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Moodle

Moodle

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Published by INMANTEC
Over the past several years, the Inmantec Business School, Ghaziabad, faced problems related to
information flow from departments to students, faculty members, department staff members, and between
departments. This often led to chaotic situations. Till, one day, Moodle was discovered! Here’s a first hand
account of how Moodle helped the school overcome a number of administrative challenges.
Over the past several years, the Inmantec Business School, Ghaziabad, faced problems related to
information flow from departments to students, faculty members, department staff members, and between
departments. This often led to chaotic situations. Till, one day, Moodle was discovered! Here’s a first hand
account of how Moodle helped the school overcome a number of administrative challenges.

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Published by: INMANTEC on Aug 17, 2011
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03/03/2014

 
  I  
nitially, we used to do everything onpaper. To send some information to ourstudents, we would put up a notice on ourcollege notice board; for faculty members,we sent paper circulars and notices to each facultymember (sending a peon to all faculty members’ desksfor their signature). The same process was used for otherdepartmental staff. In the case of faculty members, the peonoften returned saying that those whom the circular wasaddressed to, were not at their desks.As the head of a department, I personally facedissues communicating with students. We had to pass oninformation during classes, or paste notices on the noticeboards. However, students often don’t bother to checknotice boards. When asked, they usually say: “We haven’tread it.” Some students will even tell you that the “noticewas not on the notice board.” We tried displaying noticeson our website, but the volume of notices was so high thatthe website was unable to handle this. Another issue wasthat we had to ask the website admin to upload the notices!Next, we tried sending information via email. Eachmember of the faculty and staff was given an email accountfor communications from the department to students,faculty members and staff. There were problems with thistoo: people reported that they hadn’t received the mail, orthat mails were being marked as spam (we used to sendmails to over 100 students and faculty members at onetime). In fact, our domain was getting blacklisted at theserver level. Also, to send mails to students, we had topersonally ask for their email IDs. Moreover, we found thatsome students constantly changed their email IDs as theyforgot their account passwords—and they rarely botheredto give us the new address!We humans tend to forget things. It often happenedthat I would overlook some students and faculty membersin the recipient list, resulting in the information notbeing sent to them. It’s my responsibility to pass on the
information, but that was not always fullled.
Viruses! Worms! Trojans!
Now let’s look at the issues faced by our academicdepartments. Most of our academic departments faced issueswith transferring lecture notes/handouts and presentations,
movies or multimedia les; or when sending urgent notices
to students that needed immediate attention. For these, weused pen drives, and personally transferred the contents tostudent laptops. Naturally, this gave rise to another problem.A virus on one system would infect the pen drive, which,when plugged in to other systems, would infect them all.Viruses spread from teachers’ computers to students’,and vice-versa. Viruses also spread through our campusWi-Fi network, to connected systems. Transferring datathrough pen drives infected our entire network and systems,hampering everybody’s performance. This created an urgentneed to procure antivirus software for our networks, personalcomputers and laptops.Then, to decrease the use of pen drives, which were ahuge infection vector, we began using email to distributeour educational material. This resulted in over-consumptionof Internet bandwidth, since transmission from our emailaccounts, and receipt/downloading by students would be inthe course of the same day.
To nd a solution, we tried different management
systems, and even developed our own management systemcalled ‘Online Academic Zone’, plus a website with spaceto upload all the information pertaining to our departmentsand staff. There were several issues that cropped up whiledeveloping the software (some of which I will discuss inthe following sections). There were also problems relatedto maintaining the website.
Over the past several years, the Inmantec Business School, Ghaziabad, aced problems related toinormation ow rom departments to students, aculty members, department sta members, and betweendepartments. This oten led to chaotic situations. Till, one day, Moodle was discovered! Here’s a frst handaccount o how Moodle helped the school overcome a number o administrative challenges.
Moodle
Helps a Business SchoolOvercome Administrative Challenges
For U & Me
|
 
Case Study
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72
|
 
DECEMBER 2010|LINUX FoR YoU|www.LinuxFrU.cm
 
By now, you are probably wondering why I am listing outall these issues, apparently unrelated to Moodle, since Moodleis a learning management system (LMS). But you will besurprised to discover that the majority of these issues wereresolved by adopting Moodle! Surprising? I’ll dwell on howthis happened, below.
Moodle to the rescue!
After giving you an idea of the depth of our problems, let metell you how I was introduced to Moodle. In 2008, one of ourfaculty members, R K Singal, assistant dean, Management,visited Vancouver Island University along with students ofour PGDM course for the PDD program. On their return, mycolleague told me that the entire university runs on Moodle. Ithought, “Why not experiment with it?” I downloaded it andtried to install it. Initially, I could not understand anything aboutit, but I gradually got accustomed to it. It was easy to install onmy own system, on XAMPP (
http://www.apachefriends.org/en/  xampp.html
). At last, I had a solution to our problems!As I started working with the software, it gave me ideasabout how to solve the obstacles we were facing. Let me putdown each of the problems, and the corresponding solutionderived from Moodle, in case you face similar problems andwant to use the same approach.
Paper notices and omitted email recipients
Manually putting notices on notice boards (for students)and sending notices/circulars (to faculty members) was a
signicant waste of paper and time, apart from occasionally
forgetting to add some people as recipients. Moodle has a
forum
feature (see
http://docs.moodle.org/en/forum
). Weuse forums as notice boards for our major departments,uploading all notices and circulars to them. We ask students,faculty members and staff members to subscribe themselvesto relevant notice-board forum(s). Moodle automaticallysends mails to subscribed members, whenever a newcircular/notice is uploaded. We don’t have to remember tomail everyone, nor do we have to make the effort to addressmails to hundreds of recipients.
Tracking constantly changing student email IDs
The solution to this problem was Google Apps (
http:// www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/edu
/). We registered a newdomain, inmantec-cms.org. We then registered it on
Google Apps for Education
, which gave us the freedom to createand manage email IDs for our students on Google servers.We asked students to set up ‘mail forwarding’ from theirown personal IDs to
inmantec-cms.org
by amending somesettings in their personal Gmail accounts. They now onlyuse mail IDs that we have given them, with no loss of theirpersonal mails. If they forget their passwords (which is quiterare), we are there to help them out.This mail option was also implemented so that we couldactivate email-based self-registration in Moodle. Nowno one else, other than students and faculty members ofInmantec, can create their accounts on our Moodle site— because we have activated only two domains,
@inmantec.edu and @inmantec-cms.org
.
Figure 1: CartoonFigure 2: Notice boardFigure 3: Google AppsFigure 4: Course Homepage
www.LinuxFrU.cm|LINUX FoR YoU|DECEMBER 2010| 
73
_________________________________________________________________________________________________
Case Study
 
|
For U & Me

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