Upgrading Wilmette Institute Registration and Course-Delivery Systems

During June and July the Wilmette Institute upgraded its Moodle course-delivery platform. The Institute has used Moodle 2.6 for about three years, and it had wanted to upgrade for some time, but the software bridge that tied it to the Cvent commercial registration system would break if Moodle were changed. Moodle is a free open-source course delivery system used by thousands of schools around the world, and it is constantly being improved.

The first software team that the Wilmette Institute hired to deal with the bridge between Moodle and the registration system created more problems than it was able to fix, resulting in the Institute’s having to postpone some courses. But the second team proved to be up to the task and, within two weeks, had repaired the damage, restored some of the functionality of the software bridge that had not worked properly for several years, upgraded Moodle to version 3.2, and refreshed the appearance of the course delivery site. The new Moodle pages look different, causing learners to adjust a bit (things that used to be on the right side of the screen are now on the left side). Overall, the response to the new page look has been quite complimentary.

The latest updates are not the end of changes to the Wilmette Institute’s software-development changes, for several others are in the works:

  • The Institute is searching for alternatives to its Cvent registration system, which is quite complex and costs about $3.50 per registration.
  • The Institute is also improving its public website, http://wilmetteinstitute.org.
  • The Institute has obtained a nonprofit educational Google suite (which allows the staff and faculty to store documents on the cloud, edit them jointly, obtain email addresses ending in @wilmetteinstitute.org, and maintain common calendars) and is implementing it.

The upgrades, improvements, and new software are making it easier for the Wilmette Institute to serve its learners and to offer credit courses, which is now possible, thanks to a signed agreement with the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.

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