Thursday, January 25, 2018

Moodling in 2017

It's that time again when I reflect on my Moodle experiences in the past year!
  • Last January I tinkered with the Moodle database for the first time soon after taking the MoodleBites MySQL Reporting course. My goal was to get a count of the number of forum posts that received 'useful' ratings. I posted a query and a solution on the Moodle community forums, and my friend Farhan posted a better solution in the same thread. I've not yet got a chance to try out his solution though.
  • In February I was busy revising a research article I'd written with my colleagues. We had submitted the article to a journal a few months before and we got a load of reviewers' comments. I thought the revised article would again be peer-reviewed so it was a huge relief when it was accepted a couple of days after we submitted it. The article, titled 'A MOOC approach for training researchers in developing countries', was published in the March 2017 issue of Open Praxis.
  • May and June are the hottest months of the year in south India, where I live, but luckily I had some travel to take my mind off the weather. I went to Hyderabad to speak at ICT4D 2017 (Hyderabad was also hot though!) and made two trips to Tanzania to conduct training-of-trainers workshops for university lecturers interested in running the AuthorAID online course locally.

  • I was inspired to look at the AuthorAID online course through a new lens after attending a scholarly commons workshop at Indiana University Bloomington in July, and I wrote this piece: Can an online course be a commons?
  • In August my colleague Andy Nobes and I were invited to give a talk based on our Open Praxis paper at a webinar series run by e/merge Africa. We had a really engaged audience who asked a lot of questions!
  • Last year we ran two AuthorAID MOOCs on our usual schedule: one in summer and one in autumn. Before the second one I had some time to make the course materials compatible with the Moodle Mobile app, and it was less work than I thought it would be. The course lessons are made with eXeLearning and I only had to change the theme for mobile compatibility. The core activities were of two kinds: quizzes and writing activities including peer assessment. Moodle Quiz is compatible with the app (even the offline feature of the app) but Moodle Workshop (for peer assessment activities) isn't compatible yet. Still, it was great to see that most of the course materials work well in the app! We got some nice feedback from the learners too :)
  • After another exciting year of Moodling, it was unfortunate that I couldn't attend the MoodleMoot in Mumbai that took place in December. But I'm happy that my friends Farhan and Michelle, two of the most high-profile Moodlers in India, were part of it. Martin (the founder of Moodle) even went to Michelle's school! I'll sign off with the video he made: