This is my fourth simple review of a Moodle 2.0 plugin, and the plugin for today is the User Contact block
This is a straight forward block which has been ported by Daniele Cordella to Moodle 2.0, however has been developed over the years for Moodle 1.5 and beyond by a list of well known people from the community including Nicole B. Hansen, Darly Hawes, Matt Campbell and Valery Fremaux. This has been refactored and renamed for Moodle 2.0. It used to be called Contact Form.
What does it do?
The block provides a simple method for a student to email a teacher through a contact form in a block. The Student …
Is it simple to install?
The file that is linked to is hosted on the Moodle Contrib site. So you can download the zip file and/or browse the source code. The zip holds one folder which contains the files for the block. Once you unzip, you need to upload the user_contact folder into your Moodle 2.0 blocks folder. When upgrading through the notifications page, it installed successfully.
There was some new global settings for the plugin which it prompts to complete including the Subject Prefix which adds a string to the beginning of all emails sent by the block, and the enable return receipt which allows students to get a copy of the messages sent by themselves.
Is there documentation for it?
The Moodle Docs document page is for the older versions of Moodle 1.9 (this hasn’t been update in 15 months however the explained features seem to work as well for Moodle 2.0). The README.txt in the zip also has not been updated yet and doesn’t mention Moodle 2.0 at all but the instructions work the same.
Is it easy for the teacher/admin to use?
Adding it the the course was straight forward and comes with some editable text “Write us to inquire, express opinions, complaints, suggestions or compliments”. I like this, as blocks which don’t have sample text often throw an error before being configured.
As you can see, you can change the Title, Label and Introduction for the block. You can also set up multi-lingual text and disable/enable the receipt on a per course basis. Nice simple powerful options, nice!
Is it easy for the learner/student to use?
Yes. If the student wants to contact the teacher on his course, he just clicks the button which brings up the following page which they can then fill in to send the message:
Does it do what it promises?
The block provides a simple way for students to securely email their teacher without the teachers email being public. This is a neat block which meets a specified need that I have often seen discussed on the forums.
Stars: 3 out of 5 stars for this block.
These reviews check out the plugin for usability not for security. If you are considering installing any module on your site you should also check that is secure and does not impact the server performance.