Founded in 1855, Berea College was the first interracial and coeducational college in the South. With an annual enrollment of 1,600 students, Berea College is the most selective school in Kentucky due to its mission of providing a high-quality liberal arts education to financially limited students at no tuition charge.
Berea’s unique mission has earned the College various recognitions. In 2011, Washington Monthly ranked Berea the #1 liberal arts college in the nation for the quality of its education and has included the College in the top three ever since. Similarly, Berea has been considered a “Best Buy” college by Forbes Magazine every year since 2009.
In 2009, Berea College began self-hosting Moodle, the world’s most widely used Learning Management System. Over the next three years, the College’s Educational Technology team recognized that they needed more assistance in maintaining their Moodle site. They contracted an outside company to help solve technical issues on a consultative basis. Soon, however, they began running into additional issues, such as the inability to scale the site on their server and incremental downtime.
Between the time spent internally managing Moodle and the money spent contracting an outside consultancy, the costs to maintain their LMS had risen exponentially. The Educational Technology team knew that there had to be a more cost-effective solution. Berea began evaluating solutions in order to improve efficiencies and combine common practices.
In 2014, Berea College chose Certified Moodle Partner, eThink Education, as their Moodle provider. Berea College migrated to Moodle by eThink and received a fully-managed Moodle experience, which covers all Moodle needs including implementation, hosting, support, real-time SIS integration, consulting, and much more.
Unlimited storage, a staple of an eThink fully-managed Moodle instance, allowed Berea to solve their previous space limitation issue and provided the College with the ability to scale their Learning Management System. eThink’s unlimited storage model saved the team at Berea College time and money.
eThink’s industry-leading support and service allows Berea College to put their Learning Management System into the hands of experts with confidence and ease. With an average functional ticket response time of under one hour, eThink quickly responds to and resolves any issues that Berea College may encounter.
“I always get a fast response when using the eThink help desk tools. Sometimes it seems like I send them a message once, twice, three times a week, and the Services Team is great at answering my questions quickly and thoughtfully,” said Anthony Basham, Projects/Moodle Coordinator at Berea College.
Real-time SIS Integration & Unlimited Modules
eThink’s real-time SIS integration seamlessly connected the school’s Student Information System, Banner, and Learning Management System to enable automatic enrollments and course creation.
Furthermore, eThink’s third party plugin policy states that all working modules will be installed and configured at no additional cost. This policy allows customers to unlock the full potential of Moodle. With unlimited modules, Moodle by eThink also provides endless customization possibilities with a variety of eLearning modules and plug-ins to choose from.
“eThink’s freely available training modules have been incredibly helpful in training our teachers on how to use Moodle. Almost all our faculty uses Moodle even though it’s not required because it makes their jobs easier. In particular, the attendance modules, quizzes, and gradebooks are utilized heavily by our faculty,” said Basham.
Cut LMS Costs
By switching to an all-inclusive, fully-managed Moodle experience with eThink, Berea has avoided incurring unforeseen, piece meal costs and have been able to dedicate their internal resources to other projects.
With Moodle by eThink, the Educational Technology team is able to focus less on Moodle maintenance and more of progressing other institutional goals. “Before switching to Moodle by eThink, I probably spent about 30-50% of my time on Moodle related projects. I still spend time on Moodle, but my involvement has lessened greatly,” said Basham. “With eThink managing our Moodle site, my team and I are able to commit more time to accomplishing other projects.”
“When we were self-hosting there were nights that I didn’t sleep well because I wasn’t completely confident in our technical adaptability to keep up with our Moodle site,” said Basham. “With eThink, we haven’t had any issues. I have complete confidence in their ability to keep us on track.”