Moodle is ugly

stolen from Julian Ridden
shamelessly copied from Julian’s presentation

During one of his presentations at iMoot, Julian Ridden showed a slide from a presentation in Germany stating, “Moodle ist hasslïch.” His point was that many Moodle courses are ugly: boring lists of PDF, PDF, PDF, quiz. He then showed a well-designed Moodle course (lots of graphics – appealing & inviting) and another slide, “Moodle ist wunderschön.”

I heard that phrase – “Moodle ist hasslïch” – and understood it a different way: Moodle IS ugly. There are all kinds of blocks and activities and settings and options. You have to search for the page that shows the thing you want, the default way of dealing with things is text-based and simplistic …you have to work at it.

I posted something like this in the chat session, and Shalimar came back with:

If you’re looking for a rose & seeing a bee, it’s ugly. If you’re looking for a way to propogate flowers, a bee is divine.

Yes! Indeed, yes.

You see, to me the fact that Moodle is kind of ugly makes it all the more valuable. If Moodle were all beautiful and slick and perfect, it couldn’t be adapted. It couldn’t be customized. It couldn’t be personalized. Even if it could be, you wouldn’t want to because it’s perfect and beautiful. You wouldn’t want to mess with perfection.

I’ve said it before that open source software isn’t easy. It can be ugly. It might need tweaks. But with all that comes freedom and ability to change things. Moodle has all of that in spades and that’s one reason why I love it. With Moodle, you can build a course or a school VLE almost any way you want. Sure, you might have to work a bit to get it, but anything valuable is worth putting some effort into.

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