OK, so let’s say you have followed all of my advice:
- Registered a domain name exclusively for your Moodle installation
- Hosted it with a certified Moodle Partner
- Hired a course designer to build it
- Launched a GREAT Moodle eLearning site
Now, it’s six months later (or next week or next year) and you want to make some minor changes. Perhaps you want to update a quiz or edit some text. Maybe you want to embed a really cool video you just found on YouTube. You might even find that some of your external links and RSS feeds are broken. (This will happen eventually, as the owners of those sites move things around).
Who is going to do this?
If you’re anything like me, your first thought is to contact your course designer. And, if your experience is anything like mine (with other such professionals, not course designers specifically), you’ll find that because she is in the middle of another large project, your request seems like a buzzing fly in her ear. Not only does she find you annoying, but you feel like you’ve been swatted away.
So (again, if you’re anything like me), you decide to try it yourself. Of course, if you knew how to do these things, you probably would’ve done them yourself in the first place! But you try. Maybe it takes you less than a day to do a 10-minute task and if you’re lucky, you didn’t break anything. Maybe you took all day and maybe you broke a lot. Now maybe someone will think your job is big enough to care about…
How can you avoid being a pest, wasting a lot of your time, and/or damaging your content? Some choices:
- When you are choosing a course designer, make sure you ask about “going forward”. Will she help you with that? If so, what are the terms? Get a Service Level Agreement (SLA) as part of your initial contract. This document should define what it will cost you and what you will get in return. One option might be a flat monthly rate to check your entire Moodle site for broken links and incoming RSS feeds, as well as applications that are no longer optimal or viewable (because of upgrades to flash, Adobe Reader, etc.), and a stated amount of time making changes to your content. (Remember, your Moodle host will do the back-ups and upgrades to Moodle so this should not be included in this SLA). Another option would be an hourly rate, with a fast turnaround time, for changes to your content. You would then be responsible for periodic checking of links and applications.
- Find someone else whose business it is to do just these things. Maybe your course designer can recommend someone. There are many online “classifieds” where just such people post their skills and rates. Search “Moodle”. You can hire this person by the hour or on retainer. If your business grows enough, you can hire a full time person to do this!
- Take a course or two from a Moodle Partner. Learn the basics. Now that you have a working, revenue-generating site, you should have time to do this. I’m not saying you will ever be a great Moodler, or that you even want to be, but you’ll be able to fix yourself a sandwich or heat up a can of soup (metaphorically speaking).
It’s easy to forget the need for ongoing maintenance of content when you’re all caught up in the initial phases of the project. You don’t have to have all the details ironed out before you launch, but you should be thinking about it right from the start. Good luck!