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Moodle News

Moodle Add-on Analysis Canvas

Some Random THoughts - April 14th, 2014 at 11:31:10 AM

As part of the session today at the Moodlemoot Edinburgh on Moodle Add-ons, we have released an Analysis Canvas to help you assess plugins for use in your Moodle. It based on the work of Michael de Raadt and Gavin Henrick in the book Moodle Add-ons

The Moodle Add-on Canvas is based on the Business Model Canvas and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 Un-ported License.

You can download it here: Download Moodle Add-on Analysis Canvas (pdf) - 187.37 kB

If you have any ideas or suggestions, please let me know. All feedback welcome.





Categories: Moodle News

Zoom Zoom Zoom – Moodle Gradebook Fullscreen

Some Random THoughts - April 11th, 2014 at 3:08:36 PM

We rolled a new feature on the Moodlemoot Theme today, which I expect teachers to fall in love with and have a long-term affair with.

Many thanks to Bas for making this a reality!

It begins with a gradebook, looking as it does..

Gradebook before

And of course there is a sneaky button on the top right – Zoom. So innocent and quietly waiting… to be pressed.

Zoooooooooooooooom (okay maybe overdoing this bit..)

Gradebook Zoomed


Yes that is it.  Header, Footer, Blocks gone bye bye, full-screen/reader mode to give the teacher the most space possible for working on the gradebook, or assignment grading, or rubrics, or students looking at content etc…

Zoom out and you have the normal page.

Okay enough for now!

Categories: Moodle News

3rd Moodle Research Conference – Deadline for submission of papers and demonstration proposals extended until Monday 14th April

Some Random THoughts - March 31st, 2014 at 6:10:21 AM

Good news for those who have been snowed under the last few weeks and would have missed the deadline for submissions, we now have another two weeks to get that submission drafted.

What is the Moodle Research Conference?

The Moodle Research Conference (MRC) is an annual international event dedicated to research and development (R&D) in learning and teaching carried out with Moodle. The MRC provides an opportunity for researchers, faculty/teachers, technologists, and other experts who either conduct research on the impact of using Moodle on student learning or develop tools increasing capacity to conduct research on Moodle use. Attendees share experiences and exchange research achievements and innovative developments. The aim of the conference is not to promote Moodle, but to bring together the community using Moodle to provide evidence about learning.

I attended the first two research conferences and the content was clearly quite different to the Moodlemoots. I produced a report on the 2nd Moodle Conference which is available on The focus of the MRC provides another insight into the use of Moodle in learning in addition to the excellent practitioner based presentations at the Moots.

Location & Dates

The timing of the conference is great this year! It is being held on 19-20 June 2014. After two years in the Med, this year the conference has moved to be USA based – in California State University Chancellor’s Office (Long Beach, California, USA).

Topics for submissions

The range of topics for reporting original unpublished research and recent developments is quite diverse and they suggest the following areas could be touched on although do not restrict the submissions to this list:

  • Experimental research involving methods and tools
  • Case studies on the effectiveness of teaching methods
  • Collaborative learning / social learning
  • Communities of practice
  • Learning analytics
  • Early warning systems
  • Plugins / modules / blocks increasing research capabilities
  • Personalisation and adaptivity
  • Massive Open Online Courses
  • Interoperability with Moodle
  • Accessibility
  • Mobile learning

So if you have been undertaking some research, you now still have time to get that submission in.

Types of submissions

They have three types of submission options for the MRC -  so to quote

Full papers

Paper length: up to 8 pages (including figures and references).
Will be presented individually in full sessions during conference..

Poster papers

Paper length: up to 1000 words in length.
Will be presented in a group poster session.


Proposal length: 250 word abstract describing the demonstration.
Will be presented individually in short sessions during conference.

For more details

For the full details on the conference and call for proposals, check out the MRC site ->


Categories: Moodle News

Moodle Themes – Responsive by default

Some Random THoughts - March 21st, 2014 at 12:34:19 PM

Martin Dougiamas recently posted about the future of themes in Moodle and for Moodle 2.7.

The first interesting thing is that the Clean theme is going to be the default theme for Moodle. This is the Bootstrap 2 base theme that was added into Moodle 2.6. The development and addition of this theme in core was one of the great outcomes from the Moodle developer hackfest at the Moodlemoot in Dublin last year. It will be interesting to see what comes out of this years hackfest in Edinburgh.

I believe that HQ moving to this theme as the default theme moves Moodle to where it is not just “mobile as well”, but mobile first in interface development which is a great thing for the community. A responsive interface by default means that theme developers and institutions, and plugin developers can take advantage of this in the future. The fact that all code in Moodle  will be tested using this theme now going forward is also a great decision.

He also announced that they will include a new Bootstrap 2 based theme called MORE that contains a lot of settings for customising the theme from within the user interface theme settings.  This means that those without the development skills or even the desire to develop a theme from scratch can just tweak the MORE theme colour settings and so on to get a branded theme. This will help those organisations without the budget to do more complex solutions still get a smart-looking theme. This is going to benefit the majority of smaller Moodle sites out there.

The third point he mentioned is that the standard-based themes are being remove from core and will become plugins in the Moodle plugins directory so that people who use them can still use them. Although I understand the reasoning behind this, it will come as a small roadbump to some who are still using them and are mid-way through projects to upgrade this summer and not planned to go to clean. I foresee a lot of requests to build custom bootstrap2 based themes in the coming months – which isn’t a bad thing either.

One potentially contentious point for some developers is that there is no current plans to put Bootstrap 3 in core Moodle for the time being. I think this is a good move although I love the Bootstrap 3 themes  I have seen. With the migration to a new base theme, what is needed is stability of the base development level.

See here For Martin Dougiamas post on themes

Categories: Moodle News

Moodle released 2.6.2, 2.5.5 and 2.4.9 last week

Some Random THoughts - March 21st, 2014 at 12:27:01 PM

For those who follow the bi-monthly updates of Moodle the new updates were released last week. These updates cover three major versions – 2.6, 2.5 and 2.4.

Why is it important to update?

As with many systems, Moodle issues regular bi-monthly versions which includes bug fixes and which can also include security fixes. So if you can, it is certainly a good idea to update your Moodle sites with the most current minor version release as soon as possible. This will have it performing with the latest fixes included.

Even if you don’t initially plan to update, you should at least read the release notes for your version to see if anything impacts what you are using – a much wanted bug fix for a specific bug that impacts your site may be included.

If you are hosted by a 3rd party company, you should consult with them about when they implement the minor releases.



Categories: Moodle News

Presentation on Moodle 2.6 – some of the improvements since moodle 2.5

Some Random THoughts - January 29th, 2014 at 9:45:26 AM

I recently gave some introduction sessions on Moodle 2.6 and here are the slides that I used.

Which is your favourite new or improved feature?

Moodle 2.6 some of the improvements since moodle 2.5 from Gavin Henrick
Categories: Moodle News

Review: IOMAD for Moodle (part 1)

Some Random THoughts - January 27th, 2014 at 8:20:27 AM

This is the first of a three-part review about Iomad – a business and corporate focused enhancement to Moodle. Normally I follow a set pattern in doing reviews, but as this is so much more than just one add-on, I am breaking with that tradition.

But first for some context.


Many corporates use Moodle in many different ways. Some use it as training platform where training courses are uploaded and delivered to their staff for certification and ongoing continual professional development. Others use it as a social learning platform where the courses are more focused on sharing and collaboration. Many use it as a hybrid of these reasons and other reasons completely.

The reasons why they use Moodle can differ as well; some use it because of the flexibility, some use because it is open source and can be readily customised to do exactly what they need; some use it because it is license free and so a cost-effective solution where you may want to start off small and scale; other use it because it has the specific features they need and some use it because it is what they know.

Obviously there are other reasons but I am just trying to set the scope of diversity in how and why organisations use Moodle.

However, most organisations; be it academic or corporates often want to use Moodle beyond the course management system it excels at, with more learning management features such as

  • High level reporting; curriculum-wide reporting, company wide reporting, hierarchical reports, unit based reporting and so on
  • Advanced user structures: user hierarchical groups based on the organisation’s needs – be it different business units, national groupings or even in academic sectors of faculties and schools.

There has always been a number of ways of approaching these type of requirements, by adding extra products alongside Moodle, or adding plugins or even using enterprise solutions that were developed – such as Remote-Learners ELIS and Totara.

I have used all three, and found each to have some unique features that made them worth investigating. I have reviewed ELIS on this blog before, and was waiting until Totara was fully openly available to download to do so. Totara was recently made available on Github and so it is on my list to review in more detail at some point.

However something new came under my sights this last week, and so having played with it I thought I would put together this review. It is called Iomad, and it was developed and released by the Scottish Moodle Partner E-Learn Design


When approaching any of these enterprise systems, I have always had a specific type of test in mind and that is:

  • set up a test company structure of a few departments
  • allocate users in the various levels of the company
  • allocate users to a learning track / courses
  • complete some courses
  • view reports available at each level where possible.

So my review will follow this format.

The test cycle

The fictional company I will test with is a simple one. It is a Company with 4 departments: Sales, HR, Development and Support. Each of these has a manager and 2 staff members.

I should note that Iomad has some very useful features that I will cover in part 2 of this review in the coming week they are:

  • Training Event activity
  • Multi-tenancy
  • e-commerce
  • License management

Iomad is a full installation of Moodle and itself. It is more than plugins as the site explains “there are a few changes to core”. Normally I prefer to just review standalone plugins, but enterprise extensions are not that simple – the problems they solve are not simple either.

So to have a play you can either install from the Github account , or you can just use the demo site. The site auto-refreshes every 90 minutes so if you are going to play I suggest you try just after one of the resets so you have enough time to go through the different features. The demo site is at

Installing Iomad from github was as simple as installing Moodle. The Iomad site has an installation quick start installation guide for those who are unfamiliar.

Creating a Company

Once installed, as admin you are able to access the Iomad dashboard.  You are immediately prompted to create a new company. Apart from giving it a new you can set user defaults for all staff that are created under the company and you can also specify if it should have its own appearance info such as a theme and logo – which I guess is very useful for the multi-tenancy usage.

Iomad Add Company

The Iomad dashboard shows you different options depending on your role. As a Moodle admin I could see more than a company admin, who sees more options than a manager, and so on. The dashboard is both an extension of the Moodle Administration block and an actual dashboard page.

Iomad Admin Tree


Iomad dashboard for an admin

The Dashboard breaks the system down into a number of sections:

  • Company management
  • User management
  • course management
  • license management
  • E-Commerce

Below this is the Iomad reports section which offers links to

  • Attendance report by course
  • Users Report
  • Iomad SCORM overview report
  • Completion report by course
  • Iomad Company Overview Report

All these options were also available in the administration block tree for Iomad for easy access. I would however have liked to have this at the top of the administration block rather than the bottom.

So back to the review.

Adding Company Departments

Once logged in as the full admin, I got access to the dashboard.

Company Management has the following options:

  • Edit Company
  • Create Company
  • Manage Departments
  • Assign Department users
  • Optional profiles
  • Assign Users
  • Assign Courses
  • Email Templates

Adding the four departments was very straight forward.

Iomad Add Department

Each department has a long and short name.  So adding them in took less than a minute.

Next onto the staff

Adding the staff into the system

User Management has the following options:

  • Create user
  • Edit users
  • Upload users
  • User bulk download
  • Bulk user actions

Creating the users in the interface is straight forward. You specific the name, email, password and can allocate the user a role in the company. You could also assign them to a course (which I have none created yet so skipping that for now).

Iomad Add User

After creating one user in the interface, I chose the upload users approach and added in some users with a spreadsheet. This was the same easy process as standard Moodle, however with just a few options: Adding the file, CSV delimiter, Encoding, Preview rows and Upload type.

Once previewing the user upload you could also select some other options including which department to add the users to and which courses to enrol the users into.

Once added, now came the third task: allocate users to a learning track / courses. This is handled under the Course Management. However with no courses set up I had to do this first.

Creating Courses

Course Management has the following options:

  • Assign to company
  • User Enrolments
  • Create course
  • Manage Iomad course settings
  • Teaching locations

Before I can enrol users I had to create a few test courses first but that was quick – there is a simple form for creating the empty course with just Course full name, short name, summary and enrolment method (self-enrolment or manager enrolling the users).

Iomad Create Course

Adding users to courses

Once I created the courses, enrolling users onto them was as expect straight forward.

The common theme so far is simplicity and just the options needed to do the task and no more. So the page for enrolling users has the department to filter the users shown, a choice of what course to enrol users to, and a user select box.

Iomad Enrol Users

So you can either enrol a whole department to a course, or just select which users.

That task over it was down to logging in as some of the end users and finishing a course or two.

For speed, I turned on self-completion for the courses, and added the self-completion block so that the learner can click to complete the course.

Course Self Complete

So once a user had completed some courses, I went to look at the reports.


The first report I wanted to look at was the Completion report by course. This provides an overview of the courses in the company and how many users are enrolled, how many are not started, still in progress and how many are completed as below.

Iomad Coure Completion Report

With the filter you can see the whole company or just a department.

The completion report by user allows you to select a user from the company or filter by department and then view their report.

Iomad User Completion Report

There are other reports for SCORM tracking, Attendance tracking and an overview on the company staff and the total number of users and total number of courses.

End of Part 1.

This review has covered the basics of what a company will do when they start on the system, structure setup, user set up and enrolment and also some of the reports.Throughout the review I have found the system to be simple to use. The options were just enough to do what was needed and no more which mean that the screens did not have extra options which could confuse. I will give my full thoughts on the system at the end of part 2.

The next part in this review will cover the different roles in the system, training event activity, Multi-tenancy, E-commerce and the course license management.

Categories: Moodle News

Time to update! Moodle 2.6.1, 2.5.4 and 2.4.8 are available

Some Random THoughts - January 13th, 2014 at 7:10:16 PM announced that the latest minor versions of Moodle are now available.

Moodle 2.6.1, 2.5.4, 2.4.8 and 2.3.11 are available to download (see or Git (see docs)).

As usual the releases include a number of bug fixes and small improvements.

There are also some security vulnerabilities that have been discovered and fixed so it is a good idea to upgrade your sites to these latest versions to implement these fixes.


Categories: Moodle News

Moodler of the Year award launched for Moodlemoot Edinburgh 2014

Some Random THoughts - January 9th, 2014 at 7:47:11 AM

We are delighted to announce a new award to be ran in conjunction with the Moodlemoot Edinburgh – Moodler of the Year 2014.

The purpose is to celebrate and reward excellent teaching practice in the use of Moodle in learning and assessment delivery. The award is open to individuals and teams based anywhere in Europe who are coming to the Moodlemoot in Edinburgh.

The award will be judged by a panel chaired by the Moot Chair – Dr Keith Smyth of Edinburgh Napier University.

Winners will be presented with the award and the prizes at the Gala Dinner at the Moodlemoot Edinburgh 2014 on the evening of April 15th.

Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third places as decided by the panel.

A person, or a team may put forward a Moodle based learning project they have completed in their organisation in the past year of the submission date.

For full details on the award and the details of how to enter check the Moodlemoot site

Categories: Moodle News

Moodlemoot Edinburgh 2014 – Updates

Some Random THoughts - December 20th, 2013 at 12:53:13 PM

Early bird Registration

Moodlemoot Edinburgh has extended the early bird registration until the middle of January (Jan 17th 2014). This means you still have another month to get the early bird pricing.


They also announced the Pre-Conference Workshops which take on the Monday 14th of April, so have a read of them below and see if anything peeks your interest.

The Pre-Conference Workshop List is broken into different strands:

  • Badge / Gamification Strand
  • Moodle Quiz Strand
  • Moodle Developer Strand
  • Teaching with Moodle Strand
  • Extending Moodle for teaching Strand

Registered users will be added to the Moodle site for the Moot where they will be able to select which workshops they want to attend. They will also be able to select their session preference when the full programme is announced closer to the date.

Badge / Gamification Strand

Open Badges Strategy  (1/2 day)
Facilitator: Carla Casilli, Director (Badge System Design + Implementation, Mozilla Foundation) and Grainne Hamilton (Advisor: e-Assessment, Jisc RSC Scotland)

Open Badges are digital credentials that earners can display anywhere on the web. They are underpinned by an open accreditation infrastructure developed by Mozilla, which enables the issuing of Open Badges to recognise achievement and attributes that may not be picked up in formal qualifications.

The Designing Open Badge Systems workshop will focus on effective Open Badge system development, introducing Mozilla and Jisc tools to support badge system design and  a strategic approach to implementing Open Badges in a formal education context.

In the first session, we explore the Open Badges Infrastructure developed by Mozilla and consider the rationale for issuing Open Badges

Session 1 (1.5 hours) – Open Badges 101

  • What are Open Badges?
  • How are they being used?
  • Why issue Open Badges? What do you want to issue badges for?
  • Issuing badges in Moodle – what do you need to consider?

Session 2 (1.5 hours) – Designing Open Badges systems to use in Moodle

  • Explore Open Badge system design tools
  • Develop the value proposition of an Open Badge and behaviours you want to encourage
  • Create the criteria and consider evidence for an Open Badge
  • Consider related badges
  • Consider badge brand

Practical Gamification of Moodle Courses (1/2 day)
Facilitator: Gavin Henrick(Learning Technology Services) , 2nd to be confirmed

This workshop will look gamification and the various techniques that are available to Moodle course developers to gamify their course. Participants will be taken through the range of techniques

Session 1 (1.5 hours) – Gamification 101

  • What is Gamification?
  • How is it used?
  • Why use Gamification in E-learning?
  • Examples of Moodle with Gamification
  • An example Moodle course

Session 2 (1.5 hours) – Applying Gamification to Moodle

  • The Moodle Gamification Toolkit
  • Techniques you can use in Moodle by default
  • Plugins that help gamification
  • What next?
Moodle Quiz strand

Creating high-quality computer-marked assessment in Moodle (full day)
Facilitator: Tim Hunt, Open University, 2nd to be confirmed

Morning Sessions

In the morning, we explore what can be done with the features that are available in the standard Moodle package.

Session 1 (1.5 hours) – Creating a quiz

  • * What do we mean by high-quality assessment?
  • * How much can be automatically marked by computer?
  • * Take “An interactive tour of the Moodle Quiz”
  • * Create your first quiz

Session 2 (1.5 hours) – Creating questions – standard Moodle types

  • * What make a good question?
  • * Create a Multiple choice question
  • * Create a Short-answer question
  • * Create a numerical question
  • * Update your quiz

Afternoon Sessions

In the afternoon, we explore the possibilities opened up by the Open University’s question type add-ons.

Session 3 (1.5 hours) – Creating drag-and-drop questions

  • * Authenticity in assessment: what other question types do we need?
  • * Creating different types of drag-and-drop questions.

Session 4 (1.5 hours) – Advanced question types

Each participant may choose one of

  • - Creating pattern-match questions to automatically grade sentences.
  • - Creating variable numeric questions to grade numbers and units.
  • - Creating STACK questions, to assess mathematics.
Moodle 2 development Strand

Developing Moodle features ( full day)
Facilitator: Howard Miller (Lead Developer, E-Learn Design), Derick Turner(Director, E-Learn Design)

** Each session builds upon the previous session. Continued attendance at all sessions is preferred. **

This workshop is aimed at developers who already have done some minor Moodle changes and who understand how to set up the Moodle environment for testing. It will take attendees through developing a number of enhancements to Moodle. We will be working on Moodle 2.6 and participants will require their own development environment on their local machine or somewhere that they control remotely.

Morning Sessions

  • Session 1 – Basic “hello world” type report creating plugin structures and default requirements and linking into the Moodle menus.
  • Session 2 – Creation of the library functions which the report will use to obtain and process the data

Afternoon Sessions

  • Session 3 – Form creation to handle sorting and searching which is then used to drive the gathering of data.
  • Session 4 – Outputting the data onto the screen and handling output to various file formats for downloading.

At the end of the session the finished code will be made available.

Teaching with Moodle Strand

Moodle Masterclass for teachers ( full day)
Facilitator: Deneka  MacDonald (Director/Lead Instructional Designer, E-Learn Design),

A closer look at Book, Glossary, Lesson and Creative Formative Assessment

*** The first 2 sessions are distinct sessions with clear objectives for each. Sessions 3 and 4 build upon one another and attendance at both is required/recommended. **

Morning Sessions

  • Session 1: Book: Explore creative ways to use the Book Module in Moodle to add value to your courses.
  • Session 2: Glossary: Explore various ways in which the Glossary Module can add value to your courses.

Afternoon Sessions

  • Session 3: Lessons: Bring along your content to this introductory session and begin to plan your advanced path based Lesson for your students.
  • Session 4: Lessons: Building upon the previous session, we will continue to explore path based lessons, adding question clusters as well as illustrating how multi-media and formative learning can enhance the user experience. Users will leave with a practical finished Lesson at the end.
Extending Moodle for Teaching Strand

Morning Workshop
Moodle Add-ons – the building blocks of Moodle. (1/2 day)
Facilitator: Gavin Henrick (Learning Technology Services), Michael de Raadt (Development Manager, Moodle HQ)

This workshop is for course creators and administrators although developers will be let in too!

Now there are literally hundreds of plugins available for the Moodle admin to include in their installation should they need to do so. This workshop will provide an overview of community and commercial add-ons for Moodle and it will look at installing plugins, testing plugins, managing plugins and also upgrading plugins.

  • Participants will be brought through installing and testing many different types of plugins.
  • Participants will then be grouped and asked to address governance, responsibility and management of plugins in an organisation.
  • Participants groups will be given various tasks to complete related to researching plugins, testing them against a defined set of criteria.
  • Participants will be challenged to come up with some requirements for new plugins that support pedagogy rather than an administrative function.
  • Participants will co-create some content on the topic.

Afternoon Session
IMS LTI – Extending Moodle for teaching (1/2 day)
Facilitator:Simon Booth (University of Stirling), Stephen Vickers (IMS Global)

This half day workshop will provide you with hands-on experience of how Moodle can be extended using external LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability) tools. Even if you think you know all about LTI, we hope there will be something new for you to learn. For example, in the past year there have been proposed extensions for embedding content items, discoverable LTI services, accessing data for learning analytics. So, come along and find out more.

The topics we could cover are:

  • What LTI is and what benefits it can provide for teaching
  • How to use the core functionality available within Moodle to configure and enable LTI tools
  • How to find tools which support LTI
  • What to consider when evaluating LTI Tools
  • The latest releases of LTI (1.2 and 2.0)
  • The current roadmap for LTI
Categories: Moodle News

Moodlemoot Edinburgh – Registrations Open

Some Random THoughts - December 4th, 2013 at 8:23:43 AM

A bit slow adding this here, but the registrations for the Moodlemoot Edinburgh 2014 are now open. This is the announcement from the Moot site:

We are delighted to announce that registrations are now open for the upcoming Moodlemoot Edinburgh 2014, being held on April 14-16 in partnership with Edinburgh Napier University.

Reserve your place at the Moodlemoot Edinburgh 2014 and join hundreds of Moodlers from around the world for fun days of learning, networking and development.

Registration provides access to the panels, workshops, presentations, keynote addresses, meals (Coffee breaks and lunch) for each day that you are registered.

All registration options also include the Gala Dinner held on the Tuesday evening at the Our Dynamic Earth venue in Edinburgh.

Registration Options

There are a number of ticket options available for the Moodlemoot – all options include attendance at the Gala Dinner on April 15th 2014.

For on-line payment with Credit Cards visit

Invoice registration is available for institutions and organisations.
Please contact us with your organisation details, (name, address, VAT number) and Full names & emails of those attending and we will draw up the invoice.  Registration is confirmed upon receipt of payment.

Accommodation Booking

Marketing Edinburgh have offer their accommodation booking service to delegates attending the Moodlemoot.

They specially negotiated rates at a selection of hotels/apartments throughout the city these cover two, three and four stars.

We will be running coaches to the Moodlemoot venue from outside the Roxburghe and also near one of the main hotels at the Royal Mile to the venue at 8:30 am on the Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday and heading back afterwards, so the accommodation options are all within walking distance of the planned pickup points. We will finalise the pickup points once we have the list of bookings that people have made.

On completion of the booking process you will receive an email confirmation to the email address you have provided. You will also be provided with a password which will be required if you wish to make changes to your personal details or change your reservation online.

Please note that the main Hotel venue for Monday welcome drinks, and Hackfest on the Thursday and Moodlemoot Office is the The Roxburghe which you can also book through this service.

Click here to see accommodation options


Categories: Moodle News

Moodle 2.6 released

Some Random THoughts - November 20th, 2013 at 8:44:21 AM

This week the latest version of Moodle was released, Moodle 2.6.

This is a long-awaited version for many of the excellent features that have been added. There are new features for all – some which help students, some which teachers will love and some which administrators will dance over.

Moodle HQ also released some videos highlighting each feature on their YouTube account.

These are a few of the cool teacher ones:

  • The interface for editing a course is much improved – out with the line of icons and in with a nice usable drop down for editing (video)
  • Teaches can now annotate assignment PDFs in their browser without the need to download them. (video)
  • Teachers now have more control over the workflow of grading an assignment and who grades the assignment.(video)
  • The certainty-based marking for quiz questions has now got improved feedback options

These are the ones that help students (and other users):

  • Resetting your password in Moodle is a cleaner 1 step process, where you request the change and the link sent enables you to change it on the page. The link expires after 30 mins for security reasons.
  • The continued work on making the Moodle site work better on mobile devices is really paying off, with it working better on desktops, tablets and phones.
  • The text editor has been improved and made more user and device friendly
  • The Skydrive integration is now available in core rather than a plugin, which is great news for institutions using it!

Administrators – prepare to dance:

  • The bulk course creation tool has now made it into core which is really good news (video)
  • The user interface for management of courses and categories has been majorly overhauled and it is a huge timesaver now. (video)
  • The backing up and restoring of large courses has been improved performance wise which is great for all those 4-10 Gig courses out there!

As this will be the version that most Northern hemisphere organisations implement next Summer, it is great to see so many great new features and continued improvements across the board.

If you havent checked out the video playlist I am embedding it below.

For the release notes check here on Moodle Docs ->

To download it – check the usual download page or GIT.


Categories: Moodle News

Moodle latest minor updates released – 2.5.3, 2.4.7 and 2.3.10

Some Random THoughts - November 14th, 2013 at 7:52:21 AM

With the latest major version (2.6) coming next week, it was good to see the latest minor releases published.

If you are currently using Moodle 2.3, 2.4 or 2.5 then you should consider upgrading to the latest minor release. As normal with minor releases, the releases contain bug fixes and a number of security fixes.

The Moodle 2.5.3 releases addresses 224 bugs (see 2.5.3 release notes)

The Moodle 2.4.7 releases addresses 150 bugs (see 2.4.7 release notes)

The Moodle 2.3.10 releases addresses 150 bugs (see 2.3.10 release notes)

If you are still on the older Moodle 2.3 (which was released June 2012) you should consider upgrading to a later version now, ideally looking at 2.5.3.

For downloads as always check out the download pages on


Categories: Moodle News

Moodlemoot Edinburgh – 5 days left to submit your proposal

Some Random THoughts - November 11th, 2013 at 6:13:16 AM

The deadline for the Call for Proposals for the Moodlemoot Edinburgh 2014 has been extended to Friday 15th Nov 2013.

The theme for the  Moodlemoot is “The Student Experience”.

Proposals should fit into one of the following strands:

1. Active Learning
2. Assessment and Evaluation
3. Wider Support and Admin

If you have not yet submitted an application, you can submit a proposal here – or email the details to

You can read the submission formats here  –

Categories: Moodle News

Some Random Thoughts on having attended Moodle Research Conference 2013

Some Random THoughts - October 22nd, 2013 at 7:14:13 PM

The Moodle Research Conference took place on 4th and 5th October in Sousse, Tunisia. There was a lot of presentations of the papers which really made me think about different aspects of learning, and specifically elearning.

Here are some thoughts that I picked out from my notes. These are a mix of being a point from their presentations, and my thoughts related to the presentation. So although not direct quotes – the presentation is referenced for completeness.

We need to enable meaningful communication between students.
Re:- Keynote “Negotiating students’ attention”   Prof Dick Ng’ambi


Successful technical management of Moodle is based on using well known standard tools in their management of the system along with skilled motivated staff and strong documented processes.
Re: -”On Optimal Strategies for the Development and Operation of Moodle in Higher Education Institutions” – M Omar Faruque Sarker, Jo Matthews, Jessica Gramp


The use of analytics can underpin the transformative use of Moodle from the initial standard document repository to a more blended and collaborative learning delivery system.
Re: “Beyond the baseline: working with e-learning champions to transform e-learning at a research-led university” -  Jessica Gramp


Rather than just providing the content, providing self-assessment tools (like quizzes) for learners to find where they have gaps and thus identify where they need to learn, and then supporting them is an interesting approach to blended teaching and creates effective quality teaching moments.
Re: “Full Mathematical Power In Calculated Questions Through Spreadsheets” – Hiram Bollaert


It is important to assess feedback on Moodle/Online learning into two buckets – institutional/organisational issues and learning platform/learning design issues.
Re: “The Use of Moodle at Cass Business School: A Student Perspective” – Leona Norris, Lowe Sporre, Didrik Svendsen


Personalisation can mean many things to many people. It is important to understand what level of personalisation that you can offer and that you want to offer in the different aspects of learning, and crucially what impact this will have on staff and learners alike.
Re: “Emphasising personalisation movements in contemporary management education: the impact on learning environments” – Martin Rich, Clive Holtham, Ann Brown, Annora Eyt-Dessus, Leona Norris


All the papers are individually downloadable from the Moodle Research Conference website database. The full proceedings are available on the MRC2013 website.

Categories: Moodle News

Gamification – what is it and what it is in Moodle

Some Random THoughts - October 10th, 2013 at 8:41:41 PM

Over the past few months I have presented variations of presentations around gamification, and this deck is my most complete and recent version that was delivered at the Moodlemoot in Barcelona (with Laia Canet) and the Medmoot in Tunisia.

What are your thoughts on Gamification, Motivation and their use in learning and in Moodle?

Please contribute your thoughts in the comments!

Categories: Moodle News

Open Badges and Moodle presentation

Some Random THoughts - October 5th, 2013 at 1:02:50 PM

In the last two weeks I have been lucky to present at both the Barcelona Moodlemoot and the Mediterranean Moodlemoot on Open Badges and Moodle. After a short explanation of OpenBadges, the focus moves to the processes around rolling out badges.
The presentation ends with slides on the Moodle aspects of OpenBadges.

These are the slides which I used in the presentation.

Open badges and Moodle – What and Why! from Gavin Henrick What is your approach to badges?
Categories: Moodle News

MedMoot to begin tomorrow

Some Random THoughts - October 1st, 2013 at 9:20:46 AM

The next 5 days are looking to be quite engaging starting with tomorrow when the Mediterranean Moodle Moot begins. The programme is pack full of presentations over the two days.

I will be delivering a number of presentations at the Moot starting off with a session on Open Badges which will be co-presented with Megan Cole, Community Strategy Lead for the Mozilla Foundation (who is presenting remotely).  Open Badges do seem to be the hot topic of the moment, so it will be interesting to see what the current stats are globally and also what the views of the attendees are on the implementation side of  Badges.

After lunch I will be presenting on a process to use in Reviewing Add-ons for your Moodle installation, and will be giving the participants a challenge to do a review / evaluation of some plugins during the session.

On Thursday I have a morning presentation on Gamification, and specifically how to use it to improve learner engagement in a course.

My last session at the MedMoot is a workshop on the database activity, uses, configuring and all that jazz!

I am looking forward to meeting everyone and getting their views and vision on badges and gamification especially as they seem to be some of the most popular topics at present.

Lets hope it is not too hot!

Categories: Moodle News

Thoughts from the road – Barcelona Moodlemoot

Some Random THoughts - September 26th, 2013 at 9:48:59 AM

Today the Moodlemoot Spain 2013 kicked off in Barcelona at the Universitat Pumpeu Fabra, Barcelona.  One of the first speakers was Martin Dougiamas speaking about teaching and learning.

Martin started off with a retrospective on various solutions over the last 100 years which have claimed that  they will replace teachers and as of yet have not. It is an interesting thought to contemplate as to what the role of a teacher was, is and will be as technology and society changes. There is so much content available, networks for discussions and sharing and tools that can be used to assess – maybe technology is making more of us teachers and not less.

One of the other points Martin talked about was where the focus was with Moodle development. I was most interested in the improvements in the forum which he discussed including Discussion Thread subscription, in-line replies and posting stats.

With the Moodle Research Conference taking place next week in Tunisia, it was great that Martin also shared some of the research questions that he would like to see answered:


There is a lot of points there which can be looked into.

Thats all for now, more over the coming week while I attend two Moodlemoots and the Moodle Research Conference.



Categories: Moodle News

Moodlemoot Edinburgh 2014 – Call for Proposals

Some Random THoughts - September 19th, 2013 at 6:48:08 AM

The call for proposals is now open for the Moodlemoot Edinburgh 2014 being held at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange on April 14-16, 2014.

The Edinburgh Corn Exchange – Moodlemoot Edinburgh 2014

This year the main theme of the Moodlemoot is the student experience. There will be three strands:

  1. Active Learning
  2. Assessment and Evaluation
  3. Wider Support and Admin

The Moodlemoot Committee are now inviting proposals for presentations and posters! For more details on the different presentation formats click here

The call for proposals closes on October 31st, 2013.

Conference Schedule

The schedule for the two central days (April 15th and 16th) of the Moodlemoot will be designed to cater for a number of proposal types these include:

  • Pecha Kucha ( 6 mins 40 seconds)
  • Short Presentations (15 minutes)
  • Long Presentations (25 Minutes)
  • Poster

There will be a number of training and workshops sessions for the 1st day of the Moot (April 14th) – these are being organised centrally and the full list will be announced in coming month or so before full registration begins.

On April 17th there will also be a developer focused hackfest.

If you have any ideas you may wish to contribute please email

How to Submit

To submit your proposal, you have fill out the online proposal form @

The steps for submission are quite straight forward.

You will be first asked to register – which is just three simple steps

  1. Fill in your email
  2. Fill in your first name and surname
  3. Click Create Account, then click continue.

Now you can move into the submission process

To start Click on Submit a Paper

  • Step 1. Type in the Title and Abstract – Click Done
  • Step 2. Fill in the authors page including affiliation/organisation – Click Done
  • Step 3. Select the Topics for the Submission – Click Done
  • Step 4. Select which submission format you are submitting the abstract for – Click Done

If you need to edit any details you can then Click on EDIT

And that’s that, you can submit more than one proposal if you wish.

Be sure to check out the different formats of presentations before you submit your idea.

See you in Edinburgh next April.

Categories: Moodle News