How to run an online conference on a Moodle site

In this post I will go over a few features of Moodle that make it suitable for hosting an online conference. I am not proposing something that's never been done before: A number of online Moodle conferences (the 'iMoot') have been run in this manner and I have enjoyed being a presenter and participant on some of those occasions. Sharing informational materials (what the conference is about, key dates, etc.) The homepage of the Moodle site can easily be used for this purpose, with sub-pages, videos, etc. Accepting submissions/proposals and reviewing them After creating a user account on the site, authors can be directed to a Database activity where they would submit their proposal along with other info, eg, the presentation format (eg, talk, poster, workshop). The entries in the Database would be set to be approved before they can be viewed. Later, peer reviewers would look through the entries and rate them using a custom scale (eg, accept, provisionally accept, rej

Setting up automated reminder messages in a Moodle course

If you'd like to send automated messages to learners enrolled in a Moodle course, the reengagement plugin is what you need. I recently set up time-based, contextualised reminder messages using this plugin, and this post might be useful if you're looking to do something like that. The course I was working with is a self-study course that learners are encouraged to complete within 4 weeks. The course consists of three quizzes, and once they achieve a passing score on all the quizzes they receive a certificate of completion (generated automatically with the custom certificate plugin). I wanted to send the learners an automated reminder message after week 1 about the first quiz, after week 2 about the second quiz, and after week 3 about the third quiz. Importantly, the reminder message would be sent only to those who had not completed the relevant quiz. To accomplish this, I first added 3 reengagement instances on the course homepage and kept all of them hidden. Below

How to display a digital badge from a Moodle site on an Open Badges portfolio

(This post has been updated in 2019 following the transition of Open Badges from the Mozilla platform to the Badgr platform.) Have you received a digital badge? If you've received a badge from a Moodle site where you've completed an online course, you'll usually be notified by email, for example: Click one of the links in the email to access the badge on the Moodle site. You'll see your name, the issuer name, and other details. For example: If you know you've received a badge but don't get this email, don't worry. You can access the badge on your Moodle site by visiting <your Moodle site address>/badges/mybadges.php Adding your badge on   Step 1: Download the badge from your Moodle site by clicking the 'download' link that appears right under the badge. (You may also see an option to add the badge directly to a backpack, but if you don't see this link or it doesn't work, you can add th

Permissions snafu when importing across courses in Moodle

The import feature in Moodle allows you to copy over resources and activites from one course into another. When you start the import process, you choose the source course (ie, the course with the stuff you want to import) and you get to choose what to import: activities/resources, question bank, filters, blocks, etc. Consider this scenario: 1. You have a forum in an old course for which you have removed posting permissions (maybe because you have students in that course who stay enrolled but you don't want them to use the forums any more). 2. You want to import a Book resource from the old course into a new course. You do not want to import the forums. When you carry out this import, you would of course have the Book resource in your new course, but you may find that the students in your new course can't post on the forums any more! This is because the import process brings in the forum permissions from the old course into the new one, even though you have not import

Keyboard shortcut for "replace in selection" in Brackets

I recently moved from Notepad++ to Brackets for coding some of the dynamic elements in Moodle course content. With its modern UI, live preview feature, and very useful Emmet extension, Brackets has given a boost to my workflow. Strangely, a simple feature is missing in Brackets: you can't replace characters within a selection of text. There is however an extension for this called, quite simply, "Replace in selection". Finding and installing it is straightforward using the Brackets extension manager, and the brief help text says that the keyboard shortcut is Control + R. But that shortcut didn't work for me. What use is a find/replace function without a keyboard shortcut? Looking at the user key bindings in Brackets (Debug -> open user key map), I realised I had to figure out the command ID for this feature. The main.js file of this extension indicated that it might be " replaceInSelection.Replace ". And that it was indeed - I added the following to t

Questionnaire plugin in Moodle vs SurveyMonkey

A few years back I compared the "Feedback" tool in Moodle with SurveyMonkey . "Feedback" is one of the standard Moodle activity types , but it doesn't seem to be getting a lot of love from developers. I haven't seen any major improvement in its features from Moodle 2.1 to 3.5 over the past eight years. One major drawback of the Feedback tool is that it is still not possible to include matrix-type questions (with rows for statements and columns for marking choices). Here's where the "Questionnaire" plugin offers a compelling alternative, because you can create questions such as this: Source: Moodle Docs for Questionnaire plugin SurveyMonkey will probably always have a better user interface, a greater variety of question types, and more options to analyse responses than any feedback/questionnaire tool in Moodle. But the Moodle Questionnaire plugin may be a better option if the following statements resonate with you. Your cour

How to calculate the total number of forum posts from the course logs in Moodle

The course logs in Moodle contains a treasure trove of data for learning analytics. One of the numerous data points in the logs pertains to the forums in the course. If you'd like to calculate the total number of posts learners have made on the forums, how many posts were made in each forum, or who has posted how many posts, look no further than the course logs. 1. Go to Reports -> Logs from the Course Administration menu. 2. The default settings that you see on the Logs page gives you "everything but the kitchen sink" kind of data. For a course with 1000 learners, the Logs could have more than 300,000 events! At least that's my experience. You might not want to generate a spreadsheet with so much data. I prefer to use the "All changes" option instead of the default "All actions" option to zoom in a little closer to the events of interest, in this case, forum posts. This gives me a substantially smaller number of events to work with, for ex