Tag: roster

Winter 2021 Hack/Doc: Day 3

Railroad tracks disappearing into the distance
That’s all folks!

Day 3 of the Winter 2021 Moodle Hack/Doc Fest ended quietly as several attendees lost their on-going battles with “on-campus” meetings. Nevertheless, we finished the task list and made good progress in several areas.


We spent considerable time going over the state of H5P integration in Moodle. As of Moodle 3.9, Moodle has a core integration with H5P. The H5P project, for its part, continues to package a plugin and recommends that people use the plugin instead of the core integration. The differences revolve around authoring H5P content and adding it to Moodle.

H5P core integration

The core integration adds three pieces to Moodle: a “content bank”, where users may author content, the content bank repository for distributing that content, and the actual H5P activity module for delivering that content to students. There are site- and course-level content banks. You may upload H5P content there, and it offers a subset of H5P content types for authoring. What it does not offer is integration with the H5P Hub. In addition, the downloaded H5P items count against the user’s private files storage limit.

H5P plugin

In contrast to the core integration, the plugin does not interact with the content bank nor the content bank repository. Content authoring is done in the actual activity module, and you may also obtain content directly from H5P Hub. The H5P plugin plans to start offering OER resources from the hub as well.


CLAMP does not recommend one option over the other, but we do recommend that you make a choice. If you were using the plugin and want to use the core integration instead, then you should disable the plugin but keep it installed for backup compatibility. If you want to continue using the plugin in preference to the core integration, then you will want to disable both the core activity module (labeled H5P as opposed to “Interactive content”) and the Content bank repository. There is a tool for migrating from the plugin to the core integration, but we did not have an opportunity to evaluate it: https://moodle.org/plugins/tool_migratehvp2h5p.

Roster and name pronunciation

An idea from the Swarthmore Hack/Doc last January was incorporating name pronunciation into the Roster Report via a custom profile field. That functionality is now in beta, and Lafayette hopes to include it in the January LAE release.

Filtered Course List and the mobile app

After some testing and evaluation, we decided that CLAMP could not fully support the proposed changes to support the Filtered Course List in the Moodle Mobile App. What we will do is leave some hooks in place so that the original developer of the feature can more easily support it a future fork of the plugin.

Legacy course files

Finally, we took a look at how well-supported Legacy course files are these days. Legacy course files are a legacy of the Moodle 1.9 era, and old courses that originated in a Moodle 1.9 instance and have been carried forward may still have them.

Legacy Course Files can be enabled by the Site Administrator. Even if it is not enabled, you can restore a course from another Moodle server that has Legacy Course Files enabled, and those files will show up in a restored course.

When you copy a course (using the new Course Copy feature), Legacy Course Files are also copied into the new course with new file URLs. Even a quiz with a link to a file in the Legacy Course Files area will copy correctly into the new course.

Files in the Legacy Course Files area do not download when you click on the “Download course content” link. However, if you add one of those files to the course, it is created as a new resource, and it does download with the rest of the course content.

What’s next

That’s a wrap for CLAMP’s first online Hack/Doc Fest! All in all, attendees were pleased with how the gather.town platform functioned and with the structure of the event. CLAMP is planning to host the Summer 2021 Hack/Doc Fest online as well, so watch this space and the CLAMP Moodle Exchange for additional information.

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

New Moodle LAE Releases for January 2020

There are four new Moodle: Liberal Arts Edition releases. The 3.5, 3.6, and 3.7 releases are maintenance-only. The 3.8 release includes updates to all contributed modules and new features in the CLAMPMail and Filtered Course List blocks and Roster report. You can download the updates from the CLAMP code release archive.

The next stable releases are scheduled for mid-March. CLAMP evaluated Moodle 3.8 at the Swarthmore College Hack/Doc Fest in January 2020; please see CLAMP’s daily reports for details: Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.

These releases were developed, packaged, and tested by Kevin Wiliarty (Hampshire College) and Andrew Zito (Lafayette College).

Hack/Doc at Swarthmore: Day 3

People sitting around tables
Hack/Docers hard at work in the CLAMP Executive Lounge. Photo credit: Charles Fulton

The last day of Hack/Doc, as usual, was a bit shorter due to attendee travel plans. We wrapped up around lunchtime after some discussions about Moodle 3.8 and accessibility.

Forum grading accessibility

We logged a third and final issue with the new forum grading tool and accessibility: MDL-67663. Again, some of these issues are specific to the tool, which some are broader problems with Moodle itself. We’ll continue to monitor the situation. A major related issue is MDL-64494, where Moodle core is tracking project-wide color contrast issues.

Filescan block

We discussed the future of Swarthmore’s “filescan block“, which evaluates the accessibility of PDFs uploaded to Moodle. Several schools, including Hampshire and Lafayette, have been using the block on their Moodle instances. CLAMP is going to organize a workshop this winter for interested schools to come together to develop a roadmap and implement changes, which an eye toward publishing the plugin on the Moodle plugins repository and incorporating it into the Liberal Arts Edition.


We have released a new version of the Roster report; you may now configure which fields are displayed for each student, including custom profile fields. This release is available on the Moodle plugins repository and will be incorporated into the next release of the LAE.

And that’s a wrap for this winter’s Hack/Doc at Swarthmore College. Warm thanks to Andrew Reuther and Swarthmore for their outstanding hospitality this week. If your institution is interested in hosting a future CLAMP event, please consider filling out our host interest form.

Hack/Doc Fest Winter 2020 at Swarthmore College: Event page | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

Hack/Doc at Swarthmore: Day 1

Wayfinding signage on a glass door
Wayfinding for Hack/Doc and the CLAC HPC Mindshare. Photo credit: Charles Fulton

The biannual Hack/Doc Fest is being held at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. The event kicked off on Wednesday, January 8, 2020, and runs through Friday, January 8. The following tasks are queued up for Hack/Doc (very much subject to change):

  • Evaluating Moodle 3.8, which was released last November
  • Improving the Roster report to support pronouns
  • Taking a fresh look at the Moodle Mobile app
  • Improvements to the file accessibility block

This year the Hack/Doc Fest overlaps, physically and otherwise, with CLAC’s high-performance computing (HPC) mindshare, taking place on the lower level of Singer Hall. Rumors of superior lemonade at the CLAC craft table may–or may not–have led to direct action around lunchtime.

From the task list

Moodle 3.8 Liberal Arts Edition release

The first Moodle 3.8 LAE release is ready for testing. Moodle core continued its revamp of the forum module, which began with Moodle 3.7. Fortunately, this required far fewer changes to Anonymous Forums this time around!

Moodle 3.8 review

One new feature in Moodle 3.8 is the ability to grade forum posts. Evaluating this feature produced Hack/Doc’s first bug, a browser conflict in Safari. That issue aside, and presumably it’ll be fixed soon, the feature is a significant improvement over the old workflow. It presents a user-by-user view of forum posts and presents the teacher the ability to give that user a grade for the forum, based on their contributions. It’s very similar to the assignment grading view. The forum also supports a nested view of the discussions now. This appears to work as expected showing primary forum posts with the nested post, open and visible below. The threaded view shows the reply post below the original but it is closed and only viewable by clicking to open it. This worked in the Mobile app as well.

Moodle has also taken the first steps toward core support of H5P. H5P is an interactive, web-based content authoring tool, and a perennial subject at Hack/Doc Fest (Brandeis, Hampshire, Lafayette). At this point, the core support complements the existing H5P activity plugin, rather than replacing it outright. The new core functionality allows you to add H5P content to Moodle as you would a page or a label, but you can’t yet use it to author content within Moodle. It also adds an Atto button for easier embedding. For now, if you’re already using the H5P plugin, you’ll want to keep doing so.

Moodle Mobile app

No one’s quite sure when CLAMP first kicked the tires on Moodle’s Mobile app (there have been several), but it may have been at the Winter 2012 Hack/Doc at Tulane, where we described it as “lackluster.” We’ve looked at it off and on since, and a number of CLAMP schools now have it enabled and report few support issues. This time around we noted a few positives and challenges:

  • There are some accessibility challenges related to color contrast. It may be possible to mitigate these with a custom CSS file.
  • The default behavior is still to sync changes on Wi-Fi only, but it’s possible for the user to change this behavior.
  • Assignment submissions worked well.
  • Login with institutional single sign-on is smooth and the login persists.
  • Push notifications have to be configured server-side and there’s a lot to review there.

The consensus in the room was that there was no downside to turning on support for the app, though no one planned to make a big push to encourage adoption.

Roster report

We discussed ways to make the Roster report more flexible, and Sharon Strauss from Haverford raised the possibility of giving it a capability similar to Name Coach, which allows students to record the pronunciation of their names. One option would be to have a custom field with the attached audio, which could then be exposed via the report.

Hack/Doc Fest Winter 2020 at Swarthmore College: Event page | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3