Southeast changing management systems by 2014
Moodle will be a familiar name by January 2014 around Southeast Missouri State University. That's when it will replace the Online Instructor Suite, Southeast's learning management system, which already is being phased out.
The OIS program was developed by two Southeast graduates and began being used in the 1990s. Students take quizzes and tests, write forums posts, check their grades online and upload assignments to the dropbox using the learning management system. On the OIS program, faculty had to build web pages and change their classes from semester to semester. Mary Harriet Talbut, instructional designer for the Office of Industrial Technology, said that Moodle will save time and will not require these changes.
Southeast began the transition to Moodle as their online learning management system last spring, according to associate dean for Online Learning Allen Gathman.
Fifteen courses used Moodle as part of the pilot program. This fall 200 courses are using Moodle, according to Gathman.
"This is the pilot semester," Gathman said.
Moodle is an Australian-based learning management system. Moodle has partner companies across the world. One of those partners is the Chicago-based Remote-Learner, the Moodle-hosting service Southeast uses.
"We've had good responses from Remote-Learner," Gathman said. "We generally get a response on a ticket within an hour."
Some high schools also use Moodle. Farmington High School, in Farmington, Mo., already has implemented Moodle, and Gathman said that Cape Central High School in Cape Girardeau and Jackson High School in Jackson, Mo., are considering using Moodle.
Moodle works with Apple products, something that the OIS learning management system did not allow easily. Students can access Moodle on their smartphones, Talbut said.
Talbut, formerly a professor in the College of Education, began her new duties with the OIT on Aug. 1.
Talbut, who said that the OIT department receives calls daily from faculty regarding Moodle, encourages faculty and students to be patient.
"Trying to learn a new system is always tough," Talbut said. "And change is always hard."
The OIT office hosted seminars and workshops for professors over the summer. It will continue to have workshops during the fall semester to make the transition easier.
"Once you get past the learning curve, there are going to be some time-saving things," Talbut said.
Talbut said she believes that students want organizational tools and that once students learn how to use the program, they will benefit a lot from the new program.
One feature Talbut mentioned was that as soon as a professor grades an assignment that has been turned in online, that grade will appear. Another feature is an online calendar, where students can see all of their courses on one calendar. Also, there is a link to the portal and student email on the homepage of Moodle.
"They're all married together under that one [calendar]," Talbut said. "Students at other universities have said that that's one of the features they particularly like."
Talbut said the OIT department is training a graduate student who can help professors use Moodle.
Students and faculty can go to learning.semo.edu, click on the my courses tab and see their courses.
Students and faculty who are not using Moodle can still see the program for themselves, even if their classes are not using Moodle this semester.
Video tutorials can be found at online.semo.edu/lms/.