Announcement of the Transition from Blackboard to Moodle

This letter was sent from the Provost's Office on May 24th announcing the transition from Blackboard to Moodle. 

Dear Pacific University Faculty and Staff,

The UTC completed its year-long study of Learning Management Systems (LMS's) in its consideration of replacing the outdated version of Blackboard currently in use. After allowing Pacific faculty and staff to experiment with a working environment in the three systems being considered (Moodle, Sakai, updated Blackboard) and soliciting input from faculty, staff, and students through multiple surveys, the UTC, in their March 30th meeting, recommended Pacific University adopt open-source Moodle as the officially supported LMS. This decision was taken to the University Council on April 14th.

Moodle adoption has grown significantly since its early days in 2003 with over 55,000 registered sites in 211 Countries, and 4 million courses representing 41 million users, according to the information at http://moodle.org/stats. One of the advantages of selecting Moodle is the Datatel interface with Moodle, called 'Intelligent Learning Platform' (ILP), that improves user experience in accessing content using single-sign-on via the Datatel portal.

Related to the LMS decision, the UTC evaluated self-hosting the LMS on our own servers versus purchasing a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution external to the university. The committee determined self-hosting Moodle would provide Pacific with more flexibility in managing courses, such as how and when to archive, as well as provide considerable cost savings over a five year period.

The transition to Moodle will be phased in over the next academic year with both Moodle and our Blackboard systems operating concurrently. Summer 2011 courses will be on the current Blackboard system. Training and instruction on migrating courses from Blackboard to Moodle will be provided for instructors. The transition process will be complete by mid-summer 2012. A general timeline of the LMS transition is listed below:

Phase one 'pilot period' will occur during Fall 2011. (The Pilot phase is for early adopters and for those building content in a Pacific-hosted LMS for the first time and who therefore do not need transition time). The self-serve control over course creation currently present in the myAccount Blackboard controls will be replicated for the Moodle system. Faculty will be able to teach in both Blackboard and Moodle this fall and throughout the transition period. Additional information regarding the pilot phase will be sent out in coordination with Al Weiss, Director of Education Technology and Curriculum Innovation after he arrives in June.

Phase two will occur during Spring 2012, during which Moodle will move from the' Pilot phase' to production. All new courses utilizing an LMS will use Moodle, as well as those that have been converted from Blackboard as part of the migration process.

Phase three will be the deployment of the Datatel ILP system. Timeline for this phase has not been set.

The University Technology Committee is pleased with the selection of Moodle for our Institutional LMS and believes it is the best application to serve our needs in the years to come. As you will notice in the timeline below, we will develop a detailed project schedule to share with you to aid your planning as you develop new or migrate existing courses into Moodle.

Chris Lane
Chair, UTC
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science

Jim Fleming
Chief Information Officer
p: 503.352.1510 | jfleming@pacificu.edu

General Moodle Transition Timeline:

June 2011
* Select Moodle-Transition Team to include: Director of Educational Technology & Curriculum Innovation, member of UIS, Faculty members
* Moodle ready for use by early adopters (individuals familiar with Moodle or are comfortable working prior to the July training) to do course development
* Moodle Transition team begins developing detailed transition plan
* Analysis of current courses and migration path
* Course and Enrollment management script tested and completed

July 2011
* Moodle training opportunities provided for instructors on multiple campuses, made available online.
* Moodle transition team provides additional information regarding course migration process

August 2011
* Moodle training opportunities provided for instructors on multiple campuses
* Additional communication with Instructors regarding Moodle transition

Fall 2011 & Winter 2012
* Pilot group begins teaching courses in Moodle
* Moodle training opportunities provided for instructors on multiple campuses

Spring 2012
* Moodle training opportunities provided for instructors on multiple campuses
* Many courses converted in Fall and Winter are live in Moodle

Summer 2012
* Moodle training opportunities for courses not yet converted from Blackboard for Fall 2012 semester.