University of Oulu, 2019

More than 3,000 courses already available on Moodle – Optima to be retired in summer

The University of Oulu has been using Moodle for a year now, and the system has accumulated more than 15,000 users. The previous system Optima will be fully decommissioned in the summer.

Members of the teaching staff have been trained actively on the use of Moodle. The deployment of the new system required extra effort but it was also seen as an opportunity to do something new.

“The reception among teachers was primarily good. Although the system change was mandatory, they were happy that it also enabled further course development,” says Paula Vaskuri from the unit of IT support services for teaching.

Students of Information Studies Sini Kivijärvi and Satu Kinnunen are completing a group assignment on the commissioning of Moodle at the University of Oulu from the perspective of management. The efforts will involve a small questionnaire aimed at university staff.

Moodle introduces new features

As a system, Moodle provides the framework but it is up to the teacher how to use the various features. Compared to Optima, Moodle boasts better integrations to O365 and GSuite cloud services as well as Zoom. The new features include the implementation of the STACK system in Moodle and the H5P suite of tools, which can be used to add interactive elements to videos, for example.

The Moodle system runs on the university’s own service, which enables modification and development. Most higher education institutes in Finland use Moodle, which makes collaboration easier than ever before. Numerous joint courses and modules with students from multiple schools are already under way.

One platform to facilitate studies

It is important to students that, with an electronic system, they are not tied to any specific time or place. Study progress is smoother and missing class due to illness is not the end of the world since all materials are also available on Moodle.

“The student community is a diverse group of people with different lives. Through Moodle, students can complete coursework practically anywhere in the world, which ensures that their needs and situations in life are accounted for much more comprehensively than before,” Kinnunen says.

In recent years, the University of Oulu has been streamlining its systems. Business student Vy Nguyen says that, when he began his studies, courses were scattered across four systems: “This was very confusing for a first-year student. In my second year, everything was moved to Moodle, which made finding course materials and keeping up with deadlines much easier. I really appreciate Moodle, since it provides everything in one place and is easy to navigate.”

No materials have been created in Optima since the introduction of Moodle. Optima will be fully retired in the summer. Before that, both teachers and students must collect any materials they want to keep from the old system.

Last updated: 10.3.2020