MANAGING MEDIUM\HUGE MOODLE INSTALLATIONS: VIRTUAL SECRETARY
Miguel Hernandez University (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:In recent years, Moodle has become the most utilized Learning Management System in the international education community (according to Google Trends), displacing even WebCT. One of the keys to the success of the learning platform, devised by Martin Dougiamas, consists in, in addition to being GPL, its administration in small environments being very simple (no more than 10 courses and 200 pupils, 60% of the installed Moodle) because any person with limited computer skills can administrate it. However, when the site grows (thousands of students, 35% of the installed Moodle) certain problems appear that the basic administration interface does not resolve, like cloning the enrollment from one course to another, advanced management groups, password management policy, massive data elimination of users enrolled in various courses, etc... In order to resolve some of these problems Moodle created MetaCourses but it continues being dependent, slow and tedious. For example, the creation of MetaCourses that inherit the students already enrolled in a matrix course makes enrolling anybody else impossible. In the present work we will present our Virtual Secretary solution (software independent from Moodle that interacts separately upon its own database, in order to not modify the traditional interface, by which version upgrades are not difficult). Furthermore we will conduct a temporary comparative study between utilizing the administration interface and the new Secretary for actions involving many courses and/or users. Lastly we will demonstrate that, without the Virtual Secretary, the sites administration (with tens of thousands of students, 5% of the installed Moodle) it becames almost impractical. Additionally, among other functions, the Virtual Secretary will supply the students with a random password, allow hiding aspects of the platform from the instructors so they can concentrate their attention on teaching, and enroll previously created student groups...
Keywords: moodle, usability, optimization.