In the opening session of the first MoodleMoot Global, the founder of Moodle, Martin Dougiamas, discussed some of the new features of Moodle 3.8 — which is coming to NC State in spring 2020.
The look and feel of Moodle 3.8 will remain largely the same with some enhancements to Forums including new grading options for forums, get a summary report, export forums, and a new nested discussion view. Learning Analytics will be enhanced with new reports including — bulk actions for insights, results report, and the ability to send messages to students that have not recently or have yet to log into the course. Enhanced H5P integration (interactive content) is coming in Moodle 3.8 including an integrated H5P renderer and the ability to add H5P content in the editor. There will also be emojis available in the Atto editor.
At the Moot, there were discussions about improvements and enhancements to the Moodle Mobile App to enable students and faculty to have a more consistent experience from their personal devices. There has been increased usage of Moodle Cloud which is a free- to low-cost hosting solution and details were provided about the new Moodle Educator Certification Program which NC State helped pilot. The certification concentrates on teaching core competencies of online education using Moodle as a tool. I also learned that there are plans to release a detailed Moodle roadmap early next year at Moodle.org.
During day two of MoodleMoot Global, I presented on the WolfWare Feature Request Process at NC State to 48 attendees. I spent 15 minutes discussing the feature request process, why and how it works, and some of the benefits and drawbacks to what we do. I also provided some thoughts on how we might refine the process next year. I then led a lively discussion that spilled over into the hall about the approaches that other universities are taking and found some similarities and differences that seemed to be mostly based on institution size.
I attended a number of sessions at MoodleMoot Global. See a few of the key takeaways:
- H5P and LMS lab where I got a demo about how H5P works and saw some common interaction types such as course presentation.
- High Stakes Exams Using Moodle — using a safe exam browser, different configuration levels, issues with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), wifi bandwidth, students failing to follow directions, and the need to have a sample quiz to ensure that the student device configuration is correct.
- E-Lectures with Opencast: demonstration of a plugin that allows Moodle to work with Opencast to upload and edit videos, set visibility, etc., which runs on a separate Opencast server.
- Finding the right LMS: A consultant’s case study helping a corporate client find the appropriate LMS for their needs and the evaluation process.
- Moodle Mobile at the OU: A discussion of what The Open University has done with their own branded Moodle Mobile App (OU Study) and their Agile development approach: Find out exactly what users want, not what you think they do. Speak to a range of users. Start small, add more later. Start with what your students can’t do without. Do a little bit, test it, and continue.
- A demo of Wiris which is the math piece for Moodle. It is a math editor and more for Moodle that does OCR of formulas, formula creation, allows for Moodle questions and student responses, quizzes with variable questions.
- A demo of Unicheck plagiarism checker which detects some new text modification strategies like the copypaster: submit picture instead of text, the character replacer: characters from other languages and the microspacer, adds invisible characters to make it look like extra words.
- A demo of Gradescope, a full-featured grading tool for large classes that can be integrated with Moodle. Primarily used in STEM grading: what else can it be used for?
- Met with a consultant, Marcus Green, and learned more about a new strategy for creating a read-only Moodle archive.
- Met with WooClap (creator of interactive courseware authoring tool) and Kaltura (content capture) to learn more about their tools and how they integrate with Moodle.
- Listened to a panel discussion about current issues in Moodle and got to discuss the need for user experience (UX) and user interface design in Moodle as well as more consistency between modules. I was assured that Moodle.org considers this a high priority and are currently searching for a candidate to lead UX efforts in future versions of Moodle.
- Attended presentations by four Barcelona high schools where students presented their vision of what Moodle should look like in the future. Amongst the terrific suggestions were things like better support, advising, using Moodle on the phone, better group support, virtual diary, more offline support to do work and upload later. They felt there was not enough use of the profile, being able to personalize the look (which was very important to them! Think of it almost as their personal digital room), and night mode. Other thoughts included a loyalty program, classroom rewards, earning points by doing things, anonymous work, discovery page, student news, visual guides or tutorials, more student centered, more effective communication and a new layout.
- Learned more about Intelliboard and their latest developments (Learning Analytics software) and Medial, a video creation tool that can be integrated in Moodle.
- Attended a presentation by The Open University that discussed the key points of their development and deployment process.
- Learned about User Lifecycle Management at the University of Muenster: How they delete and suspend user accounts automatically: Deleting user removes their data, suspend/hides them. Not using for grade based courses — learnweb/admin_tool_cleanupusers might be good for projects and outreach servers.
- Using Calculated Multichoice Questions: a presentation demonstrating how to use this question type to create questions with variables and formulaic calculations much like WebAssign offers.
After the conclusion of MoodleMoot Global, I had the privilege of attending the first Open EdTech conference. It brought together a group of educators and participants in the Open Source/Open Technology community to try to draft a recommendation for how to promote the use of open educational technology and strengthen the open ed tech community. Learn more about our recommendations and read the Open EdTech guiding principles.