How this blog came to be…

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This blog is a place for me to share my eLearning experiences – both good and bad – with you.  A little history…In 2005 I got it into my head that e-Learning for my Six Sigma quality training was just what my business needed.  It would mean that I wouldn’t have to travel every week, and I didn’t want to miss out on this growing opportunity.

I learned quickly that I needed an “off the shelf” software application because the two “big name” applications that I had inquired about were so big that they wouldn’t even give me a quote.  That’s when I really knew what “enterprise solution” meant.

I searched the Internet and found the perfect software – or so I thought.  It was written by a small software company and the salesman said “Yes, we can do that” to every question I asked.  I also had a “beautiful” website, complete with a shopping cart, news section, and forum, each one having its own login and quirks.  This site was created by my neighbor, also a small business owner.  He said “sure, I can help you with this e-Learning project”.

Five months later, I had absolutely nothing to show for my five months or the $7000 in software and web design expenses.  The software not only did not do what they said it would do, it had bugs!  My webmaster searched SourceForge, a site that compares open source software, and found Moodle at the top of the list; it had good reviews, had been around for a few years, and was stable (whatever that means).

About the same time, one of my Six Sigma clients had just finished her master’s thesis on e-Learning and sent me a study from Humboldt State University, comparing a “Big Guy LMS” to Moodle.  Moodle held its own among college students (who are a tough crowd) and was “free”.

Falling into a deep hole

Falling into a deep hole

Again, my webmaster said he could install Moodle for me, and would help me use it.  He created BeeLearn.com as a Moodle site and set me up with a third website (BeeLineResults.com) to serve as a “catalog” of my courses, with listings and full descriptions.  It had a shopping cart and I had access to the content.  Another three months passed and I still had very little to show for all my time and money.  The pages loaded so slowly I couldn’t work; I timed out most of the time.  And this was without any student traffic!

I needed help learning how to do use several Moodle features and my webmaster stopped taking my phone calls!  Finally – on a day in February 2006 that seemed very dark at the time, but now I know was a great turn in the road for me – he screamed at me on the phone and said I was a “lousy client”.  He didn’t want me for a client any more and it just wasn’t worth his time to figure out how to solve my problem.

I cried for about an hour.  Then, I went to Moodle.com and found a Moodle Partner, ClassroomRevolution, who took over my site, taught me to use Moodle, and helped me launch BeeLearn.com that following June.  It had taken me eight months to go nowhere; it took only four months to go from nothing to a full-service Moodle site  – once I had the right software, the right host, and the right people involved.

A few months after the new, functional BeeLearn.com was launched, I converted my original business website – AlbanyAnalytical.com to a Moodle site – and made the BeeLineResults site point to AlbanyAnalytical.com so could keep the domain name, but have only two sites to maintain.  With Moodle, I didn’t need a “catalog site”, and I could access all of my news, forums, content, and everything else, as often as I wanted with no hassles.  All of that functionality was already built into Moodle, but the original webmaster didn’t know that.  I spent a lot of money with him, setting up sites I didn’t need and hosting sites that didn’t function properly.  What I got out of it was a learning experience, which is what I’m passing on to you.

I want to save you the Eight Months of Falling in a Deep Hole that I went through.  I’ll tell you how to see through the dazzling sales pitches and comprehend the mind-numbing technical jargon.  I’ll help you choose what’s right for you, not what is easy for your webmaster. 

So, save yourself the nightmare and contact me! I’ll help you get your Moodle site up and running with courses online before you know what happened! 

Best of Luck to You!

Penny Mondani

Check back often and follow me on Twitter

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