I missed this headline back in November, but it is very significant– The UK’s Open University has adopted Moodle as its official course management solution. If you are not familiar with Moodle as a free, open-source course management solution for web-based courses and distance learning, you need to be. I taught a 2 day series of workshops last November for K-12 teachers about Online Instructional Design and Using Moodle in the Classroom.

Since Open University is one of the largest providers of web-based courses in the entire world, this is really big news. People who have been detractors of open source solutions and encouraged institutions to stick with commercial products like WebCT and Blackboard should especially take notice. According to the Moodle website:

We have around 150,000 undergraduate and more than 30,000 postgraduate students. 10,000 of our students have disabilities.

Moodle statistics reports over 200,000 known Moodle courses worldwide currently, with over 2 million users. I have personally used Moodle and think it is much more user friendly and powerful than WebCT in some ways. The conditional release options for modules in WebCT seem to be more powerful than Moodle currently, but Moodle is a very active open source project under constant development– so I am sure it will only get better.

If you are interested in learning more about Moodle, I recommend listening to Tim Wilson’s excellent skypecast interview with Martin Dougiamas, the creator of Moodle.

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