I recently gave some introduction sessions on Moodle 2.6 and here are the slides that I used.

Which is your favourite new or improved feature?

This is the first of a three-part review about Iomad – a business and corporate focused enhancement to Moodle. Normally I follow a set pattern in doing reviews, but as this is so much more than just one add-on, I am breaking with that tradition.

But first for some context.

Intro

Many corporates use Moodle in many different ways. Some use it as training platform where training courses are uploaded and delivered to their staff for certification and ongoing continual professional development. Others use it as a social learning platform where the courses are more focused on sharing and collaboration. Many use it as a hybrid of these reasons and other reasons completely.

The reasons why they use Moodle can differ as well; some use it because of the flexibility, some use because it is open source and can be readily customised to do exactly what they need; some use it because it is license free and so a cost-effective solution where you may want to start off small and scale; other use it because it has the specific features they need and some use it because it is what they know.

Obviously there are other reasons but I am just trying to set the scope of diversity in how and why organisations use Moodle.

However, most organisations; be it academic or corporates often want to use Moodle beyond the course management system it excels at, with more learning management features such as

  • High level reporting; curriculum-wide reporting, company wide reporting, hierarchical reports, unit based reporting and so on
  • Advanced user structures: user hierarchical groups based on the organisation’s needs – be it different business units, national groupings or even in academic sectors of faculties and schools.

There has always been a number of ways of approaching these type of requirements, by adding extra products alongside Moodle, or adding plugins or even using enterprise solutions that were developed – such as Remote-Learners ELIS and Totara.

I have used all three, and found each to have some unique features that made them worth investigating. I have reviewed ELIS on this blog before, and was waiting until Totara was fully openly available to download to do so. Totara was recently made available on Github and so it is on my list to review in more detail at some point.

However something new came under my sights this last week, and so having played with it I thought I would put together this review. It is called Iomad, and it was developed and released by the Scottish Moodle Partner E-Learn Design

Approach

When approaching any of these enterprise systems, I have always had a specific type of test in mind and that is:

  • set up a test company structure of a few departments
  • allocate users in the various levels of the company
  • allocate users to a learning track / courses
  • complete some courses
  • view reports available at each level where possible.

So my review will follow this format.

The test cycle

The fictional company I will test with is a simple one. It is a Company with 4 departments: Sales, HR, Development and Support. Each of these has a manager and 2 staff members.

I should note that Iomad has some very useful features that I will cover in part 2 of this review in the coming week they are:

  • Training Event activity
  • Multi-tenancy
  • e-commerce
  • License management

Installation

Iomad is a full installation of Moodle and itself. It is more than plugins as the site explains “there are a few changes to core”. Normally I prefer to just review standalone plugins, but enterprise extensions are not that simple – the problems they solve are not simple either.

So to have a play you can either install from the Github account https://github.com/iomad/iomad , or you can just use the demo site. The site auto-refreshes every 90 minutes so if you are going to play I suggest you try just after one of the resets so you have enough time to go through the different features. The demo site is at http://demo.iomad.org.

Installing Iomad from github was as simple as installing Moodle. The Iomad site has an installation quick start installation guide for those who are unfamiliar.   http://www.iomad.org/installation-quick-start-2/

Creating a Company

Once installed, as admin you are able to access the Iomad dashboard.  You are immediately prompted to create a new company. Apart from giving it a new you can set user defaults for all staff that are created under the company and you can also specify if it should have its own appearance info such as a theme and logo – which I guess is very useful for the multi-tenancy usage.

Iomad Add Company

Iomad Add Company

The Iomad dashboard shows you different options depending on your role. As a Moodle admin I could see more than a company admin, who sees more options than a manager, and so on. The dashboard is both an extension of the Moodle Administration block and an actual dashboard page.

Iomad Admin Tree

Iomad Admin Tree

 

Iomad dashboard for an admin

Iomad dashboard for an admin

The Dashboard breaks the system down into a number of sections:

  • Company management
  • User management
  • course management
  • license management
  • E-Commerce

Below this is the Iomad reports section which offers links to

  • Attendance report by course
  • Users Report
  • Iomad SCORM overview report
  • Completion report by course
  • Iomad Company Overview Report

All these options were also available in the administration block tree for Iomad for easy access. I would however have liked to have this at the top of the administration block rather than the bottom.

So back to the review.

Adding Company Departments

Once logged in as the full admin, I got access to the dashboard.

Company Management has the following options:

  • Edit Company
  • Create Company
  • Manage Departments
  • Assign Department users
  • Optional profiles
  • Assign Users
  • Assign Courses
  • Email Templates

Adding the four departments was very straight forward.

Iomad Add Department

Iomad Add Department

Each department has a long and short name.  So adding them in took less than a minute.

Next onto the staff

Adding the staff into the system

User Management has the following options:

  • Create user
  • Edit users
  • Upload users
  • User bulk download
  • Bulk user actions

Creating the users in the interface is straight forward. You specific the name, email, password and can allocate the user a role in the company. You could also assign them to a course (which I have none created yet so skipping that for now).

Iomad Add User

Iomad Add User

After creating one user in the interface, I chose the upload users approach and added in some users with a spreadsheet. This was the same easy process as standard Moodle, however with just a few options: Adding the file, CSV delimiter, Encoding, Preview rows and Upload type.

Once previewing the user upload you could also select some other options including which department to add the users to and which courses to enrol the users into.

Once added, now came the third task: allocate users to a learning track / courses. This is handled under the Course Management. However with no courses set up I had to do this first.

Creating Courses

Course Management has the following options:

  • Assign to company
  • User Enrolments
  • Create course
  • Manage Iomad course settings
  • Teaching locations

Before I can enrol users I had to create a few test courses first but that was quick – there is a simple form for creating the empty course with just Course full name, short name, summary and enrolment method (self-enrolment or manager enrolling the users).

Iomad Create Course

Iomad Create Course

Adding users to courses

Once I created the courses, enrolling users onto them was as expect straight forward.

The common theme so far is simplicity and just the options needed to do the task and no more. So the page for enrolling users has the department to filter the users shown, a choice of what course to enrol users to, and a user select box.

Iomad Enrol Users

Iomad Enrol Users

So you can either enrol a whole department to a course, or just select which users.

That task over it was down to logging in as some of the end users and finishing a course or two.

For speed, I turned on self-completion for the courses, and added the self-completion block so that the learner can click to complete the course.

Course Self Complete

Course Self Complete

So once a user had completed some courses, I went to look at the reports.

Reports

The first report I wanted to look at was the Completion report by course. This provides an overview of the courses in the company and how many users are enrolled, how many are not started, still in progress and how many are completed as below.

Iomad Coure Completion Report

Iomad Coure Completion Report

With the filter you can see the whole company or just a department.

The completion report by user allows you to select a user from the company or filter by department and then view their report.

Iomad User Completion Report

Iomad User Completion Report

There are other reports for SCORM tracking, Attendance tracking and an overview on the company staff and the total number of users and total number of courses.

End of Part 1.

This review has covered the basics of what a company will do when they start on the system, structure setup, user set up and enrolment and also some of the reports.Throughout the review I have found the system to be simple to use. The options were just enough to do what was needed and no more which mean that the screens did not have extra options which could confuse. I will give my full thoughts on the system at the end of part 2.

The next part in this review will cover the different roles in the system, training event activity, Multi-tenancy, E-commerce and the course license management.

Moodle.org announced that the latest minor versions of Moodle are now available.

Moodle 2.6.1, 2.5.4, 2.4.8 and 2.3.11 are available to download (see http://download.moodle.org or Git (see docs)).

As usual the releases include a number of bug fixes and small improvements.

There are also some security vulnerabilities that have been discovered and fixed so it is a good idea to upgrade your sites to these latest versions to implement these fixes.

 

We are delighted to announce a new award to be ran in conjunction with the Moodlemoot Edinburgh – Moodler of the Year 2014.

The purpose is to celebrate and reward excellent teaching practice in the use of Moodle in learning and assessment delivery. The award is open to individuals and teams based anywhere in Europe who are coming to the Moodlemoot in Edinburgh.

The award will be judged by a panel chaired by the Moot Chair – Dr Keith Smyth of Edinburgh Napier University.

Winners will be presented with the award and the prizes at the Gala Dinner at the Moodlemoot Edinburgh 2014 on the evening of April 15th.

Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third places as decided by the panel.

A person, or a team may put forward a Moodle based learning project they have completed in their organisation in the past year of the submission date.

For full details on the award and the details of how to enter check the Moodlemoot site

Early bird Registration

Moodlemoot Edinburgh has extended the early bird registration until the middle of January (Jan 17th 2014). This means you still have another month to get the early bird pricing.

Workshops

They also announced the Pre-Conference Workshops which take on the Monday 14th of April, so have a read of them below and see if anything peeks your interest.

The Pre-Conference Workshop List is broken into different strands:

  • Badge / Gamification Strand
  • Moodle Quiz Strand
  • Moodle Developer Strand
  • Teaching with Moodle Strand
  • Extending Moodle for teaching Strand

Registered users will be added to the Moodle site for the Moot where they will be able to select which workshops they want to attend. They will also be able to select their session preference when the full programme is announced closer to the date.

Badge / Gamification Strand

Open Badges Strategy  (1/2 day)
Facilitator: Carla Casilli, Director (Badge System Design + Implementation, Mozilla Foundation) and Grainne Hamilton (Advisor: e-Assessment, Jisc RSC Scotland)

Open Badges are digital credentials that earners can display anywhere on the web. They are underpinned by an open accreditation infrastructure developed by Mozilla, which enables the issuing of Open Badges to recognise achievement and attributes that may not be picked up in formal qualifications.

The Designing Open Badge Systems workshop will focus on effective Open Badge system development, introducing Mozilla and Jisc tools to support badge system design and  a strategic approach to implementing Open Badges in a formal education context.

In the first session, we explore the Open Badges Infrastructure developed by Mozilla and consider the rationale for issuing Open Badges

Session 1 (1.5 hours) – Open Badges 101

  • What are Open Badges?
  • How are they being used?
  • Why issue Open Badges? What do you want to issue badges for?
  • Issuing badges in Moodle – what do you need to consider?

Session 2 (1.5 hours) – Designing Open Badges systems to use in Moodle

  • Explore Open Badge system design tools
  • Develop the value proposition of an Open Badge and behaviours you want to encourage
  • Create the criteria and consider evidence for an Open Badge
  • Consider related badges
  • Consider badge brand

Practical Gamification of Moodle Courses (1/2 day)
Facilitator: Gavin Henrick(Learning Technology Services) , 2nd to be confirmed

This workshop will look gamification and the various techniques that are available to Moodle course developers to gamify their course. Participants will be taken through the range of techniques

Session 1 (1.5 hours) – Gamification 101

  • What is Gamification?
  • How is it used?
  • Why use Gamification in E-learning?
  • Examples of Moodle with Gamification
  • An example Moodle course

Session 2 (1.5 hours) – Applying Gamification to Moodle

  • The Moodle Gamification Toolkit
  • Techniques you can use in Moodle by default
  • Plugins that help gamification
  • What next?

Moodle Quiz strand

Creating high-quality computer-marked assessment in Moodle (full day)
Facilitator: Tim Hunt, Open University, 2nd to be confirmed

Morning Sessions

In the morning, we explore what can be done with the features that are available in the standard Moodle package.

Session 1 (1.5 hours) – Creating a quiz

  • * What do we mean by high-quality assessment?
  • * How much can be automatically marked by computer?
  • * Take “An interactive tour of the Moodle Quiz”
  • * Create your first quiz

Session 2 (1.5 hours) – Creating questions – standard Moodle types

  • * What make a good question?
  • * Create a Multiple choice question
  • * Create a Short-answer question
  • * Create a numerical question
  • * Update your quiz

Afternoon Sessions

In the afternoon, we explore the possibilities opened up by the Open University’s question type add-ons.

Session 3 (1.5 hours) – Creating drag-and-drop questions

  • * Authenticity in assessment: what other question types do we need?
  • * Creating different types of drag-and-drop questions.

Session 4 (1.5 hours) – Advanced question types

Each participant may choose one of

  • - Creating pattern-match questions to automatically grade sentences.
  • - Creating variable numeric questions to grade numbers and units.
  • - Creating STACK questions, to assess mathematics.

Moodle 2 development Strand

Developing Moodle features ( full day)
Facilitator: Howard Miller (Lead Developer, E-Learn Design), Derick Turner(Director, E-Learn Design)

** Each session builds upon the previous session. Continued attendance at all sessions is preferred. **

This workshop is aimed at developers who already have done some minor Moodle changes and who understand how to set up the Moodle environment for testing. It will take attendees through developing a number of enhancements to Moodle. We will be working on Moodle 2.6 and participants will require their own development environment on their local machine or somewhere that they control remotely.

Morning Sessions

  • Session 1 – Basic “hello world” type report creating plugin structures and default requirements and linking into the Moodle menus.
  • Session 2 – Creation of the library functions which the report will use to obtain and process the data

Afternoon Sessions

  • Session 3 – Form creation to handle sorting and searching which is then used to drive the gathering of data.
  • Session 4 – Outputting the data onto the screen and handling output to various file formats for downloading.

At the end of the session the finished code will be made available.

Teaching with Moodle Strand

Moodle Masterclass for teachers ( full day)
Facilitator: Deneka  MacDonald (Director/Lead Instructional Designer, E-Learn Design),

A closer look at Book, Glossary, Lesson and Creative Formative Assessment

*** The first 2 sessions are distinct sessions with clear objectives for each. Sessions 3 and 4 build upon one another and attendance at both is required/recommended. **

Morning Sessions

  • Session 1: Book: Explore creative ways to use the Book Module in Moodle to add value to your courses.
  • Session 2: Glossary: Explore various ways in which the Glossary Module can add value to your courses.

Afternoon Sessions

  • Session 3: Lessons: Bring along your content to this introductory session and begin to plan your advanced path based Lesson for your students.
  • Session 4: Lessons: Building upon the previous session, we will continue to explore path based lessons, adding question clusters as well as illustrating how multi-media and formative learning can enhance the user experience. Users will leave with a practical finished Lesson at the end.

Extending Moodle for Teaching Strand

Morning Workshop
Moodle Add-ons – the building blocks of Moodle. (1/2 day)
Facilitator: Gavin Henrick (Learning Technology Services), Michael de Raadt (Development Manager, Moodle HQ)

This workshop is for course creators and administrators although developers will be let in too!

Now there are literally hundreds of plugins available for the Moodle admin to include in their installation should they need to do so. This workshop will provide an overview of community and commercial add-ons for Moodle and it will look at installing plugins, testing plugins, managing plugins and also upgrading plugins.

  • Participants will be brought through installing and testing many different types of plugins.
  • Participants will then be grouped and asked to address governance, responsibility and management of plugins in an organisation.
  • Participants groups will be given various tasks to complete related to researching plugins, testing them against a defined set of criteria.
  • Participants will be challenged to come up with some requirements for new plugins that support pedagogy rather than an administrative function.
  • Participants will co-create some content on the topic.

Afternoon Session
IMS LTI – Extending Moodle for teaching (1/2 day)
Facilitator:Simon Booth (University of Stirling), Stephen Vickers (IMS Global)

This half day workshop will provide you with hands-on experience of how Moodle can be extended using external LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability) tools. Even if you think you know all about LTI, we hope there will be something new for you to learn. For example, in the past year there have been proposed extensions for embedding content items, discoverable LTI services, accessing data for learning analytics. So, come along and find out more.

The topics we could cover are:

  • What LTI is and what benefits it can provide for teaching
  • How to use the core functionality available within Moodle to configure and enable LTI tools
  • How to find tools which support LTI
  • What to consider when evaluating LTI Tools
  • The latest releases of LTI (1.2 and 2.0)
  • The current roadmap for LTI

A bit slow adding this here, but the registrations for the Moodlemoot Edinburgh 2014 are now open. This is the announcement from the Moot site:

We are delighted to announce that registrations are now open for the upcoming Moodlemoot Edinburgh 2014, being held on April 14-16 in partnership with Edinburgh Napier University.

Reserve your place at the Moodlemoot Edinburgh 2014 and join hundreds of Moodlers from around the world for fun days of learning, networking and development.

Registration provides access to the panels, workshops, presentations, keynote addresses, meals (Coffee breaks and lunch) for each day that you are registered.

All registration options also include the Gala Dinner held on the Tuesday evening at the Our Dynamic Earth venue in Edinburgh.

Registration Options

There are a number of ticket options available for the Moodlemoot – all options include attendance at the Gala Dinner on April 15th 2014.

For on-line payment with Credit Cards visit http://moodlemoot-edinburgh.exordo.com/

Invoice registration is available for institutions and organisations.
Please contact us with your organisation details, (name, address, VAT number) and Full names & emails of those attending and we will draw up the invoice.  Registration is confirmed upon receipt of payment.

Accommodation Booking

Marketing Edinburgh have offer their accommodation booking service to delegates attending the Moodlemoot.

They specially negotiated rates at a selection of hotels/apartments throughout the city these cover two, three and four stars.

We will be running coaches to the Moodlemoot venue from outside the Roxburghe and also near one of the main hotels at the Royal Mile to the venue at 8:30 am on the Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday and heading back afterwards, so the accommodation options are all within walking distance of the planned pickup points. We will finalise the pickup points once we have the list of bookings that people have made.

On completion of the booking process you will receive an email confirmation to the email address you have provided. You will also be provided with a password which will be required if you wish to make changes to your personal details or change your reservation online.

Please note that the main Hotel venue for Monday welcome drinks, and Hackfest on the Thursday and Moodlemoot Office is the The Roxburghe which you can also book through this service.

Click here to see accommodation options

 

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