Technology is a driving force in both business and education. When searching for an online Learning Management System (LMS), the options can be overwhelming. According to Moodle Statistics, Moodle is one of the top LMS options. There are nearly 78 million users across the globe. With its growing popularity as well as usability, schools are trying to maximize their teaching potential with the Moodle platform.
So, how many students can you have on Moodle? The number of students you can add on Moodle depends on the Moodle plan you choose. You also have to take into account which type of hosting you are looking at. If you choose to use a private host, there are going to be more options.
Moodle plans and user allowances:
- Free Trial (45 days) – 200 users
- Starter – 50 users
- Mini – 100 users
- Small – 200 users
- Medium – 500 users
Private Hosting Sites:
When determining whether to use a Moodle plan or a private hosting site that is a Moodle Partner, you need to take into consideration the number of users that can be on the plan. It is often more cost-effective to look at a private hosting company, but there will be features that you may give up by doing this. Read on to learn about both Moodle plans and private hosting plans.
Moodle Version Differences
Aside from the free version of Moodle, there are four versions. However, only three of these versions fall under the umbrella of “Moodle for School” and cater to educational institutions that need to use Moodle for multiple classes.
Each version of Moodle offers the same baseline features:
- Latest Moodle version
- Unlimited courses and activities
- Personalized site name
- Mobile app-enabled
- Web conferencing with BigBlueButton (Some details vary between versions)
Now that you understand the similarities between each Moodle version, it’s time to see what makes each version unique:
Free 45 Day Trial:
- 200 max users
- 400 MB max file storage
- BigBlueButton allows ten max users per session
- 50 max users
- 200 MB max file storage
- BigBlueButton allows 50 max users per session
- Custom certificates
- Document converter
- Automated backups
Moodle for School
All Moodle for School versions offer the following added benefits:
- BigBlueButton allows 100 max users per session and session recording
- Custom certificates
- Document converter
- Automated backups
- Advanced theme
- Extra plugin pack
Each version only differs by file storage and max users:
- Mini: 200 MB max file storage, 100 max users
- Small: 400 MB max file storage, 200 max users
- Medium: 1 GB max file storage, 500 max users
For all versions of Moodle, you can install additional plugins and themes through the MoodleCloud site. Also, if you want a more substantial or downgraded plan, you can contact Moodle.
What is BigBlueButton?
Moodle’s BigBlueButton plugin is a web conferencing tool that allows Moodle users to share. BigBlueButton is only available in the paid versions of Moodle. With it, you can do the following:
- Share audio files
- Share video
- Share shots of the whiteboard
- Screen share
- Hold conferences
Private Hosting Sites
When looking at hosting options, it may be more economical to look at private hosting sites. However, when you choose a private hosting site, you may not receive the tech support you need as you use the LMS. The following sites are partnered with Moodle, which means you will receive most of the benefits of the Moodle platform. However, you may not have as much space for storage of documents and other files.
The article Moodle Hosting: These 5 Hosts will Keep Your Online Course Up and Running, explains a few of the Moodle-partnered sites like Moonomi, TMD, and Interserver.
- Moonomi- Moonomi is a cloud-hosted website that allows you to store as many documents as you need to. It also allows many users onto the platform. The article states it can host 500-10,000 users.
- TMD: This site allows full support of all Moodle components at an affordable price.
- InterServer: This is also a cloud-hosted option that allows optimal storage options. The benefit of this host is the ability to upload documents and course materials quickly.
If you are in the market for a cost-effective approach to using Moodle, these options may be beneficial, especially if you are on a budget and want to provide access to seemingly unlimited clients. Before jumping into an option, be sure to check the support that will be provided as well as storage capabilities and processing speed to ensure you are getting a value.
If you have decided to purchase Moodle or you want to try out their free 45-day trial, the first thing you are going to want to do is visit the Moodle website, and choose the appropriate version for you.
To give you a better idea of how you can use Moodle, here is an explanation of some of its features:
- Dashboard – Moodle allows you to customize your dashboard display with features like assignment due dates, course history, future courses, course filters, and course overviews. The dashboard is also equipped with a convenient quick access menu that gives you the option to personalize the dashboard layout to your taste.
- Activities – Moodle allows both the teacher and other students to connect with students through forums and quizzes, where students provide a direct contribution. There are also surveys for gathering data and workshops that allow peer assessment.
- Calendar – Moodle’s calendar uses a color-coded event key with options like ‘course events,’ ‘group events,’ and ‘global events.’ You can add new events and edit old events, and the calendar has intuitive features that allow you to drag and drop dates.
- Messaging – Teachers and students can communicate via private message on Moodle. You can also enable notifications for assignments, quizzes, forum discussions, and more. Individual users have a personal ‘starred area’ where they can write messages privately before editing and sending them out.
- Track Progress – Each course you create will have a grade book that can be accessed through the administration portal on your Moodle account. Assignments and quizzes automatically send grades to the grade book, but you can also manually enter grades if you would like.
- Text Editor – Moodle’s text editor refers to an HTML editor. But don’t worry, you don’t need to know code. Many icons make using the text editor easy and intuitive. You can manage embedded files, use an automated checker to find common errors, drag and drop images, and more.
- Enrollment plugins – As the administrator of the Moodle account, you can manage enrollments and add enrollment plugins. Enrollment refers to adding participants (students/teachers) to the course. For example, the ‘guest access’ plugin allows users to view course materials but not participate.
- Upload Courses – Not only can you create courses, but you can also upload courses and import content from previous courses.
The list of useful Moodle features goes on and on. If you would like to learn more about Moodle features, or learn about the mentioned features in-depth, visit Moodle’s ‘features’ page. Being familiar with these features is especially important if you are looking at a private hosting option to be sure there is compatibility.
How to Use Moodle?
Since Moodle is used by so many people and allows users to customize their experience, there are several practical and innovative ways to use Moodle for your courses.
If you haven’t heard about gamification, it is an educational approach that employs the elements of video games (or games in general) to help motivate students to engage in lessons and learning. There are many ways Moodle can help you gamify your virtual classroom and motivate your students.
Here are some examples that Moodle users have shared:
- Level Up! – This allows teachers to add a block to a course that gives points to students for their progress.
- Stash – This block lets teachers show items that they have created in the course, which students then must discover and collect. Once they do so, they will go into the students’ stash box.
- PhET (Physics Education Technology) Simulations – This allows teachers to employ interactive simulations for their STEM courses. Simulations are created using Java, Flash, or HTML5 and can be downloaded directly to the Moodle server. The best part is that these simulations are open source!
- Mootivated – This is an app for your mobile device that rewards virtual coins to students who are working diligently in Google. The coins can then be used to purchase in an ‘Avatar Part Store’ or your school’s store.
There are many more ways to gamify your virtual classroom with Moodle, and educators can share their ideas on the Moodle website. You can even create your own and share it with others!
Moodle’s workshop activities allow peer assessment. For example, students can submit their work on Moodle for review from other students according to guidelines set out by the teacher. The students can upload a file or directly type the assignment into the Moodle editor.
For these assignments, the students get two grades, one from the teacher and one from their peers’ assessments. These activities give the students some autonomy and the ability to learn from each other.
When teachers give assignments to students, the student can submit the completed assignment directly to Moodle for assessment and feedback. You can even have your students submit work as a group or submit work ‘anonymously’ so that you do not know which students you are grading.
Virtual education is becoming a mainstay in today’s technologically advanced world. When choosing platforms to use, you need to know the exact purpose you are using the platform for as well as the features you will need to ensure your students are successful remote learners.
Moodle is a fantastic LMS, and there are many hosting options available that can fit with many budgets as well as the number of users.