Overall impressions survey results

These are the complete results from the 17 people who completed the LMS testing survey about their overall impressions of Blackboard Learn and Moodle.

For additional information about this project, see also

Graph comparing perceived ease of Blackboard Learn and Moodle.

Blackboard Learn is easy to use.
Response # of participants % of participants
Strongly agree 6 35.3
Agree 10 58.8
Disagree 1 5.9
Strongly disagree 0 0
Total 17 100.0

 

Moodle is easy to use.
Response # of participants % of participants
Strongly agree 1 5.9
Agree 8 47.1
Disagree 7 41.2
Strongly disagree 1 5.9
Total 17 100.0

Graph comparing adequacy of features in Blackboard Learn and Moodle

Blackboard Learn offers enough of the features I look for in a learning management system.
Response # of participants % of participants
Strongly agree 10 58.8
Agree 7 41.2
Disagree 0 0
Strongly disagree 0 0
Total 17 100.0

 

Moodle offers enough of the features I look for in a learning management system.
Response # of participants % of participants
Strongly agree 2 11.8
Agree 10 58.8
Disagree 4 23.5
Strongly disagree 1 5.9
Total 17 100.0

Graph comparing how well Blackboard Learn and Moodle meet teaching needs

Overall, how well do you think Blackboard Learn will meet your teaching needs?
Response # of participants % of participants
Very well 13 76.5
Adequate 4 23.5
Unacceptable 0 0
Total 17 100.0

 

Overall, how well do you think Moodle will meet your teaching needs?
Response # of participants % of participants
Very well 3 17.6
Adequate 10 58.8
Unacceptable 4 23.5
Total 17 100.0

 

What did you like best about using the tools (content creation, assignments, discussions, assessments, grade book) in Blackboard Learn?
content creation
assignments
discussions
In BB Learn, navigation, creation of content, and grading of content is easy and intuitive. I don't know if this is exclusively due to its design or that it appears more like Vista to me than Moodle. I suspect that its a combination of the two.
The test manager has a broader range of test questions. Blackboard has a user-friendly discussion board for the student and the instructor. Assignments are straight forward and (somewhat) intuitive. This would be a definite improvement over Vista.

Overall, I thought BBLearn was a little more polished aesthetically...I expected to like it better than Moodle.  In the end, however, I think it's just harder to use than Moodle. It also has a plethora of bugs and irritations in the UI (see my detailed comments) that combine to make it frustrating. 

The best features: I guess I liked the grading center better than the one in Moodle. Although it's not obvious you can import/export Excel files.

Grading assignments from the grading book I found the nicest tool in BBLearn
I really like the adaptive release feature of Blackboard and the ability to upload tests from other software programs. I also highly value the fact that major publishing companies such as McGraw Hill have course cartridges and homework software (e.g. Connect) which already integrates (or will in the near future) with Blackboard so that I am not having to transfer grades from multiple places into Blackboard.
pretty consistent with VISTA
Adding content and discussions was a very seamless process for me. Although I am not as practiced at adding assessments and using a grade book, these tools were easy to get used to, and I think would be simple to use with a little more practice.
The similarity to BB Vista making the transition a little easier for those of us not on campus and privy to tech support
They are intuitive and easy to use. They are also sophisticated. From a student's perspective, it is a much more polished looking experience.
The overall appearance of the interface
content creation was fun. i also liked creating an assignment, discussion. i liked the grading comments areas in addition to the actual grade as well as the green exclamation point to show you quickly what needed to be graded. i liked the student forum statistics.
I prefer WebCT Vista, howvever, I would be comfortable with Blackboard Learn as a replacement.
I don't think the change from Blackboard Learn and Vista are dramatic. It was relatively easy to figure out how to do things with the exception of the gradebook.
Although I did not explore all of the tools, the ones that I explored seemed to be easy to use and intuitive. They also give me choices on what I want to do in each tool.
The menus are usually logical and easy to use
Interface easier for me to use overall. More exam options. Much easier to grade forums the way I like to do so.

 

What did you like best about using the tools (content creation, assignments, discussions, assessments, grade book) in Moodle?

content creation
grade book

Moodle does everything that I would need, but I did not find navigating the system and creating content as easy in Moodle compared to BB Learn.
It seemed familiar. Basically, all the CMS do the same basic tasks.
I liked the page editor better in Moodle, ie, content creation. At first it seemed slightly more primitive than BBLearn, but it's actually the same....except that it actually handles in-line hyperlinks properly.

The discussions and assessments and associated tools were also nice, albeit a bit clunky here and there.

A HUGE BONUS for Moodle is the really nicely integrated in-line help system... the question marks next to nearly all items. The ability to get focused, instant help on various settings will be INVALUABLE for both novice and expert users.
I like the way the grading is done for the assignments, discussions and assessments. I also like the ease of uploading a page for the modules
Discussion board grading was handy, but overall I found Moodle clunkier than Blackboard.
cheaper?
The tools in Moodle are very simple and intutive to use, pretty much across the board.
Obviously, more technical for those who enjoy the challenge
the personal profile where a student can load an image of themselves and the instructor sees the image in a variety of tools: this would be very valuable to an instructor like myself with close to 150 students each semester.

Moodle docs for help was nice also.
creating an assessment was fun. i like how the instructor can attach a file when grading an assignment. i like the highlighted highest grade on assessment.
Nothing
The gradebook seemed very easy to use. I could do most things easily by following the directions.
tools are good functionality is OK
Exam question import options (although Vista was not among those program file formats listed, which was very disappointing to see).

 

What did you like least about using the tools (content creation, assignments, discussions, assessments, grade book) in Blackboard Learn?
grade book
I prefer to have the course open to the announcements page, which is easily done in Bb. The menu is easily customized as well.
After using it for awhile, I developed a definite preference for Moodle.  The things I disliked about BBlearn are an endless series of small inefficiencies.  Somehow it just didn’t match my mental model of how these systems are supposed to work.

I thought the content management was very bad... weird how content just sort of piles up in the content area.  Like on a junk heap. 

A HUGE MINUS for BBlearn is their online help system.  Terrible!  It brings up a window, you have to search for topics....and mostly is doesn’t come up with the answer you need.  Moodle’s in-line, context-sensitive help system is SO NICE in comparison.  This is a REALLY big negative in my opinion....particularly given the many obscure settings in BBLearn.
Grading the discussion postings - what a nightmare
I thought Blackboard was not as easy to use for grading discussions.
costs more?
I did not like grading assignments. There were too many steps and clicks, and it seemed like it would take a very long time for even a small class of students.
Nothing...seemed pretty straight forward
Not very flexible and intuitive.
No personal profile feature where students can upload an image of themselves.
creating and grading an assessment seemed to take a lot of clicking.
Nothing
Mainly the change. Needing to find things again. Differences from what I was used to.
Again, I did not explore all of them but I would like to know whether the students have access to the comments I make.
Nothing comes to mind as particularly bad
Not sure if I can import question banks from semester to semester, course to course. I’d hate to have to retype every question in each course and each semester. Maybe I just couldn’t figure out how to do it, but I did look around the screens and used the Help feature to no avail.

 

What did you like least about using the tools (content creation, assignments, discussions, assessments, grade book) in Moodle?
discussions

The test manager had a limited number of question types. The grading process was not consistent.

This program is still an improvement over the current Vista.

I think I liked some aspects of the grade book least. Can’t reorder or hide columns, and other configuration is also missing.

I also don’t like the front page quite as well...although perhaps this could be adapted if I knew more.  I do like how it clearly lays out things in modules...and it looks like there are multiple possible layouts to choose from.
As with BBLearn I disliked having to add each question one at a time - hopefully respondus will work with both the LMS
Exam creation was clunky, lacked adaptive release option for assignments. I don’t like that Moodle comes in modules as it means that if I would like a module added to Moodle, I have to make a sufficiently convincing story to e-learning to add the module. My concern is that I will be limited in what I can do with my instruction because of Moodle and because of not getting access to modules.
steeper learning curve
I liked the grading tools in Moodle the least.
Way too "busy" for someone like me. I teach totally online down in Phoenix and don’t anticipate a great deal of tech support here in town.
In all honesty, the product looks "cheap". It is clunky and hard to use and does not have near the functionality of BB. I think it is fine if you want to put up supplementary course materials. I do not think it works well for putting entire courses and degree programs online.
the interface is busy with all the little icons, but I can get used to that
needs some grading comments fields. there were pop up boxes when grading an assessment that i could do without.
Simplistic and minimal options compared to WebCT Vista and Blackboard Learn.
I didn’t feel that anything was very intuitive without directions. I didn’t necessarily like the overall appearance.
At the same time, some of the tools that I explored were cumbersome and difficult to find what I was looking for. I do not think some of the tools are intuitive at all.
Some of the menus are difficult to use
I don’t like how apparently you have to house forums and other items within one particular module (e.g., topic or week). There were a number of things I didn’t like, but I’ve mentioned them already in my other assessments.

 

What else would you like to tell us about your opinion of Blackboard Learn?
I like it better than Moodle over all but is there something better? I liked VISTA better than LEARN.
I would guess that those who have used Vista will be initially more comfortable with BB Learn. But, that’s just a guess based on my experience.
I prefer Blackboard over the current Vista. It has powerful options which you have been unable to demonstrate in this short test.

I also prefer it over Moodle.
I’m not a huge fan of either system, but I definitely convinced myself that Moodle is the way to go, the lesser of the evils.

BBLearn just somehow feels like a bunch of half-baked idea by different designers, all sort of heaped in there. It uses slicker technologies than Moodle (edit-in-place, etc.) and at first glance it just LOOKED like it was slicker. But the organization of the items in the site is haphazard: you go to the grade center to grade some things ... but then go directly to the Discussions to grade those. It just doesn’t feel consistent. 

In generall BBLearn also asks for a lot more info along the way....items that are optional to fill in, and the we mostly DON’T fill in. This clutters up the UI and makes us scroll more.

I be less likely to use this system than Moodle.
It will be fine - but I will use the disucssion much less often with the difficulty grading it.
I know it costs a lot, but Blackboard offers many of the advanced features which are critically important to my course implementation.
We have been practicing in our own sandbox, putting the TIPS course into Bb Learn. It works pretty well when we upload the course files. However, breadcrumbs do not reflect the depth of the file structure if you use uploaded files; TIPS uses relative URLs, changing URLS to absolute does not fix breadcrumb problem. We have found other issues that we will need to find workarounds for, or create the course in a different way.
I am content with the improvements evidenced in BB Learn....why reinvent the wheel?
I really feel out of the two, this is the onl option. If we are serious at NAU about putting more of our content online and offering full online classes (not just online support for in person classes), then we have to go with a professional looking product that is easy to use and has multiple functionalities.
not as nice as Moodle
i liked the look and feel of BB Learn - it was less visually cluttered and everything was lined up, pretty, and had its place. this LMS is very easy to use and intuitive. it seemed more polished.
It is a much better replacement for WebCT Vista than Moodle.
I like Blackboard Learn. I still have questions about whether I can use Respondus, whether I can grade on a single sheet rather than have to click 800 times to grade an assignment, how mail works, etc.
I wish I could say that I like Moodle better (I support open-source software) but BB is definitively easier to use and it has more capabilities.
reasonably easy to use
Overall, while there are things I didn’t like about Blackboard Learn, I prefer it over Moodle.

 

What else would you like to tell us about your opinion of Moodle?
It is ugly.

The language use is awkward.
I do like that Moodle is open source.

How do Moodle and BB Learn handle uploading grades from an Excel spreadsheet? Vista is notoriously clunking in this regard, and I could be swayed towards Moodle if it handles grade uploads better than BB Learn. That being said, based on completing this side-by-side test of BB Learn and Moodle, I would choose BB Learn.
Moodle is not my first choice.
I did not expect to like Moodle as much as BBLearn. My initial impression is that it is designed to be everything to all people, ie, not particularly well-tailored to just online course delivery in our rather typical format.

But it grew on me. Things were just faster and easier to get done in Moodle, which will ultimately be more meaningful. In general, we were not presented with options we weren’t using....and the in-line help (question marks) were invaluable for helping you figure out which options you wanted to set. In contrast, I was majorly lost on this count in BBLearn.

In the end, I think Moodle is the clear winner, and I would be much more likely to use this system for my regular courses.
It will work fine - I don’t like the email having to go to my NAU email but will adapt to that.
To be fair, faculty are going to be asked--on top of the stressors of teaching more students with less faculty--to adopt a new CMS. While Blackboard is the 800-pound gorilla in the CMS arena and I am not much of a supporter of a no-competition market, I will say that Blackboard is sufficiently similar in appearance and function to Vista to make the transition from Vista to Blackboard easier for faculty than would be the transition to Moodle. Very few faculty focus their research on technology use for instruction, so I don’t expect many of them will welcome a huge time investment for learning a new CMS. The easier we can make the transition, the better.
would be worth a new system if it saves university money and we can saved money for course development and faculty support
We have also been using a TIPS course sandbox in Moodle, and if we move to Moodle, it will destroy all of the work we have done to make TIPS a dynamic and engaging course. Moodle is just too linear for a course like TIPS where we have 80+ learning modules, and up to 30 tutorials in the LOUIE section, for instance. I’m not clear at all yet how we will make it work and we have been working on it since August.

Discussions are also a problem. The Forum in Moodle does not allow discussion topics to be displayed outside of a Topic or Lesson, and we use topics to inform students of technology information they need to know. It is the most heavily used feature in TIPS at this point in time.

It also does not fit well with any kind of graphical image. The entire look and feel of the course will be so different from what it is now, I highly doubt we will get many students to use TIPS if we build it in Moodle.
While I am sure it offers many features of interest to those more technically prepared, again, I am looking for simplicity and accuracy which I believe BB learn will provide.
better than BB Learn
Although Moodle performed similarly to BB Learn, I feel like it is somewhat clunky and cumbersome. It is not intuitive and visually busy. I think this would be a much higher learning curve than Learn.
Would not suggest using Moodle for LMS.
I found Moodle harder to navigate in general because of the overall layout and not being used to it. I have the same questions that I have for Blackboard learn regarding whether I can use Respondus, whether I can grade on a single sheet rather than have to click 800 times to grade an assignment, how mail works, etc.
Moodle is OK but not as nice as BB. I guess I would get used to using it if it is the system selected by NAU. However, I can see that the learning curve will be much bigger compared to the learning curve for BB.
Menu could be more organized
Overall, I prefer Blackboard Learn to Moodle, and would be disappointed if I had to use Moodle. I’d have to change the way I teach my online courses in some seemingly significant ways, and some things I rely on doing might not be doable in Moodle.