Review: Theme Switcher Block for Moodle 2.0

This is the first of the simple review of a Moodle 2.0 compatible plugin.

Showing Restricted Theme List

As stated in a previous blog post, there are many questions one can ask about a plugin relating to usability and technical security, however this review will only tackle the following questions:Is it simple to install?Is there documentation for it?Does it do what it promises?Is it easy for the teacher/admin to use?Is it easy for the learner/student to use?

Background

The plugin for todays review is the Block: Theme Switcher Block for Moodle 2.0. This is a block written by  Consultora Nivel7 Ltda, the Moodle Partners from Columbia. It is based on Theme Switcher Block for 1.9 by David Jackson from New Zealand.

What does it do?

In default Moodle, if the admin has allowed users to select their own theme, the only way a user can do this is by going into his profile and editing it. This is takes 5 clicks, and a few page loads which is a bit slow amd cumbersome. This plugin simplifies the process and enables users to easily swap between different Themes using a dropdown in a block.

Is it simple to install?

The file that is linked to is hosted on the Nivel7 site. Once you go to the page, you can then download the zip file. You can unzip the file and upload directly into your Moodle 2.0 blocks folder. When upgrading through the notifications page, there was no issue and the block installed successfully.

I then went into my test course, and turned editing on and added the Theme Switcher block. This was also error free of the type of things which I have seen in other blocks (like language not showing properly).

Is there documentation for it?

No, there isnt, but since it is a simple block there is no real need, or is there?

Does it do what it promises?

I tried using it without Allow User Themes being enabled in the Theme settings for the site, and it didnt work. However, it still showed me the dropdown. If a further version of the block is released perhaps they will add this config check and not show the dropdown if the setting is not enabled. However it still updated the user profile field, which once Allow User Themes  was enabled, changed my theme instantly.

One good thing was that it did follow the Theme List setting for Theme management, and only showed the restricted list when you implemented that option.

Is it easy for the teacher/admin to use?

It works when the right settings are set up on the Moodle site before hand. It would be good to have some instructions or tips about requiring the setting to be enabled in either a moodle docs page, and/or the block displaying an error about the setting not being turned on and not displaying the dropdown.

Is it easy for the learner/student to use?

Yes, its very simple to use and does exactly what it says on the tin. A great functionality addition to a Moodle 2.0 site.

Stars: 3 out of 5 stars for this block.

 

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