Universidad Especializada de las Américas (PANAMA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2020 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 4607-4614
ISBN: 978-84-09-24232-0
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2020.1008
Conference name: 13th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 9-10 November, 2020
Location: Online Conference
The Covid-19 pandemic forced the Specialized University of the Americas (UDELAS, Panamá) to transform their educational service from almost 100% face-to-face to 100% virtual in approximately three weeks. This change involved creating 2,500 virtual courses and integrating nearly 9,000 students and 1,200 teachers into them. The research question to answer: Is it possible to schedule a proposed Learning Management System (LMS) tested on the go, in two effective months to institutionally can adopting latter an effective teaching-learning process total online? For testing which LMS online service to choose, two types of well-known LMS were selected: Moodle, which is an open source LMS centralized with a complete control over its components and services, and Google's Classroom, as a decentralized LMS running essentially in the cloud, which is conducive to a user/personal management, avoiding in the short term, to attend many hardware and software technical issues. Under a methodological process alike Agile style, the expansion of technological capabilities in the Moodle implementation took three weeks. In parallel, to implement Classroom, 12,000 institutional Google accounts were generated using the G Suite for Education license (in agreement with Google Mexico chapter). An institutional email account was established as the digital identity of professors and students, throughout they can access both LMSs. In addition, a group of the professors chose to combine applications instead of using Moodle or Classroom alone, it was called the combined option.

Regarding to assess the functionality and user’s satisfaction, two LMSs usability measurements have been settled:
1) Data generated from reporting functions on both LMS, are used for quantitative analysis.
2) Interviews with the Stakeholders (professors, students, deans, and other authorities), in order to learn about the LMS operation in their own contexts.

Those are for qualitative assessment. The implementation measures of the two LMSs were applied during a first academic semester (March to July 2020), planning the final decision of the LMS to be adopted by UDELAS for the second semester (August-December 2020). About the results, the quantitative ones show that up to 73% of teachers opted for Classroom, 27% for Moodle, and 13% for Combined. Likewise, the most used application was Google Meet, with more than 30,000 sessions and WhatsApp. It was also used by professors who used Classroom and Moodle. From the cited stakeholders interviews, the following opinions are summarized as qualitative results:
a) during the first weeks, the Moodle operation difficulties about, caused that many professors opted for Classroom or by the combined option;
b) there was not enough support about the Moodle functionalities for many professor question related with; and
c) the interviewees agreed that the Moodle learning curve is greater than that of Classroom through self-learning (more easy).

As the main conclusion about the testing process is that the Moodle implementation requires more planning, resources, and training, which prevents an almost immediate response to extraordinary events such as the pandemic, reducing the ability to easy adaptation. Instead, Classroom is for immediate use, without having to consider the expansion, resources, and implementation problems. Likewise, their learning curve is faster, therefore, this LMS is a potential solution to keep the online service afloat due to the paradigm shift.
Crisis, LMS.