CLAMP kicked off Moodle Hack/Doc Fest on Monday, June 21 with our traditional sprint day. The sprint day exists for everyone to get a jump on the week’s work — a few people (in this case, most of those attending Hack/Doc) arrive early, resolve any logistical challenges (getting to campus, connecting to the local network, making sure sources of caffeine are available throughout the day), and start organizing the week’s worth.
During this sprint we came up with our usual tasks list in Google Drive and people signed up for the things they were interested. Then, in a fit of spontaneous documentation, everyone started using that tasks list to provide updates on their progress. It’s not a thing we’ve done before, but it’s working out very well — it provides a running log of what we were working on, and it’s more efficient because we don’t need to spend as much time reporting out each day.
Topics identified include:
- Accessibility – Making Accommodations for Users with Disabilities
- Managing the “scroll of death” on course pages within Moodle
- The practical implementations of layering quizzes over video
- Evaluate the Moodle Mobile app
- Printing from Moodle
- The Recycle Bin plugin in Moodle (new feature in Moodle 3.1)
- Evaluate the Mass Action block (3rd party plugin)
- Evaluate Competencies (new feature in Moodle 3.1)
- Test out the Global Search
- Document, test, and name the new umbrella course plugin (3rd party plugin)
- Look at other major changes in Moodle 3.1
- Review anonymous forums in Moodle 3.1 (Moodle Liberal Arts Edition)
- Review Ad-hoc database queries (customsql) (Moodle Liberal Arts Edition)
- Best practices for using Moodle with other schools
Hack/Doc attendees can view the task list in Google Docs; the initial draft of the list is available in the CLAMP Moodle Exchange.
In the course of our work we came across a gnarly problem involving the new assignment review interface. This interface allows the user to see a student’s submitted assignment alongside all the relevant grading fields (e.g. add a grade, comments, etc.). The student’s work is rendered as a PDF and the teacher can use Moodle’s annotation capabilities to mark up the paper with their responses. The end result is saved as a PDF and sent to the student as feedback.
The problem is with the PDF. If students submitted a PDF, then the process works reasonably well. If they submitted a Word or Open Office document instead, Moodle converts it to PDF for display … or tries to. If you do not have a specific helper application known as unoconv installed on the server (and in our experience, it’s unlikely you will have it), then the PDF conversion fails. Instead you get a blank page. That blank page can then be edited with the annotation tools and submitted as feedback, but that’s not particularly helpful since the student’s original assignment isn’t included.
This is documented in MDL-54165 New grading interface should hide editpdf if unoconv is not enabled and is flagged as a critical bug in Moodle 3.1. The proposed resolution to the bug is to revise the interface to allow it to fail gracefully when this tool isn’t available. We encourage the CLAMP community to watch and vote for this issue.