Recently I did a presentation on Virtual Classroom options available for Moodle. One of the things that came up in the discussions during the session was the need to have the ability to integrate seamlessly between to the systems – preferably with IMS LTI.
I have done a few posts and videos on IMS LTI (Learning Tool Interoperability)  and how this can be used to integrate learning tools with Moodle. So once I saw the Bigbluebutton had released their beta with the LTI integration available I had to try it.
I have done a short screen cast to demonstrate the setting up and use of the connection.
As you will see it works as you would expect:
- a teacher creates the activity with the LTI connection details
- they click on the link and it launches the BBB framed by the Moodle site
- they are automatically logged in and granted presenter rights
- the student can click on the link course page and be logged in and able to interact with the teacher.
It is great to see another tool become LTI enabled, which will make things much easier for teachers to leverage the diversity of learning tools in Moodle without having to install extra custom integration. I also see that the BBB LTI integration is IMS certified which means that it has been tested to meet the standard which is good news too.
For more details on Bigbluebutton be sure to check out the site http://www.bigbluebutton.org/
For those planning to head to Tunisia in October for the Moodle Research Conference , you have just one day left to make a submission as Submissions close on Monday 17th of June.
The Moodle Research Conference that is taking place on the 4th and 5th October 2013, in Sousse, Tunisia being organised by Italian Moodle Partner MediaTouch 2000 srl with the support of Moodle HQ and the CoSyLlab research group from the University of Piraeus.
Full details on the Call for Papers and details on submissions and registration – check out the conference site http://research.moodle.net/mrc2013
They are also planning to host some research workshops after the Moodle Research Conference this year which sounds very interesting – so keep an eye on their site for more details.
Of course if you are heading to the Moodle Research Conference, you should consider heading a few days early to attending the Mediterranean MoodleMoot. This Moodlemoot is taking place on the two days before the Research Conference in the same venue (2nd, 3rd October 2013). It is possible to get a combined ticket for attending both – with full details available on the MedMoot site.
So if you have no plans for the first week of October, you still have time to plan!
I did two short presentations on Moodle 2.5 and how Moodle had changed since Moodle 2.4, and also on the Moodle Gamification Toolkit covering techniques that can be used to gamify a Moodle course.
The slides for both are embedded below.
Links to both on Slideshare for when iframes are not behaving:
As you may remember I released a Moodle 2 version of Moodle Tool Guide which was created by Joyce Seitzinger (@catspyjamasnz). Well, Natalie Denmeade (@moodlemuse) has taken the Toolguide and made a very useful version for Gamification. As she explained the Gamification Toolguide is designed to map Moodle activities to different player types and provide tips on how Moodle can be configured to use gamification elements.
For those who attended the excellent gamification presentation by @Moodlemuse “Gamification in Moodle- more than just badges” they will have seen it, but for those who didn’t get to it here is the file:Download Moodle for Motivation Toolguide (pdf) - 1.98 MB
Natalie has also started a Moodle for Motivation LinkedIn group to share resources, ideas and examples. For those interested – Join it here
For all details on the original version created by Joyce Seitzinger for Moodle 1.9 check out her website -> Moodle Tool Guide
For all Moodle 2 Tool Guide versions check
- English version by Gavin Henrick (@ghenrick)
- Spanish translation by Alfredo Ruiz.
- German version by Ralf Hilgenstock and Susanne Gebauer and Gerald Hartwig
- Czech version by Bohumil Havel & Jan Trávnícek
- Dutch version by Gerda Flim
- Simplified Chinese Version by Sun Zhigang
- Japanese Version by Mitsuhiro Yoshida
I have just finished the presentation/session at the online conference imoot.
The below are the slides that I used in delivering the session that included some crowdsourced brainstorming, graphic interaction and singing.
The session started with crowdsourcing a list of possible features for virtual classrooms, possible integration options that could/should be available and then finished with a list of products people knew. After this I went through a short assessment of the plugins that were available to integrate with Moodle for some of the platforms.Download Virtual Classrooms & Moodle (pdf) - 1001.1 kB
These were screenshots of the 2 starting slides that attendees helped create:
Thanks for those who came along to the two sessions, and thanks to the organisers of the imoot
For those interested, I had reviewed the usage of the integration plugins before so will link below. These reviews assess the plugin, not the web conferencing software itself. If you would like to get a specific one reviewed, and can get me access to a demo server to test, please let me know!
Remote Learner Adobe Connect Pro Module (Moodle 2 and 1.9)
This module enables the teacher to create and manage sessions for the Adobe Connect Pro Virtual Classroom system from within Moodle 2.0.
BigBlueButtonBN integration for Moodle 2 (Moodle 2) UPDATED
This activity enables easy integration between Moodle 2.0 and the open source virtual conferencing system BigBlueButton.
OpenMeetings integration for Moodle 2 (Moodle 2)
This activity enables integration between Moodle 2.0 and the open source OpenMeetings virtual classroom system.
WizIQ Moodle Integration (Moodle 2.0 and 1.9)
This activity and block combo provides a comprehensive easy-to-setup integration with the WizIQ platform.
Amvonet Moodle 1.9 integration (Moodle 1.9 only for now)
This activity provides a comprehensive integration for virtual classrooms with Moodle, including gradebook and calendar integration.
One of the strongest reasons for using an Open Source GPL application is the freedom to bend it to your own requirements, to configure and customise it to your organisation’s business or process needs. With Moodle that often means using add-ons from the community. There is a wide variety of plugin types; some are simple and some are complex in both their installation and use.
To keep up-to-date with new add-ons, a few years back I started to active review them on this blog. Based on the reviews and on the experience of working with organisations using Moodle, I put together a list of “Essential plugins for Moodle”, which I have regularly updated and presented at conferences, including the recent Ireland & UK Moodlemoots and the iMoot in 2012.
Michael de Raadt is the Development Manager at Moodle HQ and has been actively developing Moodle plugins over the past few years including Progress Bar and Unanswered Discussions. In 2010 Michael wrote the book “Moodle 1.9 Top Extensions Cookbook” which showed examples of how the plugins could be used in teaching.
For the past year I have collaborated with Michael to write a book on Moodle add-ons and today we are delighted to announce that our book “Moodle Add-ons: Using add-ons to enhance your Moodle site” is now available to buy.
The book is available to buy on Createspace and on Amazon and other online retailers. For now it is just the paperback version but we will have the Kindle version formatted soon.
Our new book goes beyond the work we have done before, extending the presentations and reviews into a new context, providing more reasoned background about add-ons, their format and function, and on the process of evaluation.
The first three chapters explain Moodle add-ons in general, including the different types of add-on plugins available, how they are contributed and why people write an add-on. The book continues with a guide on how to install a Moodle environment to safely test add-ons, away from your production site, and explains how to install a sample add-on. Perhaps most valuable is the third chapter, which describes the many aspects an institution should consider before installing an add-on.
The rest of the chapters include comprehensive reviews on Add-ons broken down into the following areas:
- Resources and Activities
- Course Tracking
- Course Administration
- Site Administration
- Course Formats
- Virtual Conferencing
Hope you have as much fun reading the book as we had writing it.
There are a lot of cool new things and improved old things in this release which are sure to make many users admins and teachers alike very happy. These include:
- Badges (see blog/video post)
- Installing Add-ons from inside Moodle UI (see blog/video post)
- Forms improvements (see blog/video post)
- UI Improvements (see blog post)
- New themes (see blog post)
- Drag and Drop updates
- Assignment enhancements
- Templates for essay questions in Quiz
- Performance improvements
Starting with this release Moodle Docs will now have a page outlining the new release key feature improvements. Check out http://docs.moodle.org/25/en/New_features
For details on how to upgrade to Moodle 2.5 see here -> http://docs.moodle.org/25/en/Upgrading_to_Moodle_2.5
For the full release notes check out -> http://docs.moodle.org/dev/Moodle_2.5_release_notes
The other available versions of the Moodle 2 Tool Guide are:
- English version by Gavin Henrick (@ghenrick)
- Spanish translation by Alfredo Ruiz.
- German version by Ralf Hilgenstock and Susanne Gebauer and Gerald Hartwig
- Czech version by Bohumil Havel & Jan Trávnícek
- Dutch version by Gerda Flim
- Simplified Chinese Version by Sun Zhigang
- Japanese version by Mitsuhiro Yoshida of Mitstek.com
As on the Moodlemoot.ie site:
It has been only a few months since Moodlemoot Dublin, but things have been progressing quickly.
We are delighted to announce that we will be running a Moodlemoot Edinburgh 2014 in partnership with Edinburgh Napier University. We aim to have a similar format to the two Dublin Moots, with training workshops, two days of presentations and then a developer hackfest.
We are currently working to finalise the dates and the venue and have narrowed down the decision after visiting a number of venues in the last few days.
However, we can confirm that the Moot will be held in Spring 2014 - more information as soon as this is confirmed.
The following have generously agreed to be the Moodlemoot Edinburgh chairs:
Dr Keith Smyth
Senior Teaching Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Higher Education
Programme Leader MSc Blended and Online Education
Office of the Vice Principal (Academic)
Edinburgh Napier University
Dr Mark Glynn
Head of Learning Innovation Unit
Dublin City University
We will be announcing the programme committee in the coming weeks too – we already have a number of people accepted as members and are in discussions with others.
As with the last two moots, the programme committee will be doing three tasks:
- Setting the themes/formats for the Moot
- Assessing and rating the submissions
- Chairing sessions at the Moot
So if you want to put yourself forward for the programme committee on behalf of your institution – please get in contact with me in the next two weeks on firstname.lastname@example.org
See you in Edinburgh.
Moodle 2.5 brings the a new theme into core. It is called Clean and it is based on the modified Moodle bootstrap theme which is maintained by Bas Brands which inherits styles and renderers from its parent theme.
The Original Bootstrap Moodle theme which is in the plugins database has over 8700 downloads since release. It was based on the Bootstrap CSS framework. It has minimal styling and can be used to create User Experience optimised themes. The framework was released by Twitter and has a huge following.
When you are looking at a course with the normal Clean theme enabled it would look like this:
When you shrink your browser (as it would be smaller on an iPad or mobile device) it looks like this (the blocks have jumped below the course sections):
There are a few theme options which can change how it looks.Navbar
The first option is to invert the navigation bar or not. This swaps the text and background colours for the navbar at the top of the page between black and white.
The two variations are shown below. This is certainly a neat feature.
The second option within the theme is that you can upload a logo. This will appear below the breadcrumb and above the course content/block area as in the example below. To me the positioning is a bit odd, and would maybe be better being above the breadcrumbs, but I imagine that is not a big change to make when you clone it.
You can also specify some CSS here which is useful if you need to have a logo different to the standard 75 pixels in the theme.Footnote
You can also add some content that will be displayed in the footer throughout your Moodle site. This is a neat touch for those who have to add privacy/copyright and other links or logos to the foot of every page.
So all in all a nice new addition to the Moodle theme family!
Moodle 2.5 has improved the usability of Moodle forms with a great step forward in providing the forms in a collapsed format and also providing the html editor in collapsed state by default too.
When you have a platform that has been built to cater for many different needs, one thing which happens is that there are usually a lot of options available to tweak the set up.
Moodle is no different in this matter. The settings pages when creating a course, or some activities (like quiz) have a lot of options available to enable each type of usage you can probably think of and also enabling you to configure it to how you want it to behave. For example a 1 hr exam no retakes and no feedback, or a 10 minute test with unlimited retakes and lots of question by question feedback.
Taking Quiz as an example it has settings to address so many aspects they are broken down into the following headings:
- General (3)
- Timing (5)
- Grade (3)
- Layout (3)
- Question behaviour (3)
- Review options (28)
- Display options (4)
- Restrictions on attempts (5)
- Overall feedback (5+)
- Common module Settings (4)
- Restriction of Access (5+)
- Activity Completion (4)
The number is the amount of settings under that heading.
As you can imagine, this makes for a long page which can be a bit intimidating.
The new collapsed form shows the required information and then has the balance collapsed into sections that if you want to change the default settings you can expand it to do so. The image below shows the new look and the video demonstrates the change.
This is a great move and I know many will like this.
The user interface has been an area that Moodle HQ has focused on since the release of Moodle 2. Each release has added some nice features and now it has come in for some nice improvements in the upcoming Moodle 2.5.Settings Block – Administration Block
For those who have got used to the Settings block being there, it has now been renamed to Administration which really does make sense.
It is where all the module administration, course administration and site administration features were located so now it has a possibly more suitable name.
In addition to this, those reports which jumped out of the course admin block in Moodle 1.9 into the Navigation Block tree in Moodle 2, have been ushered back to the Administration block. Teachers will be glad to see them back where they used to be.Drag and Drop
At this stage we are all used to dragging and dropping files into Moodle 2 – however now some more improvements have been made.
It is now possible to drag and image onto the course page and to create a label with that image inside it. You can then go in and edit the label as normal too.
One of those features many liked in Moodle 1.9 was the ability to Jump to a section. With the newly implemented Section Per Page feature for course sections, Moodle 2.5 now improves this by adding the Jump To dropdown below the displayed section. The images below show how it was in Moodle 2.4 and how it is now in the upcoming Moodle 2.5.
In Moodle 2.3 a new feature was implemented to enable site admins get alerts when a plugin that they were using in their Moodle site had been updated in the plugin directory. This would send the admin an email about the update. It was also possible to check for available updates through the admin user interface too. See release notes.
In Moodle 2.4 this was brought a step further. Not only did Moodle tell the site admin that a plugin update was available, but they could now update it through the admin user interface. This was a great step forward.
Now with Moodle 2.5 has take this feature to its next natural step, and enables a site admin to search for and install plugins from the Moodle Plugin Directory directly rather than having to upload via FTP. It is also possible to upload a zip of a plugin and not just pull from the plugins directory.
So what about checking the plugin?
The new system makes it much easier to manage the add-ons in the Moodle site. Once you select the plugin to install it will copy it to the server and validate it. There is a set of technical checks it goes through to validate and once it is complete you can then proceed to install.
Moodle then goes through the normal upgrade process.
Once installed, it is the same as if you had done it manually.
The below video shows the process by which a site admin installs the block Progress Bar into the Moodle site just using the web interface.Some things to note.
To make use of the feature requires certain permissions on the server to work which many managed hosts will not provide as it means that code they have not approved and audited themselves can be installed on a Moodle for which they are responsible. This is fair enough as it would be unreasonable to ask someone to stand over an installation that they do not control.
Also, it should be understood that as with any code change to a site it is always prudent to have a full site backup before any change is made. Where this feature is available in other applications like wordpress it always recommends that step too. When installing the add-on you have to tick an acknowledgement about this topic.
“I understand that it is my responsibility to have full backups of this site prior to installing add-ons. I accept and understand that add-ons (especially but not only those originating in unofficial sources) may contain security holes, can make the site unavailable, or cause private data leaks or loss.”
Lastly, it should be noted that where admins are using source code repositories such as GIT to manage their code this feature is not really usable on the live site, however would be useful in a test site where people want to try out a plugin before formally requesting inclusion into the managed implementation.
If you do not want to have the web-based admins install add-ons from the interface, you can just add the following line to your config.php$CFG->disableonclickaddoninstall = true;
The soon to be released Moodle 2.5 comes with a new feature called Badges. So before I go through how it works in Moodle, let me address a few questions
- What are badges?
- How are they earned?
- Who issues badges?
- What about Badges and Moodle?
According to openbadges.org the central site about open badges, “a digital badge is an online representation of a skill you’ve earned” But Open Badges take that idea further allowing you to verify the skills through a credible organisation.
As someone explained it to me – “if a resumé or CV is a bunch of claims, Open Badges are a bunch of evidence”.
So just like a qualification in the “real world” carries the reputation of the issuing body, an open badge carries the credibility of the organisation.
But crucially, there are two key concepts
- as open badges are not “proprietary” any organisation can create and issue badges and provide the verification of them.
- users can collect these open badges from many organisations and then package them together to provide a full picture of their skills.
In general, normal certificates printed for a course that the person has been taken are not something that can be easily managed online. Yes, they can be scanned and uploaded but then anyone could edit that. Which brings the second aspect of certificates that they are not easily automatically verified. Some institutions have systems that can provide verification based on a unique code. There are also businesses that specialise in qualification verification..
So open badges solves multiple challenges at once by enabling both the collation and display, and the issuing and verification - thus assisting the issuing organisation, the learner (badge earner) and potential employers or people interested in those skills.So how are they earned?
Anyone who completes a task/course/activity for which the organisation involves issues an open badge can earn one. Mozilla themselves issue a range of badges on http://badges.webmaker.org covering webmaker skills such individual skill as:
- fixing or adding an image to a Mozilla Webmaker Project through proper use of the img tag
- fixing or adding either a header or a paragraph to a Mozilla Webmaker Project by using the proper texts.
- fixing or adding a list to a Mozilla Webmaker project by properly using the ordered and unordered list tags.
For more info on those badges go ahead and look into these over here -> https://badges.webmaker.org/
There are lots of other places you can earn the open badges already -> http://openbadges.org/communitySo what about issuing open badges?
Those organisations wishing to issue badges need to put in place the infrastructure required to both award and provide verification for the badges. As mentioned it is free software and an open technical standard. This enables anyone who wants to and has the system or resources to put one in place to start awarding badges.
The below image from the Mozilla.org wiki shows the infrastructure at a glance.
The full information about issuing and the setup required are found here -> https://wiki.mozilla.org/Badges/Onboarding-Issuer#DiagramSo how does this relate to Moodle?
Through the new version, Moodle can be that infrastructure to issue and verify the badges.
So how does it work?
A Badge has a set of data in Moodle related to it:
- A Name
- A description
- An image
- The issuer Name
- The issuer Email
- The Badge expiry
- A set of criteria defining how it is issued
- A message to the user that is sent once it is earned
Site level badges are defined by the administrator of the site. The available criteria for awarding are:
- Finishing a course or a set of courses with a minimum grade or by a certain date.
- Completing a number of fields in the user account profile
- Issued manually by a specific role (Such as a teacher, or a site wide departmental assessor)
Course level Badges offer a slightly different set of criteria namely:
- Finishing the course (aka Course Completion)
- Completing an activity
- Or Manually issued by a role (such as teacher)
And of course it could be all of these, such as completing the course and being granted it manually.
Having both options available within Moodle enables the teachers/admins to use badges in a number of very creative ways
- reward the on boarding process by encouraging profile field completion
- reward individual activity completion such as participating in a forum
- reward success at a course
- reward success at completion a suite of courses – such as a full programme
- reward a non-moodle based success through ad-hoc rewarding of the badge
Lets take the course based Badge.
Once the course is built with whatever activities that are to be completed and the completion tracking for the course has all been set up and defined, then the teacher can add a badge
- They add the badge name, description, and image
- They then configure the criteria to be used
- Lastly they enable to badge.
This process is shown in the below video.
The a student can complete the criteria so that they are awarded the badge. This process is shown in the below video.
A Teacher is then able to look at the badges in a course and the recipient list of who earned the badge and when. This process is shown in the below video.One last point – what is difference between a badge and a certificate in Moodle?
This is a question that has been asked me nearly every time I bring up badges with organisations I work with, but usually structured as “Which should I use – a badge or certificate”?
Certificate is a add-on activity in Moodle that will dynamically create a PDF for the learner to download and print as proof they have completed / achieved something. This is very much a digital delivery of an offline method of proof. So if a user wants to collect and present online the certificate they can, however there is no automated way to verify the authenticity of the certificate. Also, with a certificate the Name of the course and other data are visible on the certificate to provide context as it is usually printed out.
The Open Badge system allows for this verification and for users “taking with them” their digital rewards. Although the image for the badge does not show the same details, there is meta data included in the PNG to enable the verification of what it represents.
I certainly see that people will be issuing badges for discrete parts of courses and also issuing badges & certificates for the full course itself. But time will tell.
For those intending to head to Tunisia for the Moodle Research Conference on the 4th, 5th October, before you book your flights maybe you should consider arriving a few days early and also attending the Mediterranean MoodleMoot 2013 which takes places in the same venue on the 2nd and 3rd of October.
As with other Moots, the content at the Moot will be more practice focused than research focused where users of Moodle – teachers/trainers, developers and administrators share experiences and case studies of where they have applied Moodle. It is a great opportunity to network with those using Moodle and those who are considering moving to Moodle.
According to the website – It will be possible to register for both the Moot and the Research Conference for a special fee.
Key dates to keep in your diary:
- 17 June 2013: Submission of manuscripts
- 22 July 2013: Notification of acceptance
- 26 August 2013: Submission of the final copy of papers and posters
- 26 August 2013: Early-bird registration deadline
- 2nd-3rd October Event
Be sure to keep an eye on #medmoot13 on twitter for information.
I just received notification from the organisers, that the Call for Papers is now live for the 2nd Moodle Research Conference.
The Moodle Research Conference is going to be held on the 4th and 5th of October, in Sousse, Tunisia at the Mövenpick Resort & Marine Spa, located in downtown Sousse, by the sea. Sousse is one of the oldest cities in Tunisia with an authentic Medina, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Sousse is very close to Monastir, one of the most famous tourist destinations in Northern Africa.
Sousse is about 140km south of Tunis Airport along the coast. There are a number of well-known airlines that fly into Tunis Airport including British Airways, Air France, Lufthansa, Alitalia and KLM. From early checks the prices via Gatwick, and other European cities the flights look quite reasonable. Sousse is also served by the Monastir International Airport. Sousse is only a few kilometers from the Enfidha-Hammamet International Airport. Although these are local, they have less major airlines flying into them.
The venue for the conference (Mövenpick Resort & Marine Spa) looks amazing – and for those who like wandering when not in the Moodle sessions, there are some amazing things to see nearby – such as the Sousse Medina & Ribat, Archaeological Museum and Catacombs, and within an hours drive the El Jem amphitheatre, and Holy City of Kairouan.
But enough about Sousse, back to the Call for Papers.
As the call for papers document outlines, Prospective authors are invited to submit manuscripts reporting original unpublished research and recent developments. This is one of the things that makes the conference different to the practitioner focused Moodlemoots which although they have some research presentations a lot of it is more practical.
The programme committee are looking for topics involving Moodle such as the possible topics below:
- Experimental research involving methods and tools
- Case studies on the effectiveness of teaching methods
- Innovative plugins
- Mobile learning
- Learning analytics
- Collaborative learning
- Communities of practice
- Interoperability with Moodle
- Personalisation and adaptivity
- Massive Open Online Courses
Research submissions must be papers up to 8 pages (including figures and references) or posters up to 1000 words in length. These will undergo double-blind peer review involving at least two program committee members. The deadline for submission of manuscripts is 17 June 2013. So this gives you plenty of time to finish that research paper you were working on, or write up the research you have ongoing.
The conference is being organised by the Italian Moodle Partner MediaTouch 2000 srl with the support of Moodle HQ and the CoSyLlab research group from the University of Piraeus. Local support will also be supplied by European Learning Centre, a consortium composed by ATI Engineering, MediaTouch 2000 srl and Star-t srl.
Full details on the Call for Papers and details on submissions check out the conference site http://research.moodle.net/mrc2013
It is nearly three weeks since close to 300 Moodlers were gathered in Ireland for the Moodlemoot Dublin 2013. I would have blogged earlier, but things got in the way. This blog post just looks at some parts of the Moot from my memory.
I have included some of the images tweeted by the attendees – with attribution – if anyone wants theirs removed let me know.
It seems as if it was just yesterday that we were in the midst of a coffee break between the hectic schedule of panel sessions, presentations, pecha kucha and more. I am reminded of a quote from an attendee from last year – “It was 72 hrs. of relentless networking” – I think it was that, and more.
The level of participation at the Moot was huge with a big increase in the amount of twitter activity
- 6590 tweets on the hashtag (nearly 3000 on Feb 19th alone)
- 224 users tweeted
- 69 media items shared on twitter
The top 10 tweeters accounted for 2600+ of the tweets they were:
- Danjatam 373
- Fboss 347
- Bbarrington 322
- ghenrick 291
- Niallj2000 279
- Jmdh22 253
- Stevewright1976 240
- Wheelz24 181
- SDCMoodle 172
- Nrparmar 150
The level of interaction from outside of Ireland was helped in part by our trial of BigBlueButton for providing remote access to the conference Room B Stream. This was a test which had some local technical issues which have given us some good lessons learnt for next time.
The intention is that next year we will continue with this but more than likely every presentation will be streamed and not just one room.
A few quick thanks
Firstly many thanks to Martin and the rest of the Moodle team who were able to be in Dublin for the Moot. It was great to have ye all there.
Secondly the support of Mark Glynn and his colleagues from the Moot partner institution DCU, and the volunteers to help chair the sessions was really invaluable in having the Moot go as well as it did – serious kudos to them all.
The sponsors support and participation in the Moot also needs a mention – their involvement ensures that the Moot can take place. So be sure to check out their pages on the Moot site.
Most importantly the attendees are the core of a Moodlemoot. The contributions both as presenters and as participants in discussions, panels and the overall engagement of the Moot underpins the learning and sharing that takes place. This is what makes the a practitioner conference like the Moodlemoot so useful to so many. Hats off to you all.
A special thanks too for Lynn Scarlet Clark (@scarletclark ) who did the designs for the Moot – thanks again!
Lastly, a huge thanks to Marshall from AVTEK (who stepped in with his MacBook to help) – a number of beers are owed.
Monday morning arrived and with it the first major influx of people registering for the pre-conference training workshops. People were registered on time, and coffee drank and then the workshops began. The day seemed to go well with a lot of engagement and effort going on in the four sessions – lots of tweets too nearly 1800 that day/evening.
Lunch came and went and the Baileys’ Cheesecake became a star.
We had made the decision to have the workshops broken into half days so that people could move between them to get a taste of a few different areas, which seemed to work well with 1/3rd of people doing one half of one session and moving to another. Next year will look at maintaining this or improving on it.
A good number went into town to have a look around Dublin but for those who remained at the venue – the evening began with wine and cheese reception and then moved onto the Quiz Night. Many glasses of wine and questions later the Sugarbabes team one. It was a relaxing evening overall, which was the calm before the storm.
Tuesday began the arrival of the balance of the attendees, lots more registering and the first panel session.
The topic of the session was the future of online learning and we had a number of people on the panel including Martin Dougiamas, Ross Mackenzie (The Open University), Lars Smith (Hibernia College), Michelle Moore (Remote-Learner), and me. The current climate where disruptive education, MOOCs and Social learning seem to turn up daily in blogs and news articles made this a good topic to start the Moot off with. Each presenter gave a short 5 minutes personal view on where things were going and then we had a discussion and questions/thoughts from the floor.
I hope the session recording comes out well, as there was a number of interesting points made some of which were:
- Surface learning vs. quality and depth of learning
- Sustainable business models
- Do MOOCs provide the depth of learning needed?
- Where do people get the independent academic skills required to take advantage of surface learning?
- Before we had MOOCs we had BOOKs
These themes and others tied in with the last panel discussion on the Wednesday where the globalisation of Education was tackled.
After the panel, for the most part I did not get to as many sessions as I had hoped, I gave some presentations including on Using Files in Moodle 2 and on Extending Moodle with Plugins. These slides and others should be up online by the end of this week. Most presenters have given us the presentations or links to them, so it’s a task for this week.
The afternoon session kicked off with a number of Pecha Kucha presentations which is a format that many seem to like now.
The recordings will be worked on over the coming week or two. They were recorded in HD so fingers crossed on those. These will be going up into an archive.
The Tuesday evening saw most of the attendees travel by bus to the Clontarf Castle for the Conference Dinner. It is a lovely venue. The wine and food was only surpassed by the 80s cover band (okay, so if you didn’t like the 80s perhaps it was not going to light your fire, but there were people dancing till the end).
We were very lucky with the weather and Wednesday morning was particularly lovely.
Wednesday started with a Moodle focused session where Martin Dougiamas presented about the Moodle future – his slides are here:Moodle February 2013 from Martin Dougiamas
There is a lot of interesting information here and this will be one of the videos I am sure will see a lot of views.
Mark Glynn of DCU followed Martins presentation and Q&A with a call to action for European HE and FE institutions to get in contact with them and to come together to collaborate and co-fund Moodle customisations and plugins that particularly meet the needs of the European institutions. I will post more about this in coming weeks.
To end the session, I announced that in 2014 that I will be organising a Moot north of Hadrians Wall – in Scotland – but more on this later.
The other presentations on Wednesday covered a wide range of subjects including a number covering LTI, Tin CAN and Moving to Moodle 2.
There was no wrap-up session for the Moot, by design. This came mainly from the reality that a lot of flights were leaving at 6pm, or even some at 5:30 which meant some people were vanishing from 3:30 onwards so that it became harder to choose a time for all to stop without making it a much shorter day. We did receive feedback that a formal wrap up would be nice so we will look at reviewing this next year.
On Wednesday evening Martin Dougiamas presented to students at Dublin City University on managing an open source project. This was an interesting angle on Moodle, and one where I learnt stuff that I had not known before then, such as how some features of Moodle evolved to support Martin in writing his thesis.
The Thursday Moodle Hackfest was added to the schedule this year in direct response to feedback from the Moot in 2012.
Although having developer training workshop on the Monday is a good thing, having a more advanced discussion driven developer-only day was something that we hoped would work well. From the feedback on the day and since from some participants certainly seemed to indicate this was a success and productive. Based on that it is definitely going to be repeated next year.
There are still some things to finish off including linking the presentations from each of the presenters, finalising the work on the video recordings, which I hope a good portion will be done this week.
And then there is the future
Thinking about 2014, things have progressed nicely with the organising of the Moot for 2014 north of Hadrian’s Wall. Discussions are underway with a partner institution – and dates & venue will be announced in coming month or two.
The goal is to keep the format of the two Dublin moots and hold it at a Hotel Conference venue again but in partnership with a local Institution. More info when we have it.
Also there has been an approach for 2015 as well, which looks very promising too.
There has been a lot of talk recently about responsive design and Moodle. Everyone has a view about it whether it is something to use or not use.
Before I bring up some points, I wanted to set down one definition of what responsive can be “to adapt the layout to the viewing environment”. It is a good idea to have a website look the best it can on any device, that is something I agree with – however Moodle is not just a website, it is a course and learning management system. So the remit goes well beyond a normal website.
A website reorganising the blocks, content areas, navigation, images on it depending on browser window size, or device can work, but what about when this is not a desired outcome? Are there cases where a block moving below the course page is a bad thing from a learning point of view?
I am approaching this not from a design point of view at all, but from a training point of view when I have trained teachers and course admins to use the blocks in Moodle to help support their learning delivery and administration.
Consider a Moodle course
There are a number of blocks that are used in a Moodle course that can be considered a key part of the course. What about the random glossary block? This can be a key part of the course content /layout providing a flashcard type experience on page loads to help introduce some content or trigger reminders, or offer supplementary information from one of the glossaries in the course.
Is the effectiveness of this block in the course reduced if the block is dropped under the course content sections ?
What about some other blocks which teachers use on their courses?
- The calendar block with deadlines marked on it
- The upcoming used to remind about key deadlines coming up.
- Or the latest news block – showing the most recent headlines from the news forum
- Logged in users – to help promote the inter-student communication
So from a teaching and admin point of view, is having the blocks dance around in a responsive way a good thing in a Moodle course if they have been placed there for a specific reason?
Should responsive design with a Moodle course try to take these kind of issues into account?
What blocks would you not want to “move around” in a responsive layout?
Should this be an issue? If a site admin went with a responsive theme, does this then limit the teacher in choice of blocks? Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
Just some random thoughts on the topic…
Now Mitsuhiro Yoshida of Mitstek.com has created the Japanese version of the tool guide. You can download it here.Download Moodle 2 Tool Guide for Teachers - Japanese version (pdf) - 313.3 kB
The other available versions of the Moodle 2 Tool Guide are:
Late last year I went to Madrid Moodlemoot and gave a presentation with Juan Leyva on Moodle and Learning Tool Interoperability.
I should have released this slides ages ago, but here they are.
They cover a different view on things including (at the time) a summary of IMS LTI provider and consumer availability that I knew of. I know of more since then and will update this before I use parts of it again.
Just for ease of access here are some of the links from the presentation:
- Video Demo of LTI in action
- LTI Provider Plugin for Moodle 2
- External Tool in Moodle 2 (LTI Consumer)
Some projects pushing the development ->