Possible transition from Moodle to new software stirs mixed emotions

Guilford College’s current online learning service, Moodle, may soon be replaced with Canvas, learning management software that offers a facilitated experience for both students and professors.

There have been several complaints from faculty over the difficulties they face using Moodle. For instance, grades can get accidentally erased and setting up tests via Moodle can be time-consuming.

“It takes three clicks to do any action,” said Professor of Psychology Kathy Adams.

Many professors elect to not use Moodle at all, and see the software as useless. The desire for new software amongst staff has grown steadily.

This spring semester, 10 Guilford professors used Canvas in their courses to test the possibility of integrating Canvas in Guilford’s future courses.

Associate Professor and Coordinator of Sports Medicine Craig Eilbacher was one of them.

“I tried to set up a test on Moodle, and it was incredibly difficult and took too long to set up,” said Eilbacher. “Since then, I haven’t set up tests on Moodle. When using Canvas, setting up tests was much easier, and I did not experience any problems with it.”

Associate Professor of Justice and Policy Studies Will Pizio also tested Canvas.

“It is much simpler to use and understand than Moodle,” said Pizio. “I send out surveys to my students every week and a half and have gotten very positive feedback from them all.”

Having several teachers test-run Canvas helps us ease into it. It takes a lot to set up at first, but once you’re settled in, it is easy and effective to use.”

— Craig Eilbacher, associate professor & coordinator of sports medicine

Although professors have shown a preference to Canvas over Moodle, barriers still exist that could prevent its implementation. Eilbacher pointed out that people fear being subjected to change. If Canvas replaces Moodle, professors will need to learn how to use a new LMS and import all their files onto Canvas.

“I was a little uneasy at first about the transition, but I like the way we are (getting used to) doing this,” said Eilbacher. “Having several teachers test-run Canvas helps us ease into it. It takes a lot to set up at first, but once you’re settled in, it is easy and effective to use.”

Like professors, students also have mixed opinions about Moodle.

“Moodle is the same software that we used at my high school,” said first-year student Dylan Hilemon. “I’m comfortable with it and have not experienced too many problems.”

On the other hand, Moodle was a struggle, especially when mistakes were made.

Fellow first-year Kedlin Huntley shared a bad experience with Moodle.

“While taking a test, the lag from question to question caused me to not be able to finish in time,” said Huntley. “Time was still being taken off the timer while the next question was loading.”

In addition, concerns about costs were brought up during a “What is Canvas?” meeting held on April 13. Moodle is free to Guilford while Canvas would require an upfront cost. However, Pizio believes that total costs between Moodle and Canvas would break even.

“The costs of maintenance for Moodle would most likely level out the cost to put in Canvas,” said Pizio. “It would be moving to a better software for the same price.”

Furthermore, Canvas provides services unavailable on Moodle.

“My favorite feature on Canvas is the conference call and chat option,” said Eilbacher. “Canvas allows professors to connect with their students more directly.

“I have a one-credit course that I am using Canvas with, and we only meet once a week, so much of the work is done outside of class. If students have questions with anything, Canvas allows them to contact me quicker.”

A majority of responses from the team of professors testing Canvas have been positive so far. There has not been any decision as to whether Canvas will be used next fall, as the College is still exploring options.

Should Guilford change from Moodle to Canvas?

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