Moodlerooms Launches Data Exchange Tool and Cisco WebEx Integration
- By Dian Schaffhauser
Moodlerooms, a Moodle service provider, has released a data exchange tool and announced two new programs: a partnership with the Cisco Entrepreneur Institute and a new partner program for the development of plugins. Moodle is an open source course management system, and Moodlerooms is a for-profit company that provides hosting and other services and software to institutions that use Moodle.
Moodlerooms' tool Conduit allows Moodle administrators to automate tasks and exchange data between campus information systems. The company said Conduit makes the process of rolling over courses and managing drop/adds each term faster and easier. Administrators can automate user and course management tasks, such as enrolling users, authenticating passwords, and reusing courses, using a course templating feature. Conduit includes Web services to help institutions keep user and grade information up to date throughout campus systems. Administrators can also import and export CSV files, eliminating manual data entry errors.
"So many schools and institutions spend an inordinate amount of time each semester recreating courses or manually transferring user data between their student information system and their learning management system," said Moodlerooms Project Manager Jason Hardin. "Conduit simplifies both of these processes by automating the creation of new users and enrollments for the next semester, as well as creating new courses, complete with activities and resources, from previously created courses."
The Cisco partnership features integration of Moodle with Cisco's WebEx Training Center, a Web conferencing and training platform. The integration, which will be available in early 2010, will allow WebEx subscribers to create, facilitate, record, and track WebEx sessions within Moodle. Sessions can be facilitated by voice through phone conferencing as well as face to face through video conferencing displaying up to six webcams simultaneously.
Moodlerooms clients will be able to access WebEx using single sign-on capabilities, so there will be no need for users to sign in again. Scheduled sessions will appear in the Moodle calendar and are facilitated directly from within the Moodle course. Attendance is tracked in the Moodle gradebook.
The Cisco Entrepreneur Institute is a Cisco-sponsored resource center where entrepreneurs can do networking and find business advice, mentoring, technology solutions, and other services.
Moodle also announced a new partner program that provides Moodle users with access to third-party programs to expand Moodle functionality. The mPower Partner Plug-In Program will allow customers to choose from partner tools and services, which in turn will be supported by Moodlerooms. Current partner offerings provide functionality for attendance, e-portfolios, flashcards, podcasting, and other features.
"We believe we can offer a more sustainable learning management solution that achieves the right mix of Moodle, third-party extensions, support, and do-it-yourself features," said company President Tom Murdock. "Our goal is to give our customers affordable options for adding quality functionality to meet their ever evolving needs."
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.