Carleton’s Moodle Evaluation & Needs Assessment

By Carly Born, Academic Technologist

moodle-eval-logoCarleton College has been using Moodle for nearly 10 years without having ever done a real evaluation of our use.  Recent data from our participation in the MISO survey suggest some dissatisfaction with Moodle on our campus.  And many current conversations (this Educause white paper is a great place to start) in ed-tech are centered around the changing role of the LMS or even whether an LMS is really needed anymore.  But how do we know? And how do we know what we need?

That is why we are taking a step back and trying to engage the campus on attempting to understand our use of Moodle on a deeper level. The Moodle Evaluation & Needs Assessment project is designed to answer this question:

Does Carleton College need to investigate new technologies to support the functions currently provided by Moodle? Before we can answer this question, we are carrying out an assessment to gain a  deeper understanding of the how we are using Moodle now, how we feel about it, and what it is that we actually need.

I’ve designed this evaluation project to try to assess Moodle from a number of different angles in order to get a more complete picture. There will be database diving, surveys and oh, so many focus groups!

Survey to assess the satisfaction with Moodle

Carly Born, Academic Technologist at Carleton College
Carly Born, Academic Technologist at Carleton College

A survey was distributed in March 2016 to all faculty at Carleton and also to staff who have logged into Moodle more than 5 times in the last year at Carleton.  A separate survey was also distributed to a representative sample of Carleton students.  I have some anecdotal information on general feelings towards Moodle, but it will be so much better to get some quantifiable feedback to specific features of the system.

Survey to assess the importance placed on features typically served by tools like Moodle

This is arguably more important than the questions about satisfaction, and is the heart of the needs assessment portion of this study. I’m hoping to get responses from everyone, even those who don’t use Moodle so that we can understand more about what it is that we need.

Database Diving

I am spending a lot of time up close and personal with the Moodle database. Moodle tracks a lot of information, and so I’m hoping to take advantage of that to understand our current usage patterns. Some questions I will be looking at include: (more…)

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