Some potential Moodle improvements

There have been some very interesting discussions about potential changes ongoing on the Moodle.org forums by some Moodle HQ staff Here are some you may want to go look at and take part in!

Gradebook Survey
As you may be aware, Martin Dougiamas is running a Moodle Gradebook Enhancement Survey to get feedback from teachers about how they use Gradebook. This is the more detailed survey based on results of a short one they ran a few weeks back. If you have not yet taken the survey, I strongly recommend you to do so. Take the survey

Element Library
Damyon Wiese has posted a very interesting discussion around a specification for moving to an element library for Moodle. It has some great thoughts on templates the pros and cons and is definately worth a look if you are a designer or developer. See discussion on element library

Reporting
Adrian Greeve posted that they are planning to implement a more flexible reporting system into Moodle.  This has spawned a great discussion – so if you have thoughts on reporting requirements you have for Moodle – chip in: See discussion on reporting

Navigation improvements
Frédéric Massart posted about the discussions about improving the interface and navigation options within Moodle to make things more user-friendly. They have a current draft specification which needs more feedback. Not all of the ideas are yet fleshed out fully, but some are and are looking very interesting indeed. Take part in the discussion

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A Quick Look at Piwik Analytics for Moodle

Two years ago we built and released a Google Analytics feature for Moodle which offered some robust reporting for Moodle – beyond the standard url logging it logged the breadcrumb from Moodle – see here for details. This was released as a plugin on the Moodle plugin directory.

David Bezemer of UP Learning took this concept/plugin and then expanded it to included Piwik an open source analytics system. The plugin is also available in the plugin directory.

Using this plugin requires you to install your own copy of Piwik separately, which you can use for all your websites. So I used it for the Moodlemoot Edinburgh this year, and below include some of the reports that were possible to generate from it.

Installing the plugin

The installation was very simple.  I went to the Moodle plugin directory and was able to download the correct version for the Moodlemoot Moodle site.

After the install, there was a selection of new settings required which come from the Piwik install of the analytics site itself.

local analytics settings

local analytics settings

So I configured it for the Piwik install I had access to, and that was that.

Using the plugin

The plugin itself didn’t have any features inside of it. It just worked adding tracking into the page so that the Piwik platform held the information. Unlike Google Analytics, this is then totally your own on your own servers rather than using a 3rd party system. So it really comes down to the features and what it can track/report on which I deal with now.

The reports

In many ways, Piwik is a lot like Google Analytics in features with a good dashboard and dril down information available. Below are some of the reports but I will start with the first one which uses the page title as the dril down like we did on the G:A plugin, so that you can see categories of courses and course data collated together. All these reports are from different time-spans during the Moot.

Page Area Expanding

Each image takes a progressive expansion.

Category List

Category List

 

Course List in a Category

Course List in a Category

 

Activity type in a course

Activity type in a course

 

Specific Activities of a type in a course

Specific Activities of a type in a course

 

 

So you can see that it is possible to view the data for a Moodle Course Category, then the course, then types of activities and then specific activities.

You can also see how the usage changed over time for any row – which it calls evolution and compare them with another section too.  So two courses as in the below example\

Two courses evolution compared

Two courses evolution compared

This can be useful for so many ways.

  • Comparing courses over time in a category
  • Comparing categories over time against each other
  • comparing different resources in a course to see how their usage changes over time and so on.

I cant list all the valuable information this can provide for an organisation except, it is mind boggling.

So what about other reports?

Here is a collection of some of the other reports all equally useful for different reasons:

Visits over time is useful to see when the site is quietest for maintenance windows.

 

visits- per local time

visits- per local time

 

 

Visit duration is nice to see how long people stay on the site, course etc.

visit duration

visit duration

 

Of course not all data is just graphs, you can get tables of data in a list, graphs or word clouds. Below is the same data in Piechart and cloud.

pages per visit

pages per visit

 

pages per visit cloud

pages per visit cloud

 

You can get breakdown for countries and continents:

countries

countries

 

continents

continents

 

Browser and Device information is super interesting too and helps understand your users. Such as which browsers you need to focus testing on, which devices – how many are using on mobile and so on.

 

browsers full data

browsers full data

 

 

mobile vs desktop

mobile vs desktop

 

operating_systems

operating systems

 

plugins

plugins

 

Visitor Log

Another interesting aspect, is the visitor log itself. You can view the log for visitors and also for repeat users (you dont get a name / userid – just their IP and a uniquely assigned Piwik id). I have removed the IP and some IDs from the images for privacy purposes.

In the full profile, you can see the user had 5 visits totalling 3 hours 41 minutes on the site.

 

Example Visitor Log Entry

Example Visitor Log Entry

 

Example Visitor Profile

Example Visitor Profile

In Summary

There are more reports, but just wanted to include these to give you a flavour of what is possible. I use Google Analytics on pretty much every site I run and advise others to do so as well because of the value of the data.

However, for most of those Piwik is probably more than sufficient to use and preferable to quite a lot who tend to balk at using cloud solutions like Google, Microsoft etc.

So I see this being adopted in this summer by many of the organisations I have talked to who want to keep this data inhouse and still get quality reporting.

Great job Piwik – and thanks David for taking the work Bas Brands did and adopting to Piwik.

 

 

 

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Moodle Gamification Canvas

During the Moodlemoot in Edinburgh, I delivered a workshop on Gamification with Moodle.

One of the tools I used was the Gamification Canvas which was modified for delivering Gamification through Moodle using the Moodle feature set. This goes through breaking down your gamification project into

  • Features
  • Mechanics
  • Components
  • Dynamics
  • Aesthetics
  • Behaviours
  • Players
  • Costs
  • Benefits

 

You can download it here: pdf Download Moodle Gamification Design Canvas (pdf) - 181.96 kB

This is released as  CC BY SA (Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 Un-ported License) as the original business canvas is and the original gameonlab general gamification canvas. If you want to create a version of this please do, but be sure to abide by the CC BY SA requirement to correctly and fully reference the three organisations/authors mentioned on this canvas and to release you version as CC BY SA too.

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Moodle Add-on Analysis Canvas

As part of the session today at the Moodlemoot Edinburgh on Moodle Add-ons, we have released an Analysis Canvas to help you assess plugins for use in your Moodle. It based on the work of Michael de Raadt and Gavin Henrick in the book Moodle Add-ons

The Moodle Add-on Canvas is based on the Business Model Canvas BusinessModelGeneration.com and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 Un-ported License.

You can download it here: pdf Download Moodle Add-on Analysis Canvas (pdf) - 187.37 kB

If you have any ideas or suggestions, please let me know. All feedback welcome.

 

 

 

 

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Zoom Zoom Zoom – Moodle Gradebook Fullscreen

We rolled a new feature on the Moodlemoot Theme today, which I expect teachers to fall in love with and have a long-term affair with.

Many thanks to Bas for making this a reality!

It begins with a gradebook, looking as it does..

Gradebook before

Gradebook before

And of course there is a sneaky button on the top right – Zoom. So innocent and quietly waiting… to be pressed.

Zoooooooooooooooom (okay maybe overdoing this bit..)

Gradebook Zoomed

Gradebook Zoomed

 

Yes that is it.  Header, Footer, Blocks gone bye bye, full-screen/reader mode to give the teacher the most space possible for working on the gradebook, or assignment grading, or rubrics, or students looking at content etc…

Zoom out and you have the normal page.

Here is the image of the assignment grading page too:

Assignment Grading Page Full Screen

Assignment Grading Page Full Screen

If you like this feature please go vote on the tracker item -> https://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDL-45269

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3rd Moodle Research Conference – Deadline for submission of papers and demonstration proposals extended until Monday 14th April

Good news for those who have been snowed under the last few weeks and would have missed the deadline for submissions, we now have another two weeks to get that submission drafted.

What is the Moodle Research Conference?

The Moodle Research Conference (MRC) is an annual international event dedicated to research and development (R&D) in learning and teaching carried out with Moodle. The MRC provides an opportunity for researchers, faculty/teachers, technologists, and other experts who either conduct research on the impact of using Moodle on student learning or develop tools increasing capacity to conduct research on Moodle use. Attendees share experiences and exchange research achievements and innovative developments. The aim of the conference is not to promote Moodle, but to bring together the community using Moodle to provide evidence about learning.

I attended the first two research conferences and the content was clearly quite different to the Moodlemoots. I produced a report on the 2nd Moodle Conference which is available on research.moodle.net. The focus of the MRC provides another insight into the use of Moodle in learning in addition to the excellent practitioner based presentations at the Moots.

Location & Dates

The timing of the conference is great this year! It is being held on 19-20 June 2014. After two years in the Med, this year the conference has moved to be USA based – in California State University Chancellor’s Office (Long Beach, California, USA).

Topics for submissions

The range of topics for reporting original unpublished research and recent developments is quite diverse and they suggest the following areas could be touched on although do not restrict the submissions to this list:

  • Experimental research involving methods and tools
  • Case studies on the effectiveness of teaching methods
  • Collaborative learning / social learning
  • Communities of practice
  • Learning analytics
  • Early warning systems
  • Plugins / modules / blocks increasing research capabilities
  • Personalisation and adaptivity
  • Massive Open Online Courses
  • Interoperability with Moodle
  • Accessibility
  • Mobile learning

So if you have been undertaking some research, you now still have time to get that submission in.

Types of submissions

They have three types of submission options for the MRC –  so to quote

Full papers

Paper length: up to 8 pages (including figures and references).
Will be presented individually in full sessions during conference..

Poster papers

Paper length: up to 1000 words in length.
Will be presented in a group poster session.

Demonstrations

Proposal length: 250 word abstract describing the demonstration.
Will be presented individually in short sessions during conference.

For more details

For the full details on the conference and call for proposals, check out the MRC site -> http://research.moodle.net/

 

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