Why are we doing this? Why now?
Our university is in our seventh year as a Moodle campus. It is worth asking whether it is able to meet our growing need for new integrations, new product extensions, etc. We have also experienced technical problems with Moodle, which impact faculty and students. There are newer learning management systems that have been developed with usability and large research institutions in mind, to meet the modern demands of the academy. It is simply good stewardship for us to examine those other systems and see how they stack up against Moodle and whether a new system is needed.
Are we going to change learning management systems?
We don’t know. This is one of the questions put before the LMS Evaluation Committee--comprised of 35 faculty, staff, and students--to make a recommendation on whether we continue with Moodle as the best system for our campus or to seek a new solution.
Is this about cost?
No. This is about reliability and usability. We want faculty and students to have the best system possible. It is likely that any new system, were we to adopt one, would cost more.
If we did change systems, would there be an overlap period where we still had Moodle?
Yes, we would aim for at least a one-year period where both systems are running simultaneously, to ensure a smooth transition.
Why do we have to upgrade Moodle so often? Why do we change Moodle versions every year?
All software packages require regular updates. One of the main reasons is to protect against the latest security threats. The university data breach three years ago significantly altered the way we must operate in order for us to best keep our faculty and student records and data secure. Unfortunately, each time we change versions or do any kind of upgrade, it can cause user issues. This is part of the way Moodle does upgrades, in large batches at a single point in time, which can impact features of Moodle such as the gradebook or any number of our plug-ins. Some of the other, newer systems do continuous, small fixes and improvements without extended downtimes, which is a different model.
Why is there so much change in IT systems?
Products change constantly. Some simply reach end-of-life, either for the version itself or the entire product line. Also, security threats cause products to change, in order to adapt and stay secure. Other systems were not originally designed for disaster recovery and therefore need replacing. There are many reasons, and we should expect more and constant changes every year. This is not a UNC Charlotte issue or an ITS issue but an artifact of how our modern IT-connected world operates now. We strive to do our best to minimize client impact, while ensuring that the systems which hold faculty and student data are secure and reliable.
Who can I talk to about the LMS evaluation process?
Please speak with your faculty colleagues from your college who are on the committee (see list here) to give them feedback or to ask questions about the progress of the committee's work. You can also provide input about your satisfaction with Moodle through the faculty survey.