Week 4: Benoit’s Case Study: To Blackboard or to Moodle, that is the question!

In this week’s readings, we were asked to read a brief case study that detailed the situation of Professor Benoit.  It seems that Benoit is a very popular professor and his department head wishes that he spread his “awesomeness” to the onl-ine format, so that more students can take advantage of his expertise.

Benoit’s dilemma: which LMS system should he choose to adopt?  His options are

1. Blackboard Connect  and 2. Moodle.

Only knowing a few details about Benoit, it makes this a somewhat difficult choice for me to make.  As he has a only a limited amount of experience with utilizing technology for the running of his course, my recommendation would be to go with Blackboard.


Blackboard would be a safer choice since, in this scenario, this is what the IT department is currently supporting.  Should issues arise– and they will, he willhave IT’s support and he will not have a problem soliciting the support from othercolleagues that are currently using it.   Although Moodle offers more freedom to develop his LMS without restraints, it is likely that he doesn’t even know what the restraints are at this point.

I liken it to learning how to drive a car, where Blackboard is an automatic andMoodle is the standard.   Why not get your “feet wet” with a LMS that is well supported, thereby reducing the number of issues to worry about whilst one is a “rookie”.   Then, as one progresses in their experience, and becomes moreknowledgeable with LMSs in general, take on a more versatile LMS that allows for more freedoms.

To respond to the question posed regarding how Benoit should organize his traditional, face-to-face course to an on-line model, I would suspect that he would be covering the same ideas in the same amount of time, therefore, he should simply follow the same organizational time line. What he would need to consider are the best discussion questions that have come out of his successful, traditional, classwork. Obviously, he wouldn’t be delivering content himself, so careful selection of relevant readings would need to compensate for his lack of “face time teaching.”

Without question, the learning curve is steep when adopting a new teaching methodology. Because of this, he should be prepared to have a considerable amount of time learning efficiencies and tricks of the trade. If his IT takes a long time to assist with issues, I would suggest that he make an appointment with someone for an afternoon, to get his “ball rolling”, then utilize his peers for the small things that will arise after that. Perhaps, the department head could request that IT make a series of short instructional videos that step people through typical trouble shooting scenarios, as well.

What I know form my own experience in this scenario, is that the first run-through is never perfect.  With determination and student feedback, however, the second time through is heaps better!

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