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Virtual Schools Adopt Moodle-Based LMS

The state-run virtual schooling programs in South Carolina and Utah have adopted learning management systems based on the open source Moodle platform.

The South Carolina Department of Education (SCDOE) launched the state's Virtual School Program (SCVSP) in 2007 as a way to improve overall graduation rates by offering high school students supplemental courses not available in the classroom setting, as well as content recovery courses they could take on their own schedules. The program adopted the Moodlerooms' Power package as a low-cost alternative to LMSes that require the purchase of vendor site licenses. Moodlerooms Power provides SCVSP with enterprise-level cloud hosting of its courses, including ongoing technical and IT maintenance, as well as unlimited, 24/7 access to administrator help desk support and access to Moodlerooms' approved modules and plugins.

"We needed to move to a lower-cost system that was flexible for our teachers. After evaluating other systems, Moodlerooms could simply provide the solution we needed," explained Bradley Mitchell, LMS administrator for SCDOE. "Budgets are tighter statewide, but that hasn't stopped us. The state is proud of its program and Moodlerooms has given us the chance to sustain and expand our program regardless."

At the Open High School of Utah (OHSU), an statewide online charter high school, budget constraints during the first year of operation in 2009-2010, coupled with the needs for flexibility in course design and portability and access of its open education resource (OER) courses, led to a re-evaluation of its LMS needs.

"We were concerned about the cost and the limited potential of what we were using. We were searching for a dynamic LMS that had the features we needed now," said Sarah Weston, curriculum director for OHSU. "After we were presented with all the different options, it was the features and pricing that ultimately drove our decision. Plus, anticipating the direction that open-source is heading made our decision almost seem like a no brainer."

OHSU opted for the Moodlerooms joule package, which offers an enterprise LMS solution featuring enhanced functionality, including platform conversion, content portfolios and repositories, user notifications, progress reports, mobile access, and optional modules geared to widely-used online multimedia platforms such as YouTube and podcasts.

Using the Moodle open-source learning environment as its foundation, Moodlerooms offers configurability and flexibility in course design with a full range of optional services designed to enhance the software's functionality and provide on-demand technical and operational support. More details about all packages and support services available from Moodlerooms can be found here.

About the Author

Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.