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 BusinessModelGeneration.com and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 Un-ported License.

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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!

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 research.moodle.net. 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.

Demonstrations

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 -> http://research.moodle.net/

 

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

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.

 

 

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?

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