Moodlemoot Ireland & UK 2012 – Day #1

The first day proper of Moodlemoot Ireland & UK 2012 began with a keynote from Moodle Founder, Martin Dougiamas.

Well, actually it began with the loudest rock music I’ve ever heard at a concert conference, but it set the tone to what was going to be a cracking day. With this being my sixth Moodlemoot, I’m in Dublin with high expectations, and the sessions and conversations to date certainly haven’t disappointed.

Martin gave an overview of current priorities at Moodle HQ in Perth, Australia and gave insights into plans for Moodle 2.3 and 2.4.

Whilst the Moodle Roadmap is always there to be referred to, it is always useful to engage in more of a dialogue on development issues related to Moodle’s release cycle and related community, and Martin focused his talk around four key areas, which I discuss briefly below.

1. Plugins
It’s difficult to not notice, but there’s been a seismic shift across a number of devices to the concept of ‘apps’ – often with seamless download and installation. Moodle isn’t going to be missing out here, through the introductions of ‘plugins’ for which a new system has been written. It’ll be easier for both developers and users to integrate these, and installation will be rather WordPress like. Should be ready for Moodle 2.4. (James Clay has written his thoughts on this area on his blog e-learning Stuff.)

2. Processes
Continuing to develop professionalism in this area, whereby management of Moodle developments are striving to be efficient, transparent, predictable, stable and open. There’s lots of related work going on in this area too with the Moodle Tracker, Git repository and Moodle Docs all being constantly and consistently reviewed. Testing procedures are more automated ever, leading to less buggy and more a resilient codebase.

3. Usability
There’s a massive focus on this area, with an emphasis on solving user frustrations through gathering experiences, prioritising issues and developments, concentrating and then communicating change. Some usability studies on Moodle will be undertaken when time and money allows. These iPhone app continues to be a success, and a further (open source) app for Android will be released before too long. and are due for a re-brand.

4. Integrations
This section was beyond my technical knowledge and interests, but hopefully the slide on the right gives an idea! That said, I was interested to hear that Moodle HQ will be doing some work to integrate Open Badges from the Mozilla Foundation. (No I didn’t know what they were either…)

A number of questions were put to Martin during the Q&A session, including the following items.

  • The “scroll of death” specification will be online before too long. Within this format, topics within courses can be switched to one per page, which then in turn have a table of contents type navigation. Mockups are floating around on
  • The Assignment activity is being re-factored for Moodle 2.3, as noted yesterday. In particular, the ability to grade assignments offline and then send grades back to Moodle sounds awesome!
  • The code freeze for Moodle 2.3 will happen in four weeks time, which in turn will be followed by one month of testing. The Book module – not one I’ve used yet, admittedly – is currently in the hands of a Moodle Developer and will be part of Moodel core for 2.3.
  • Drag and drop is going to become more and more important. The prediction is that more content will be stored in the cloud, in services like Dropbox. Related to this, the usability of the Moodle file picker is being re-visited and details can be found on the Moodle Tracker.

For further notes on Martin’s keynote, do head along to Becky Barrington’s blog to catch up on any points that I might have missed. I haven’t talked about Martin’s thoughts on Blackboard’s entry into the Moodle world, for example.

I took reams of notes (well, lots of Evernote Notes were created and written!) in the numerous sessions that followed the keynote, which I’m afraid, would take days to dissect and reflect upon before reporting back on this blog.

However, I can give a numberred list (in note form in part) giving an overview of those things that caught my eye, or made me sit up and take notice. I always haven’t matched the sessions below to presenters, but would be happy to on request.

  1. The log-in integration of Moodle with Google Apps has not been as seamless as one institution had hoped. The lack of the tech-speak to describe an institutions issues to a Moodle Partner was seen to be problematic.  One of the key things was finding that Moodle 2 behaves differently [to 1.9] and that this was seen to challenge to the intuition that staff had developed around 1.9
  2. Presentation of a new acronym: NoSSTFOM – “Not Strictly Speaking The Fault Of Moodle”!
  3. Discussion of work “underpinned by a 3E framework at Edinburgh Napier University as a way of thinking about technology and sharing examples”.
  4. A fantastic presentation by Michelle Moore (@michelledmoore), Chief Evangelist at on the Book Module, the Glossary, Lesson and Workshop activities and Conditional Activities. Her presentation can be found on Slideshare.
  5. ULCC‘s discussion of three Moodle case studies where the environment has been tailored for institutional use. One of the key findings of this work for them was that a “shared service approach is transformational”.
and finally…
  • Becky Barrington (@bbarrington) has developed a rather useful Prezi presentation entitled  What is new with Moodle 2 (and 2.2)? It includes and highlights differences between 1.9, 2.0, 2.1 and 2.2.
  • The fabulous Twitter conversations going through the #mootieuk12 hashtag. This is the first time I’ve ever engaged with Twitter so much for a conference, and its been immensely useful. It wouldn’t neccesarily work in every context, but has without a doubt, been a fabulous value added for conference attendees.

Day #1 (well, 2) over. Time to go and explore Dublin a little more, before the final day of Moodlemoot 2012 tomorrow. Can’t wait!

About Nitin Parmar
I am a Learning Technologist within the e-Learning team in the Learning & Teaching Enhancement Office, University of Bath, UK.

3 Responses to Moodlemoot Ireland & UK 2012 – Day #1

  1. Mozilla badging is very interesting. Doug Belshaw is a keen advocate and reporter on all things ‘badges’. Pleased to hear of plugins improvement – do Christmas this year?

  2. Pingback: Moodlemoot Ireland & UK 2012 – Day #2 « Colligo: Reflections of a Learning Technologist

  3. Pingback: Ireland & UK Moodlemoot - Blogs and Stuff

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