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Augmenting the UPOU LMS

Since 2007, the UP Open University (UPOU) has used Moodle, an open source course management system. While the application has allowed the university to deploy all its courses online, Moodle still presents limitations. The compartmentalized nature of courses within the system inhibits the sharing of learning objects and resources across users. Furthermore, while it does have social networking capabilities to a certain degree (by many accounts more so than other learning management systems), Moodle provides little flexibility when it comes to collaborative learning. Technical issues also hampered the performance of a number of built-in functionalities, which in turn gets in the way of the learning experience. These limitations encouraged facilitators and students alike to opt for third party web applications to fulfil course requirements. This research project aimed to address these limitations by expanding upon the functionalities of the system. This was achieved through the installation of modules and plugins within the Moodle itself and the integration of external web applications such as conferencing, blogging, e-portfolios and rich media content management through single sign on (SSO). This expansion brought about a number of achievements. First, learning activities were made available which were either new or improved upon what Moodle had by default. This expanded learning management system was piloted with two courses under the Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia Studies program, which Moodle has been historically ill-equipped to accommodate on its own. Findings of the study were based on the analysis of performance as well as first hand feedback from users, which in turn is to be used for the continual improvement of UPOU’s online course deployment.