Tag: Moodle

Tips for Moodle courses

Sometimes it doesn’t take much to make your Moodle course both more effective and visually appealing. The following tips are a quick and fun way to introduce ideas for improving your Moodle course using principles of good website design. Lecturers at ETH Zürich can learn more using Moodle in the self-paced online course “Building an effective Moodle course”. Read more about the course.

What are your essential tips for making Moodle course more visually appealing and effective for learning? We would love to read your comments on this topic.

Be welcoming. Introduce yourself. Use friendly, gender-neutral and approachable language.
Add visual elements. Insert banners to create a course identity. Icons and pictures make your course page easier to digest. Add course images in the settings for easy dashboard navigation.
Choose the right course format. "Topics format" ist he default and creates a list of content. "Collapsed topics" voids endless scrolling. "Tiles" provides a great visual overview.
Establish hierarchy and consistency. Use different heading sizes to signal hierarchy. Align things vertically to imply similar properties. Use consistent layout to create familiarity fast.
Provide assistance. Add a forum for asking questions of peers or teaching staff. Be responsive and friendly when students ask questions. Make sure your contact details are available.
Create an overview. Use visuals to provide an overview of your course structure. Create an advance organiser that shows your course content. This helps build up a mental framework for organising information.
Make it accessible. Add image descriptions for screenreader. Add closed captions in videos. Use descriptive link text like "chapter three" and not "read more".
Manage text volume. Display a paragraph or less on the main course page. Place multiple paragraphs in an HTML page. Put multiple pages in a Moodle book or Polybook.
Check quality across platforms. Always check your course appearance in the App. Blocks disappear in the mobile view. Course formats are simplified.

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Going paperless: The revised portal page in Online Examinations at ETH Zurich introduced in Spring Semester 2020

In online examinations at ETH Zurich, the portal page is the website students see first when they face the exam computer and is thus the entry point for every online examination with Moodle. A revised portal page was introduced in September 2020, focusing on improvements in several key areas: 1) going paperless, 2) exam administration, 3) visual redesign and 4) technical infrastructure.

Figure of the revised portal page used in online examination with Moodle at ETH Zurich.
Figure 1. Left side: Portal page with filled out form and confirmation dialogue. Right side: Manual with general information about online examinations and Moodle, opened by clicking on the blue i-icon on the bottom left.

Going paperless

Before the revision, students writing an online examination always found a piece of paper at their workspace. The piece of paper contained general information about online examinations and Moodle, served to track the specific computers used by students (students noted their name and computer number on it) and had to be signed (to confirm knowledge that technical problems are to be reported immediately and that screens are recorded).

The preparation and distribution of the paper sheets was time-consuming both on part of the LET staff and examiners. Therefore, the goal  was to provide all required information to students digitally, at the same time ensuring availability not only during, but also before and after an examination, as it is the case with paper. Fortunately, SafeExamBrowser, which is used at ETH Zurich to provide a safe and intuitive exam environment in online examinations with Moodle, includes functionality to easily give students access to specific additional resources. We thus designed a “manual” webpage containing all relevant information that can be viewed by students at all times simply by clicking on the respective icon in the taskbar (see Figure 1, right side).

Instead of noting their name and used computers on the paper, the revised portal page allows students to enter their personal information directly on the webpage using a simple form. The information, including the used computer, is automatically and cleanly stored in a database. In addition, as a replacement for the signature on paper, the portal page was extended by a dialogue presenting information that must be confirmed to be able to proceed to the actual examination (see Figure 1, left side).

Exam Administration

Due to the growing number of online examinations at ETH Zurich, it was getting increasingly difficult to maintain the previous portal page and store the papers in a way to provide quick access to the required information when needed (i.e., association of computers and students). The revised portal page therefore includes a separate space for LET to administer the examinations that are available for students and search used computers on an exam-by-exam basis.

Visual redesign

Finally, while Moodle has undergone a visual overhaul in recent years, the design of the old portal page was lagging behind. In addition to updating the design in general, the theme of the revised portal page is now based on the Moodle theme to also provide a more consistent and streamlined exam environment.

Technical Infrastructure

Similarly, it was also time to update the technical infrastructure of the portal page. It was a plain HTML site that could only be updated by one person at a time to prevent that no changes were accidentally overwritten. In contrast, the revised portal page is a state-of-the-art application with a separate administration space that can be used by multiple users at once. Two load-balanced frontend servers ensure that all requests from the examination clients are reliably processed and all data are stored in a central database on a separate server.

The revised portal page was developed alongside the regular operations of the online examinations service and was planned to be tested in Spring Semester 2020 in a few select examinations. However, when it became apparent that on-site examinations in 2020 were to be conducted under special circumstances due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we decided early on to introduce it more broadly to facilitate the implementation of the hygienic measures by going paperless. Extensive security measures were taken and an organizational as well as a technical fallback was in place at all times, which – as expected – was not needed in the end. After the positive and smooth experience of the first examination session, slight improvements were added for Autumn Semester 2020 and analogous functionalities were developed for setups not using Moodle such as Linux examinations. In the future, the plan is to implement a functionality that allows easy pre-assignment of students to computers by displaying the corresponding name directly on the screen.

If you want to know more about online examinations at ETH Zurich, please do not hesitate to contact online-pruefungen@let.ethz.ch.  

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Pharmaceutical Case Studies: The Power of Moodle Quizzes

By Dominik Stämpfli, D-CHAB

The lecture series «Pharmazeutische Fallbeispiele» [Pharmaceutical Case Studies] is a compilation of seven 2-hour sessions for around 75 students of the BSc Pharmaceutical Sciences. Surrounded by lectures and lab work on basic science and pharmacotherapy in the third year of studies, our autumn series aims to showcase the complexity of and our fascination for later pharmacy practice issues, giving the students a new perspective on all the other courses’ material as well.

One of our primary learning objectives states that students should be able to analyse simple case studies from pharmacy practice and present, explain, and discuss them in plenary, based on their current pharmaceutical knowledge. To let students achieve this objective, we had already included group work and presentations, where they discuss their thoughts on a given case study with our and their own literature resources (e.g., which drug class is most appropriate for which kind of nausea).

In 2019, we realized that student participation dropped towards the end of the semester when the big exams of the other courses approached. The sessions were mainly visited by the presenting student groups, whilst their peers focused on learning for ECTS.

2020 challenged us to go digital. This simultaneously provided the opportunity to have Moodle supporting us in our different teaching elements. The Moodle group selection allowed our students to choose their own peers. Folders, surrounded by explanatory text, helped us in embedding the asynchronous learning material (i.e., preparatory reading).

Most importantly, however, we created a simple quiz with four questions for each of the seven 2-hour sessions, focusing on the day’s learning objectives. We specifically aimed to include questions on the preparatory reading, our frontal inputs, the presentations by their peers, and one additional pharmacy practice issue. Moodle badges allowed for a simple gamification of the quiz. We shortened our lessons and offered the time to complete the quizzes during the two hours to not increase the overall student workload.

Student feedback was overwhelmingly positive: They appreciated our efforts concerning the Moodle course, liked the variation with peer presentations, stated having fun completing our quizzes, and were happy about the interactive segments. There were still fewer students present live towards the end of the semester, but the completed quizzes suggest a shift towards asynchronous learning by watching the recordings when taking a break from learning for ECTS.

We will most certainly keep our Moodle course even when going back to physically present teaching. The students seemed to be engaged in the course material by asking us interested follow-up questions concerning the preparatory reading and even our quizzes. The administrative work for setting up the course was hefty, but well worth it. One advise to my previous self: Cramped shoulders won’t help you in troubleshooting issues in the Moodle group selector faster.

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ETH Moodle App

We are proud to announce the brand new ETH Moodle App for Android and iOS available today! This app has been developed by the core developers of Moodle and is a specially branded version of the official Moodle App.

Please click on the link below to download the app:

iOS: https://apps.apple.com/app/id1521806822

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ch.ethz.ethmoodle

Easy access, work offline and much more

Students and lecturers can access all their courses directly from their smartphone or tablet. This access has several advantages:

  • You only have to login once for days and weeks at a time.
  • You can download courses and access them offline.
  • If you post an answer in a forum or solve a quiz while offline, the course will be synchronised when you are online again.
  • You can include audio, video and pictures from your phone easily into your forum answers, messages and even assignment responses.
  • The app uses GDPR-compliant push notifications for important dates (yes the Moodle calendar is placed directly on the start screen), messages and forum posts.

Similar but not equal

Although your course looks similar in the ETH Moodle App, there are some important differences (especially important for lecturers to know):

  • There is no edit possibility to the course via app. So, if you want to edit your course, please use the web browser.
  • The app doesn’t display any blocks (which you can add to your course individually).
  • Some activities are not Moodle App ready yet (or not meant to work with the app). In those cases students (and lecturers) are forwarded to a web browser. At the moment the following activities are not app ready:
    • Interactive Video Suite
    • Student Quiz
    • OU Blog
    • Fair Allocation
    • Scheduler
    • Collaborative Folder

If you have any feedback on the ETH Moodle App, please contact us at moodle@let.ethz.ch.

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Drawing by hand made easy in Moodle

Do you already use Moodle and have you ever wanted better options for capturing simple digital drawings as part of a quiz? An improved freehand drawing question type is now available for ETH lecturers.

This question type is called “Freehand Drawing (ETH)” and works on any computer device. Generally, touch-devices with hardware pens (styluses) work best although drawing with a mouse or a touchpad works as well.

Creating a quiz with a Freehand Drawing question

Start by creating a quiz in Moodle. Quizzes can include any number of any question types.

Insert your new question into the quiz, using “+ a new question.”

Choose the question type “Freehand drawing (ETH)”.

Insert a title and write a task or a question for the students to solve. This is the standard text editor used all over Moodle. In this example, we have asked a question about charging a capacitor where we want the students to sketch the electric current as a function of time.

Note that a lot of students do not own large-screen touch-devices, so we cannot expect detailed or precise drawings. Use of the question type thus should be limited to “sketching” or “drawing,” not precise activities like “graphing.”

By default, students get a white background to draw on. You can also create and upload a background image using any drawing tool. In the following example, a coordinate system was created using PowerPoint. These drawings can help your students literally by framing their answers and in the end help you grading them by standardising aspects of the image.

Upload your background image to your question. You can simply drag and drop your file into the provided field.

If it is a big image, make sure to reduce the size so it fits on the student’s screen without scrolling. While the tool allows for horizontal or vertical scrolling, this can be awkward. Also, keep in mind that Moodle itself will take up some space for its navigational elements – a width of 500 pixels is reasonable.

Save and preview your question, using the “preview” button:


Answering a Freehand Drawing question

Students can then answer the question as shown in the example below:

This answer drawing was made with a mouse. The precision of this drawing is at the limit of what should be expected, but one can clearly see what’s going on: exponential drop-off, starting at U/R. For the axis label, students could also have used the typing tool. Other tools include a simple line tool and an eraser.

Students would then submit their drawings as their answer. Answers need to be graded manually, just like essays answers.

Practice makes perfect

Although more and more students possess convertible or tablet devices with touch screens and pens, drawings are still more often made using paper and pencil. If you intend to use Freehand Drawing on exams, it is important to give your students time and opportunity to practice using it. If you already use Freehand Drawing questions in your lecture during the semester, the students have had time to practice at their individual pace and can get acquainted with the question type.

This question type will be piloted for use in future examinations. The devices used for mobile exams at ETH have touch screens and hardware pens, which work well with this question type. If you are interested in using the Freehand Drawing question type in an online exam, please contact online-pruefungen@let.ethz.ch.

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Deeper integration. Moodle and Safe Exam Browser take their relationship to the next level

For many years, ETH has been using two open-source software projects: Safe Exam Browser (SEB) and Moodle are the foundation of online assessment at ETH Zürich. They work together seamlessly but the management of SEB configurations is somewhat complicated. With the brand-new release of Moodle 3.9 in early June 2020, the integration was improved significantly to support a number of different online exam scenarios. For example, in a bring your own device (BYOD) scenario admins now have the possibility of enabling teachers to configure SEB settings directly in a quiz. Admins can manage templates of SEB settings that are provided to teachers via the quiz settings in Moodle.

A development project between two open source communities

Two popular open source software close ranks
Two popular open source software close ranks.

How did this come about?

In 2017, a member of LET was on sabbatical in Australia and visited Moodle’s headquarters. During this visit, the idea arose that these two popular open-source solutions should work together on a deeper level. Together with the Moodle team at Bern University of Applied Science, the Moodle team at ETH Zürich planed a development project and wrote user stories. During this phase, it became clear, that the estimated amount of work could not be handled by these two institutions alone.

A crowdsourced project – eight universities and two companies acted in concert

With the user stories in our hands, we reached out to communities like SAMoo, MoodleDACH, SIG E-Assessment and Moodle-Forum. After dozens of calls, meetings and discussions, a further six universities (Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Berlin School of Economics and Law, University of Applied Sciences Neubrandenburg, University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hannover) agreed to contribute to the project. The code was developed by Catalyst IT, a Moodle Partner in Australia, with advice and support by Moodle HQ and the SEB development team. A diverse project team then worked together closely to find solutions for very different exam scenarios. Within only six months the integration was submitted for integration in the Moodle core version 3.9 and new SEB versions were published.

Configure Safe Exam Browser directly in Moodle

Screenshot of the new settings in the quiz activity.

Usually Safe Exam Browser has to be configured via its Config Tool. In Moodle 3.9 teachers can do this directly in Moodle and for each separate Quiz activity. This is extremely helpful for e-assessments in a BYOD scenario. There is no need to provide a separate SEB settings file to students before the exam anymore. As students access the quiz, Moodle hands out the SEB configuration file and SEB is reconfigured as required by the student’s device. This means teachers can set a different SEB quit password for every attempt, configure different additional software for different quizzes, and because it is that easy to configure you can consider using SEB in formative quizzes to help students to focus.

Project learnings

This project was challenging in many ways. There were many different stakeholders, tight deadlines, two big open source communities, and different locations and time zones. Here are the most important learnings.

  • Joint projects are possible but need an intense discussion in the community. Only about 30% of all interested institutions were able to invest in the project.
  • Scenarios and user stories are excellent methods for creating a shared understanding of the requirements and objectives between all project partners.
  • To prevent endless discussion, identify one or two strong partners, create provisional scenarios and user stories and then reach out to the wider community.
  • Communication over different time zones is challenging (especially if you have weekly sprints) but manageable. Be mindful to share recordings and keep an active chat channel alive.
  • When faced with obstacles (such as lack of funds) think out of the box and search for allies, that are willing to pursue the same goals as you. There is almost always a solution.

Conclusion

Despite the challenging nature of this project and the different needs of stakeholders, the objectives were met. It was a pleasure to have been part of this joint community project together with Moodle HQ and SEB core team. We are sure the outcome of this project will bring online assessment to a new level.

The new Moodle version can be downloaded here.  The Safe Exam Browser is available here.

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Programmieraufgaben online leicht gemacht

Enthält Ihre Veranstaltung Programmieraufgaben? Würden Sie gerne die Studierenden in ein und derselben Umgebung während des Semesters Programmieraufgaben lösen lassen und diese Umgebung dann auch in der Prüfung verwenden? Möchten Sie ausserdem Ihre Programmieraufgaben in der Prüfung mit anderen Aufgabenformaten wie Freitext- oder Multiple-Choice Aufgaben kombinieren?

Mit dem Abschluss der einjährigen Pilotphase von Code Expert ist dies nun für alle interessierten Dozierenden möglich. Mit dem Update des Prüfungsservers auf die Moodle Version 3.7.4+ steht Dozierenden der neue Moodle Fragetyp «Externer Fragetyp (ETH)» zur Verfügung. Mit diesem Fragetyp kann eine Aufgabe innerhalb eines anderen Systems über eine LTI [1]-Schnittstelle in ein Moodle Quiz eingebunden werden. Im konkreten Fall mit einer Aufgabe in Code Expert. Code Expert ist eine browserbasierte Lern- und Programmierumgebung die am Departement für Informatik (D-INFK ) entwickelt wird. Der Moodle-Fragetyp «Externe Verbindung (ETH)» wurde In einem gemeinsamen Projekt der Abteilung Lehrentwicklung und -technologie (LET) und des D-INFK entwickelt.

Wenn Sie Code Expert Aufgaben in einer Prüfung verwenden möchten, setzen Sie Code Expert bereits während der semesterbegleitenden Übungen ein. Auf diese Weise sind alle Studierenden bereits mit der Programmierumgebung für die Prüfung bestens vertraut. Weitere Informationen zu Code Expert finden Sie hier: https://code-expert.net/. Wenn Sie Code Expert in Ihrer Veranstaltung an der ETH einsetzen möchten, so melden Sie sich beim Code Expert-Team des D-INFK (expert@inf.ethz.ch). Informationen zur Integration von Code Expert in Moodle sind auf derselben Website zu finden: https://code-expert.net/lecturers/#integration-in-moodle. Die  Anleitung zur Einbindung von Code Expert Aufgaben in Moodle ist ebenso auf dieser Seite verlinkt: https://code-expert.net/assets/images/Anleitung_CodeExpertIntegrationInMoodleEN_20200409.pdf . Für weitere Fragen zum Einsatz von Code Expert in Online-Prüfungen melden Sie sich gerne bei: online-pruefungen@let.ethz.ch.

[1] LTI: https://www.imsglobal.org/activity/learning-tools-interoperability

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Dashboard-Bilder in Moodle anpassen

(English below) Lehrende können die Dashboard-Bilder ihrer eigenen Kurse selber ändern. Dies lässt sich einfach umsetzen und hilft Studierenden und Lehrenden, ihre Kurse schneller zu finden. Darüber hinaus wird das Dashboard durch individuelle Bilder visuell ansprechender.

Vorgehen

  1. Wählen Sie ein Bild, für welches Sie die Copyright-Rechte besitzen oder eines das frei verfügbar ist. Bitte beachten Sie ausserdem, dass die Bilder auf unterschiedlichen Geräten unterschiedlich dargestellt werden. Wählen Sie also ein passendes Motiv.
  2. Ändern Sie die Dateigrösse des Bildes auf ca. 100 KB. Ideal ist das png-Format.
  3. Stellen Sie sicher, dass die Höhe des Bildes 112 Pixel und die Breite nicht mehr als 350 Pixel betragen.
  4. Laden Sie das Bild hoch, indem Sie beim Zahnradsymbol «Einstellungen» wählen, scrollen Sie runter bis zum Feld «Kursbild». Laden Sie die Bilddatei hoch und speichern Sie danach Ihre Änderungen.

Das Bild wird nun im Dashboard und in den Kursinfos angezeigt.

Customise dashboard images in Moodle

Teachers can change the dashboard pictures of their own Moodle courses. This is quick to do, helps students as well as teachers find their courses faster and brightens up the dashboards with individualised images.

Steps

  1. Select a picture for which you own the copyright, or which is publicly available. (Please keep in mind, pictures are displayed differently on every screen, therefore consider selecting an abstract picture).
  2. Resize the image so that it is roughly 100 KB. Ideally use png format.
  3. Ensure the dimensions of your picture are 112 px tall by no more than 350 pixels wide.  
  4. Upload the picture by selecting the cogwheel in your course, select “edit settings”, then scroll down until you see the field for “course image”. Upload your file and save.

It will now be displayed on the dashboard of everyone who is enrolled in this course.  

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Flash apocalypse

(image credit: http://catayst.net.nz/flashapocalypse)

Flash

Flash in all its forms will no longer be supported by Adobe or any internet browsers by the end of 2020. This has prompted a clean-up of any Flash files on our own Moodle system. For years Adobe Flash was considered state-of-the-art for interactive web content. As time goes by new standards like html5 and webGL have been established and the Flash technology was shown to be vulnerable to attacks. Therefore it was not surprising that about two years ago Adobe announced the end of Flash by 2020.

Since this announcement, all the big and important webservices like YouTube and Facebook have updated their websites using html5 and other technologies. Therefore, it is likely that in the coming months the newest browser versions will prohibit using Flash by default and some of them will kick this functionality out completely. (Microsoft announcement, Google announcement, Mozilla announcement)

Apocalypse?

Just as most other universities did, we at ETH have seen a lot of project developed in recent years. Flash has been used to display movies, present animations or create interactive objects and simulations. Latest by the end of 2020, (but probably earlier) these will no longer work.

In the spring of 2019 we had a look at all ETH Moodle courses and contacted teachers who were still using Flash in its various forms. We have found individual solutions for each case and Flash will vanish on our Moodle server in the next weeks. ETH lecturers who use Moodle who have not been contacted by us, should not have any problem with the end of Flash in your Moodle courses. When in doubt please contact us.

If you are using flash in other websites, we recommend following the “three f”-model presented by Nikki Sinclair from Catalyst: https://catalyst.net.nz/blog/3fs-surviving-flash-apocalypse

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Weshalb Moodle?

Auf den Beitrag zum neuen Moodle-Design in diesem Blog im Januar diesen Jahres haben wir viel Feedback erhalten. Dafür möchten wir uns herzlich bedanken. Gerne möchten wir Ihnen im Nachgang mit diesem Blogbeitrag aufzeichnen, was eigentlich hinter Moodle steckt und weshalb sich die ETH Zürich für Moodle als strategische Lernplattform entschieden hat.

Seit rund 10 Jahren betreibt die ETH Zürich die zentrale Lernplattform Moodle. Anders als andere Plattformen (bspw. Blackboard) ist die Software Moodle ein Open-Source-Projekt. Vor über 20 Jahren hat ein Universitätsstudent aus Perth mit den Arbeiten an einer Software begonnen, um die Lehre über Distanz zu verbessern bzw. überhaupt erst zu ermöglichen. Martin Dougiamas hat dabei die Software von Beginn an offen gestaltet. So ist der komplette Source Code frei verfügbar, mehr noch: als Open-Source-Projekt fliessen immer wieder Ideen und Softwarecode in das Werkzeug ein.

Moodle bietet viele Schnittstellen, um individuelle Erweiterungen zu programmieren und andere Systeme anzubinden. Die Software ist modular aufgebaut, was es ermöglicht, neue Funktionen hinzuzufügen, ohne den Core-Code zu verändern.

Wer programmiert Moodle

Die Entwicklung des Core-Codes wird vom Headquarter vorantgetrieben, das Niederlassungen in Perth und Barcelona hat. Zur Zeit umfasst das Headquarter rund 75 Personen. Es gibt zusätzlich einige über die Welt verteilte Entwickler, die sich ebenfalls beteiligen. Meistens sind diese bei grossen Universitäten angestellt (auch an der ETH Zürich arbeiten zwei Entwickler für Moodle, dies vor allem im Bereich Onlineprüfungen). Zur Zeit hält Moodle weltweit einen Marktanteil von über 50% für Higher Education. Dies ist umso erstaunlicher, da es mit Blackboard, Brightspace und Instructure grosse Firmen gibt, die mit ihren Produkten an diesem Markt auftreten. Einige spannende Zahlen zu Moodle (Stand Mai 2019):

  • Registrierte Moodle-Installationen: über 100’000
  • Nutzerkonten: über 150 Millionen
  • Quizfragen: über 1.5 Milliarden

Entwicklungen in und für Moodle

Die ETH Zürich hat sich wie oben erwähnt, vor einigen Jahre für Moodle entschieden. Dies hatte verschiedene Gründe, dazu gehören: Die hohe Anpassbarkeit auf individuelle Bedürfnisse, eine sehr aktive und grosse Community, der Open-Source-Gedanke und einiges mehr.

Die ETH Zürich beteiligt sich in diversen Bereichen in der Moodle-Community. Speziell im Bereich Onlineprüfungen entwickeln wir didaktisch verbesserte Fragetypen (kPrime, Single Choice,…) und andere Erweiterungen (Ressilienz-Plugin bei Netzwerkstörungen) und stellen diese den anderen Nutzern – ganz im Open Source Gedanken – zur Verfügung (https://moodle.org/plugins/browse.php?list=contributor&id=91386 and https://github.com/ethz-let)

Das Moodle HQ hat einen klar definierten Entwicklungsplan und eine entsprechende Roadmap. Dies erlaubt es, frühzeitig eine stabile Serviceplanung zu machen. Die Roadmap ist öffentlich: https://docs.moodle.org/dev/Roadmap

Die zwei funktionellen Updates des Moodle-Cores pro Jahr werden an der ETH Zürich nach einigen Wochen installiert und damit auch die neuen und verbesserten Funktionen unseren Studierenden und Dozierenden zur Verfügung gestellt. Dieses Vorgehen ist auch aus Sicherheitsperspektive sinnvoll, da damit auch allfällige Bugs und security issues beseitigt werden.

«Lieber Support, ich habe einen Fehler entdeckt!»
«Lieber Support, ich habe eine tolle Idee!»

Vorteil einer Open-Source Software ist ihre Anpassbarkeit. Man kann grundsätzlich alles verändern. Da wir immer wieder die neueste Version des Core-Codes einspielen, verzichten wir darauf, diesen lokal bei uns zu verändern. In einer Community unterwegs zu sein, heisst aber eben auch, nicht direkten Einfluss auf die Entwicklung des Core-Codes zu haben. Wir sind sehr dankbar, von unseren Studierenden und Dozierenden immer wieder wertvolle Vorschläge zu erhalten. Sofern wir diese nicht direkt auf unserem System – ohne Veränderung des Core-Codes- umsetzen können, geben wir diese gerne in die Community weiter. Leider ist dieser Prozess allerdings nicht immer von Erfolg gekrönt.

Es gibt im Moodle Universum natürlich auch viele andere Entwicklerinnen, die Plugins ebenfalls Open-Source zur Verfügung stellen. Grundsätzlich lassen sich diese auf alle kompatiblen Moodle-Installationen installieren. Allerdings empfiehlt es sich hier, zurückhaltend zu sein. Einerseits weil jedes zusätzliche Modul die Software komplexer (und langsamer) macht. Andererseits muss sehr genau geklärt werden, wie häufig ein Plugin aktualisiert wird. Denn falls ein Plugin nicht mehr gewartet wird, was durchaus passieren kann, ist es irgendwann nicht mehr kompatibel. Dann muss man sich als Moodle-Anbieter entscheiden zwischen Plugin behalten und Moodle veralten lassen oder Plugin löschen und Moodle aktualisieren – beides eher suboptimal. Wir an der ETH haben einige Plugins im Einsatz, so beispielsweise Gruppenauswahl (Universität Lausanne)Scheduler (Universität of York), Open Cast (Universität Münster), evaluieren aber sehr genau, ob wir das Risiko des oben genannten Problems möglich klein halten können.

Fragen oder Kommentare? Wir freuen uns, mit Ihnen hier über darüber zu diskutieren!

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