Moodle Versus My Big Campus

    Our  District recently implemented My Big Campus, a Facebook-like social media tool for teachers & students.  Up until now, the only interactive learning management tool available had been Moodle, and many simply found the initial learning curve, with all of its resources, activities, setup options, etc. to be just a bit too steep.
     So,I jumped on board and began working with MBC’s discussion forums, file depositries, the online polls, and quizzes.  I found the user interface to be fairly intuitive, and it looks like this product will be a nice option for teachers who’d like to utilize a few very simple social media tools, but don’t want to invest the time to master Moodle.
     Sounds like a perfect arrangement:  continue to provide Moodle for teachers who are serious about providing students a “blended”  learning environment or extensive online interaction; and for those teachers who interested in offering up a smattering of social media, send My Big Campus their way.
     The problem is that a rep from MBC decided to treat Moodle as a competitor and made some grossly inaccurate comparisons between the two programs during his “Webinar.”  What our teachers needed was clarification about which tool would be most appropriate for their own unique situation; what they got was a sales pitch for MBC.
     I later did some “Googling,” and found that MBC had made Moodle comparisons the cornerstone of their advertising campaign. So as much as I think MBC is a promising tool, I feel compelled to draw some distinctions between it and Moodle.
  • MBC has one style of discussion tool; Moodle provides four different styles of discussion tools and the teacher has complete control over how students use them.  If I want students to make just one post, I can do that with Moodle.  Teachers and students have a myriad WYSIWYG editing, including access to raw html.
  • Quizzes – With MBC teachers may utilize either true/false or multiple choice questions;  Using Moodle, a teacher may use multiple choice, true/false, matching, numeric, essay, short answer, embedded cloze, calculated, and more.  Unlike MBC, Moodle contains a question bank so that questions from previous units may be entered.  Also, the teacher may include randomly selected questions as well.  Partial credit may be given for certain responses, and custom feedback may be provided to students on specific incorrect responses.
  • Users must log in to access any content on MBC.  Teachers may publicly display content, lock it down for ONLY their students, or display it as a password-protected page.
  • Interactions via MBC may be global, school to school within a district, or only among students at a specific school.  Once set, teachers cannot customize these settings.  Moodle provides a wide variety of settings from grouping students within one class to allowing students across the county interact.
  • MBC provides collaborative pages, but users may not edit simultaneously.  Moodle Wikis allow for simultaneous editing of fully functioning Wikis.
  • MBC has polling as part of their assessment module.  Moodle has a variety of survey tools: feedback, choice, and questionnaire.  Features on these range from simply one-questions surveys to advanced questionnaires that feature skip logic.
  • MBC has a slick Facebook look to it, but Moodle users may utilize themes to customize the look of their courses.  There are dozens installed, but thousands available for download.
Here are some Moodle tools not available in MBC
  • Online glossaries for vocabulary building.
  • Database
  • Online gradebook
  • Digitial Flashcards
  • Lightbox Photo Gallery
  • Ability to display files OR directory of files
  • RSS Feeds from any online source
  • Custom HTML Blocks
     I’m not interested in knocking My Big Campus, and I actually think our teachers will find it useful. I just felt a need to call them on some of their Moodle-MBC comparisons.


14 comments. Leave a Reply

  1. Marc

    I’ll leave the detail by detail descriptions for other MBC users to post on but I will say this.

    In my opinion, there is no comparison between Moodle and My Big Campus. If one wants an interactive interface that allows you to handle all of your digital content for your curriculum while engaging students and interacting with the students through groups, discussion boards, etc…My Big Campus is the place to be.

    Moodle is cumbersome and boring and quite frankly, today’s consumer (our students) do not find it appealing or attractive and therefore are not as engaged in the curriculum content that we provided through Moodle. On the other hand, we have seen levels of student engagement through My Big Campus that we have never before seen. Our students are completing assignments (though not all because they are still teenagers and it is still ‘homework’ or ‘schoolwork’) and they are even having interactions and discussions with administrators and their teachers that they would never have had if it were not for My Big Campus.

    Thus, My Big Campus is by far the place where the courses and curriculum should be…no question.

    Marc Slaton, Ed.D.
    Assistant Superintendent
    Scott County School District 2

    • Eric Jarvis

      Thanks for the reply. I’m glad MBC is working out well for your district. Our district currently offers both Moodle and MBC.

      The good news about Moodle is that it offers dozens MORE options and tools than does MBC.

      The bad news about Moodle is that if offers dozens MORE options and tools than does MBC.

      Teachers in our District found Moodle difficult to master, whereas, MBC is a much simpler tool. As a result, I think MBC will most likely be more widely utilized.

      I’m using MBC with students and fellow teachers, and I find that Moodle simply gives me more flexibility and dozens of more online tools.

      I usually don’t like participating in “my-tool-is-better-than-yours” types of debates, but I felt a need to clear up some of the erroneous information that the folks at Lightspeed are publishing about Moodle.

      Moodle is simply a different tool that, in my opinion, fits a different need and a different type of user. MBC should focus on what MBC does when presenting at a school district. The Moodle bashing is working well with those unfamiliar with Moodle, but I find it to be a bit of a turn off.

  2. Shawna Slaton

    I have actually used both MBC and Moodle in my classroom. I am currently moving much of the content that I had built in Moodle during the past five years into MBC. There are many reasons that I prefer MBC over Moodle, but the primary reasons is the level of student engagement that I have personally witnessed. I have been teaching 1:1 for five years, and I have never seen my students engaged like they are in MBC. The level of interaction between the students and between the student and the teacher has increased exponentially with this environment. We are catering learning to the 21st century student, and MBC is the environment in which they thrive. You did not mention the seamless YouTube integration that is so very important in my classroom because it helps kids connect every topic to the real world and not to just the classroom.

    • ericjarvis

      Thanks for the reply.

      I did forget to mention the YouTube integration. MBC does do a nice job with that.

      Moodle 2.0 also integrates with YouTube. When posting a video, it gives me the option to search and embed directly from YouTube. I can also directly search and embed Flickr & Picasa photo albums.

      In quizzes, my students write their own questions using “Hot Potatoes,” a free quiz maker. They then upload them to me, and I import them into Moodle Quizzes. It’s really powerful to have students write their own test questions. In fact, I think it takes more critical thinking skills.

      MBC does have a much freer flowing discussion forum style. The calendar and its ability to alert students via SMS messaging is really nice. That being said, some of our teachers are experiencing problems keeping students on topic. It’s great students have more freedom, but sometimes you want your online discussions focused or for each student to simply post one comment. Moodle gives me the option to offer free, anything-goes discussions or to place limits on the amount and types of discussions students participate in.

      Like I said, I use MBC. I’m just not ready to give up the tools available to me on Moodle; and since Moodle isn’t a company, I feel like sticking up for it when for-profits treat it like a competitor.

      Thanks for sharing! Glad you’re having success with MBC. I, too, like many of its features.

    • Eric Jarvis

      @Shawna Saw your promo on My Big Campus. Very nice work! I do think MBC will serve my district’s needs well.

  3. Dave Kallman

    Blackboard just bought Moodlerooms! Blackboard’s new strategy is to become a Moodle provider instead of a competitor.

    • Ryan Marsh

      Blackboard bought moodle rooms to have one less competitor. Just as they did with WebCT and Angel.

      • ericjarvis

        Interesting developments. I think Blackboard also bought EdLine…or should I say they “joined forces.”

  4. Full Disclosure: I’m a My Big Campus Coach, which means I’m paid to train districts on the uses of the site.

    For two years, I’ve used My Big Campus in my classroom, and I love it. I have not used Moodle, Edmodo, or any other LMS, so I can speak only to what I know. I value the fact that there is no anonymity on My Big Campus. All free accounts are verified; only credentialed educators are allowed to open new accounts. I also appreciate the fact that the content is filtered in English and Spanish. A flesh-tone filter scans all images. “Suspicious Activity” reports are a snap to generate. These are just a few of the reasons MBC has earned my support. To learn more, check out the Top 10 Reasons Why I Love My Big Campus:

    Thank you for the lively discussion.

    • ericjarvis

      Moodle and Edmodo both allow for “closed” environments where teachers and/or admin can limit contact with other users. MBC is a nice product…just trying to keep the the Lightspeed sales guys honest about Moodle ;->

  5. Edmodo is now integrated with Google Docs. You can now Sync your Google Docs to your Edmodo library and easily share them with your groups or other Edmodo connections. You can also add your Google Docs to shared folders.

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