Wednesday, 20 February 2013

MoodleMoot IE 2013 - part 2

Workshop day 1 had lots of nice things to think about and use.  Michelle Moore's workshop outlined how she has developed her Moodle training course to meet the social constructivist model of teaching.  I realised that this is a model I use for the development of my Moodle courses without realising!  However, there are other elements I want to look at building into future courses to develop this further.

Theming was also a big feature of the sessions I went to (largely because I want to look at a new theme for us).  Bootstrap seems to be the tool of choice for developing themes now and I have lots of ideas for development for our future themes.  In his first session, Alex Walker talked about the content of the theme and a few tools that were used to review current themes to inform development such as a heatmap to show where users click. (He showed us ClickHeat and Piwik for heatmaps and analytics).  Alex provided further advice on this topic on day 2 (but of a more technical nature).  Linked to this theme development, City College London presented a Pecha Kucha on usability testing and undertook a number of tests to get feedback from users on how Moodle is used, frustrations and most useful features.  This was used to inform development.  One piece of advice that was given though was that prior to undertaking a review, decide which elements you are willing to change and which you are not.  Future proof yourself for upgrades without the need for lots of changes for each new version.  
User testing and feedback to inform development of our theme is something I definitely want to undertake in the next few months.

Pieter Van Der Hijden delivered a presentation highlighting the options for Moodle maintenance and archiving.  Although it would have been nice to be given an answer, we can't find a one size fits all approach within our organisation so I guess it's impossible to do this across all Moodle sites.  We have a protocol for use at the moment but I think the key message here is to continually review your processes and work with other staff in your organisation to ensure you know what the requirements and future access to archived courses are.

The Pecha Kucha sessions were good providing a quick overview of lots of new ideas! Two of real interest for me were '10 things you can do with roles' from Moodle Helen.  Lots of ideas such as giving students editing or moderator rights to activities (such as glossaries, forums & quizzes). Giving students grading rights to assignments as a form of peer assessment if the workshop tool is too difficult to develop.  A naughty student role was even mentioned to temporarily remove privileges in Moodle!
Another Pecha Kucha was from Mid Kent College who talked about their ILP block.  They support their students with tools such as a flight plan and showing achievement on the ILP as badges.  The ILP collates all the 'minutes late' and the students need to 'buy back' the time!

A new 'panel' based concept was held called the 'fishbowl'.  A few people start having a discussion (in this case efficiencies with Moodle) and there are places for 5 people.  Anyone can come up and add to the discussion and one of the current panel leaves.  This is a nice way to share good practice and I will try this in the future.

Gaming in Moodle was another very interesting session and something I really want to try.  I think Moodle activities with activity completion can be used to develop games based on levels. Paul Vaughan has given me the idea of linking it to the LRC induction. I am going to give this a go!! 

Wednesday morning started with an update from Martin Dougiamas (live this time instead of via Skype as usual).  Twitter is the best place to look for the content of this session from a range on moodlers (#mootie13).  Martin showed the developments so far of the Moodle app and talked about the coming developments for Moodle 2.5 and 2.6.  These include new core themes, course listings redesigned, assignments further developed (better GUI, offline on mobile), and they are continuing to review the forum and wiki from OU. 
Also, there will be new app based plugins which will be able to be downloaded and installed straight from Moodle plugins site.

Martin concluded his presentation to summarise his vision of the 'Future of Moodle'.  This includes:
- A system that is open yet private
- It should scale & extend easily 
- Capable toolset for local implementation, research
- Contributes to community and further development

One of the real benefits of having Martin here in person is that he has been able to contribute to general conversations rather than just provide  an overview and Q&A. Also, general conversations help to understand his vision and he is constantly bringing the system back to the learning which is always positive.

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