Cougar Connection

An Update from your Mankato East Administration Team

September 21, 2020

Why Moodle?

There have been many questions about why Moodle was chosen as our Learning Management System. We'd like to take a moment to share with you the reasons behind the decision and why we are excited about what Moodle can do for our students and teachers.

The feedback we received last spring informed us that our students and families needed a consistent place where students could access coursework, instruction, and assessment. The various platforms utilized during the pandemic shutdown were too numerous and too different. At East High School alone teachers were using Google Classroom, Schoology, Google Sites, Moodle, Google Docs, and other systems. Although that allowed teachers significant flexibility, students and parents were often frustrated with the lack of consistency. When reviewing the distance learning experience, families and students overwhelmingly asked for one common learning platform across classes.

Moving forward, we knew we needed a more robust, rigorous system for distance learning. Given the unknowns of this school year, we needed a system that holds students and staff to a higher level of accountability and allows us to provide a more sound educational environment for teachers to create and students to learn. Moodle is a system designed to allow teachers to create strong content and provides students with access to personalized learning experiences.

But I like Google Classroom...

So do we! Google Classroom is very user-friendly, intuitive, and seems to cooperate well with our Chromebooks. However, Google Classroom does not provide the level of depth and complexity required for High School career and college preparatory work. Google Classroom is a tool most appropriate for supplementing in-person learning.

Although Google Classroom is incredibly useful as a supplemental tool, we anticipated that we would be required to shift between learning models this school year. In order to offer distance learning, hybrid learning, or in-person learning to the highest possible fidelity, we needed a learning management system (LMS). An LMS allows for systematic consistency to deliver content, resources, formative and summative assessments, and projects. In order to award grades with a high level of confidence and reliability, all of our teachers need to use the same system. Moodle affords this opportunity.

How do we know Moodle is the best option?

Moodle is the most widely used learning platform worldwide. It holds 20% of the United States market share for digital learning platforms in K-12 and Higher Education and 50% of the digital learning platform market share worldwide.

Moodle has been the Learning Management System of choice for many top post-secondary institutions near and far. The University of Minnesota system, University of Wisconsin system, Iowa State University, Carleton College, and MIT are a few higher education institutions that have used Moodle.

Additionally, many online schools use Moodle as their Learning Management System. The highest number of our Mankato Area Public Schools students opting for online courses attend Northern Star Online which is built entirely in Moodle.

It's difficult to learn a new system with everything else going on!

It is incredibly difficult to learn a new system in the midst of everything else going on. We understand that for those of you who have not used Moodle before, it is taking longer to learn to navigate, create, and feel proficient with this system. However, given what we learned last spring and what we anticipate going forward, we are excited about Moodle and what it can offer.

We know that in the long run it will save time, enhance collaboration, and support efficiency for all.

Moodle will provide our students with a highly rigorous online learning environment. It will further student preparation for learning environments they will encounter after high school. Teachers and staff will have a reliable and consistent system that can support student success and professional collaboration for years to come.

We will continue to provide learning opportunities throughout the year to assure teachers and students have what they need in real-time as we all learn and grow with this change.