The Guardian reported yesterday that Moodle continues to move ahead in the U.K. despite the efforts of vendors to slow this movement. The article cites a Tim Clarke of RM who does an admirable job of trotting out the usual, tired FUD arguments:
“The costs of implementing are more than a licence cost. What are the costs of hosting, managing and running it? What does it cost to tailor it to what you want it to be? Moodle is very ‘tailorable’ but it can have slightly higher configuration charges. You have to sit down and do it yourself or every teacher has to, and that has a cost.”
Tim sure can pose those rhetorical questions! Anyone who is familiar with Moodle (or FLOSS in general) is likely to find this FUD amusing but uninspired. The concern I have, however, is that these vacuous statements can be effective in creating uncertainty within schools and departments that are considering the option of adopting Moodle for their teaching and learning. Unchallenged statements about “hidden costs” and “lack of support” can derail decisions.
Thankfully this article balances these troubling statements with examples from two UK school districts that are using Moodle and having great success with it. The school authorities of West Sussex and Buckinghamshire have sizable Moodle installations already and with the vocal support of Ian Lynch, spokesman for the Open Schools Alliance, it looks like Moodle is well on its way to becoming THE international standard.