I think @mthomas08 puts forward a very good case, but it doesn't need to be anything as expensive as Frog or even a VLE to achieve most of what he describes. If the big use of a VLE is to access files from home, then something like Home Access Plus will do that and for free. You need to identify what it is that people actually want - yes Moodle, Frog, etc will allow staff to set lessons, link documents to a topic and assign homework to a class, but a well-thought-out network share can do that too. Where VLEs start coming into their own beyond the limitations of simple remote access is, IMHO, the electronic submission, marking, return and tracking of grades for work, however unless you move all assessment into the VLE, you'll still need something else as well.
For us, Home Access Plus, Google Apps and SIMS Assessment Manager covers nearly all the requirements which we would look for in a VLE.
Yes totally right, if you are after the basics then it is simple/cheap or even free to get it done your self. We went for Frog because we wanted so much more with little setup server side (plus technical support/development).
As mentioned 5K for some thing you could do your self is a lot of money, to me seems like they are just simply the "middle" man. Then again between us 3 people here in support we have the technical know how to get that done and already have the backbone in place (TMG/Virtualisation/Bandwidth) to get started.
I find that with the county provided VLE (Fronter, who have now doubled their price for us and all they have to show for it is a different interface that does exactly what it did before!), SIMS Learning Gateway and the EMBC portal all overlap terribly, all providing similar services, all requiring separate usr/pwds. Does anyone actually think about the bigger picture when looking at a new product/service?
We under utilise Frog at the moment and really I can pin it down to an under investment in training. It's currently used as an expensive file dump and cruddy webpage repository. £25k waste of money.
I do hear that Microsoft are making a Educational Sharepoint. (probably thanks to all their moodle experience.)
Its a shame you dont use it to its potential, just curious are your SLT backing it and pushing it out?
Lucky (and sadly unlucky) for us IT Usage of anything is never under used in fact some times staff will use any excuse to actually use it. Like projectors I remember when no one wanted to use them and we pushed them and now.... they simply can't live without them and its a daily pain for us. We actually use Sharepoint for our Help Centre - we do love it but hopefully Frog Forms develops so we can transfer over, Sharepoint currently is a bit too "Corporate" for us though good that MS is developing an education version though.
@camel Afraid some places don't actually do the research/time involved. We would of gone down the Moodle route if we didn't go for Frog.