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Pennsylvania College Moves to Moodle-Based LMS

A private college in Pennsylvania has switched to a LMS based on open source software. The school in La Plume, which is in the process of expanding its online and blended course programs, was looking for a platform that would provide an intuitive user interface and additional communication features, easily integrate with current systems, and cut costs.

Keystone College's Academic Technology Committee selected cloud-based joule, an enterprise e-learning platform from Moodlerooms based on Moodle open-source software, in May 2011. The transition is expected to be completed this spring.

"Our faculty was the main reason behind evaluating new learning management systems," said Kurt Sussman, director of educational technology for Keystone College. "There was growing dissatisfaction with our previous platform, and upgrading to the enterprise version that would provide the functionality demanded by our increasing e-learning development was cost-prohibitive. We also found it very hard to get support for technical issues that we would encounter."

Features of joule include:

  • A batch course conversion tool that allows content to be migrated from Blackboard, Desire2Learn, WebCT and Angel learning management systems;
  • All the functionalities available in SCORM-compliant Moodle, including content development tools; social media platforms such as community hubs, blogs and chat rooms; and assessment tools for quizzes and survey questions;
  • Report creation and viewing tools for students, instructors, and administrators;
  • Personalized learning designer;
  • E-portfolio and repository support;
  • Notification creation and delivery.

Moodlerooms joule also integrates with joule Mobile, Synchronous, and Social (for an additional cost), and other third-party systems.

Keystone is giving all faculty until June to transition to joule from its legacy system.

"We were amazed at the training, preparation and support that Moodlerooms provided to prepare us for the launch of joule," said Sussman. "By the time of launch, we felt totally comfortable with the system, and were confident in training and answering questions from our faculty and students. Moodlerooms, through their preparation, support, and lightning-fast communications, truly ensured our success."

Keystone College is situated on a 270-acre campus. It has enrollment of 1,800 full-time and part-time students and offers on-campus, online, and hybrid courses.

About the Author

Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at timothyjsohn@gmail.com and followed on Twitter @editortim.

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