Berea College Transitions From Self-Hosted Moodle™ to Open LMS to Cut LMS Costs and Increase Efficiency

Read the case study to discover how Open LMS helped the team at Berea College transition from time-and-admin-intensive self-hosted Moodle™ to being fully hosted and supported by Open LMS, and what this has helped the college achieve.


Founded in 1855, Berea College was the first interracial and co-educational college in the U.S. South. With an annual enrollment of 1,600 students, Berea College is the most selective school in Kentucky due to its mission of providing a high-quality liberal arts education to financially limited students at no tuition charge.

Berea’s unique mission has earned the college various recognitions. In 2011, Washington Monthly ranked Berea the #1 liberal arts college in the nation for the quality of its education and has included the college in the top three ever since. Similarly, Berea has been considered a “Best Buy” college by Forbes Magazine every year since 2009.

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The Challenge

In 2009, Berea College began self-hosting Moodle™, the world’s most widely used open-source learning management system. Over the next three years, the College’s Educational Technology team recognized that it needed more assistance in maintaining its Moodle™ site. It contracted an outside company to help solve technical issues on a consultative basis. Soon, however, the team began running into additional issues, such as the inability to scale the site on the server and incremental downtime. Between the time spent internally managing Moodle™ and the money spent contracting an outside consultancy, the costs to maintain the LMS had risen exponentially.

The Educational Technology team knew that there had to be a more cost-effective solution. Berea began evaluating solutions in order to improve efficiencies and combine common practices. In 2014, Berea College chose eThink Education, now part of Open LMS, as its Moodle™ provider. Berea College migrated to the Moodle™-based Open LMS Edu LMS and received a fully-managed Moodle™ experience, which covers its Moodle™ needs, including hosting and support,  implementation, real-time SIS integration, consulting, and much more.

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The Solutions

Unlimited Storage

Unlimited storage allowed Berea to solve its previous space limitation issue and provided the college with the ability to scale its learning management system. The unlimited storage model saved the team at Berea College time and money.

Customer Support

Open LMS’s industry-leading support and service allows Berea College to put its learning management system into the hands of experts with confidence and ease. With an average functional ticket response time of under one hour, Open LMS quickly responds to and resolves any issues that Berea College may encounter.

“I always get a fast response when using the Open LMS helpdesk tools. Sometimes it seems like I send them a message once, twice, three times a week, and the Services Team is great at answering my questions quickly and thoughtfully,” said Anthony Basham, Projects/Moodle™ Coordinator at Berea College.

Real-time SIS Integration & Unlimited Modules

Open LMS’s real-time SIS integration seamlessly connected the school’s Student Information System, banner, and LMS to enable automatic enrollments and course creation. Furthermore, Open LMS’s third-party plugin policy allows customers to unlock the full potential of Moodle™, providing a variety of eLearning modules and plug-ins to choose from.

“Open LMS’s training modules have been incredibly helpful in training our teachers on how to use Moodle™. Almost all our faculty uses Moodle™, even though it’s not required, because it makes their jobs easier. In particular, the attendance modules, quizzes, and gradebooks are utilized heavily by our faculty,” said Basham.

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The Results

Cut LMS Costs

By switching to a streamline, fully-managed Moodle™ experience with Open LMS, Berea College has avoided incurring unforeseen, piecemeal costs and has been able to dedicate its internal resources to other projects.

Increased Productivity

With Open LMS, the Educational Technology team is able to focus less on Moodle™ maintenance and more on progressing other institutional goals. “Before switching to Open LMS, I probably spent about 30-50% of my time on Moodle™-related projects. I still spend time on Moodle™, but my involvement has lessened greatly,” said Basham. “With Open LMS managing our Moodle™ site, my team and I are able to commit more time to accomplishing other projects.”


“When we were self-hosting, there were nights that I didn’t sleep well because I wasn’t completely confident in our technical adaptability to keep up with our Moodle™ site,” said Basham. “With Open LMS, we haven’t had any issues. I have complete confidence in their ability to keep us on track.”

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Note: A version of this case study originally appeared on the eThink Education blog. eThink is now part of Open LMS and some details of the case study have been updated accordingly.

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Jeremy Schweitzer
About the author

Jeremy Schweitzer

Product Manager at Open LMS

Senior leader in education technology with a proven track record of supporting enterprise clients. My team develops and implements learning solutions that support organizations’ strategic goals. As a former systems administrator and instructional designer, my technical knowledge and people skills drive a systems approach when I conduct needs assessments and design solutions. My focus is building sustainable options for my clients that are adaptive to evolving needs and challenges. In my current role with Open LMS, I work with three learning management systems building solutions for clients in higher ed, non-profit, government, and corporate sectors.

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