July 2009 Archives

Due to the rising cost of the annual WebCT license fee, limited technical support from the company, and the shrinking number of faculty still using WebCT, WOU will be discontinuing it as of September 1, 2009. Moodle, or what we also call WOU Online, will be the primary online learning management system.


Quick facts:


  • There are already 80 faculty with course creator access in Moodle and over 400 course shells, far exceeding the use of WebCT even at its peak.

  • Students, faculty, and staff use their Pawprint credentials to login to Moodle, which is less confusing.

  • Starting Summer term, courses are automatically populated by CRN -- something we can't do with WebCT.

  • This summer there are at least 35 online and/or hybrid courses, 10 in WebCT, 3 homegrown and the rest in Moodle. Most of the faculty using WebCT this term already plan to switch to Moodle in the Fall.

  • The renewal cost for WebCT is $15,000 per year. Moodle, an open source program with millions of users around the world, is free.

The level of satisfaction with Moodle is very high. Most of you have already made the switch, but those of you who haven't, please know that I will do all I can to make this transition as painless as possible.

Email me a list of the courses you wish to switch and I'll copy the content over to a Moodle shell to give you a running start. I'll be scheduling some more Moodle workshops later this summer, as well as fleshing out a Moodle 101 online course that's been in the works for a while. The best way to get going, however, is to schedule a one-on-one training session with me. Usually an hour is enough to get you started, and then we can schedule follow-up training as needed.

Q&A:

1. I have dozens of courses in WebCT. Does this mean I won't be able to get to them after September 1, 2009?

A: You will still be able to get to the courses on an as needed basis, though you will have to suffer through a constant barage of annoying "This license has expired" messages. However, I strongly encourage you to get your most important course content transferred before then.

2. My biggest issue is switching over my WebCT quizzes. Is there help with that?

A: I have several tools, including Respondus and Examview, which can help transfer your quizzes. Drop me an email and let me know which quizzes you wish to switch.

3. I've been wanting to get more into video and audio. Is that something you can help me with?

A: Yes. Currently, the most reliable way to put video and audio into your online courses is to convert them to Flash videos. I'd be happy to help with that. You might even consider checking out one of our new Flip video cameras, which are incredibly easy to use and record straight to mpeg. There's also neat free programs out there like Jing, that can make screen capture/narration fun and easy.

4. I'd like to start using Moodle, but I'm a complete neophyte. I don't think an hour or two is enough. Can you help?

A: Yes. Sometimes an hour is all that people need, and then they just call or email when they have questions. Others like to schedule an hour every week for several months. I can help either way. Plus please remember the purpose of the Technology Resource Center: you're welcome to work in the TRC and know that there are people to help when you have questions. I have a number of faculty who have been doing that off and on this summer.

If you have any questions, please contact me. Both myself, Computing Services and the administration at large are committed to helping you make this transition as smooth as possible.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from July 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

May 2009 is the previous archive.

September 2009 is the next archive.

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