Friday, April 10, 2009

Moot points


For others like me reflecting on MoodleMootUK2009 (#mmuk09 tag for photos and tweets) could I remind them to visit the MoodleMoot home and complete the feedback survey.

The Moot at Loughborough University was the first for UK Moodle conference for my colleagues and I from the IB (www.ibo.org ), we run two major Moodle installations, one for the online training of our Diploma Programme examiners and the other for online CPD of IB teachers globally, as a result we were very keen to get insights into how the soon( by Christmas?) to be released Moodle 2.0 will look on release, and how this will impact and assist our operations.
It was interesting to hear from Martin Dougiamas about the reasons for some of the clunky operation of previous iterations of Moodle ( more like Muddle with different developers slotting in elements which were either slightly incomplete and often did not get tested interacting with others!)
However we now start with a clean state with Moodle 2.0 - a joined up roadmap of development will give you a 'real time' glimpse of how 2.0 is coming along as it approaches release.
** one note of caution - if you are using an installation pre 1.9 you will not be able to directly upgrade to 2.0 you will need to upgrade toward 1.9 first.**
There are some important improvements which will improve Moodle for its users :
1. File Handling
a)Repository - Moodle will be able to more easily bring in files from your computer and also multimedia files from other sources ( flickr, youtube, google docs) into your courses, much more like you would do now for example uploading into Blogger. This will be very useful in enabling our workshop leaders to be able to source their own material. There may be issues of the ownership of the imported material - however more open sources may be available once 2.0 goes live.
b) Portfolio - The introduction of the ability to export personal material from Moodle to an external space. This could be Google Docs or a host such as Mahara the new open source portfolio solution

which has been in discussion with Moodle over its seamless plugin to come in 2.0. This will enable our participant teachers to move their workshop record for their own CPD and will give us impetus to encouraging teachers to keep their own e-portfolios.

2. Course organisation
a) Navigational improvements ( which will hopefully mean that we can customise Moodle to look less like it has been developed by geeks!!)
b) Conditionality - Martin is less happy with this as it is restrictive, however the option of having elements conditional on others being viewed or attempted is very useful. In our situation we have the need to ensure that teachers are exposed to the learning that they have paid for, secondly though we firmly believe that engagement with the whole online learning process is a huge part of the online learning experience - if we are able to make some fairly simple activities 'must do' in order to proceed this will certainly help us.
c) Completion - the ability for participants to mark an activity as 'completed' is a good one agin from our viewpoint, teachers often ask us if there is any way of proving that they have completed an activity ( add b,c and d will be powerful for our adult learners).
d)Progress tracking - speaks for itself and will form a powerful suite of tools for Moodle administrators ( however care will be needed for admins not to go overboard with lockdowns)

Other improvements to the wiki and blog ( either make it a true blog which is difficult in an enclosed space!!! or re-name it as a reflection tool) will answer many issues that have caused Moodle to appear difficult to use.... roll on Moodle 2.0 ( Christmas 2009 ????)

Much of this information was delivered by Martin and fleshed out by Julian Ridden in his additional sessions ( many thanks to Julian on overcoming the 'buggy 2.0 for showing these). You can play with some elements of Moodle 2.0 at the Moodle Playpen do go and have a go at the new elements....... yes it is ALPHA so beware.

* Listening to Martin Langhoff and his work with OLPCs School Server Moodle sounds really interesting as they look at making Moodle less text reliant and to become a tool which Primary (K12) schools and pupils may be able to use he is currently looking for partners to test these and provide good bug reports, if you want to be involved go to wiki.laptop.org/or email Martin directly at martin@laptop.org

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