Review: User Information Block for Moodle 2.0

User Info Block

User Info Block

Todays review Module is a newly submitted block –  User Information Block which is available for both Moodle 1.9 and Moodle 2.0

Background

This block was only added on April 23rd but jumped the queue for review as it seemed just so simple and useful. It is created and maintained by Federico J. Botti.

What does it do?

The block gives the users easy access to some links providing the user a quick way to navigate around their Moodle.

It provides a link to the users profile, their  messages and a count of their messages, along with links to edit their profile and a link to all courses.

Is it simple to install?

Like some other blocks who have moved their hosting to GitHub you can download the zip file and/or browse the source code. The zip holds one folder which contains the files for the block.

The zip downloaded as fbotti-moodle-block_userinfo-c7f1e66.zip and unzipped as a folder named fbotti-moodle-block_userinfo-c7f1e66 so you need to either rename the folder to user_info, or upload that folders contents into a newly created block/user_info folder in your Moodle site. This adds a minor complication for people used to just copying the files up and with more using GitHub people need to address.

When upgrading through the notifications page, it threw an error and I noticed it mentioned userinfo  as name rather than user_info so I renamed the folder and it installed successfully.  The README also mentioned userinfo rather than user_info so all the needs changing is the plugin database entry. There was no new global settings for this block.

Is there documentation for it?

The Plugin Entry for User Info Block has instructions for how to install the block which seems to be wrong if the folder needs to be called userinfo and not user_info as it said. At this time there is no MoodleDocs page or guidelines for usage. That said, there is no real usage except for turning it on and it being there.

There a detailed README which has the same installdetails with the exception of calling the folder  userinfo which was the correct name. As it is available for both 1.9 and 2.0 I quickly checked out the 1.9 README which also had information about getting the correct branch directly from git which is good.

Is it easy for the teacher/admin to use?

This block is straight forward once installed. It just works.

The teacher adds it to the course and it will display the links as below, showing the users picture and the links for

  • the user profile
  • logout
  • edit profile
  • Messages (and message count)
  • My courses

It also shows the last access time which is very useful too.

Is it easy for the learner/student to use?

The student just uses it the same way the teacher does. It provides a nice block with key links and the picture to save the student having to look around. This is an improvement and alternative on the Logged in user block on the myMoodle page.

Does it do what it promises?

Yes, the block does as it says. I can see this being used by many sites, and more over, I can see this being expanded on by others to provide configuration options as to which links to show on the block. All in all, nice block!

Stars: 3 out of 5 stars for this block.

 

**Standard Reminder**

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.

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4 Responses to Review: User Information Block for Moodle 2.0

  1. Hi all, just to update the review. The documentation in the Modules and Plugins entry of this block is already corrected(http://moodle.org/mod/data/view.php?d=13&rid=4750). Thanks for the review Gavin!

    Cheers,
    Federico

  2. admin says:

    Hi Federico,

    Thats excellent!

    Great work on the block.

    Gavin.

  3. Patrick says:

    For those of you who wish to use this block with moodle 1.9 and are using a later version of Firefox, the user image will appear small. I have outlined a fix for it below:

    In the styles.php add align:middle;

    .sideblock .content .userinfoblock img{
    height: 100px;
    width: 100px;
    padding: 4px;
    background: none repeat scroll 0 0 #FFFFFF;
    border: 1px solid #CCCCCC;
    align: middle;
    }

    in block_userinfo.php replace:

    print_user_picture($USER, $COURSE->id, $USER->picture, ‘100px’, true, false);

    with

    wwwroot.’/user/pix.php?file=/’.$USER->id.’/f1.jpg” width=”100″ height=”100″ alt=”Imagen” />

    This will make the image the appropriate size and align it in the center of the block.

  4. Pingback: Some Essential Moodle 2 Plugins – Moodleposium 2011 | Some Random Thoughts

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