What is Moodle?


Moodle is a free, modular, and open source Learning Management System (LMS). Released in 2002, it has grown in prominence since, and is currently used as a tool of instruction for nearly thirty million students, instructors, and other users worldwide. Given its open architecture, it has a unique advantage over other closed-source LMS, allowing professionals and hobbyists to create additional plug-ins, instruments, modules, and even full courses without the need to use a third party business solution.

A Brief Video Introduction of Moodle

Benefits of Moodle

  • Cost – In comparison to leading Learning Management Systems, Moodle is an institutional money saver. Blackboard, for instance, could cost up to $75,000 per year (Trotter, 3) for a larger institution while Moodle is free, regardless of number of instructors, courses, modules, and students.
  • Access – While cost may not impact a large university or private institution with an equally large operating budget, Moodle allows greater access to these types of tools. In addition, a user does not need to be a technical expert or even an instructor to create a course, expanding the reach of the LMS to every person with Internet access.
  • Choice – Moodle provides another player in the LMS marketplace. While competitive in its own right, the very existence of a free and competitive product allows for greater pressure to innovate within the LMS realm.
  • Many Developers – Moodle is supported by it users, developers, and hobbyists. The chain of support can provide a greater depth of problem solving than traditional technical support, as well as support that is more adept at dealing with daily operational issues.

Student and Faculty Perspectives

While similar to other LMS, Moodle takes less time to develop courses, requires less technical support in this development, and compatibility with other environments. (Barr, 133-134). However, given its lack of an embedded email system, faculty communication with students is limited to responses to assignments and discussion forums. (Barr, 133-134). Local information technology staff can work to make changes within the environment without waiting for a new formal revision to the software, and these types of revisions are supported by the development community, not a private company (Beatty and Ulasewicz, 43-44).

Support for Moodle is typical of most LMS, in that a forum community at each Web portal provides technical assistance to those that need it. This support is provided via fellow users, as well as product developers. (Corich, 156) Research in this matter may be skewed due to the heavy implementation of Moodle in computing environments, such that these students may be more apt to approve of open source software (Bremer, 139)

Moodle Examples at the University at Albany

You must be a member of the University at Albany, and create an account to view your peer student samples.

Welcome to Magnificent, Marvelous Music!

Hiking 101

External Links for Moodle and Open Source Software


A Brief Video Introduction of Moodle

Moodle Home Page

About Moodle

Moodle Business Partners

GNU Public License

Open Source Software (Video)

Open Source Software at SourceForge

Moodle Community Discussion

Questions for Discussion - Spring 2009

  • If Moodle itself builds upon the innovations of previous Learning Management Systems, what can be said about the innovative design of this product? How does open source software impact the development of applications, and drive future innovations?
  • What benefits or detriments could be associated with using Moodle in the classroom? Is cost alone enough of a deciding factor, or do other variables such as the interface, community, or design impact its adoption?


Barr, H., Gower, B., Clayton, J. (2007). Faculty response to the implementation of an open source learning management system in three tertiary institutions in New Zealand. Computers in the Schools, 24(3/4), 125 – 137.

Beatty, B., and Ulasewicz, C. (2006). Online Teaching and Learning in Transition: Faculty Perspectives on Moving from Blackboard to the Moodle Learning Management System. TechTrends, 50(4), 36-45

Bremer, D., Bryant, R. (2005). A comparison of two learning management systems: moodle vs blackboard. Proceedings of the 18 th Annual Conference of the National Advisory Committee on Computing Qualifications. 135-139.

Corich, S. (2005). Is it time to Moodle?. In S. Mann & T. Clear (Eds.), 18th Annual NACCQ Conference. Tauranga, New Zealand: NACCQ. 155-158.

Ferreira, J., Cardoso, A. (2005). A Moodle extension to book online labs. iJOE International Journal on Online Engineering, 4(1), 1-4.

Machado, M., Tao, E. (2007). Blackboard vs. Moodle: Comparing User Experience of Learning Management Systems. Frontiers in education conference - global engineering: knowledge without borders, opportunities without passports, 2007. FIE '07. 37th annual. 7-12.

Trotter, A. (2008). Blackboard vs. Moodle: Competition in course-management market grows. Education Week, 2(2), 21.