Otago Polytechnic’s leadership team announced last week that it is migrating from Blackboard to Moodle this year.


Migrant workers in Michigan, 1940. CC By: bobster1985

I would like to be able to say it was an ethical decision prompted by Blackboards intollerable patent grab, and offensive behaviour towards the education sector generally…

I would like to be able to say it is because Otago Polytechnic wishes to engage with the open source software and educational content community around Moodle and free software generally…

I would like to be able to say its because Otago Polytechnic reads major reports that recommend the use of free software as a way to cut costs and improve people’s skills.. in short paying people’s salaries and professional development instead of license fees…

And I would like to say the migration was because back in 2005 staff at Otago Polytechnic conducted research comparing Moodle to Blackboard and recommended that [Moodle] showed significant potential and should be seriously considered for further investigation…

But all I can do really is quote the leadership team:

This has been driven primarily from the uptake Moodle is getting within the sector.

To be fair, this sort of decision can’t be taken lightly, and I’m sure other’s had good reason to stay with Blackboard all this time.. what we have now however, is a large number of disgruntled staff who need to find time to migrate content from one system to another. The end in the use of Blackboard was inevitable if you’ve been following the NZ eLearning sector, and the Educational Development Centre (EDC) has been doing its best to inform and encourage staff to become independent of any particular Learning Management System so that they are not so affected by changes like this.

The EDC is recommending 4 possible approaches to those faced with this migration:

  1. Simply migrate content from Blackboard to Moodle and utilise the technical support from the IT support unit. A word of caution on this – there will no doubt be high demand on the IT Support people for this, so expect delays and get in early.
  2. Take this opportunity to review your content and find more up to date materials, review the way you teach or facilitate your online course and the interactions you set up, and consider your options before acting. EDC offer support for this option.
  3. Load content to the web by way of the OP Website, Blip.tv, Wikipedia, Wikibooks, Wikiversity or Educator, Survey Monkey, Blogger, Google Docs, GoogleMaps, etc and represent this now independent material in your Moodle by simple links and embed codes. Doing it this way frees the content up so that any migration is possible and simple. Getting to this level of independence is not for the faint hearted. EDC offers support for this option.
  4. Load the content to the web (as above) and run the course on the web without the use of a Learning Management System like Blackboard or Moodle. This approach will set you free 🙂 EDC offers support for this option as well.