Brian aimed to demystify how open source software works. Click here for the abstract. I found the presentation interesting.


Moodle started as a thesis project. It is a acronym for Modular Object Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment. It is community driven, meaning it is created for teachers by teachers. It has over 50% market share worldwide. It can be used at all levels of educations. The people running Moodle matters, which can lead to misconceptions about how versatile it is.

Totara is the corporate fork of Moodle. It is basically an adaptation of the Moodle code to work for the corporate world.

What is Open Source?

Open source means that all the code is given freely, meaning that any vendor can support it. That creates competition and leads to lower pricing and arguably better service according to Brian. Open source means low cost, low risk, flexibility, and rich features. Moodle is a secure system.

Open source is not scary. I like open source software. It has empowered many people to do more things.

Moodle Costs

Moodle is Free like Puppies not like beer.

~ Brian

There is a maintenance cost to having an open source software – IT support. Companies take care of the puppy for the non-techy people. Official partners are certified by the non-profit group and give 10% or revenue to the non-profit group.


Open source software can be self-hosted. Alternatively, support can be provided by a third party (certified or not). You can also move to a different Moodle partner at any time without the end user knowing (usually). You own the data and code. That is what keeps the service high.

Wokandapix / Pixabay

They host the data in Canada for Canadians. Implementation is highly customized (he talked about a bunch of tech stuff). Support is then unlimited. They fix problems for you instead of explaining how you should fix it. I am assuming that different companies work differently. The presenter is from eThink.

The Ecosystem

An open ecosystem allows you to sub in and out services that do not meet your needs. Integrations are easy to add in. Open source does not block out other services, making it more flexible. While we may not know what is next, it is important to be able to adapt to changes in technology. Open source allows future proofing because it offers multiple hosting options, is flexible, scalable and puts service first.

Partner networks further enable referral to people that can meet the needs of clients. They make introductions to services based on data from what other clients are using – they are agnostic. They currently have over 120 partners, which include things like student information systems and reports.

JuralMin / Pixabay


Laura Killam is an experienced nursing educator from Northern Ontario with a keen interest in improving student learning through innovation. For more information please visit


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