I have been using Moodle as a student now for over 8 years – and really, I have reached some sad truths about it.
Many people think Moodle is simply the best option for an LMS since so many people use it – but it still has some massive fundamental flaws that need addressing.
Flaw 1: Lack of Notifications / Tracking
Each course has a what’s new since your last login, but this only includes forum posts and file changes.
Moodle needs a central notification system that can perform push notifications to their iPhone/Android app, letting users know of:
- New Files added / slides etc
- New Forum Posts by Teachers
- New Assignment Marks Posted/Feedback
- New Messages (if messaging was actually setup properly in the Moodle configuration!)
- New Assignments added/visible
Without these features, I have always found myself checking for marks / new files, and more often then not, students often miss files / assignments, because often, their is simply no notification to students enrolled in the course.
When new posts are made in news forums, sometimes these can be mailed out – it seems most teachers think they are, when sometimes they are not? (not sure the reason for this). This is good – except to reply to the often vague news posts, one simply can not reply to the email – since these are the organisations ‘no-reply’ address – you often have to login to Moodle/the organisations phone book, look up the address, and email them.
A simple reply to would work nicely here!
Flaw 2: Lack of Group Assignment Submission
Everyone loves group work right! (well not really, this is another story, but…)
Moodle doesn’t understand or have built into it the ability to have groups for assignments / joint submission / shared group spaces.
This is incredibly annoying – as if Moodle is being used for a courses marks, marks are only entered onto one persons profile, and your assignment is marked as overdue.
Flaw 3: Too many emails or not enough!
Tell me – has anyone ever found the right balance of emails on Moodle.
I was subscribe to all forums in all my courses, so I didn’t miss anything. This was getting to 100+ emails some days (only about 3 emails a day were important ones) – so I changed to get a daily digest of activity!
This was a mistake – since it meant that I missed out on getting email announcements from teachers in forum posts (until 5:06pm each day). Argh!
Flaw 4: No modelling of classes/lectures
Lets just make a bloody long list of PDF/PPT files and see how the students can navigate them!
That is essentially how I believe Moodle handles classes at the moment – in essence, it doesn’t.
Wouldn’t it be great if classes could be quickly scheduled, with files and slides being added to each ‘class’ without issue.
Each ‘class’ could also contain a summary of tasks that need to be done / important dates etc.
I get scared at the moment looking for one slide among 100s to 1000s of slides – each named Week 1, 1. Week 1, 2.
In summary – although Moodle does a lot, I think there is still a lot of work to be done with it.
At the time of writing, the stable release of Moodle is 2.9. Their roadmap outlines some exciting upcoming features, but I think that things outlined above can not come soon enough.