The increasing impact of the Internet in every area especially in the second half of the 1990s has inevitably brought about its use in the field of education. While
various internet tools were being used as aside components in education in the early years when the Internet was developing, as time went on, platforms of course
design with many other features besides encompassing various different tools of the internet have been developed. Of these platforms, there are ones which are put into
use at a cost and there are also others that are open source coded. Throughout this article we will be dealing with the features of Moodle and Sakai in brief which seem
to be the most widely used ones of these platforms.
Moodle (Modular Object Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment)
Moodle is a free and open source coded course design platform with a modular structure. It has been being developed since 1999 (the current state being used has been
made effective in 2002) and has been translated to 61 languages including Turkish. According to the statistics released by Moodle as of August 2009 it is being used in
202 countries by 37240 sites.
Some of the platforms it runs are UNIX, Linux, FreeBSD, Windows, Mac OS X, and NetWare. Because it is known to be scripted PHP based and known to support many database
applications (MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and Microsoft SQL Server etc.) it can operate on any platform that supports PHP and a database application.
Users can script additional modules aimed at different purposes because it is open source coded and modularly structured. As of August 2009 it is possible to
download 547 different modules aimed at different purposes from Moodle's own site1.
The sites making use of Moodle in Turkiye are listed at the web site of Moodle2.
Looking at the list, besides secondary education institutions and universities some private enterprise and even personal users are observed to be using Moodle to
support the courses that they provide. However, there is no information on to what extent these establishments are making use of Moodle. Some of the sites in question
include only a few courses.
Sakai is also a free and open source coded course design platform like the Moodle. It was started to be developed in 2004. It is being used at about 160 educational
The basic difference of Sakai from Moodle is that it has been scripted as Java based. It can run on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X operating systems.
Similar to Moodle, additional tools can also be developed besides its own tools. The number of such tools named "contrib tools" that may be downloaded from the Sakai
site is 21, as of late August4.
When we consider the system needs of both of the platforms:
- A web server software, preferably, Apache, nevertheless it can run on any other web server supporting PHP that will also do.
- PHP packet (For Moodle 2.0, PHP 5.2.8 and later)
- A database packet (any one of MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server options will do).
- Java packet (Java 2 Platform Standard Edition 5.0 is necessary, any later Java packet as Java Standard Edition 6 is not compatible with Sakai)
- Apache Tomcat packet (Tomcat 5.5.26 is necessary, 6.0.x version is not compatible with Sakai)
- Apache Maven packet (2.0.6 or later)
- A database packet (MySQL, Oracle)
In order to pick any one of these platforms, besides the system requirements the usage features ought to be considered as well. A work on the comparison of usage features
of Moodle and Sakai may be accessed from the address: http://edutools.info/compare.jsp?pj=4&i=616,621
Hasan Nadir Derin