Category: Hack/Doc Fest at Lafayette

Hack/Doc at Lafayette: Day 1

The glass-fronted windows of Skillman Library reflect the evening light.
Skillman Library at Lafayette College. Credit: Ken Newquist

At Day 1 of Moodle Hack/Doc Fest we got down to work testing messaging and notification in Moodle 3.2, discussing CLAMP’s future approaches to documentation, reviewing H5P, and learning about changes to the Filtered Course list plugin.

The group began testing messaging and notifications in Moodle 3.2. We determined that the new interface is cleaner than the old one, and the use of a red dot to indicate when there are updates for the user (e.g. notifications, messages) is more obvious in 3.2 than in previous versions of Moodle. We learned that notifications from Moodle activities require cron to be running, and likely running at the recommended once-per-minute rate to be useful.

Several attendees huddled regarding CLAMP’s approach to documentation going forward and sense was that we want to move toward crafting documentation and scripts that could easily be used at CLAMP schools. This information could be written in Markdown and made available in some sort of online repository — e.g. github — but we haven’t determined the specifics yet. CLAMP would still contribute and update documentation on MoodleDocs as appropriate.

The developers got together to discuss the future of CLAMP’s development server, which is currently a physical machine residing at one of the CLAMP institutions. Going forward we are going to look at moving the development instance to a cloud-based hosting solution which would free us from the need to maintain our own hardware.

Attendees at Hack/Doc sit around a U-shaped table while a male presenter talks. A small Yellow Labrador puppy is laying down in the foreground.
Jason Simms (Lafayette College) talks about H5P on Day 1 of Moodle Hack/Doc Fest. Hank, a Seeing Eye dog in training, attended the presentation. Credit: Ken Newquist.

Over lunch Kevin Wiliarty (Hampshire College) did a presentation of Filtered Course List 3.0, which adds a lot of flexibility to the plugin, but adds a steeper learning curve for Moodle admins. After Kevin’s presentation, Jason Simms (Lafayette College) did a high-level rundown of H5P, which is an HTML5-based alternative to Flash that can be used to create rich web content such as videos, images, quizzes, charges, collages, documentation tools, finding the hot spot, guessing answers, etc. With the H5P plugin installed in Moodle, that content can then be embedded in courses. The HP5 website includes tutorials for content creators.

Other work included:

  • Integrating Moodle 3.2 into the Moodle Liberal Arts Edition.
  • Initial testing of the Boost theme in Moodle 3.2.
  • Extending a Moodle-to-Banner grades extract tool.

Posts from Moodle Hack/Doc Fest, Winter 2017 at Lafayette College: Homepage | Sprint | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

Hack/Doc at Lafayette: The Sprint Day

Bookshelves full of books frame the left and right sides of the photo.
The bookshelves in Skillman Library, the location of Moodle Hack/Doc Fest at Lafayette College. Credit: Ken Newquist.

HP5, PoodLL, Moodle Messaging and navigation/theme improvements to Moodle 3.2 are among the topics that CLAMP queued up at during the sprint day for Moodle Hack/Doc Fest, Winter 2017.

The biannual Hack/Doc is being held at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa. The event kicked off on Monday, January 9, 2017 with the sprint day. The event runs through Thursday, January 12, 2017. The following tasks are queued up for Hack/Doc:

  • Review Theme and Navigation Project 3.2 (including the Boost theme)
  • Review Messaging and Notifications Overhaul
  • Review Custom Guided Tours / Tutorials with an eye toward using it for a guided tour of the Liberal Arts Edition
  • Review the current status of the PDF converter and viewer for Moodle assignments.
  • Work on Smith College’s tool for generating a CSV for exporting grades to Banner
  • Look at H5P for streaming media within Moodle.
  • Look at PoodLL for audio/video recording in Moodle.
  • Revisit Moodle Mobile

In addition, we are kicking around a number of group discussions:

  • How do you do course creation? (templating, block layout, etc.)
  • Viability and interest in extending Scheduler to allow for instance-wide scheduling.
  • Discussion best practices for course templates
  • How do school’s organize help documentation (include video and screenshots, where is it stored). Consider what role CLAMP should have in terms of documentation, best practices, hardware/software/platform recommendations, etc.
  • Course design principles, which will include accessibility decisions
  • How do you present courses from multiple semesters to faculty and students?
  • How do you convey to faculty (and students) changes to Moodle or simply to showcase key features whether they’re new features (e.g., PoodLL or Turnitin integration) or features one might find helpful to revisit (e.g., glossary)?
  • Are folks conducting usability testing? If so, what’s your setup and what have you tested? If not, why not?

Posts from Moodle Hack/Doc Fest, Winter 2017 at Lafayette College: Homepage | Sprint | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

Announcing Moodle Hack/Doc Fest, Winter 2017

Moodle Hack/Doc Fest, Winter 2017 will be held Tuesday, January 10 through Thursday, January 12, 2017 at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa. A pre-Hack/Doc documentation and coding sprint will be held Monday, January 9, 2017. Lafayette also hosted Hack/doc in Winter 2007 and Winter 2010.

The lodging deadline is Thursday, December 1, 2016. The registration deadline is Friday, Dec 16, 2016.

Hack/Doc Fest V: Day 3

Day 3 was the final day of Hack/Doc, and was our wrap-up for the event as folks finished up their code, make their final commits to Subversion, and added documentation to the wiki.

  • LAE name change: Based on feedback from the community, we’ve changed our naming convention with the LAE to tie in closely with the Moodle version it’s based on. Thus LAE 1.02 becomes Moodle 1.9.5+LAE1.02  and the new release becomes Moodle 1.9.7+LAE1.0.
  • Moodle 1.9.7+LAE1.0: We created our tentative list of “baked in” modules and blocks for the next release.  The big additions here are Assignment Zip and Simple File Upload; both were available as stand-alone downloads before (and will be again) but are now sufficiently bullet-proof for us to feel confident about folding them into the main LAE release. Full details available in Redmine.
    • Filtered Course Block
    • Quickmail
    • SimplePIE RSS Parser
    • TinyMCE 2 Integration
    • Assignment Zip
    • Simple File Upload
    • Numerous bug fixes
  • Chat History Now Accessible: The Chat module in Moodle didn’t allow you to scroll through the full history of the chat; the fix is in the /dev branch right now and will be folded into the Moodle 1.9.7_LAE1.0 release.
  • Import/Restore/Backup: A bunch of research was done on this with the goal of  a) Options to choose to restore settings/blocks to both import/restore. b) Ability for import/restore to actually do this. The research has been done, but more time/work is needed to implement the changes.
  • Single Topic Backup/Restore: As with Import/Restore, this required a lot of research. WE have a good idea of how to do it, but the work needs to be done.
  • Filtered Course Block: The block has been modified to allow term logic based on shortname/long name/course id, and we intend to add the ability to include multiple future/arbitrary terms to the block. This work is ongoing and likely won’t be ready for the 1.9.7_LAE1.0 release.
  • Voting for Bugs: We’ve compiled a list of bugs/features to vote for in Moodle Tracker.
  • Moodle Gradebook Fixes from Luther College: We spent a good deal of time evaluating Luther’s proposed gradebook fixes, which are designed to make it easier for students to understand their grades, specifically:
    • not being able to display the “real” points for categories and course unless you use “Sum of points” agg method
    • not seeing the accurate point range for categories and course total
    • more flexible User report that allows for turning on and off columns as needed
    • a User report that allows the student to easily view how the grade has been calculated (weights, etc.)
  • More Gradebook Testing: We need more volunteers to help with testing Luther’s fixes; specially importing complex gradebooks into a test instance. Details can be found in Redmine.
  • Blackboard->Moodle Migration Documentation: This documentation is complete and in the wiki for editing; it should be available soon.

Hack/Doc Fest V: Tracker Issue Voting

Here’s the big list of bugs and features that we worked on at Moodle Hack/Doc Fest V which need to be voted on by the CLAMP community. Each link takes you to Moodle Tracker, where you’ll be able to login and vote on each issue. Please add your own comments with your institution’s take on the bug (particularly with regards to interface questions, like QuickMail).