Ultimately, it’s not about the LMS.
The Coronavirus pandemic hyperaccelerated plenty of progress about in many areas.
Education is one amongst the affected.
On the one hand, education was set back due to lack of access to new technologies by certain communities. On the other, the movement into online and distance learning was increased at a pace well beyond the expectations of transitioning institutions.
About a couple of weeks ago, I was on a meeting with my supervisor at work discussing our processes. During the conversation, the topic of learning management systems (LMS) came up.
I work as a Moodle Technical Support officer at a university. Obviously, we use Moodle as our LMS. My supervisor at work is our Moodle Administrator. For some reason, someone put forward the idea that it may be time to take a second look at our learning space. More precisely, that it might be time to think about switching to another one: Canvas.
So, which should you use if you wanted a platform on which to manage your courses and lessons for your school?
For many, the first thing that would probably come to mind is Moodle. Most probably because it is one of the oldest.
I have been using Moodle since the first time I came into uni. My old uni was experimenting using it starting with the computer science department of which I was a member. We were among the first at the school to use it and, at that time, Moodle was kind of an infant.
Still, we did not have problems using it. Everything was straightforward and the user experience was smooth.
Today, the university’s online learning environment is still running on Moodle. Except, all colleges and departments are now using it. Even colleges and departments in satellite campuses.
It looks like Moodle is here to stay. For them.
For my work, the situation might not be the same. It’s a different university and the people making the decisions are having a different set of ideas.
Only a short while ago, we were looking for a new host for our virtual campus. The old host was no longer able to handle the server demands of our campus. They could, but they wanted more money – requirement that the university did not want to deal with.
We did find a new host with a better deal, but I can imagine that it was during this time that the idea of using a different virtual learning environment (VLE) came up.
The VLE suggested: Canvas.
I do not know exactly why it was Canvas that was mentioned, but I can imagine it is due to the fact that Canvas is growing in popularity. After all, it has eclipsed Moodle in terms of market share in the US.
A relatively younger LMS, Canvas started its life in 2008 as part of the tech startup, Instructure. Inc. In 2011, it was officially launched as an LMS thereby disrupting the virtual campus market.
So far, my experience with Canvas has only been as a student – at another university.
I have never had the chance to go into the inner parts of a Canvas-based virtual campus.
From the perspective of a student-user, I can say that the experience is not much different from that of the user experience in Moodle. Things are where they should be and, as long as your university makes it so, everything should be easy to find.
So far, I have not had issues using it.
My supervisor knows that I am studying at a university where the LMS used is Canvas. He asked about my experience using it and we came to the same conclusion he already had before our meeting: It doesn’t matter which LMS you use. What matters is the content and the delivery.
So long as the content of our courses remain excellent and the delivery of the lessons remain outstanding, our virtual campus will be able to continue to serve its purpose regardless of what VLE we use.
It does not matter whether we use Moodle or Canvas. What matters is what we put inside them.
Originally posted on October 19, 2022 on Substack.