This is my fifth simple review of a Moodle 2.0 plugin, and the plugin for today is the Block: Unanswered Discussions.
This is nice block which was originally written by Samuel a work-experience student under the supervision of Martin Dougiamas, and it is currently maintained by Michael de Raadt.
What does it do?
The block displays forum discussions which have not yet been answered. Students can seen their own unanswered discussions. In addition they can see the oldest unanswered discussions by others and random unanswered discussions.
Is it simple to install?
The block is like any other block. The file 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 unanswered_discussions folder into your Moodle 2.0 blocks folder. When upgrading through the notifications page, it installed successfully. There was no new global settings for this block.
Is there documentation for it?
The Moodle Docs document page is for all versions of Moodle. As its a simple block the instructions are straight forward. The readme.txt in the zip is also nice and clear.
Is it easy for the teacher/admin to use?
To test it I added in a forum and two threads. Then I adding the block to the course. It worked fine with the default settings. As you can see below however, you can change the basis behaviour through configuring the block.
These options are nice and simple and you can exlude the various forums such as the news forum which by its nature would most often have no responses.
Is it easy for the learner/student to use?
Yes. If there are unanswered discussions they will appear in the block. This is nice and simple way of helping the student keep up to date.
Does it do what it promises?
Yes. Although forum tracking is handy and I recommend that teachers encourage students to turn it on, this block bypasses that need for some cases by providing the list of unanswered discussions on the page. A simple powerful block one to keep in mind.
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.