The start of digital lessons in the southwest due to the corona crisis was bumpy. Tens of thousands of students had to grapple with the Moodle learning platform. Samuel Hochwald is one of them. The eighth grader of a high school in Stuttgart talks about his problems with Moodle. "I didn't find the page I needed right away, and the tasks can only be uploaded slowly." The state student council also confirmed that day one of the school closure in Baden-Württemberg did not run smoothly. His quick survey showed that Moodle was "completely crashed", so it was not functional due to overload.
The Ministry of Culture had provided Moodle as a learning management system. This free interactive teaching tool enables learning groups to be created, assigning tasks and materials to students, and evaluating work results. Moodle has been used and developed by some schools and in teacher training for many years. The Ministry asked for understanding of the start-up difficulties. Head of department Susanne Eisenmann (CDU) emphasizes: "There has never been a situation like this. We are all working hard on solutions around the clock." As a result of seven million web views from 71,000 different users, Moodle collapsed on Monday.
Missing digital strategy
The spokesman for the State School Council, Roman Rauch, regrets that the educational platform "Ella" has failed due to technical defects. It would have ensured better nationwide student-teacher connectivity than Moodle. The country plans to offer a revised version of "Ella" to schools until spring 2023. The State Parents' Advisory Council sees Baden-Württemberg's schools with regard to digital educational offers in the Stone Age. Association head Carsten Rees says: "After the educational platform 'Ella' collapsed, we are stupid." Samuel's mother, Franziska Buchwald, agrees. She says: "In the past few years, Moodle has been used so little that only a few server slots have been set up." For the teachers, the system was a fig leaf – they were not really ready to deal with the new technology. That is why there are now capacity bottlenecks.
At the community school in Neuenstein in Hohenlohe, which uses a variant of the Microsoft 365 learning program, the first day of learning in the virtual world got off to a good start. "When I checked in at eight o'clock today, 30 out of 50 ninth graders were online," says director Matthias Wagner-Uhl. However, the few community school colleagues who used Moodle had reported difficulties. No wonder, he thinks. Moodle is a "cane", complex and difficult to use. The ministry has been lacking a predictive digital strategy for years, says the educator, who is also the spokesman for the Association of Comprehensive Schools. Baden-Württemberg is lagging behind in comparison with some federal states, but also internationally. "Ms. Eisenmann messed up the development."
The ministry emphasizes that the collapse of Moodle does not only affect Baden-Württemberg. "Everywhere in Germany, the exceptional situation in companies and schools means that offers on the Internet have failed – including Microsoft offers."
. (tagsToTranslate) Baden-Württemberg (t) Ella (t) learning platform (t) Moodle