Moodle Hack/Doc Fest, 6/29/11: Day 2

Day 2 of Moodle Hack/Doc saw two ad hoc presentations, one on Luther College’s Moodle/Google integration and another on Williams College’s Signup Sheet and Roster block tools. There was also work to streamline the functioning of groupings and groups, documentation comparing features in Moodle 1.9 and 2.1, and analysis of Moodle’s new 1.9 import tool.

Morsle: Morsle is Luther’s College’s tool for integrating Moodle and Google Apps for Education. Bob Puffer of Luther showed how iIt automatically includes Google calendars, allows faculty to email students from Google via Moodle, creates read only and read/write folders for sharing documents, and can create a class web site (which can be used as a wiki thanks to a template).

Signup and Roster: Chris Warren, of Williams College, demonstrated his Signup Sheet block, which is a possible replacement for the Scheduler module. It allows faculty and students to create signup sheets for events, such as office hours, advising sessions, class events, etc. The sheets are not tied to a specific class — instead the organizer can choose make the sheet available by course, by faculty, by specific users or by category. The sheet is also available for students, allowing them to create their own ad hoc events. Multiple splots can be created at recurring times, and the administriator will receive a notification when someone signs up.

He also demonstrated the Roster block, which provides a number of different views for viewing a class roster. This includes a photo gallery option with a learning more that disables the students names when viewing their photos.


On the coding side of things the Carleton College contingent continued working on their Language Lesson tool, which allows faculty to create lessons in which students record and submit audio. This time around they had support from doc’er and coders testing the app and helping to debug problems.

Course Imports from 1.9 to 2.0: Caroline Moore (Smith College) discovered that the Moodle 1.9->2.x course importer will not bring in orphaned files. Because Moodle 2.x associates every file with a resource (and Moodle 1.9 does not) any 1.9 files not associated with a resource will not be imported. This would include files that faculty had uploaded, but not shared with the class.

In addition, we discovered that imported courses:

* Don’t restore users.
* You can’t add any users until you set the course to manual enrollments (by default, there is no enrollment type)
* The Simple File Upload tool had created a simple_file resource type that Moodle 2.0 doesn’t recognize, so Simple Files don’t import into Moodle 2.1. This will be fixed by CLAMP to convert simple files to regular file resources.

Groupings: A tweak to allow groups to automatically create a grouping was created on Day 1. This is most useful when using groupings to restrict access to a particular resource in a course. However while this was a minor tweak, on Day 2 it inspired a huge debate in Moodle Tracker about the proper use of groupings, and the experimental nature of restricting accesses to resources. There was also discussion about whether its appropriate to restrict access to certain resources to a subset of a classes roster.

CLAMP schools brainstormed some user cases for this: wanting to make additional resources available for students who need it, restricting access to resources when Moodle is used for collaboration, rather than strictly education. You can contribute your own examples, and comment on the usefulness of this feature, in tracker:


Moodle 2.1 Documentation: On the documentation side of Hack/Doc, our first set of Moodle 2.1 documentation is now available via a publicly readable Google Docs folder. It’s linked to from the CLAMP Documentation page ( and is accessible at this web address:

File management: The doc’ers also began work on a document that compares file management in Moodle 1.9. vs. Moodle 2.0. Some of the terms and functionality have changed — for example the “files and web pages” resource has been divided into two separate resource types. In addition, the File Upload interface is very different, as is the logic behind the files. Files are no longer owned by a course — they are either owned by a user (private files) or a resource (resource files, such as a PDF or a link).

There is no easy way to upload one file have it be linked to from multiple courses (e.g. a CV that is uploaded to a single location, linked to from multiple courses, and then when you update the CV, all the locations are updated). While Moodle 2.x’s file system is much more efficient (as it does keep track of duplicate files, and only maintains one true copy, when copying files from course to course) most of the efficient gains are on the backend.

Liberal Arts Edition Documentation: Documentation was created for the LAE Grader Reports and for the Liberal Arts Edition “plain English” description.