Tag: quizzes

Winter 2021 Hack/Doc: Day 2

The participants filter in Moodle 3.9

Work on the task list continued during Day 2 of the Winter 2021 Moodle Hack/Doc Fest as our attendees juggled Moodle and the meetings from which Hack/Doc no longer provides any escape.

From the task list

Participants filter

Core has continued its improvements to the participants page. You can now filter participants using various criteria such as enrollment method, role, status, keyword, and group membership (if the course has groups).  You can also chain filters together using OR or AND, but not a mixture. One weird aspect is that once you select a filter field (eg, Role, Enrollment Method), you can’t change that directly from the dropdown — you have to delete the filter row and recreate.

Activity chooser

The activity chooser is configurable now. It supports a tabbed interface with five groupings: Starred, All, Activities, Resources, and Recommended. Starred is per-user, similar to starred courses. Recommended is defined by the site administrator, allowing you to promote certain activities and resources over others.

Go to top

There is now a “go to the top of the page” button. This can help with the “scroll of doom” problem on very long courses. We tested it on desktop, mobile, and tablet environments:

  • On the desktop and iPad, the Go to top button only appears when you’ve scrolled a lengthy enough distance AND only when you’ve reached the bottom.
  • On mobile, the Go to top button only appears when you’ve scrolled a lengthy enough distance AND only when you’ve reached the bottom. The button sometimes doesn’t display when you’ve hit the bottom. For instance, when Safari hides its bottom navigation toolbar to give a full-screen view, the button didn’t always display.

Scrolling timer for your quiz

Moodle 3.10 adds a scrolling timer for quizzes. The timer displays as a timer inside of a red box within the quiz. It doesn’t disappear until the quiz is submitted. It stays at the top of the screen even as you scroll through a page of questions. With 16 seconds remaining, the timer begins displaying a red background and gets darker each second. With 6 seconds remaining, the text changes to white and the background gets even deeper red. We did think the default styling could be improved.

The scrolling timer in a quiz

Previous activity with completion

As of Moodle 3.9, it is possible to base restricted access on the completion of the “previous activity with completion“. Rather than specifying an activity by name, you can now effectively specify “the one before this one.” When editing is on, the teacher can see whether the dependency is absolute (a specific activity) or relative (the previous activity). If there is no previous activity, Moodle will tell us that we are missing a referent. This is calculated without regard for activity visibility. There are various reasons why an individual student might not see an activity: the activity could be hidden or it could be accessible only to students in a certain group. The option to base dependency on a previous activity with completion does not appear until the course has at least one activity with completion.

Previous activity with completion in Moodle 3.9

Better task management

Moodle 3.10 adds a “Tasks running now” link in the Site Administration > Server > Tasks page. This is useful for checking long running tasks or potentially correlate system slowness with background task processing. There is an AJAX refresh button on this screen. There is also now in Site Administration > Server Tasks > Task Processing the option to disable cron from the interface. This would be useful when doing maintenance tasks.

Course copy

Moodle 3.9 added the ability to “copy” or duplicate courses from the web interface. This uses the ad-hoc task and backup functionality and therefore requires that corn is enabled and that you not alter the course once you trigger the copy. By default, this feature is restricted to managers and administrators. It does not enforce naming conventions, unlike Course merge helper and similar plugins. Our impression is that copying a course is faster than importing a course. We think a good use case would for copying template courses in non-for-credit scenarios, such as committees or student groups. It does bring over grade book weighting, and you can choose whether to copy user data. For those schools that use the templated course creation plugin, these two features do not conflict, because this feature does not trigger the course creation event.

Copying a course in Moodle

Winter 2021 Hack/Doc Fest: Event page | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

Hack/Doc at Butler: The Sprint Day

The white, aquaduct-like facade of Irwin Library at Bulter University
The exterior of Irwin Library at Butler University. Photo credit: Ken Newquist

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.

Posts from Moodle Hack/Doc Fest at Butler University: HomepageSprint | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3