Note: Moodle 2.1 was released on July 1st
On the day Moodle 2.1 is to come out, I reflect on some the new enhancements which Moodle 2 has brought us and where Moodle 2.1 brings us next.
Moodle 2.0 brought us into the new Moodle paradigm of interactivity and functionality.
The user interface of Moodle 2.0 had major improvements over 1.9. The ability to dock blocks onto the side of the screen thus freeing up screen real estate was just one of many changes, as was the new settings block which provided a much heralded harmonisation of access to settings about the user, activity, course, and site.
The new contextual cross-site navigation block enabled students to easily hop from one resource in a course to another course using an expandable tree navigation tool. This meant they didn’t have to browse through many pages from one course to another.
The addition of the improved HTML editor also helped students and teachers alike in creation of content. Not only does it work on more browsers than the 1.9 version, but noticeably it included a re sizable editing area which made it much easier to use.
Moodle 2.0 made many a teacher happy when the activity completion was included. This could enable students to decide if they have finished with a resource and mark it complete or enable the teacher where needed to provide automated completion so the overall course progress can be shown to the teacher and student.
The included conditional activities into Moodle 2.0 also opened up the doors for many more use cases. This enables progressive roll out of the course as a user completes one task another is opened up for them. These restrictions are date, grade or completion based.
Between the new cohorts (site wide groups) and the new enrolment methodology a lot more options were opened up to the teacher for controlling access to their courses.
Moodle 2.0 can now seamlessly connect with a range of repositories such as Flickr, Youtube, GoogleDocs, Wikimedia, Alfresco. This provides the teachers with easier ways to include content from those sources. Some commercial repositories have worked on enabling better content management too through their systems.
The students also got improved connections with the ability to export their content, assignments and creations from Moodle to an e portfolio such as GoogleDocs, Mahara or even to download to their desktop.
Moodle 2.0 also majorly improved the blogs inside of Moodle, providing a way to Synchronise with external blogs, have blog entries not just about the blog but about a course or resource, and also enabled commenting on the blogs.
The new wiki was a great improvement on the 1.9 version. It provided an easier way to create content with a cleaner interface and commenting included too.
Of course the commenting block enabling commenting everywhere in Moodle was another excellent feature addition to Moodle, providing real-time feedback on resources from students.
There was many other changes in Moodle 2.0, but with all these changes what does Moodle 2.1 bring us?
The short answer is that it brings us another step forward in usability and the potential for enriched engagement.
The slightly longer answer is “lots”, and by lots I mean:
Where Moodle 2.0 had brought us new web services, Moodle 2.1 further improves the web services with a special focus on those which will be used by the official Moodle Mobile App. The App, which will first be for IPhone, is going to be fab
The major rewrite of the question engine to make it much more robust is now complete and will offer developers a lot of options for future use cases. I look forward to the new question types and uses we see in coming year.
With the major changes to the backup/restore system for Moodle 2.0, the 2.0 version did not have the ability to import courses from Moodle 1.9, however now with the latest release of Moodle 2.1 this import is now working with more improvements to come!
As @Moodlefairy showed us you can now also clone an activity in Moodle 2.1 much more easily than before. This is a huge time saver and is welcome by all.
Moodle 2.0 brought us a new messaging system, and now Moodle 2.1 brings us the ability for administrators to control what methods are used for which message type. This way an administrator can ensure long messages aren’t used for costly delivery channels like SMS.
With the extra support available now in 2.1 for Browser detection and Mobile Themes we should see a host of themes being released in this area in the coming months.
One major improvement I like in 2.1 is the changes the to plug-ins check/overview page. As you know I review Moodle 2.x plug-ins and this is going to make life a lot easier for me and others as they manage their non-core plug-ins
There are also some great improvements to the accessibility and user friendliness of the user interface.
So with Moodle 2.1 about to come out, and only 6 months ahead till 2.2 we have a lot to look forward to!