Trying to catch up with time lost from my 2 week break, the next Moodle 2.0 plugin up for review today is the Progress Bar Block.
This was one block that I really liked using with Moodle 1.9. It provided a simple visual queue to the progress of a user through the course materials. This block is maintained by Michael de Raadt.
What does it do?
The block provides a colour coded display of the required actions of a learner in a course. Each box represents an activity or resource that the student must read/complete. There is also an expected date aspect, so that a student can quickly see whether they have completed something or not and on time or not. This can really help guide a student in managing their time during completing the course.
Is it simple to install?
Normally, one block is pretty much like any other block and this one is no different. 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 progress 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 for Progress Bar Block is for all versions of Moodle. It clearly outlines the key features and provides information how to install and configure the block. It also has a link to a demo video which is very helpful.
Is it easy for the teacher/admin to use?
When you add the progress bar block it has no tracked events so you are prompted to configure it. On the configuration page for the block you can specify for each activity/resource whether they are tracked by the block, and how.
Different activities have different options for tracking, like assignments being submitted
The example image below shows an assignment, which is being monitored, and requires not just submission, but that the activity is deemed complete using the Moodle 2 feature.
Is it easy for the learner/student to use?
The simple colour coding of each trackable event provides a nice instant view of where the student is in the course. The block also has options to use ticks and crosses to cater for colour blind students.
The blocks once configured have different colours namely:
- Green = completed
- Red = overdue
- Blue = in the future
When the student mouses over the block they get extra information on the tracked item. According to the video the block helps retention of students, and I can understand why a student would want to “play the game” and turn it all green.
Does it do what it promises?
Yes, It is great to see the block delivering the same features but taking advantage of the Moodle 2.0 extra functionality.
Stars: 5 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.