Moodle is a free, open-source, and highly customizable learning platform, allowing educators to provide their learners with a branded, personalized, and optimized digital learning experience through a self-hosted Moodle environment or one hosted with a Moodle vendor or Certified Moodle Partner.
However, not everyone has the time, resources, or expertise to successfully self-host Moodle. Often, organizations that self-host Moodle find themselves having to hire more people to support their platform and purchase supporting software to keep Moodle running efficiently, especially as site usage increases. Additionally, without the dedicated expertise and bandwidth, organizations can find it difficult to proactively enhance the learning platform, which can be achieved by utilizing free plugins or third-party solutions to create a best-of-breed eLearning ecosystem.
Indeed, some self-hosted Moodle users can initially be reluctant to relinquish control of their Moodle site to a hosting partner. However, once our clients realize the amount of time our support relieves them from, there’s no turning back! Partnering with a Moodle Partner like eThink can save significant costs in terms of staff and productivity. A Moodle Partner allows your team to focus less on the management of your system and more on providing engaging eLearning to your constituents.
Here’s how you can benefit from moving from self-hosted Moodle to working with a Moodle Hosting Partner…
Organizations that self-host often house the data that Moodle produces in their own data centers. This includes intellectual property, private student data, and even medical records. Putting this data “on the cloud” can seem like too much of a risk.
eThink understands the sensitivity of the data entrusted to us and takes significant steps to protect that data. We cloud-host all Moodle sites on Amazon Web Services. Amazon Web Services takes security seriously, considering they host some of the most sensitive websites in the world. In fact, hosting with eThink will actually keep an organization’s data more secure than self-hosting.
Self-hosted Moodle users hold the responsibility of scheduling, planning, and testing their Moodle site updates. Many institutions also have to plan upgrades around their busy academic calendar. With a hosting partner like eThink, we take that responsibility off your shoulders. We plan updates according to an organization’s schedule at no additional cost. We extensively research the new features and thoroughly test new versions. That way, our clients know in advance how an upgrade might change the experience for their educators or learners.
Additionally, for each update, we run through a comprehensive checklist – twice! – to make sure that the upgrade goes smoothly. We take care of the grunt work when updating your Moodle instance. Instead, you can concentrate on exploring how the new version will improve your teaching and learning methods.
Arguably, Moodle’s biggest selling point is the customization capabilities to meet the needs of faculty and students. Not only do most organizations explore and install a variety of available plugins, but they can also develop their own plugins to meet their specific needs.
The eThink Support Team specializes in integrations and is extremely familiar with the Moodle plugins directory, enabling our clients to customize their Moodle site to their heart’s content. We vet and test a wide variety of the plugins that are available and often suggest specific ones to meet the needs of our clients. We also install any requested plugin within 24 hours, including your own developed plugins, as long as we are sure it won’t compromise your installation. And, we do this for no charge – as many times as you want. All in all, customization is only enhanced when hosting with a Moodle Partner like eThink.
Integration and Backups
Organizations that self-host Moodle often integrate with other campus systems such as Student Information Systems (SIS), ERPs, CRMs, and other self-hosted products such as Big Blue Button, Kaltura, etc. At eThink, we take pride in our ability to integrate with a wide variety of services including those mentioned above. We work with each client individually to integrate with the systems they have in place. Additionally, organizations want to be assured that backups are taken regularly and are accessible when needed. We take regular backups of all courses in the system along with the database and related files. We can off-load the backups so they are accessible when you need them and will assist with installing a backup if needed.
In addition to the services mentioned above, hosting with a Moodle Partner like eThink gives you access to an industry-leading support team with years of Moodle experience. Expertise is priceless and often determines the capabilities and functionality of your eLearning solution.
If you’re currently self-hosting Moodle and are looking for hosted Moodle solutions, learn why you should work with a Certified Moodle Partner.