud based solution seemed to far outweigh the negatives. And like you said, it is the solution that you choose and how they deliver it to work for each individual school which makes all the difference.

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