Get Your Moodle on July 20th

I am a big fan of Moodle as stated in previous articles. I have used it quite a bit and what it does, it does well. However, it was only a 1.0 release and with that you have some bugs and a community that wants more! The following list of features is taken from the Moodle website (http://docs.moodle.org/en/Moodle_2.0_release_notes)

Community Hubs

  • Anybody can set up a Community Hub, which is a directory of courses for public use or for private communities. The code is implemented as separate GPL plugin for Moodle.
  • Sites can register to any Community Hub (instead of just moodle.org)
  • Teachers on registered sites can publish their full courses to Community Hubs, for download
  • Teachers on registered sites can also advertise their courses on Community Hubs, for people to join
  • Teachers on any site can search all public Community Hubs and download courses as templates for their own courses
  • Users on any Moodle site can also search Community Hubs for courses (and communities of practice) to participate in. Initially we are encouraging ‘communities of teaching practice’ but any sort of course can be listed.

Repository Support

  • Moodle now supports integration with external repositories of content, making it really simple to bring documents and media into Moodle via an AJAX interface that looks like a standard Open dialogue in desktop applications.
  • Initial plugins in 2.0 include: Alfresco, Amazon S3, Box.net, File system on Server, Flickr, Google Docs, Mahara, MERLOT, Picasa, Recent Files, Remote Moodle sites, WebDAV servers, Wikimedia, Youtube. These are simple to develop, so many more are expected.
  • You can also import files from your desktop or by specifying a URL.

Portfolio Support

  • Modules can now export their data to external systems, particularly useful for portfolios where snapshots of forums, assignments and other things in Moodle are useful to record in a journal or a portfolio of evidence
  • Different formats are supported (currently LEAP2A, HTML, Images and Text, but others like PDF can be added)
  • Initial plugins in 2.0 include: Box.net, Flickr, Google Docs, Mahara and Picasa.

Completion

  • Teachers can now specify conditions that define when any activity is seen as completed by a student. For example, when a certain number of posts have been made, or a grade has been reached, or a choice has been made.
  • Teachers can now specify conditions that define with any course is seen as completed by a student. Conditions include activity completion, but could also be by grade, date or a number of other criteria.
  • Teachers and students can see reports that show the progress of any user within a course, or through a series of courses.

Conditional activities

  • Access to activities can be restricted based on certain criteria, such as dates, grade obtained, or the completion of another activity.
  • These can be chained together to enable progressive disclosure of the course content, if that is desired.

Cohorts

  • Also known as “Site-wide groups”, these are site-wide collections of users that can be enrolled into courses in one action, either manually or synchronised automatically

Web Services Support

  • Support for standards-based web services across the entire Moodle code base, allowing the admin to expose particular functions of Moodle for use by:
    • Administrative systems such as HR or SIS applications
    • Mobile clients
  • Framework contains a very high-level of security with a detailed token system and complete control over the range of functions exposed
  • All defined functions are automatically available via:
    • SOAP
    • XML-RPC
    • REST
    • AMF (Flash)

IMS Common Cartridge

  • Moodle can now import courses in IMS Common Cartridge format (commonly used by publishers)

New blocks

  • Comments block – like a shoutbox, allows comments to be added to any page. Great for student feedback.
  • Private files block – allows easy access to one’s private file repository in Moodle (with quota support)
  • Community block – keeps track of external courses one is interested in
  • Completion block – reports on the completion status of your courses

Some of the new features I am really excited about such as the community aspect and conditional activities. Moodle is going to focus on the community aspect a bit more and hopefully this means social media as well. The classroom community was there a bit in the first release candidate but not enough. Students could send PM’s back and forth but I want to see a full social networking option available.

Other things that needed improving and that will be fixed are:

  • Backup and Restore
  • Blocks
  • Blog
  • Comments
  • Enrolment plugins
  • File handling
  • Gradebook
  • HTML editor
  • Messaging
  • My Moodle page
  • Navigation
  • Ratings
  • Roles and permissions
  • RSS Feeds
  • Themes
  • User profile pages

As July 20th approaches, I will be listing more features and fixes. If you haven’t tried out Moodle yet in your classroom or institution, try it!

http://moodle.org/

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