I’ve become disillusioned with Moodle lately and this summer I made the decision to abandon it in favor of a new solution. Here is the process that I went through to make the decision.
1. Ever since I upgrade from Moodle 1.9.x to Moodle 2.0, I’ve been displeased. I was hoping for the new release to bring me new features and new ways of extending the learning into cyberspace. All it brought me was pain. The upgrade itself took hours, and required lengthy trips into the user support forum. I don’t mind that kind of work, but I have to wonder if my time isn’t better spent elsewhere.
2. Version 2.0 is a design nightmare. The collabsible menus are awful, and the site still feels like Web 1.0. The more I used it, the more I realized it was time for a new solution.
3. I had issues with the number of concurrent users. I moved from my shared hosting account to a virtual private server and still could not get any more than about 10 concurrent users. That is too few and was very frustrating. I was facing the need to upgrade further, which was not economically feasible.
So I went looking for something new. I looked at Instructure’s Canvas, but quickly figured out that it is not designed for students as young as mine (by their own admission). I also spoke to the kind folks at Schooltown, but by that time I had already settled into my new solution, which I am thus far quite pleased with.
But first, it’s worth noting that I wanted something not free. I want to pay for it. I want the right to call and fuss and get help from the folks who work there.
So let’s talk about my new solution
I’ve been using Haiku Learning for a month or now and have been pleased. It has some limitations that frustrate me but the folks there have been very open about their DNA.
And I’m paying for it. I’m paying a bit less than five US dollars per month and I get what I need. I like the features that it has, including
- automatically graded quizzes
- discussion forums (the Latin teacher in me wanted to put fora)
- snazzy polls
- easy embedding of outside content (they have something called embed the web which allows me to easily embed most anything)
- good support
We shall see what the future holds, especially as I begin to use it with kids. After all, they’re the ones who will help me really decide whether to continue to use Haiku or not.