In reference to prior discussions on these issues you might also want
to check out the EDUCAUSE OPENNESS Constituent Group Listserv
<[log in to unmask]>.
In Theresa's last paragraph she mentions, in passing, that recent
economic conditions may be reshuffling the way we evaluate these
systems and that "total cost of operation" may begin to play a larger
factor in institutional decision-making about LMSs. I'm not an
accountant or an economist so I'm definitely venturing out of my area
of expertise but I'm wondering whether the group can comment on the
In estimating "total cost of operation" should we be factoring in
whether the money spent on the system stays within the institution or
the region? Say for example, one takes the state of California with
roughly 175 institutions of higher ed, and that each of those
institutions paid $50,000 for a vendor-LMS license. If instead of
paying those licensing fees the the institutions spent the money on
open-source technicians that would amount to nearly 9 million dollars
and 100 new jobs. To me (and once again I'll profess that my
understanding of finance borders on the naive) that sounds like the
beginnings of an economic stimulus plan and a potential cost savings
since the money is staying in state rather than flowing elsewhere.....
Luke Fernandez, Ph.D. (in the humanities)
Weber State University
On Fri, Feb 6, 2009 at 8:52 AM, Theresa Rowe <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> There's a history of prior discussions about this move on the Educause
> archive, Frank, and several institutions have presented at Educause. You
> may want to check that out.
> My experience is that faculty buy-in to your learning management system is
> essential. There are many ways to make systems work for you in a cost
> effective way, but without their support, nothing will be successful.
> Our faculty supported our move from WebCT to Moodle, rather than migrate
> from WebCT to Blackboard. We have more materials online now and more course
> delivery online. The functionality in Moodle matches our campus
> expectations. Our Moodle environment was the right fit for our faculty at
> that time and still seems to remain the right fit. We are planning a
> faculty survey to assess that.
> We did add a full time PHP programmer who does a lot of systems support,
> general support and support of integration between Moodle and our Banner
> environment. He tracks down system latencies or problems and works on his
> own or with the Moodle community to assure a high performance environment.
> We don't do a lot of customized modules - the product is pretty complete,
> but we do a lot of specific support for faculty in our E-Learning area.
> We did find significant cost savings and cost avoidance, even with adding a
> PHP programmer. The systems overhead - the UNIX systems administration, the
> database administration - has been much less significant for our Moodle
> environment. We also avoided adding a second Oracle DBA, which would have
> been a large cost item.
> We continue to evaluate "best fit" for our faculty and the total cost of
> operation for the environment. As much as possible, we'd like to have a
> balance there. But recent economic conditions may begin to push the
> evaluation of total cost of operation first. That is something I am worried
> about across all our systems - that functionality may start to take a back
> seat to total cost of operation evaluation. In fact I'm probably seeing
> that already.
> Theresa Rowe
> On Fri, Feb 6, 2009 at 9:04 AM, Moore, Frank <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Good morning All,
>> Like many states in the country, budget cuts (and substantial cuts at
>> that) are the norm. To that end, my institution is looking at where any
>> "fluff" might be. One of the areas we are looking at is our course
>> management system (Blackboard, not that this is "fluff".). We are looking at
>> open source solutions such as Moodle. Our Blackboard annual maintenance is
>> about $52,000. That could be thought of as one technology FTE.
>> -Has anyone here had any experience migrating to Moodle from Blackboard?
>> -If so, how did it go? How do the faculty feel about the change?
>> -Do you feel that you have the same functionality with Moodle that you did
>> with Blackboard?
>> One of our considerations is that we have a huge on line presence using
>> Blackboard and I don't want to loose that if we move to something else.
>> Has anyone on line targeted other software for "removal" because they have
>> found an open source equivalent that was (better and) cheaper?
>> F. X. Moore III, Ph.D.
>> Vice President and CIO
>> Longwood University
>> 201 High Street
>> Farmville, VA 23909
>> [voice] 434.395.2034
>> [fax] 434.395.2035
>> [log in to unmask]
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> Theresa Rowe
> Chief Information Officer
> Oakland University
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