Moodle 2.2 is go!

After a very informative event from JISC RSC London yesterday I now feel that Moodle 2 is going to be on our radar very soon (as in less than 6 months soon!) At one point I asked the question whether the move from 1.9 to 2.2 could be done or whether to go and hide under a table and pretend it isn’t happening… you can guess what the answer was!

 

I was going to summarise the salient points about the upgrade but Mike Hughes has already done it so without further ado check out his post…

http://citymoodle.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/making-the-leap-to-moodle-2/

One of the best things from yesterday was finally an answer to the question I’ve had since 2.x was released…

“can you explain to a tutor, in less than 4 sentences, how the new file system works”

Cue Rebecca Barrington from South Devon College who managed it with a few words and some nifty elbow moves! Good news is that there doesn’t seem too much to worry about now the early issues and questions have been ironed out and thus far feedback seems to be that it “just works”… I’ll take that! With what looks like single-instance storage reducing file storage requirements as well it’s looking like win-win now.

On a similar note the long awaited SkyDrive API is now out there so maybe, just maybe we might finally see something to link it to Moodle via the repository function… maybe dreams can come true after all!
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2011/12/09/announcement-of-skydrive-api.aspx

So getting back into the office today what happens next? From a personal point of view I think I’m going to go down the fresh install and re-import process. It’ll give us the chance to re-evaluate structures, clear out any crud and check all our users are accurate, plus leaving 1.9 there on the side “just in case”. Already put a request in for a 2.2 server which should be arriving sometime next week then let the fun begin!

After looking at our current site and furious scribblings from yesterday the initial plugin list is starting with…

  • Live@Edu plugin for 2.x (only released the other week and was a big worry for me)
  • ILP2, apparently new and much improved
  • OUWiki, sounds like a very nice bit of kit and much better than the standard Moodle module which has always seemed a bit underwhelming
  • Lightbox Gallery, was glad to hear this has been ported to 2.x as we make good use of it in our photography courses
  • Book, core feature wasn’t there early on but now upgraded
  • Course Awards with Moodle medals for high quality courses
  • Course Menu (looks like Moodle 2.x standard course navigation isn’t quite good enough without the additional block)
  • Spell check for HTML editor

First thing I’ll be doing is setting up the updated Live@Edu plugin to see what’s changed, hopefully they’ve used the newer Messenger Connect API to fix the irritating consent bug from the old system that’s been the bane of my life ever since putting it in! At the same time I’ll also look at updating my little Office Web Apps block to work in 2.x, hopefully shouldn’t need too much tweaking being a pretty basic item and when done will upload to the usual place 🙂

Once everything all up and running then we’ll need to update our Moodle introductory course to take advantage of the new funky features 2.x offers (conditional activities, completed items, new quiz types etc) to sell the vision to tutors and show them where we’re moving towards. Then there’s the small matter of deciding whether to keep with the portal strategy (website, intranet etc all based on Moodle) or split out into separate platforms (Joomla?) All this alongside moving to Windows 7, installing site-wide Ruckus Wi-Fi, implementing open-source MRBS room booking software and finishing off getting our last couple of physical servers onto VMware… it’s going to be a busy summer!

As always thanks go to RSC London for putting the event on and all those who shared their experiences for the greater good, this slightly wonky Moodle logo salutes you!

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4 Responses to Moodle 2.2 is go!

  1. Dear Gerrard,
    I think your blog will be a real help to me, I am blundering the dark at the moment. I’m a teacher, Maths and Economics at Dulwich College and also evening classes at Birkbeck College. I have two linked strands of confusion which I wonder if you might advise me on.
    At Birkbeck, we have been pushed quite suddenly into using moodle (as opposed to Blackboard) and I have put some materials together and created some Maths quizzes. Do you know anyone (who might know anyone) who is expert in this?
    Secondly, I am playing with moodle on my own laptop and have this vague idea that I could upload my courses to my office 365 space. The longer term idea is to become a virtual teacher, ideally from a bar in Italy. Is my idea a silly one or can I develop a system which combines moodle and office 365?
    I have, of course, tried searches but, I’m probably not asking the right questions and find lots of the information more technical than I can cope with.

    Best wishes

    Jonathan

    • gshaw0 says:

      Hi Jonathan,

      If I’m looking up the right colleges it seems you’re in London as well… in which case you’re in luck as there’s a big e-learning community round these parts and a lot of Moodle events \ training opportunities nearby.

      I’m guessing if you’ve just moved you’ll be running Moodle 2, which has a lot of improvements in regard to quizzes… lots more question types and you can also use a new feature called conditional activities so students can only do the quiz once they’ve read resources related to it (handy!)

      First port of call for your Moodle queries would usually be your in-house e-learning support team. A tutor actively trying to get resources onto the VLE is great so would imagine you’ll get help there, half hour or so with someone showing you the ropes should get you going 🙂 It’s also worth joining the Curriculum Champions email group (I’ll email you when I remember how to get joined onto it!) where you can ask if there’s anyone nearby who could give you a demo \ tips.

      I’d also recommend some of the Packt Publishing books on Moodle… I’ve got the first one and it’s very clear, has some pages on getting started with quizzes…

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Moodle-2-0-First-Look-Cooch/dp/1849511942
      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Moodle-learning-Course-Development-William/dp/1904811299

      Interested to hear you’re on Office 365, I think that’s the first installation I’ve heard of being actively used as it’s still a pretty new product. At the moment there’s not much in the way of integration with Moodle but hoping that will change over the coming months. My hope is that you’ll be able to seamlessly import documents from Office 365 straight into your Moodle course; in the same way students will be able to submit their work back for homework etc… bit of a wait and see on that front though!

      One thing to bear in mind is that students very much value face to face time as much as the e-learning aspect so the Italy plan might take a bit longer… unless the students want to come and visit you!

      Regards,

      Gerrard

      • Dear Gerrard,
        Thank you very much for your suggestions. I shall be grateful to receive the Curriculum Champions email and shall look into those books. The trouble is for me the in-house e-learning support team in both of my institutions are of limited help; at Dulwich we are a little team exploring the software and at Birkbeck, well, they don’t seem to be much ahead of me.

        What I’m wondering about with Office 365 is something different, can I incorporate my moodle pages into the webspace that comes with the package. I’m not even sure if I’m asking the right questions here.

        Best wishes and thanks

        Jonathan

      • gshaw0 says:

        Hi Jonathan,

        If you visit the About page and send me a message with your email address I can give you the details for who you need to speak to get on the list… it’s full of tutors and e-learning enthusiasts and very busy!

        You could link to Moodle resources directly through Office 365 although it depends what you want to achieve by doing that. Are you aiming to make your Office web space your primary contact point for students?

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