MoodleMoot Review 2019

The 2019 US MoodleMoot was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania last week, and I attended on behalf of the CAE team (Moodle is the open source framework on which AsULearn is built). Overall, the conference was a very worthwhile experience that included catching up with colleagues from other schools as well as making new connections, learning Moodle tips and tricks, and being re-inspired about our teaching and learning initiatives on campus. I also presented my work on an Alexa Skill for Moodle on behalf of Appalachian, which was very positively received by the attendees, including Martin Dougiamas (the CEO/Founder of Moodle).

Here is an overview of some of the conference highlights.

DevJam

DevJam is an opportunity for developers to share knowledge and ideas, both with each other and with Moodle core developers. During this session, we contributed suggestions to Moodle HQ for the developer documentation and training. One of the attending developers also discussed his work with regard to an Accessibility block that scans PDF files in a course and reports those that are not ADA compliant.

Learning Analytics

The learning analytics workshop was facilitated by the Moodle HQ project lead, Elizabeth Dalton. She reviewed some of the research on learning patterns and coordinating Moodle features and plugins, strategies for planning and gathering learning analytics, and how to set up some of the models in the Moodle interface.

Quickmail

The developers of the Quickmail block have recently added a lot of new features to the plugin. Version 2 includes the ability to send messages via email or as Moodle messages, schedule the sending of a message, adding custom user data (like a user's first name), and allowing students to send messages to other students. There is also a feature for notifications and reminders. The developers specifically asked for features requests for the plugin, so please share your ideas with us!

LTI and Competencies

UCLA has always been active in the Moodle development scene, and now they are working on better integration with LTI tools (external services). They have submitted several patches to core for the ability to add LTI links in any rich text editor field and even in the course navigation. They have also done some work for better competency reporting.

Creating Cultures of Innovation Keynote

The keynote address on the last day of the conference was given by Thomas Murray, Director of Innovation, Future Ready Schools. He discussed how to create teaching and learning environments that empower both teachers and students and that foster innovation. Creating environments where people want to be (take 30 seconds to talk with a student/faculty/team member), teaching kids how to ask questions (versus memorize answers), and how to not let fear stop us from realizing our goals (Will Smith on Skydiving). Yet again, the MoodleMoot keynote did not disappoint; this speech relit the fire in all the attendees about the importance of our work in education.

Question Bank Quick Builder

The UCLA team presented on the use of a Google Sheets add-on called (QB)² which allows instructors to more easily develop their questions and upload them to their Moodle question bank.