Review: Slides course format for Moodle 2.0

slides_slides_preview_smallToday’s review Module is the Slides course format for Moodle 2.0. This module provides an alternate course format for those who want something different to the standard vertical topics or weekly formats.

Background

This module for Moodle is created and maintained by Jeremy FitzPatrick from Hamilton, New Zealand. It is a new course format, which has had some coverage on MoodleNews so I decided to review it.

For this review I used my standard Moodle2 demo course as the basis of the course.

What does it do?

The slides course format is a variation of the topics course format. The topics view is a vertical list of topics, one after the other, although it is possible to focus on one topic at a time, which is made easier with mods like course menu block, this is not its native way of working. So what does this course format do different?

The format loads all of the topic into slides which you can then navigate freely through without reloading the page again, as you would have to if you used topics and focused on one of them. This navigation is nice and smooth with sliding transitions between “topics/slides”.

It also provides an overview of all completions on the front slide.

I should first say that the author states that he feels this mod isn’t ready for production yet on the Plugins page, so I am taking this into account during the review.

Is it simple to install?

The module source is managed on github, so like other modules you can browse the source or choose to download a zipfile of the plugin. However, like most other github managed modules this does not download as a pretty (instantly usable) zip file name or folder name, instead of slides it downloaded as noisyjerm-moodle-course_format_slides-3b577ae. However, as he stated its not production ready, I hope he moves a nice named zip copy into Community Contrib for download when it is. It makes it easier for the user.

Once you have created a slides directory in the /course/format directory on your Moodle site, you can upload the content of the zip to this location.

When installing the plug-in caused no errors.

Is there documentation for it?

The plug-ins page has an overview on the module features. The README in the zip explains what the module does, and has clear instructions for installation. It also repeats that this isnt ready for production yet.  As this is a test format right now, it also includes details on the testing summary for checking layout and animation with various browsers.

There is no link to a current discussion about it yet, but there is a discussion here which if you are interesting in testing you should contribute to!

Is it easy for the teacher/admin to use?

I went into my topics course and set the format to slides and saved, and below are the two different looks. The topics are gone, and the course slide showing is the Intro slide. Instantly, I like this.

Topic Format

Topic Format

Slides Format

Slides Format

One thing I noticed once the slide loaded was that each of the slide numbers turned grey as they loaded in the background which is why the author explains that it loads each topic / section asynchronously (theoretically reducing perceived load time) which is an advantage over showing one topic at a time normally, as each jump is a reload.

Clicking on a slide number has the next topic “slide” in from the right side, as shown below with a screenshot taken during transition. ï»¿This is smooth and worked fine for me on Firefox 4.

transition

transition

This is quite neat indeed. and you can nicely jump to any of the other topic slides without reloading. There is an extra slide ( the first one)  which is the Outline as shown below. This provides a completion view of all the sides which have completion aspects.

Outline Slide

Outline Slide

As the teacher you can also change the background image for the slides, its position and the layout of the slide being one or two columns.

 

Slide Background

Slide Background

Nice isn’t it? What I also like here is that you can swap to topics or weekly without losing the content base layout. This is an important feature of course formats, at least in my opinion.

Is it easy for the learner/student to use?

For the student, this is very easy to use. It improves their navigation around the content while also adding a nice overview for completion.

Does it do what it promises?

Yes. For a “non production ready” course format, this delivers! The simplicity of the management, and of the usage of the format is really very good. I look forward to looking at this again when it is finished with testing.

I recommend that if you like the format idea, that you download it and help the author test it! What are you waiting for?

Will rate on final release.

 

**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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2 Responses to Review: Slides course format for Moodle 2.0

  1. We took the old topics with TABS format. Our lecturers prefer to have short titles on the TABS instead of numbers, so we made that hack: is that possible in Slides Format tpoo?

    • ghenrick says:

      I imagine you could work on it, but its going to require some work at least now the topic/section has a name and description so you can do less work to get the name for the tab.

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