Category: Hack/Doc Fest at Tulane

Day 3 at Moodle Hack/Doc Fest, Winter 2012

Moodle Hack/Doc Fest, Winter 2012 concluded at Tulane on Friday, January 14. The event culminated with the release of Moodle 1.9.16+LAE1.6 Beta 1, which is a maintenance and security release that folds in fixes from Moodle 1.9.16. We also finalized plans for Moodle 2.2+LAE2.0 Beta 1, our first formal Moodle 2 release.

New releases

We are releasing betas for two new Liberal Arts Editions at the end of Hack/Doc: a maintenance release for Moodle 1.9 and our inaugural edition for Moodle 2.2.

  • Moodle 1.9.16+LAE1.6
  • Moodle 2.2+LAE2.0
    • Anonymous Forums: Allows for anonymous posting to Moodle forums.
    • Filtered Course List Block: Lets administrators to display a block with courses based on a particular search string (e.g. the current term)
    • Simple File Upload Course Import Fix: The 1.9 LAE had a streamlined upload interface called “Simple File Upload”; this created a new file upload type in the database. Moodle 2 doesn’t recognize this custom file type, which causes course restores to fail when upgrading or restoring a course. This fix changes Simple File Upload content into regular Moodle 2.x files.
    • Quickmail: The LSU implementation of the popular Quickmail block, which allows faculty to easily email students in their classes from Moodle.
    • File Interface Exit Warning: In our testing we found that Moodle’s file upload interface can be confusing — it requires users to upload files, then click a save button, but the interface itself makes it look as though the file has already been saved. This tweak displays a warning message if the user tries to surf away from the file interface without saving.
    • Moodle 2.2+LAEv2.0 Beta 1 will be released on Wednesday, January 18, 2011

Moodle 2.2 Status Report

  • The Moodle 2.0 status report was reviewed, and all outstanding blockers have been evaluated. We plan on releasing a Moodle 2.2 status report — which will include a review of popular Moodle 2 modules — in February 2012.


  • Kaltura by Deb Sarlin, Bucknell University
    • Deb gave an overview of Kaltura, a streaming media solution that integrates with Moodle.
    • She should an example of how video can be recorded and added to an assignment in Moodle.
    • We discussed the new version of the plugin for Moodle 2.2.
  • eReserves by Daniel Landau, Reed College
    • Daniel presented on his home-grown eReserves system for Reed College, which was programmed in Ruby-on-Rails.

Day 2 at Moodle Hack/Doc Fest, Winter 2012

Moodle Hack/Doc Fest at Tulane continued on Thursday, January 13, 2012. Here’s what we did:

OM Local

  • For the last few years we’ve been using the “OM” tool to quickly create new instances of Moodle based on code from our Git repository and pre-made database profiles. Daniel Landau (Reed College) has created a local version of this tool that can be run on Unix-based operating systems (Mac OS X, Linux)

Moodle 2.2 Documentation

  • CLAMP’s Moodle 2 documentation has been updated to reflect Moodle 2.2. View the documentation.
  • New documentation is being written for:
    • Time release of resources
    • Advanced Grading/Rubrics
  • New administration documentation is being written for the following repository types:
    • Flickr
    • Dropbox
    • Google Docs
    • Youtube


  • We evaluated rubrics, which seem to be working pretty well. There are some gotchas in terms of how grades are weighted, which will be covered in the documentation.


  • LSU quickmail works pretty darn well. Allows multiple attachments. Nice browse interface.
  • There is a bug involving the capabilities “can_send_mail” and “can_students_use_quickmail?” Depending on how these settings are configured, they may not work at all. Caroline Moore (Smith College) and Damon Blanchette (Smith College) is debugging this.


  • When exporting and restoring coures, Moodle 2 does a better job of relative linking so that the file links don’t break.
  • Private files: Is there a way to back up and restore private files? (a la course backups?) There doesn’t appear to be one. This could be an issue for colleges that run semester-based or academic year-based instances of Moodle, and want faculty to have access to their previous private files.
  • We questioned if private files should even be turned on, but weren’t sure what the implications of leaving it off would be. If nothing else, the mobile app expects mobile files to be on in order to upload images, audio, etc. to Moodle.


  • A major issue with Moodle enrollments under 2.0 was that student data — particularly grades — was lost when a student was unenrolled from a course and then re-enrolled (a not uncommon scenario).
  • Under Moodle 2.2, grades come back with the student, but only if you check a hidden advanced option to restore grades for that particularly student when re-enrolling them in the course.
  • We think there should be a system-level checkbox for administrators so that they can default this option to “yes”. This would allow Moodle 2.2 to operate as Moodle 1.9.x did.


  • IPAL Web-based Clickers by William Junkin, Eckerd College
    • William did a live presentation of his IPAL web-based clicker for Moodle 2.1.
    • Students can respond with any web-enabled device. During the presentation most used smartphones.
    • Responses arrive (and are displayed) in real time.
    • You can copy IPAL questions in from Questionnaire.
    • IPAL does not do grading, but there are folks who are working on that.
    • The interface currently only allows you to see current student responses; there isn’t an export tool for responses. The responses are stored in the database, so they could be retrieved for use in a report.
    • A version for 2.2 will be released; there is no 1.9 version.

Moodle Hack/Doc Fest, Winter 2012 Project & Presentation List

The project list for Moodle Hack/Doc Fest, Winter 2012 is available as a publicly viewable Google DocCheck out the list.

We also have a number of ad hoc demonstrations scheduled for Hack/Doc. Here’s the schedule:

10:30 a.m. Course Evaluations using Questionnaire by Bob Puffer, Luther College
2:30 p.m. Language Lesson by Carly Born, Carleton College

10:30 a.m. IPAL Web-based Clickers by William Junkin, Eckerd College
2:30 p.m. eReserves by Daniel Landau, Reed College

10:30 a.m. Kaltura by Deb Sarlin, Bucknell University

Mahara ePortfolios by Bob Puffer, Luther College

Hack/Doc Fest: Winter 2012 Project Suggestions

Moodle Hack/Doc Fest at Tulane University is a month away and we’re looking for suggestions for bug fixes, documentation and new features for Moodle that the community would like us to address. You can add your requests by making a comment on this blog post. You don’t have to be attending Hack/Doc Fest to make suggestions — we’d like suggestions from the entire community.

  • Evaluation and testing of Moodle 2.2
    • Moodle 2.2 load tests
    • Moodle mobile app testing
    • Moodle mobile theme testing
    • Luminis Message Broker Discussion and Debugging
  • Evaluation and testing of Moodle 2.2 plugins
    • Quickmail
    • Scheduler
    • Filtered Course List
  • Planning Moodle 2.0 pilots
  • Documentation for Moodle 2.0