Blackboard vs. Moodle: a comparison

MoodleAs a user of Blackboard at Bournemouth University I have been involved in various discussion about it’s merit (or lack of). These are usually started by someone who doesn’t like Blackboard, and probably hasn’t used it much either (or even tried). They are usually fans of Moodle, even if they’ve not used it (but have talked to people who have).

You know the sort, and have probably had similar discussions yourself, from either side of the fence.

Thanks to @kennfj I found this report from the University of North Carolina (USA) on a comparison between Moodle and Blackboard Vista, with a view to which system will they implement across the Institution;

It is a fairly comprehensive study with some very interesting points on both sides of the argument, and I strongly recommend you read it, if you get a chance.

The conclusion states:

“The evidence gathered by this committee strongly favors a transition to Moodle on both pedagogical and financial grounds. Moodle provides better or comparable functionality with the benefit of increased relevance and control for what in the long run will be lower cost.”

We must remember, when reading the conclusion, that their decision is based on what is best for them and their “instructional mission”. It might not be the same for you or your Institution.

Interestingly enough, this report does reflect other anecdotal stories I am hearing on Twitter about a move away from Blackboard to other systems; notably Moodle and SharePoint. I have no experience of either I cannot comment on their individual merits, and I know that Blackboard has it’s faults and its difficulties (it can’t do everything we want, but does most of them fairly well).

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  • http://twitter.com/BrachyPro Andrew Routledge

    My institution switched over to Moodle on April 1st. The motivation was financial as our server hardware could not host anything later than BlackBoard6 in addition to the fees of course. When we originally got BlackBoard we bought it a term early to allow us to work on it before going live to students. As we were not allowed to have a single term licence we also lost it a term early so the change over was a little rushed.

  • http://www.swarthmore.edu/NatSci/cpurrin1/ Colin Purrington

    Your characterization of typical blog posts about Bb vs Moodle is spot on. (By the way, you have some extra apostrophes in your possessive “its.”)

    • Markef

      Except that, from a usability point of view, Blackboard does things to you that you should never ever have done, charges you through the nose for the privilege and then goes all evasive and condescending on you when you complain.

      While Moodle also undoubtedly has many faults, it is most likely to be the lead developers themselves who tell you what these are.

      I have a feeling that, come version 2.1, the Bb vs. Moodle debate really should be all over bar the shouting.

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  • Mohb93

    Thanks good articl and useful

  • Mnair

    I have used moodle for two years, extensively, as a teacher and student. 1- its free, absolutely free. Of course, you have to manage it, so you need a tech and a system, but you need that for any system you have. 2- it has very large upload sizes- major league important! up to 100MB for files and zipfiles. 3- its very simple if you want it to be simple, including for users, parents of high school students. 4- no technical problems ever, in two years, related to moodle. 5- you can post folders with subfolders and files- you do have to make them zip files, which takes a few extra seconds, not a big deal. 6- you have to have a log on- control is safe and easy. 7- parents and students love the transparency of my course. 

    I don’t know anything about blackboard.  

  • http://www.dontwasteyourtime.co.uk/ David Hopkins

    Here’s a good resource that is worth a read: 
    http://www.moodlenews.com/2011/moodle-v-blackboard-the-main-factors-in-deciding-which-to-use/

    Importantly, the final quote in the article above highlights the need to look at more than just tech v tech, or budget vs budget, there is so much more at stake when deciding to swap VLEs:

    “When you make a decision like this you weigh everything; it’s not just the technology versus the technology, the budget versus the budget, it’s all of those collective issues. So, when we really got down to looking at it, the savings in the budget did not singlehandedly override the advantages”

  • Andy

    broken link to original study

    • http://www.dontwasteyourtime.co.uk/ David Hopkins

      Hi Andy. That’s the nature of the Internet unfortunately, and why it is important to keep domains and links static.

      I have searched the UNC website and can find no reference to the article or piece.

      Sorry.