Moodlemoot Scandinavia 2015 – Learning Analytics Song

So today we had a sing-a-long before the learning analytics keynote,  we sang as a teacher talking to the student who had dis-engaged from the course totally – Think Abba -Fernando.

Can you access the course Fernando
I remember you had trouble with your username and pass.
In the course forums Fernando
You can ask me for help, or help others with their tasks
I can’t see activity or logins on our moodle site tonight..

There was nothing in the Moodle logs, or Progress Bar, Fernando
It is there for everyone to see, you failed that quiz, fernando
But you haven’t logged on since, Where are you now?
If i had to run the course once more,
would you try again, Fernando

You are failing now Fernando.
We always have a ninety five per cent completion rate
You are the five per cent Fernando
The course statistics tell me that you could have made the grade
But to pass the course you need to log in more than once or twice a week and stay

There was nothing in the Moodle logs, or Progress Bar, Fernando
It is there for everyone to see, you failed that quiz, fernando
But you haven’t logged on since, Where are you now?
If i had to run the course once more,  would you try again, Fernando

The course is over now Fernando
It is many many weeks now since you logged into the course…
You abandoned us, Fernando
You left all of our messages and emails unreplied..
We even tracked your wifi to the campus bar and nightclub every night…

– There is a video so I will link sometime when I get it.

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UK Ireland Moodlemoot Submission Deadline Extended to March 6th

The deadline for submission of proposals has been extended until Friday 6th March.

So if you are looking to submit a proposal on any of the different types of presentation, you have now got some more time!

The presentations will be split into two streams – Moodle in Education for academic institution focused presentations and Moodle in the Workplace for training, and organisational focused presentations.

We are looking for proposals on a number of proposal types:

  • Pecha Kucha
  • Short Presentations
  • Posters

For full details on these please check the presentation submissions page

If you have not yet submitted an application, the details for submitting a proposal are here or email the details to

For some examples on Pecha Kucha please check my blog post

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UK Ireland Moodlemoot 2015 Update

Ticket Registration

Online and invoice based registration are now open for the UK/Ireland Moodlemoot. To access the registration area, you will need to log in and enrol yourself into the 2015 Registration course.

For details on registration options check the main site

Note: As the Moodlemoot site is a centrally hosted one by Moodle HQ, you will need to log into the site using single sign on.


Accommodation is booked and paid for separately – see this page for more information.

Call for Proposals Extended

The deadline for submission of proposals has been extended until Friday 6th March. For more details on the formats and submitting a proposal please check the proposal submission course area on the Moot site.


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Bootstrap and Moodle – Gradebook tweak!

Bootstrap themes have been available for Moodle for a while now, and a small issue was there that I had not seen before  – until a lecturer wondered why they could not see grades in the gradebook that should have been there.

As it is that time of year that many are dealing with end of semester grades, I thought I should pass along the solution for you if you have not known about it.

** Please note that this may not effect your site depending on the version of Moodle and if you are using a Bootstrap theme.

The issue is this:

When a teacher hides a grade from students it got a class=’hidden’ applied. Themes before bootstrap ignored it as they did not have a style for it. However bootstrap base, and therefore themes like Clean etc did have a style of it namely:


So instead of showing grey-ed out, or showing normally,  the hidden grades vanished on the interface for the teacher as in the screenshots below.

Grade Entry before being hidden - teacher can see

Grade Entry before being hidden – teacher can see the student grade for Assignment 1


Grade Entry hidden - teacher cannot see

Grade Entry hidden – teacher cannot see the grade and table a bit messed up.


Grade Entry hidden with CSS fix - teacher can see it again

Grade Entry hidden with CSS fix – teacher can see it again and table looks okay.

This was fixed last september 2014 in Moodle releases through the tracker entry  –  by applying a different style ‘dimmed_text’ to the different places that currently had the style of ‘hidden’.

So remember you may or may not have an issue depending on your version.

As these were a set of core changes and if you are on a version pre-Sept 2014, you would need to applying those changes to your own core install or upgrade to a newer version to do the class change/

However if you want to have your teachers see the grades in the grader report that they have set to hidden from students and you are using a bootstrap theme – you can just add the following CSS as either custom CSS if your theme allows it, or adding it to the theme css.

.path-grade .hidden {
color: #999;

It is easy to check if your current theme has the issue:

  1. Create a test course
  2. Create an assignment
  3. Add some test users
  4. Give them grades
  5. Go to the gradebook and turn editing on
  6. Hide the grade for the activity in the gradebook
  7. Turn editing off

If you as a teacher/admin can view the grades for the users in the grader report when the Editing is turned off, then you have no issue to solve

If you cannot, then you should be able to easily apply the fix in the custom CSS part of your theme.


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Moodle released 2.7.3, 2.6.6 and 2.5.9 this week

For those who follow the bi-monthly updates of Moodle the new updates were released this week. These updates cover three major versions – 2.7, 2.6 and 2.5.

Although it can take some planning, it is important to consider upgrading at least to the minor releases to be sure you have the latest bug fixes and security fixes applied.


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Securing a Moodle Quiz on an iPad

So you want to run a high stakes exam on Moodle using the Quiz. You want to ensure that the learners taking the exam cannot access any other materials while doing so.

There are a number of options at this point, such as:

So if you want to provide your learners an iPad to take the Moodle Quiz on, then you have to look at Respondus.

This review looks at this product and how it works with Moodle.


So what is the Respondus LockDown Browser and why would you want to use it with Moodle?

As their documentation states: Respondus LockDown Browser® is a customized browser that increases the security of online testing in Moodle. When students use LockDown Browser to access a quiz, they are unable to print, copy, go to another URL, or access other applications. Students are locked into a quiz until it is submitted for grading.

This is implemented by installing a custom block into the Moodle site – so you need admin level access for installing this.

So once it is set up – once a user accesses the Quiz that is configured to be using the LockDown then they cannot do anything – browser or change app until it is completed and submitted.

Installation & Setup

To test this you need

  • an institution trial account account from Respondus
  • a Moodle site where you have access to install a plugin and add a lien to the config.php too
  • an iPad where you can install apps.

There are a few steps to this

  1. Setting up the Respondus Site with your Moodle site details
  2. Installing the block and configs.php into Moodle
  3. Configuring the Moodle quiz to work with the lockdown Browser
  4. Configuring and preparing the iPad
  5. The learner logging in and accessing the quiz

Setting up the Respondus site

With the Respondus account, logged in as account administrator into Respondus website you first configured the Moodle instance on the site. This was quite straight forward and followed the steps in their documentation.

From here you can download the admin pdf and the pre-configured block. This is a nifty way of doing things as the settings are pre-configured in the block assuming you configured it correctly.

Installing the block and configs.php into Moodle

Server preparation. This add-on requires mcrypt for the integration to work, so as it happened it was no on the test server I used so had to add it in.

Adding the block is like any other block. After adding the block, you had to make a change to the config.php file. Then you just install and configure the block global settings.

Respondus Block Global Settings

Respondus Block Global Settings

You need to add an account to the configuration that will be

Once installed, you can also then do a test which does a connection to the Respondus system and then tells you what is missing if you have forgotten a step)

Configuring the Moodle quiz to work with the lockdown Browser

So once the block is installed, I went to the course and added in the block to the course. This gave access to the dashboard to configure which quizzes were to be locked down. It initially shows all quizzes in the course as below.

Moodle Respondus Quiz Dashboard

Moodle Respondus Quiz Dashboard

Then you have to select one, which you want to lock down. There were a few different options as outlined below.

Moodle Respondus Quiz Configuration

Moodle Respondus Quiz Configuration

Configuring and preparing the iPad

I had downloaded the app from the app store and launched it.

First I had to select the right institution, and then I was given access to the Moodle site. However I had to first enable the Guided accessibility option on the iPad so that it would be able to take over the iPad controls.

Once down you can launch the LockDown browser and put it into guided mode. You need to set a pin to remove it out of the LockDown mode for after the test.

The learner logging in and accessing the quiz

If the learner tries to access the quiz that you configured as Locked Down on an iPad that is not locked down it will refuse access. To access the Moodle site configured in the App, the guided access needs to be enabled.


ipad respondus intro

They will see the Moodle site and be prompted to log in.


ipad respondus login

They will be able to access the content on the site that they normally can initially.

They will be able to navigate to the course and to the specific quiz but once they start the locked down quiz, they are then locked into it until they click Submit all and finish.


ipad respondus quiz

They can navigate as normal to each of the quiz questions as per the configuration of the quiz, but are unable to browse back to the course, open new tabs or change to another application.

Once they submit and finish and exit the Quiz , the restriction is now gone.

After they are finished, the browser will only disable the locked down aspect of iPad when the instructor triple-presses the iPad home button to exit Guided Access and enters the PIN to unlock it.

Taking screenshots of a locked browser on iPad isn’t possible with the iPad itself, so had to use a phone photographing it. 🙁


The use of a locked down browser for high stakes online exams seems to be a more requested feature from clients that I have worked with within multiple sectors both academic and corporate. The use of a tablet like an iPad provides a less bulky and mobile option for delivering the exam compared to using desktops or even heavier laptops.

Having something like the Respondus LockDown browser which means that you can still use the Moodle site but have it secured within the iPad is a viable approach.

It is easy to use and set up from an administration, teacher and facilitator point of view and simple to use from the learner point of view too.

Useful URLs

Moodle Quiz Docs

Respondus LockDown Browser website

LockDown Browser on iTunes

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