Notes from the exploration and selection process for Chico's next Learning Management System

Technical Evaluation Results

I personally wasn’t on the technical team, so below is a brief summary of the research done by the members of several groups in Information Resources including the LMS administrators in Distributed Learning Technologies, Enterprise Applications, Information Security, Network Operations, and others. In most cases, there’s either no preference or a slight edge given to Blackboard for a particular area. This reflects the technological maturity of the LMS platform, as well as the maturity of enterprise technology implementation in our higher-ed environment. For instance, if our data center is standardized on Oracle databases, then an LMS that works well with Oracle out of the box will be easier to implement and support.

Content Management

  • Moodle supports limited file sharing, and copying from section to section only.
  • With Blackboard, we’ll get the Content System which provides for sharing content at various context levels.

Community Management

  • Moodle supports courses used as communities (similar to our current system)
  • Blackboard includes the Community System, which yields a wealth of community enrollment, management and customization capabilities including the ability to host other tools and systems under Blackboard frameset.

´╗┐Data Center Standards

  • Moodle does not meet all data center standards due to its use of the MySQL database architecture.
  • Blackboard supports all data center standards including documented use of Oracle database.

Content Migration

  • Migrating Vista content into Moodle will require the use and development of third-party tools, and manual processes may be required for some content types.
  • Blackboard provides a migration path for Vista content, and these tools can be fully automated.

Application Support

  • Moodle support is provided by the open-source community including other schools and consortia. Professional support is available on a contractual basis.
  • Blackboard is vendor-supported.

2 Responses to “Technical Evaluation Results”

  1. W. H. Says:

    When you mentioned that Blackboard provides a migration path for Vista content, and can be fully automated, do you know this for a fact or it was just advertised by Blackboard? Thanks!

  2. Peter DiFalco Says:

    Blackboard Learn has a command-line tool called the Content Exchange Utility which allows specific portions or entire Vista course backups to be migrated into Bb Learn, either one course at a time or in bulk. We’re learning quite a bit about this tool, and other content migration methods, by participating in a Blackboard Learn Upgrade Cohort, which is a series of webinars with company folks and presentations from other schools which have already made the switch. We are currently in the process of developing a web services framework which will call this migration utility in response to a faculty request. Thanks for the question!