Category: 3rd Party Integrations

Moodle Update/Information

In catching up on my blog reading, I came across this link:

e-Literate: The Blackboard Announcements, Part 2: Can Open Source Be Bought?

Apparently, I have been out of the loop a little in the LMS arena.  This article was a great explanation of how things work in the open source world of LMS.

Here’s some of the other reading that I did to catch up.  First, I started with the official announcement from Blackboard itself:

Blackboard Press Releases: Blackboard Acquires Moodlerooms, Netspot

The following article was pretty interesting.  It made me wonder if this is similar to the situation with Oracle and Open Office.  The community didn’t like Oracle and moved to Libre Office.  I haven’t followed that situation very closely other than the fact that my Ubuntu installation uses Libre Office now instead of Open Office, but it sounds like the same process could happen  in the LMS world if Blackboard isn’t careful.

Hack Education: You Can Acquire Open Source Companies, But You Can’t Buy Open Source Community

This article caught my eye also.  How necessary is the LMS?  This article explores how Google Apps is meeting the needs for what users were using LMS systems for.  This may be something that Blackboard is trying to fight.

e-Literate: Google Apps for Education: When Will It Replace the LMS?

Campus Technology seems to be going down this route.  They are integrating with Google Apps.

Campus Technology: Pearson Debuts Free LMS with Google Apps Integration

Another thing that is obvious is how controversial these announcements/actions are.  This forum gives you a small glimpse:

Moodle Forum: Blackboard acquires Moodlerooms and NetSpot

The one thing that stood out to me from multiple articles is the recognition of Blackboard swinging toward the service end of LMS.  To me, the idea makes sense.  I have worked with enough professionals in the Education arena enough to know that they can be very opinionated in the software they use.  Furthermore, they don’t always agree on what is best.  I have run across a number of Universities that offer multiple LMS options and the instructors can choose what they want to use.  If I were Blackboard, I think I could easily come to the decision: why fight it?  Instead of trying to build the best LMS system, let’s just support all of them and make money on the support side.

For me, the big thing to watch is the PeopleSoft integration to Moodle.  I know that PeopleSoft has been working on the Student Administration Integration Pack.  I am curious to see if Blackboard’s entry into the Moodle world furthers the cause for Moodle and PeopleSoft integration.

PeopleSoft Moodle Interface

I ran across this article recently, and it reminded me that I wanted to mention a project I just completed not too long ago.  I was asked to write an interface from PeopleSoft to Moodle.

At a high level, the interface was pretty simple.  Moodle was configured to allow logon security from LDAP.  Then, we we setup a view that told Moodle what courses to create based on enrollment data in PeopleSoft.  We created a screen to enable and disable a group of courses such as online courses based on term.  Then, we created another screen for an instructor to enable individual courses based on the instructor’s preference.

I heard some talk about implementing this interface at other schools, and I was curious how much interest was out there for this kind of thing.  If you are interested or have some thoughts, please leave me a comment.  Let me know if you are interested in some consulting on this, and I can put you in touch with our sales rep.