Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Is Moodle good for MOOCs? Let's inspect the question first.

Last week I had the pleasure of being a speaker in a webinar organised by eMerge Africa. My colleague and I spoke about MOOCs in the African context based on our experience running such courses on our Moodle site. During the lively chat one of the participants popped this question: 'Is Moodle good for MOOCs?' I didn't quite know what to say and I didn't want to start writing a 'yes, but...' response. Later I realised that the problem lies in the syntax of the question: 'Is X good for Y?' is not the best way to figure out the means to an end if the 'end' or goal is simplified or woolly to begin with.

Let's consider the Y in this case: MOOCs. What's a MOOC? A course with a large number of learners? Fine. What's this course about? What is this course made of - what kind of content and activities? What taxonomy levels do the learning objectives map to? What is the nature of student-student and student-teacher interaction? How will student work be evaluated, and how will the course itself be evaluated? Then, what does a 'large number of learners' mean? 100? 1000? 10,000? 100,000? We need answers to all these questions and more to make the Y concrete. After that we can take up the question 'Is Moodle good for MOOCs?', and there's a good chance you'll find that it is!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Prevent automatic linking in Moodle

Do you (1) have auto-linking enabled on your Moodle site, (2) want to keep it enabled for a given resource or activity, and (3) want to prevent the auto-linking in specific places within this resource/activity?

I use Moodle 3.1 and the advice on this page about adding a span element with the nolink tag did not work for me: https://docs.moodle.org/31/en/Autolinking

Sadly, the additional tips given here also did not work: https://docs.moodle.org/31/en/Nolink_tags

The web address that I wanted to display as plain text rather than as a link kept appearing as a link. Argh!

So I looked for a generic HTML way (not Moodle specific) to prevent auto-linking and came upon this thread: https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/119801/allow-suppression-of-automatic-linking-of-web-addresses

Phew, problem solved.

You just have to add the <nolink> tag after the http bit of a web address, eg, http<nolink>://www.google.com/

Wednesday, August 23, 2017