Presentation on Moodle 2.7 – some of the improvements since moodle 2.6

With most in northern hemisphere doing upgrades this summer, I recently did a presentation of Moodle 2.7.

Here are the slides:

Among a number of changes, Moodle 2.7 is the first LTS release (Long Term Support) of Moodle where it will be supported by HQ through patches and security releases for 3 years. This LTS release is a great long term option for those who just need a stable unchanging platform and don’t need to access the new features and options that come every 6 months.

Other Popular Presentations:

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Testing your site

It is that time of year where people upgrade from one version to the latest or nearly latest version of Moodle. I have heard many ask ” Is the a list of user tests for Moodle” and recently answered one on LinkedIn that was similar, looking to get a freely downloadable list of user tests.

So I thought I would take my reply and add it here with some more context.

Each test plan that we do following upgrades or customisations / installations is different and unique to that organisation. It depends on how they use Moodle, what they have in it, what integrations they have, what they want to use it for, who they want to use it and much more.

Generic QA Tests

So it is not really possible to provide a comprehensive 1 does all test plan, except for perhaps a vanilla brand new Moodle. Each release Moodle runs a set of QA tests -> ( See  http://docs.moodle.org/dev/QA_testing for details on QA Testing) There are over 450 tests. (see https://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDLQA-1 ) These include tests like “A teacher can add questions to a quiz” or “A teacher can change the order in which assignment submissions are listed”.  This is great list and is a good starting point to make sure that anything you have added into Moodle site (themes, plugins, customisations/integrations has not broken some core aspect of Moodle).

However, if you are like many people using Moodle, you are not using a default Moodle install, and probably are not using all the features either. So do you need to do all the tests and what about other tests?

Your Moodle

Developing a complete profile the use of Moodle to prioritise where you should focus your testing, start there and work out to lesser used features and if some areas are never used – decide if you want to test them or not.

  • However, you need to put together a list of test scripts to test each of the code customisations that you have done that it is doing as you expect.
  • And how about those add-ons, you will should put together a list of test scripts to test each of features of the add-on that you are using to ensure it is working as expected.
  • What about your theme? You should also have a suite of tests to ensure that it is working as expected and that any custom features in it work as they should.
  • Now consider, browser variety, screensize/device variety, accessibility, again based on usage patterns you need to decide which you will use. Are your users all using IE8 or IE9? Is 20% of your access coming from iPads?
  • So developing a comprehensive test plan for after an upgrade can take a lot of time.
  • Don’t forget, make sure that you group tests per user type on system, and have those do the tests related to their tasks – having the end users involved in testing can be great to check their expectations.

In short, only you can put together a list of suitable tests for your Moodle – but do make use of what is currently available to give yourself a head start.

Automation

But there are some ways to automate testing, using stff like Jmeter, Selenium, Behat. See http://docs.moodle.org/dev/Acceptance_testing

For more information on all this topic, check out the excellent and informative section on Moodle Docs on Quality Assurance -> http://docs.moodle.org/dev/Category:Quality_Assurance

Questions for you..

Do you run sets of user tests after you upgrade?

Are they manual? automated?

Do you add tests for your plugins?

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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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