WIDE Services started its journey at 15 January 2013 and joined the Moodle Partner network at 12 March 2013. Since then, the company offers professional services in Moodle with the same values of Moodle HQ, believing Moodle’s mission and contributing to Community in various ways.
Moodle celebrates its 15th birthday after its first release to the world in 2002 by Martin Dougiamas at Sunday, 20th of August 2017 (#MoodleParty)! On this special occasion, Yiannis Arapoglou, General Manager of WIDE Services, shares his experiences with Moodle all these years:
“I’ve first started working with Moodle since October-November 2006 and during all these years I’ve grown up following all the new versions from 1.6 till the last one, I’ve seen all the changes in Moodle community, the new features, the plugins, the roadmap, the people, the Moodle Partner Network and many-many more…
I still remember my first experience with Moodle (funny and shocking!) and the first time I ‘ve heard that “funny” word! Here is my story… I had just completed my bachelor in University of Piraeus at Digital Systems Department and I have entered at the MSC program “e-Learning” at the same Department. My great mentor Prof. Retalis Symeon (for us is just Simos - https://www.ds.unipi.gr/en/retal), had just offered me a scholarship and I was working for a few days as a researcher at his team in CosyLlab (http://cosylab.gr). This was the greatest opportunity I had in my life to gain valuable working experience next to an inspiring man who gave me so much of his knowledge…
One day, Simos called me at his office, along with another researcher at the same team (my good friend Michalis Boloudakis) in order to give us instructions about the new projects he wanted to work on. I took my notebook (actually a classic paper note book!) and went to his office.
Simos started to talk to Michalis and me: “Boys, the new MSC semester is starting tomorrow and we have to prepare some things. So, now I am sending you an excel with names and email addresses for the new candidates. I want you to login to our Moodle, make backup of the old courses from previous years, create a clean copy of the course from restoration but without any user data included, add a new News forum, register all the users from the excel file I will send you, enroll them in the course and test that everything works correctly because first impression is the most important for the new candidates like you (ourselves were included in the list as members of the new class!). Additionally, don’t forget to upgrade Moodle to latest stable version which has some nice new features, fix the cron because previous admin couldn’t fix it in our Windows server (I think it was a simple XP environment with Xampp installed!) and let me know when done in order to send an announcement. Any questions?”.
My note book was full of notes with all the keywords I have heard – for the first time to be honest- (backup course, restore course, user data, add users from excel, enroll, clear data, upgrade, cron,, hack admin credentials, etc). As you imagine, I had a question… “Simos, I have kept notes for everything, but what is Moodle?” !!!! In the next 2 days (and nights!) we have understood all the above (which now are too easy to worry about!) and we have fixed everything!
Since then, I have installed, configured, developed themes & plugins in hundreds of Moodle platforms, for internal use, for private and public schools, Universities, companies etc.
The eleven years I deal with Moodle, I have seen how things are working from all positions of a technical department. I started from junior developer, server administrator in Windows/Linux servers, plugin/theme developer, course designer (data entry), content development, training, MCCC Training (mentor/assessor),…, and now my role lies mostly in designing the whole e-Learning solutions for our clients, making Moodle more “clever” with smart automations and integrations.
Additionally, I support the Community with maintaining the Greek Language Pack in Amos system, the YouTube Channel of Moodle HQ with Greek subtitles in all videos uploaded and I also (try) to participate in Learn Moodle Moocs supporting candidates from Greece or Cyprus (Greek speakers).
Throughout that time, I still believe in Moodle spirit and that this idea of Martin Dougiamas for creating Moodle as an Open Source Project has completely changed the world of learning. New job positions created (admins, developers, course designers, instructional designers etc), new companies founded (like Moodle Partner companies), independent people find an easy way to grow up their local companies offering their training programs worldwide (like commercial course providers), companies managed to speed-up training time for new employees and minimize their training costs (travel, accommodation, catering etc) and many more... The fact that it’s free and accessible to all with so many features available, made it so popular worldwide and it was used in so many contexts and so many different areas. Moodle provided the world with an easy way to train everyone in every subject!
People in Moodle HQ always inspire me (and my team in WIDE Services) to love Moodle project, to offer Education with Respect, Integrity, always Openness and with Innovation and to give the world the most effective platform for learning. WIDE Services, as all Moodle Partner companies, proudly follows Moodle missions to Empowering educators to improve our world. This is actually a key reason why we enjoy so much to provide professional services in Moodle (hosting, support, development/integrations, training, etc) and we get deeply into our client’s projects providing top class consulting services.
I belong in Moodle Partner Network since 2011 (with my previous company initially and then with WIDE Services) and I am really happy that I am part of that family, I support Moodle I am helping Moodle software to evolve.
Happy 15th Birthday Moodle! #MoodleParty
Thank you for reading,
WIDE Services General Manager
e-Learning Solutions Architect / Business Consultant