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Choosing complex sets of tools, usually called learning management systems (LMSs), for creating perfect blends of traditional classroom activities and the most appropriate e-learning course components has become a common practice. Our institutions have opted for open source LMS Moodle. After years of its application in everyday teaching practice we were inspired to analyse the effectiveness of this platform. In this paper, results of the surveys compiled in order to reflect the student and teacher experiences with Moodle are presented. Main focus is providing insights into opinions, expectations and possible reluctance regarding usability and privacy when using its functionalities.
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Informatica 37 (2013) 221–230 221
Usability and Privacy Aspects of Moodle: Students' and Teachers'
Mirjana Ivanović, Zoran Putnik, Živana Komlenov
Faculty of Science, University of Novi Sad, Novi Sad, Serbia
Tatjana Welzer, Marko Hölbl, Tina Schweighofer
University of Maribor, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Maribor, Slovenia
Keywords: learning management system, privacy, security, experiences, usability, localization
Received: August 3, 2012
Choosing complex sets of tools, usually called learning management systems (LMSs), for creating
perfect blends of traditional classroom activities and the most appropriate e-learning course
components has become a common practice. Our institutions have opted for open source LMS Moodle.
After years of its application in everyday teaching practice we were inspired to analyse the effectiveness
of this platform. In this paper, results of the surveys compiled in order to reflect the student and teacher
experiences with Moodle are presented. Main focus is providing insights into opinions, expectations and
possible reluctance regarding usability and privacy when using its functionalities
Povzetek: V prispevku so predstavljene dolgoletne izkušnje in analize sistema Moodle.
1 Introduction
Contemporary standards in education require usage of
different tools in order to supplement teaching and
learning processes, as well as efficient assessment. A
learning management system is often the foundation of a
reliable e-learning platform and complies with standards
and best practices recommended by respectable
educational and corporate stakeholders (Georgouli,
Skalkidis, & Guerreiro, 2008).
At our departments at the Faculty of Science,
University of Novi Sad in Serbia and the Faculty of
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University
of Maribor in Slovenia such a solution is used for the
design and delivering of courses that are supporting
classroom training (Budimac, Putnik, Ivanović, Bothe, &
Schützler, 2011).
Several years ago we decided to use and possibly
extend an existing e-learning platform for our eCourses
instead of developing a new one from scratch. After
testing several systems we drew conclusions on the
available tools. The system we chose had to be one of the
established general purpose LMS solutions, preferably an
open source one (Ahmed, 2005). Such a platform, apart
from its flexibility and considerable cost savings, would
offer possibilities for extensibility and customization
according to one’s specific needs.
The evaluation of open source LMSs was conducted
according to a set of minimum criteria, which included
active community, stable development status, good
documentation, didactic objective and focus on the
presentation of content and communication
Our final choice was Moodle (Rice, 2008), for its
fine basic features, great extensibility and even some
potential adaptability features which were further
developed in Novi Sad (Komlenov, Budimac, &
Ivanović, 2008). A number of comparative studies and
research papers (Al-Ajlan & Zedan, 2008; Di Domenico,
Panizzi, Sterbini, & Temperini, 2005; Graf & List, 2005;
Munoz & Van Duzer, 2005; Stewart et al., 2007)
corroborated our choice.
Moreover, this solution has been accepted by the
University of Maribor as the official LMS, and has also
been introduced at a significant number of faculties in
Novi Sad in the last couple of years, which certainly
makes joint studies and reuse of teaching material among
our universities more feasible (Bothe, Budimac,
Cortazar, Ivanović, & Zedan, 2009).
Moodle is a modular and extensible platform which
offers features to support different educational styles. It
chiefly follows the established usability conventions
(Melton, 2006): it has a simple interface, uses a minimal
number of words, features roll-overs providing extra
information, etc. Still, usability and privacy concerns
must be addressed in detail when using such a solution.
In this paper the results of two surveys are presented
in order to reflect the experiences of students and
teachers with Moodle, regarding mainly those issues, and
consequently the impact of using this LMS in everyday
teaching practice on the academic achievements of
students. The study was conducted as a part of a bilateral
project between our institutions. Participation in the
study was voluntary and anonymous for both students
and teachers.
The results of our study should be of interest to
university administrators, faculty members, and students
who plan to offer, teach, or take courses implemented in
Moodle. Also it can help many universities that are still
deciding the extent of their offerings of online or blended
222 Informatica 37 (2013) 221–230 M. Ivanović et al.
courses and the most appropriate platforms to use in
structuring their offerings.
The rest of the paper is organized as follows. In
Section 2 research endeavours somewhat similar to ours
are observed, since their results and methodologies
applied induced our investigation. However, it is focused
on slightly different aspects of the platform in question.
Section 3 discusses the survey outline and methods used
in the conducted research. The discussion of the results
from both students’ and teachers’ perspectives is
presented in Section 4. Conclusions are drawn in Section
5 to foster future research and innovations in online
teaching practice.
2 Related work
A significant number of published papers report on
students’ and/or teachers’ perceptions of e-learning and
the usability of the employed e-learning tools. This
certainly includes Moodle (Kakasevski, Mihajlov,
Arsenovski, & Chungurski, 2008; Kennedy, 2005;
Kirner, Custódio, & Kirner, 2008; Liyanagunawardena,
2008; Melton, 2006), as one of the LMSs most frequently
used at universities worldwide. Their focus groups were,
however, usually students participating in one selected
study program or even more often a single course, quite
rarely complemented with their teachers.
However, some of the studies provided valuable
conclusions and provoked further research. While some
of them focused on technology-based components of
such platforms, others studied the human factor of those
systems considering student and instructor satisfaction,
the importance of participant interaction in online
environments, etc. There were even attempts to develop
comprehensive assessment models, incorporating
concepts from both information systems and education
disciplines (Ozkan & Koseler, 2009).
It was, for instance, found that most information
technology majors perceive learning to be more fun and
of better quality within a technology-enhanced online
learning environment (Parker, 2003). Furthermore,
students who take online courses perceive a higher level
of quality in their educational endeavours (Hannay &
Newvine, 2006). However, lack of interaction, presence,
or both may result in studentsdifferent observations on
how well they may or may not have performed in an
online class (Picciano, 2002; Song, Singleton, Hill, &
Koh, 2004).
There seems to be a strong positive correlation
between the degree of social presence and perceived
learning as well as perceived quality of the instructor
(Richardson & Swan, 2003). Not surprisingly, it was also
revealed that participants of elective online courses tend
to rate the modules positively while those in the
obligatory courses often rate them more negatively
(Smart & Cappel, 2006).
Students that experienced at least one well designed
course enriched with resources, timely feedback and
interactions with teachers generally report positive
experiences (Weaver, Spratt, & Nair, 2008). The
instructor’s support in learning in fact strongly
contributes to learning achievements and course
Besides the instructor’s expertise and support, only a
few other variables proved to be important for students’
perceptions of learning achievements and course
satisfaction (Paechter, Maier, & Macher, 2010): the
structure and coherence of the teaching material and the
course, the stimulation of learning motivation, and the
facilitation of collaborative learning.
Teachers may also exhibit differing opinions about
online learning and its effectiveness for the student
(Bisoux, 2007). It is not rare for teachers to still perceive
online learning as having numerous shortcomings,
including (Totaro, Tanner, Noser, Fitzgerald, & Birch,
2005): the lack of instructor-student/student-student
interaction; no structured classroom environment;
students tending to teach themselves the course material;
the difficulty of teaching quantitative courses online; the
challenges of administering exams online, etc.
The open source learning management system
Moodle is widely adopted at many universities and other
organizations thanks to its tightly integrated set of tools
designed from a social constructivist perspective. The
advantages it offers over other (commercially) available
LMSs were often analysed during the last couple of
The benefits of Moodle over rather popular
proprietary LMSs like Blackboard (Kennedy, 2005) can
be seen in Moodle’s outstanding facilities developed to
support communication in various ways, but also in
providing better structure for all sorts of courses, i.e.
more functional and likeable course organization.
Additionally, Moodle’s registration system and
assignment submission module (Melton, 2006) and other
standard modules (Kakasevski et al., 2008) were also
assessed to some degree in terms of usability.
Nevertheless, surveys conducted in parallel at more
than one university, with comparable groups of students
of similar background, as well as their teachers (Tanner,
Noser, & Totaro, 2009), are quite rare, especially those
that address not only basic but also some important
advanced features of the chosen platform.
Accenting privacy issues is also very important since
the urge to protect security and privacy of data has lately
become significant and extensively studied subject (Eibl,
2009; Klobučar, Jenabi, Kaibel, & Karapidis, 2007;
Weippl & Tjoa, 2005).
Therefore we decided on conducting such a twofold
survey at our institutions to provide ourselves and our
colleagues from other universities, but also other
interested parties, with possibly useful students and
teachers’ insights in the current usability and privacy
aspects of Moodle.
3 Survey outline and methods
The survey was twofold one part aimed at students and
the other at teachers. It was composed of a majority of
closed questions, and some specific ones offering the
possibility for answering more freely. Most open
questions were bond to the closed ones in two ways:
Usability and Privacy Aspects of Moodle… Informatica 37 (2013) 221230 223
additional description after choosing an answer (e.g.,
“Do you distribute you teaching material
periodically or at the beginning of the semester?
Periodically. Period: ____”);
additional description after answering (e.g., "Do you
use the blog functionality within Moodle? YES NO
– If NO, please indicate why: ____").
We distributed the survey electronically, using
Moodle’s Feedback module. The response of both
students and teachers was surprisingly fast we needed
only about 10 days to collect all answers in the survey for
students and about 3 weeks to conduct the survey for
However, there were some differences between the
aims of the survey used to collect teachers’ experiences
and opinions and the one prepared for students. The goal
of the featured survey for students was to provide
insights into their opinions, expectations and reservations
regarding the usability of Moodle, the quality of teaching
material available, usage of assessment means,
communication and collaboration tools, as well as their
privacy concerns.
The survey intended for teaching staff was compiled
of differently formulated questions. Yet the goal was
similar to provide insights into their experiences,
opinions, expectations and cautiousness regarding the
effects of using Moodle in their teaching practice.
Teachers were required to assess the usability of various
Moodle’s modules and comment on the ways they
employ them in the courses they maintain and teach.
4 Results and discussion
Our institutions, the Faculty of Science, University of
Novi Sad in Serbia and the Faculty of Electrical
Engineering and Computer Science, University of
Maribor in Slovenia, have been implementing e-learning
using Moodle for several years now.
The Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer
Science, University of Maribor employed Moodle for the
first time as an obligatory teaching tool in the year 2007
when the execution of the teaching process according the
Bologna declaration started. Nevertheless, Moodle had
also been used to some extent before that.
The Faculty of Science, University of Novi Sad
started using Moodle in 2004. Until now the majority of
courses have been implemented in this LMS, especially
those taught within Computer Science study programs.
After Moodle was used for several years, we decided
to analyse its many specific aspects. A joint project
between our institutions gave us the possibility of
investigating possible differences in two different
study/work environments.
4.1 Students’ perspective
The survey was conducted at both institutions, with
comparable numbers of students (136 in Slovenia, 130 in
Serbia). However, the distribution of participants
according to their year of studies was different (Table 1),
because the existing undergraduate studies in Slovenia
have recently been transformed into a three-year
program, which also involved obligatory use of Moodle,
so only students from the first two years were available
at the time the survey was conducted.
Slovenian results were collected at study programs
Computer Science and Informatics (65.44%), and
Communication Technologies and Media
Communications (34.56%), while Serbian survey
participants were all students of Computer Science.
Table 1 depicts the distribution of survey participants
according to their year of studies at both universities.
Year of study Novi Sad Maribor
1 43.85% 36.76%
2 16.92% 63.24%
3 17.69%
4 10.00%
5 8.46%
PhD 3.08%
Table 1: Survey participants according to their year of
Gender-wise, there was more than 2/3 of male, and
1/3 of female students (Table 2).
Gender Novi Sad Maribor
male 67.69% 77.21%
female 32.31% 22.79%
Table 2: Survey participants according to their gender.
4.1.1 Overall quality of the existing teaching
The majority of students assessed the quality of the
teaching material currently available at our Moodle sites
(mainly static content plus some electronic lessons for
self-study purposes, enriched by assessment and
communication facilities) as very good or good (Figure
1). Interestingly, there were 10 times more students that
graded the available material as excellent in Novi Sad,
and also none of the survey participants there assessed
the available resources as very bad.
It might be possible that students from an EU
university have greater expectations than the students in
a developing country, but this result certainly shows that
it is possible to develop and conduct courses of high
quality even without any special funding or much
institutional support.
What we were especially curious about were
students’ suggestions on how to improve the teaching
material quality. They included the following:
introducing additional exercises with different difficulty
levels or examples of previous exams, more tests and
assignments for students’ self-evaluation, lessons with
adaptive elements, video content, links to additional
literature, etc.
224 Informatica 37 (2013) 221–230 M. Ivanović et al.
All this suggests that students actually value course
creators’ efforts to involve more complex and interactive
activities and resources in their courses, which in some
cases might require usage of additional, either third-party
or own, modules implemented for Moodle.
excellent very good good bad very bad
Novi Sad Maribor
Figure 1: Overall quality of teaching material.
4.1.2 Graded tests
Quality of Moodle features, primarily Quiz module and
similar, that enable students to take graded tests was also
investigated in this research. 72.31% (Novi Sad) /
42.65% (Maribor) of survey participants had already
been examined in such a way. They found it to be very
convenient and they especially valued the increased
speed of the grading process. The main problems that
arouse while solving online tests identified by our
students are the time limits and the possibility of
hardware failure, which lowers their concentration.
Only 26.15% (Novi Sad) / 35.29% (Maribor) of
students think that tests done using computers offer more
possibilities to cheat compared to the usual settings when
paper tests are used. Nevertheless, the teaching staff
keeps constant efforts to reduce this ever existing
assessment problem to the minimal possible level by
administering tests in controlled environments like
supervised computer rooms, limiting the access to certain
IP addresses, etc. This practice is understood and
supported by 81.54% (Novi Sad) / 44.12% (Maribor) of
students. Thus, apart from the fact that online testing is
much more employed in grading students in Novi Sad
than in Maribor, it is interesting to notice that Serbian
students are less resistant to all kinds of cheating
4.1.3 Collaborative assignments
Regarding teamwork experiences, 27.94% of students in
Maribor and 52.31% of students in Novi Sad (almost
twice as much) had already done some collaborative
assignments using Moodle’s modules suitable for such
efforts (Wiki, Workshop, etc.). They generally found
these activities both challenging and valuable as learning
experiences, and responded very well to the team-
building practice promoted through them.
The fact that students are willing to work in small
teams in order to solve various assignments, together
with their satisfaction with what Moodle’s modules
intended to foster collaborative activities offer, is
backing the already proven hypothesis that students who
use opportunities in self-regulated and collaborative
learning experience higher learning achievements
(Paechter et al., 2010).
4.1.4 Usage of communication tools
Moodle has communication capabilities leaning towards
Web 2.0 functionalities, like blog, forums, wiki, or chat.
However, students are not very eager to use those
features in their studies (Table 3).
Most of them say they still prefer personal
communication with professors and teaching assistants or
use email communication instead, which to some extent
fits global trends noticed in other studies.
Tools Novi Sad Maribor
forums and
18.46% 39.71%
blogs 23.08% 11.03%
chat 26.15% 30.88%
Table 3: Frequent usage of communication tools.
4.1.5 Expressing opinions
Considering online surveys like this one, great majority
of students, 91.54% (Novi Sad) / 80.15% (Maribor) of
them, had no problem with filling the surveys out if they
were to be completed anonymously. In general they
value every opportunity to state their opinion on matters
that directly influence the quality of the courses they
attend. The rest of the surveyed students expressed their
lack of belief in the possibility to be completely
anonymous while filling out online surveys in
environments like Moodle which systematically keep
records of all user actions.
However, it is important to notice that 26.92% (Novi
Sad) / 62.5% (Maribor) of the students are afraid of the
consequences if they express a negative opinion or
criticize a teacher within a Moodle course, for instance
using a discussion forum. Yet only 6.92% (Novi Sad) /
16.47% (Maribor) of those students claim that their fear
is based on some previous negative experience.
Additionally, students would assess their teachers and
courses they attend more freely if they would be assured
4.1.6 Privacy concerns
Most of the survey participants (93.85% in Novi Sad and
91.18% in Maribor) are satisfied with privacy in Moodle.
Others that are not so satisfied gave their reasons for that.
As the most frequent cause they stated that other students
who participate in the same course are able to track their
online status and participation in various activities (for
example submissions of assignment solutions). So the
majority of students stated their wish for privacy,
Usability and Privacy Aspects of Moodle… Informatica 37 (2013) 221230 225
signalling that at least Moodle’s grade book should be
more frequently and thoroughly used by their teachers.
On the other hand, some Serbian students in fact
wished to be able to see all student grades thinking of
that possibility as of a way to improve the transparency
of grading. These dilemmas support previous evaluations
of student perceptions of various e-learning components
that showed that the students’ strongest preference was to
submit assignments and have the ability to check their
grades online (Buzzetto-More, 2008).
A specific view of privacy in Moodle was
investigated in detail, namely who should be able to
access data from other users’ profiles (Figure 2).
Considering the question used to explore which pieces of
information from user accounts should be hidden,
expected answers such as email addresses, phone
numbers, student ID numbers, etc. were received.
Some students also mentioned hiding first/last access
times and activity logs of course participants. Most of
these problems, now that we are aware of their existence
and impacts on students’ confidence, can be easily solved
by changing certain system administration settings and
introducing small modifications in course access
privileges for users in the student role.
Anyone Registered
Novi Sad Maribor
Figure 2: Accessing data from user accounts/system logs.
4.1.7 Technical problems and localization
A number of complaints appeared regarding the stability
of the platform 23.85% (Novi Sad) / 16.18% (Maribor)
of students reported some technical issues. They had
been usually in fact facing hardware and software
limitations of the employed servers. The inconveniences
were identified as: connection problems, slow response
in case of many users connected to Moodle, difficulties
when opening or downloading specific types of files in
certain browsers, etc.
In Maribor, practically all of the survey participants
believe that the Slovenian localization of Moodle is
rather good. Similarly, Serbian language packs are well
maintained according to 96.92% of the questioned
Students generally consider the localization to be
rather important, which corresponds with the findings of
other studies claiming that the use of native language in
Moodle makes the accomplishment of students’ tasks
easier (Melton, 2006). Still, a lot of them habitually
prefer using the interface in English.
4.2 Teachers’ perspective
The other part of the survey was conducted with
comparable numbers of teachers and teaching assistants,
25 in Maribor and 18 in Novi Sad, all working with
students that participated in the first survey.
4.2.1 Design and implementation of learning
resources provided online
Preparation of online learning resources is becoming one
of the regular activities of our teaching staff, although it
is not strictly required by the management at our
faculties. Nevertheless, it requires extra effort and a
certain amount of time (Table 4).
However, we expected the teachers to complain even
more about the time management problems. Relatively
mild feedback could, unfortunately, be credited to the
fact that a lot of teachers simply are not motivated to, or
do not have enough time, energy, or possibly even skills
to produce more than small quantities of very simple
online resources (totally opposite from what their
students expect them to do).
Answer Novi Sad Maribor
more than for
38.89% 28%
less than for
33.33% 48%
the same as for
27.78% 24%
Table 4: Time needed for the preparation of teaching
Although teachers from both institutions see the
benefits of organizing e-learning efforts by using systems
like Moodle, in Novi Sad 33.33% of them still prefer
having their own home pages for (at least some of) their
courses, saying that it is easier to maintain such pages,
that it makes their work more flexible and independent,
or that they are simply not significantly motivated to
change their habits.
Interestingly, none of the survey participants in
Maribor prefers such an option. In fact, 76% of them, as
well as 44.44% of teachers in Novi Sad think that using
Moodle is much better than maintaining separate course
They point out that the LMS solves administrative
issues, keeps all resources in one place making them
easily accessible to students, and provides better
structure of courses and more features to implement
various online activities.
Finally, 22.22% (Novi Sad) / 24% (Maribor) of
teachers prefer neither Moodle nor their own course
226 Informatica 37 (2013) 221–230 M. Ivanović et al.
pages. They use the LMS in some of their courses, but
still employ other mechanisms for specific course
Separate tools often have a simpler and more
likeable GUI or provide specific development
instruments for certain course segments lessons created
and followed in a flexible way, more readable forums,
better implemented chat and instant messaging options,
freely structured surveys, complex wiki editing and
tracking, special types of quizzes, etc.
Regarding the existing standard modules in Moodle,
Lesson module seems to be one of the most precious
ones equally in Novi Sad and Maribor (Figure 3).
0,00% 0,00%
very low low acceptable high very high
Novi Sad Maribor
Figure 3: Usability of Moodle’s Lesson module.
Teachers that participated in the survey, when using
Moodle, apart from providing downloadable resources
(lecture slides, assignments used for lab exercises, etc.)
or links to external references, often present the teaching
material shaped as more or less complex eLessons, built
using Lesson module. This module was even extended in
order to support creation of (semi-)adaptive eLessons
(Komlenov et al., 2008).
Some of the questioned teachers also use modules
like Glossary to explain key terms related to the topics
they teach, or to provide their students with different
kinds of tips or generally offer them easily accessible
reference points. Glossary module received relatively
good grades as well, especially in Novi Sad (Figure 4).
0,00% 0,00%
5,56% 5,56%
very low low acceptable high very high
Novi Sad Maribor
Figure 4: Usability of Moodle’s Glossary module.
4.2.2 Graded tests
Only 16.67% (Novi Sad) / 32% (Maribor) of survey
participants use online tests to officially assess their
students. The rest of them do not use this possibility at all
or they just provide tests for students’ self-assessment
that are always available and can be solved numerous
times, but teachers that offer such tests do not analyse the
results of their students.
Generally our colleagues still prefer paper tests due
to possible organizational problems that can appear when
online testing is practiced, issues concerning security and
cheating, or they simply do not find online testing serious
enough for grading the topics they teach. For some
specific subjects there are also no suitable types of
questions within the available tools.
Teachers that use online tests for official assessment
have rather positive experiences with them. They
especially value the implemented grading mechanisms
that save them a lot of time so they can invest some more
hours in preparation of bigger pools of questions that can
be exploited in the following years as well. To prevent
cheating they restrict solving tests to:
certain amounts of time (all such teachers in both
Novi Sad and Maribor),
specific computer labs (all teachers in Novi Sad and
75% of teachers in Maribor),
only particular IP addresses (all teachers in Novi Sad
and 25% of teachers in Maribor).
Generally not many survey participants think that
students have more opportunities to cheat when solving
tests in Moodle than when doing paper tests (Table 5).
Interestingly, although about the same percentage of
students (26.15%) and teachers (27.78%) believe so in
Novi Sad, Slovenian teachers should take some more
measures of precautions, since only 4% of them believe
that it is easier for students to cheat when solving
electronic tests instead of paper ones, while 35.29% of
their students support that claim.
Assessment Novi Sad Maribor
more than when
doing paper
27.78% 4%
less than when
doing paper
27.78% 57%
the same as
when doing
paper tests
44.44% 39%
Table 5: Opportunities for cheating within tests solved in
Quality of Moodle testing features, mainly Quiz
module, was assessed as well (Figure 5). Some teachers
that had not previously used this functionality chose not
to grade it, so the assessment would not be influenced by
their lack of experience with the options it offers.
Usability and Privacy Aspects of Moodle… Informatica 37 (2013) 221230 227
4.2.3 Individual and collaborative assignments
The practice to distribute individual assignments to
students using Moodle, and afterwards to collect their
solutions, is rather common at both institutions.
very low low acceptable high very high
Novi Sad Maribor
Figure 5: Usability of Moodle’s Quiz module.
For this purpose teachers usually apply a variety of
options provided in the Assignment module. And they
are generally very satisfied with its quality (Figure 6).
0,00% 0,00%
very low low acceptable high very high
Novi Sad Maribor
Figure 6: Usability of Moodle’s Assignment module.
On the other hand, collaborative activities using
appropriate Moodle’s modules like Wiki have so far been
introduced in only a couple of courses at both
Hence we received only 5 responses regarding the
quality of functionalities of the Wiki module in Novi
Sad. In Maribor, however, 20 survey participants
assessed this module (Figure 7).
20,00% 20,00% 20,00%
very low low acceptable high very high
Novi Sad Maribor
Figure 7: Usability of Moodle’s Wiki module.
All in all, it received a lot of negative comments.
Nobody addressed its usability as very high. Although
this module satisfies the basic needs of students in their
efforts to solve various team assignments, it is obvious
that, despite its recent restructuring, teachers still think
that it is not as functional as separate wiki systems.
4.2.4 Usage of communication tools
Moodle’s communication tools are leading mechanisms
of informing students about organizational and other
issues within our courses according to 72.22% (Novi
Sad) / 84% (Maribor) of teachers. Other common
communications means are regular message boards (used
by 11.11% of teachers in Novi Sad and 16% of teachers
in Maribor), electronic message boards (used by 11.11%
of teachers in Novi Sad and 68% of teachers in Maribor),
personal/course pages, etc.
Teachers were therefore asked to assess the quality
of Moodle’s communication tools (Figures 8, 9 and 10),
particularly having in mind their fitness to the teaching
methods they practice and needs/habits of their students.
Discussion forums (Figure 8) seem to be well
implemented in Moodle, while Chat module (Figure 9)
received significantly lower grades.
0,00% 0,00%
very low low acceptable high very high
Novi Sad Maribor
Figure 8: Usability of Moodle’s Forum module.
Chat module is in fact implemented with very basic
functionalities, so it certainly cannot be an adequate
replacement for one of the separate chat products leading
on the current software market. One would then expect
students to use chat in Moodle much more rarely than
discussion forums, but such a conclusion would be quite
wrong. Students have obviously found proper uses for
chat as well, even with limited functionality and Spartan
design of this LMS component.
228 Informatica 37 (2013) 221–230 M. Ivanović et al.
very low low acceptable high very high
Novi Sad Maribor
Figure 9: Usability of Moodle’s Chat module.
Instant messaging system integrated in Moodle is
more commonly applied by our teachers in their
communication with students and colleagues, alike
among students themselves, possibly because of its
possibilities to serve as both synchronous and
asynchronous means of communication, but also because
of its more user-friendly implementation.
very low low acceptable high very high
Novi Sad Maribor
Figure 10: Usability of Moodle’s instant messaging
4.2.5 Expressing opinions
Majority of teachers, 72.22% (Novi Sad) / 71%
(Maribor) of them, do not have a problem with
answering this type of surveys. Actually they believe that
conducting online surveys is a rather uncomplicated task
if Moodle’s Feedback module is used. Its usability was
assessed as pretty high (Figure 11), thus it does not
surprise that this once third-party module became one of
the standard Moodle modules.
very low low acceptable high very high
Novi Sad Maribor
Figure 11: Usability of Moodle’s Feedback module.
When it comes to dealing with opinions of students
concerning course organization, quality of teaching
material, grading issues and other course matters, our
teachers find it too challenging.
In fact, only 16.67% (Novi Sad) / 20% (Maribor) of
them already received critics within Moodle (usually in
discussion forums). In such cases they elaborated their
decisions online or in face-to-face meetings with students
and/or improved the material in question.
4.2.6 Privacy concerns
All teachers that took part in the survey are generally
satisfied with the level of privacy Moodle provides for
their students. For example, they are content with the fact
that students can only check the data regarding their own
marks using the integrated grade book, with the
possibility for groups of students to be defined both as
separate and visible to each other, etc.
Teacher that took part in the survey have no privacy
concerns regarding their own personal data, probably
since they publish just some bits of information they
really wish to share with their students. They are also
protected to a certain extent by the role they have within
the system.
4.2.7 Technical problems and localization
On the subject of technical problems, 33.33% (Novi Sad)
/ 37.5% (Maribor) of teachers said that they had
encountered some difficulties while using Moodle.
Primarily they were connected to responsiveness of the
system while updating content, time required to clear
cash/reload material, slow GUI rendering, lack of mass
show/hide/move resources, etc.
Some of the issues are obviously the responsibility of
the employed server, not Moodle itself, but there is also a
certain amount of difficulties caused by Moodle’s
interface and specific implementation of some of its
features that novice teachers have to get familiar with. Of
course, some of the problems existed only in previous
versions of the platform, not in the latest one.
Regarding localization, 33.33% of teachers in Novi
Sad consider it properly done, while others have no
opinion on the quality of Serbian language packs since
they have never used them. In Maribor, however, 94% of
survey participants are satisfied with the quality of
Slovenian translation.
While only the teachers in Novi Sad still have the
habit to use Moodle’s interface in English, all of them, as
well as 83% of teachers in Maribor, think that usage of
course content in foreign languages is beneficial for their
students. That practice promotes mobility of students and
internationalization of studies in general, opens more
possibilities for students to attain double/joint degrees,
and is also valuable for their later professional life.
5 Conclusions
In this paper we presented the analysis of a survey
conducted among Serbian and Slovenian students and
teachers investigating usability and privacy aspects of
Usability and Privacy Aspects of Moodle… Informatica 37 (2013) 221230 229
Moodle. Comparison of the results from each group
showed that a number of differences in perception exist,
possibly due to the heterogeneous points of view and
motivations for online learning between teachers and
Still, while not always being able to formulate
precisely their problems and dilemmas, both students and
teaching staff are generally aware of the benefits of e-
learning strategies and are very willing to present ideas
for potential changes in the application of certain features
of the system, as well as initiatives for upgrades of
teaching material and techniques.
Students in both Maribor and Novi Sad are generally
satisfied with frequently used Moodle’s features and
currently available teaching material. Teachers find most
of the available Moodle modules to be rather functional,
but they also commented on the poor functionalities of
some of them.
From the teachersperspective, the major obstacle to
even greater application of various online activities in
their practice presents a relatively low percentage of
students who use instructive and communicative features
of Moodle. Forums, chats, blogs, wikis, and other
elements characterizing Web 2.0 are fairly unexploited.
Online activities can be a good supplement to traditional
methods of teaching and learning, but students have to be
willing to participate in them and use the offered tools in
a proper way.
Mechanisms that we currently employ using
Moodle’s modules make it easier for teachers to produce
clear and easy readable, high quality teaching material
and improve communication with their students.
Problems that teachers are facing in the application of
Moodle’s features are mainly connected with the lack of
time to learn how to use them and to prepare all the
wished resources and activities.
A number of teachers that participated in the survey
believe that their efforts would be much more successful
if professional instructional designers were hired to help
them in the preparation and maintenance of their courses.
Regarding possible privacy issues, the majority of
students are satisfied with the privacy level offered by
Moodle, though they gave specific remarks and
expressed their general opinion that access to their
private data should be limited. Teachers, on the other
hand, seem to have no privacy concerns whatsoever.
We are aware of the fact that participants of our
surveys were highly computer-skilled individuals due to
their professional orientation, thus some of the
assessments might have been somewhat different if they
were made by students and teachers in different fields of
Other possible limitations of this investigation could
be those that we did not take into consideration neither
the possibility that some students might have experienced
Moodle only within elective courses, which could have
added to their general enthusiasm, nor the students final
achievements and grades earned in courses supported by
resources and activities developed in Moodle. A wider
study with similar goals but varied groups of participants
of diverse profiles could additionally prove the
correctness of our conclusions.
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... There are many reasons of adding and integrating LMS with education in universities, as it valuable their infrastructure, increase flexibility, accessibility, scalability, solve the problems of physical space limitation by using virtual content, reduces the costs of courses, improve their ranking to cooperate with global and technology development, and to competitive with other universities around the world [10]- [16]. For universities students LMS encourage them to cooperate with instructors to easily access the courses and cooperate with the virtual educational network as the young people now are more interested with the social media and internet and as seen in the paper referenced [14]. ...
... Moodle (corresponding to Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment) is a free and open source EL platform designed to provide educators, administrators and learners with a single robust, secure and integrated system to create personalized learning environments, based on socio constructivist point of view proposed by Dougiamas in 1999, allows users to incorporate different resources and functionalities in a modular structure [15]- [17]. Moreover, Moodle can be considered as a Course Management System (CMS), used to manage and evaluate the students' trajectory , monitor their performance, create and distribute courses content, arrange e-activities, along with to, provide tools for communication, interaction with others in the team work whom involve in the learning process [16], [17], [20]. ...
... and tables used in the core of Moodle, can be called as: "lib/db/install.xml" [16], [20]- [22]. ...
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... Table 6 analysis was based on the principal component analysis extraction method and varimax with Kaiser normalization rotation, with the rotation converging in eleven (11) iterations. Based on the data analysis, ten (10) indicators converged in the first component. .000 ...
... These indicators were: 'It helps me to be more effective in studies' with a loading coefficient of 0.688; 'It helps me to be more productive in studies' with a loading coefficient of 0.773; 'It is useful' with a loading coefficient of 0.640; 'It gives me more control over the activities in my life' with a loading coefficient of 0.643; 'It makes the things I want to accomplish easier to get done' with a loading coefficient of 0.742; 'It saves me time when I use it' with a loading coefficient of 0.790; 'It meets my learning needs' with a loading coefficient of 0.723; 'It does everything I expect it to do' with a loading coefficient of 0.582; 'It is flexible' with a loading coefficient of 0.417 and 'Both occasional and regular users would like it' with a loading coefficient of 0.422. These ten (10) indicators converge in an attribute related to how useful the learning management system is; thus, the first component was renamed 'Usefulness'. Therefore, the Usefulness construct had an average loading coefficient of (0.688 + 0.773 + 0.640 + 0.643 + 0.742 + 0.790 + 0.723 + 0.582 + 0.417 + 0.422) / 10 = 0.642 ...
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Technology has revolutionized education and brought about new modes of learning. COVID-19 played a pivotal role as a catalyst for embracing technology-enhanced learning. Adopting Learning Management Systems without considering their usability may have a negative impact on the learners' experience, and lecturers may abandon the systems and opt for alternative online learning tools. This study adopts a design science worldview, quantitative research design and survey research method. It uses a sample size of 398 randomly selected learners to participate in the study. The proportional allocation method is used to get the exact number of learners per university who are randomly selected. Quality is ensured through validity analysis and reliability testing of research instruments. Exploratory Factor Analysis is used to extract principal components and indicators mapping onto them. Based on the indicators' theme converging on the constructs, the constructs are named: Usefulness, Satisfaction, Ease of use and Learnability. This paper is essential for university management as they gradually embrace Learning Management Systems for online learning.
... This intention is a function of the attitude towards the behaviour (Uribe-Tirado, & Castano, 2016). The model is instrumental in determining that the unmotivated learner will fall behind the motivated learner in using the E-learning platforms, affecting the teacher's perception (Ivanović et al., 2013). ...
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The spread of E-learning accelerated exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, teaching science requires more attention than other subjects because it contains more practical activities and hands-on experiences. This study examines science teachers' perception of using E-learning platforms in teaching 8th-grade science during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Twenty science teachers from 12 private schools participated in this study. The participants' perspectives were ascertained by a researcher-developed survey and a follow-up personal interview. To reinforce the data gathered from the survey, nine science teachers participated in an open-ended interview. The demographic variables used were gender, age, and years of experience. The results revealed that most teachers have positive perceptions towards E-learning. Furthermore, female teachers showed superiority over male teachers in embracing E-learning platforms. Moreover, younger teachers with fewer years of experience had more positive perceptions of using E-learning platforms than older teachers with more experience. However, most science teachers still do not consider E-learning a complete alternative to traditional classroom teaching. Based on the findings, this study proposes that schools increase their investment in and utilisation of E-learning platforms to enhance education and promote independent learning among students. Keywords: E-learning, E-learning platforms, Science Education, Online Learning, Science Teachers.
... Moodle-based LMS enables the creation of a course website depending on the institutions. (Ivanović et al., 2013) The features provided by Moodle-based LMS in SMKN 1 Ponorogo provide the discussions forums among teachers and students, assignment and the submission, video links or Google Drive links for the students or anyone inside the class, online quizzes, messaging, announcement, and online calendar. Teachers or students from any device can access these features quickly. ...
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... LMS allows schools' personnel to keep track of their student's progress; currently, online learning is all about customized routes, which are helpful and beneficial (ibid). When it comes to training execution, certain educational institutions employ a catalogue feature (Ivanović et al., 2013). The LMS provides catalogue requirements as well as workshop training sessions. ...
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This research study aims to explore and identify schools' personnel data privacy concerns while using learning management systems in Tanzania. The advancement of technology has opened doors for technology to penetrate many sectors, including Tanzania's education sector, through learning management systems. These systems are designed to manage the educational resources, including student details, syllabus, professor details, timetables, and mark sheets. Even though the learning management systems present several benefits to parties involved, such as the students and other personnel in the learning institutions, the use of those systems also has its challenges. Concerns about the security and privacy of data have arisen due to the nature of data which is most often confidential. Many authors and works published the students' perspectives on using the learning management systems; however, there is limited research on the school's personnel perspectives on using such systems in Tanzania. Therefore, this thesis attempts to investigate the data privacy concerns of schools' personnel using learning management systems in Tanzania. The research is empirical, and a survey strategy using online questionnaires as a data collection method was adopted. The data analysis results show that most respondents consent to learning management systems. Furthermore, respondents acknowledge that the systems gather highly personal information, and they are concerned about not controlling the confidential information they submit to the systems. Therefore, the study shows that although most schools personnel use learning management systems in school, they are not comfortable engaging with the systems due to concerns over disclosing confidential information.
... The teacher can set up the tools using the functionality of the Moodle module, including feedback, discussion forums, workshops, chats, wikis, questionnaires, and surveys, as well as managing their assignments with their schedules. In addition to offering a wide range of complementary tools to support the teaching and learning process (Ivanović 2013). ...
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Almost all countries in the world use E-Learning as a teaching medium. Moodle is a Learning Management System (LMS), a free, open-source platform designed to assist educators in creating online courses with dynamic interaction opportunities. In this study, an evaluation of the use of Moodle was carried out, especially in fundamental physics courses (Newton's Law). Evaluation is given by distributing online questionnaires using Google Forms as a database to store answers, collect feedback, and as statistical software to provide analysis of the effect of using Moodle according to students' opinions or perspectives. The study results show that students experience problems in taking tests/quizzes using SEB due to the instability of the internet signal. One of the reasons is that students also have to join the exam zoom simultaneously. Meanwhile, the Newton's Law material provided is very contextual and rich in sample questions, including providing student feedback which is considered good.
... Preparatory stages included analyzing the usability aspect of the Moodle LP. We found that students and teachers were satisfied with Moodle LP [69], reporting an acceptable starting level of usability concerning ease of use and efficiency [70]. We also carried out an expert review of Moodle usability [71] which was conducted by a professional on blind accessibility. ...
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People with different capacities, such as the deaf and blind, have problems accessing educational content due to lack of accessible technology. Accessibility and usability are closely related concepts that share the goals for a satisfactory user experience. Existing literature establishes a direct relation between accessibility and usability, and reports that there are problems with both in learning platforms, and more generally with most websites. The objective of this paper is to evaluate the accessibility and usability of a learning platform by interrogating its participants. Three groups of students with different capacities (blind, deaf and deaf-blind) used an accessible learning platform prototype to assess the accessibility and usability of the platform and its contents. This article presents a comparative study of the perception and attitude of blind and deaf students towards the use of a learning platform adapted to their personal needs. Results showed that their attitude to the adaptation was very positive but there were differences in the perception of the ease of use of the application and with the level of difficulty to access the learning content. This work contributes to knowledge by showing the effects that adaptations have on learning contents for blind and deaf students in terms of accessibility and ease of use through the analysis of the perceptions of participants. Future work may consider increasing the sample of students, as well as developing and testing new technologies and approaches that address other forms of functional diversity.
The present study aims to determine the importance weights of the subjective and objective usability criteria based on task and user by considering these criteria simultaneously in the usability analysis of web applications. In this context, by proposing a Multi-criteria Decision Making approach including Entropy-Rank Sum (RS) – Technique of Precise Order Preference (TPOP) integration, the Multi-Dimensional Usability Analysis (MDUA) approach was advanced. The proposed analysis approach was applied on MOODLE software selected as a sample web application. The objective criteria in the sample application were measured using the Morae V3 program as a result of users performing their predefined tasks, and the subjective criteria were evaluated by determining the importance orders of the criteria for each user that affect the users' satisfaction. Subsequently, objective criteria weights were calculated by the Entropy method on task basis, and subjective criteria weights were computed by the RS method on user basis. In the last stage, the weights of the objective criteria and the weights of the subjective criteria that change according to the user are combined separately using the TPOP method. Thus, the most important subjective and objective criteria for improving the usability of MOODLE LMS were determined.
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This paper discusses the results of a study of the perceptions of a national sample of business faculty members from various business disciplines regarding distance (online) education and teaching distance education courses. In the past few years, distance learning programs have become very popular, and the number of offerings continues to increase. However, distance learning courses offer significant differences from the classic classroom environment. The results of this study suggest that the offering of online courses in business is still in the early or developmental stages, and that only a small percentage of the respondents indicate that they would teach online courses in the future.
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Abstract Learning that is facilitated by electronic technologies, otherwise known as e-Learning, can be either fully online, mixed mode (also known as hybrid), or web assisted; however, regardless of the delivery method, there are numerous tools and features at the disposal of students and instruc- tors, and it is important for the e-learning community to examine both preferences and usage of these features. This paper presents the findings of a comprehensive,study that examined,the e- learning perceptions and preferences of students enrolled at a historically black university. During this study a series of courses were specially designed to be intensive hybrid learning experiences. The Blackboard CE 6 Course Management,System was adopted and paper-less learning experi- ences created. The results of the analysis indicate that students find course Websites to be helpful resources that enhance the understanding of course content, and that these Websites will continue to have an impact on higher education in the future. The examination of individual e-learning components,indicated that students responded favorably to most available features. The strongest preference noted in this study was towards the online submission of assignments, with students overwhelmingly,noting that they like having the ability to check their assignment grades online. Keywords:e-learning, asynchronous instruction, web-based instruction, minority education, hy- brid learning, online learning,assessment, online examinations Background In 2005, the regents of the University System of Maryland instituted a policy that all students en- rolling in a Maryland State University beginning in the fall of 2007 take on average 12 of their credits through out-of-classroomexperiences,and other nontraditional means with the definition of out-of-classroom experiences including: e-learning, internships, student teaching, and a host of other activities. This initiative not only stimulated the growth of e-learning in the State of Mary- land but also sent a message to the larger educational community,that the Maryland system has recognized that some online learning is an enhancement,to students’ higher-educationlearning experience even when,those students are full-time on-campus residents (Loren- zetti, 2005).
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Many higher education institutions have implemented a learning management system (LMS) to manage online learning and teaching, with varying levels of support provided to staff and students, but often there is little subsequent investigation into the quality of the online sites or the use made of the support structures provided. This paper presents findings from an institutional survey investigating the use of WebCT by academic staff and students in their learning and teaching at a large Australian university. It was expected that student feedback would-relate to technical and infrastructure issues, but instead, the survey elicited responses primarily on how WebCT was used in teaching and learning, indicating that quality control is a major issue for the University. Student opinions appear to reflect more the use of the technology made by teaching staff - students who have experienced a well-designed unit rich with resources, timely feedback and good interaction with staff reported a positive experience with the technology. Staff responses are more focused on the technical and administrative aspects of using WebCT rather than teaching issues. The findings in this paper have implications for quality teaching and learning with technology, and the way in which tertiary institutions support academic staff.
Conference Paper
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The open source learning management system (LMS), Moodle, has been adopted by many people and organisations around the world because it offers a tightly integrated set of tools said to be designed from a social constructivist perspective. However, what advantages does Moodle really offer over other commercially available LMSs such as Blackboard, from the perspective of the lecturer or the student? In this study, Moodle was used in six teacher education classes in Hong Kong in a variety of ways. The experience of these classes was evaluated by institutional evaluations of teaching and a questionnaire specific to the use of Moodle. The results indicated only a partial preference for Moodle over Blackboard. Implications for pre-service teachers are discussed.
Online learning management systems are in use to facilitate the face to face learning process in many universities. There are many variables that shape and influence a student’s perception of an online learning management system. This study investigates whether there is a relationship between the perception of a student regarding the learning management system and their actual usage of such system. It is believed to help better understand the student usage of online learning management system. An online questionnaire was published on a course management system for a selected subject and the student participation was voluntary. Results indicate that no significant relationship between the perception students had about the learning management system and the actual use of the system. Interestingly, a significant relationship was found between having internet access away from university and the student perception about the system. Students who had internet access away from university had better perception about the learning management system even though there was no significant difference in the level of online learning management system usage between the groups.
As more and more technology finds its way into language courses, the more complicated software-adoption decisions become. The area of human-computer interaction (HCI) has much to offer those of us in language teaching and research. While conceived specifically to aid in the design process, HCI testing tools such as the DECIDE framework can help language teachers and researchers get an idea of how usable a particular software package is before it is put to use on a wider scale. This small, preliminary study examined the usability of the learning management system (LMS) moodle's registration process and assignment submission module. While users were generally successful in the intermediate tasks, one-half were not able to complete the final task of submitting an assignment. While more study is needed to confirm the causes, it is possible that both the lack of experience in a wide variety of computer-related tasks and the use of L2 in the interface played a part in the results.
The changes in delivery methods of Information Systems subjects are a suggestion of the technological changes in our society as a whole. The growth of the use of the Internet has contributed to various types of e-Learning in tertiary institutions.This pilot study utilized a student survey in electronic form to assess first year Information Systems student perceptions of e-Learning. This paper firstly addresses the theory behind technology-enhanced e-Learning. It then examines some aspects of technology-enhanced e-Learning and describes e-Learning at the Cape Technikon. The paper concludes with some discussion on findings from the survey.
In this paper, the authors compare business faculty and undergraduate students' perceptions of online learning. Specifically, a survey was given to a convenience sample of 893 undergraduate students (of which 890 were usable) at two regional universities in the southern United States; a modified version of the survey was mailed to a random sample of 1,175 business faculty members throughout the United States. Comparison of the results from each group showed that a number of differences in perception exist, due, perhaps, to the heterogeneous points of view and motivations for online learning between faculty and students. Since many universities are still deciding the extent of their offerings of such courses, this information may be helpful to university administrators in deciding which types of courses at their universities might be offered online. Faculty who are considering teaching one or more online courses may find the results of this study helpful in structuring these online offerings. The results of this study should assist students in gaining a realistic expectation of what to anticipate from online learning courses based on information we have found and studies we have done. It is important that students have a realistic perception of the online learning experience. (Contains 5 tables and 1 figure.)