business · Integration · Making things work · Open Source

Moodle overview and feature lists 2.2 and 2.3


About Moodle

Moodle (abbreviation for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment) is a free source e-learning software platform, also known as a Course Management System, Learning Management System, or Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). As of December 2011 it had a user base of 72,177 registered and verified sites, serving 57,112,669 users in 5.8 million courses

Moodle is used to host online/offline classes. It can also be used in various other aspects of business, besides classroom delivery platform

Example

  • Hiring and Interviewing
  • Roll-out Products and Services
  • Managing Compliance Training
  • Competency Tracking
  • Create and maintain collaborated knowledge base
  • Inter organization discussion forum,
  • Web Conferencing
  • Running workshop
  • Getting employee feedback

Moodles modular design allows hosting various different types of activities and resources.

Moodle supports various different learning delivery formats and can be integrated with platform both in software and application layer.

In this article we shall try to give an overview of the feature and capability list of Moodle. This article can also be used as a reference/list of modules for activities, resources, block design and reports supported by Moodle right out of the box, with a brief description of that module.

XeoIS provides support with LMS/e-learning software installation, implementation, integration and training

Moodle’s overall design:

  • Promotes a social constructionist pedagogy (collaboration, activities, critical reflection, etc)
  • Suitable for 100% online classes as well as supplementing face-to-face learning
  • Simple, lightweight, efficient, compatible, low-tech browser interface
  • Easy to install on almost any platform that supports PHP. Requires only one database (and can share it).
  • Full database abstraction supports all major brands of database (except for initial table definition)
  • Course listing shows descriptions for every course on the server, including accessibility to guests.
  • Courses can be categorized and searched – one Moodle site can support thousands of courses
  • Emphasis on strong security throughout. Forms are all checked, data validated, cookies encrypted etc
  • Most text entry areas (resources, forum postings etc) can be edited using an embedded WYSIWYG HTML editor

Community Hub

  • Anybody can set up a Community hub, which is a directory of courses for public use or for private communities. The code is implemented as separate GPL plugin for Moodle.
  • Sites can register to any Community hub (instead of just moodle.org)
  • Teachers on registered sites can publish their full courses to Community hubs, for download
  • Teachers on registered sites can also advertise their courses on Community hubs, for people to join
  • Teachers on any site can search all public Community hubs and download courses as templates for their own courses
  • Users on any Moodle site can also search Community hubs for courses (and communities of practice) to participate in. Initially we are encouraging ‘communities of teaching practice’ but any sort of course can be listed.

User and group management

  • Goals are to reduce admin involvement to a minimum, while retaining high security
  • Supports a range of user authentication mechanisms through plug-in authentication modules, allowing easy integration with existing systems.
    • Standard email method: students can create their own login accounts. Email addresses are verified by confirmation.
    • LDAP method: account logins can be checked against an LDAP server. Admin can specify which fields to use.
    • For example, IMAP, POP3, NNTP: account logins are checked against a mail or news server. SSL/TLS certificates are supported.
  • Students are encouraged to build an online Edit profile including photos, description. Email addresses can be protected from display if required.
    • Every user can specify their own timezone, and every date in Moodle is translated to that timezone (e.g. posting dates, assignment due dates etc)
    • Every user can choose the language used for the Moodle interface (English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese etc)
  • Cohorts also known as “Site-wide groups”, these are site-wide collections of users that can be enrolled into courses in one action, either manually or synchronized automatically

Enrolment

  • After a user has been authenticated by the site or allowed in as a guest, they can self enroll in courses.
  • Courses can a limit enrollment in several ways. Student self enrollment can be turned off.
  • An “enrolment key” in a course, only allows certain students to enter. These keys can be give out face-to-face or via email and can be changed
  • Teachers, with permissions, can manually enrol students or unenrol students in their courses.
  • Course completion is a course prerequisite feature of Moodle 2.0 that allows scaffolding of courses.
  • Course and site settings have options for automatic removal of users
  • There are many Enrolment_plugins
  • Includes: LADP, IMS, Paypal, Moodle Network to name a few
  • Any External database that has least two fields can be used as an external authentication source
  • Flat file or CSV files can automatically authenticate and enroll students in specific courses
  • Each person needs only one account for the Moodle site. Each account can have access to different courses, and the courses resources and activities.
  • Meta courses get their enrollment information from 1 or more other courses.

Course management

  • Typically, a teacher has full control over all settings for a course.
  • This can include assigning other teachers roles with less privileges
  • Choice of Course formats settings such as by week, by topic or a discussion-focused social format
  • An individual course theme and layout can be created for any course.
  • Flexible array of course activities – Forums, Quizzes, Glossaries, Resources, Choices, Surveys, Assignments, Chats, Workshops
  • Groups – teacher(s) and students can be placed in one or more groups
  • Recent changes to the course since the last login can be displayed on the course home page – helps give sense of community
  • Content areas (things seen by students) have an HTML editor tool bar with many standard editing fuctions, including an html code view.
  • Mail integration – copies of forum posts, teacher feedback etc can be mailed in HTML or plain text. Users can set a preference for daily emails in their profile.
  • Custom scales – teachers can define their own scales to be used for grading forums and assignments
  • Courses can be packaged as a single zip file using the Backup function. These can be restored on any Moodle server.
  • Specific course activities and resources can be imported from another existing course
  • Conditional activities in Moodle 2.0 allow the teacher to set completion standards and conditions for entry into any specific activity, based upon several criterions.
  • Teachers can now specify a Course completion condition standard for all students. Conditions include activity completion, but could also be by grade, date or a number of other criteria.
  • Teachers can use the above standard as a prerequisite to other courses that allows ordered progression and scaffolding.
  • Teachers and students can see reports that show the progress within a course, or through a series of courses.
  • Access to activities can be restricted based on certain criteria, such as dates, grade obtained, or the completion of another activity.
  • These can be chained together to enable progressive disclosure of the course content, if that is desired.
  • Teachers can now specify conditions that define when any activity is seen as completed by a student. For example, when a certain number of posts have been made, or a grade has been reached, or a choice has been made.

Course reports and grading

  • All grades for many kinds of activities can be viewed on one page (and downloaded in several formats).
  • Graded activities can be further calculated or manually entered in the Gradebook that is separated from the initial activity calculation. Additionally categories of graded activities and display functions allow for custom reports.
  • Full user logging and tracking – activity reports for each student are available with graphs and details about each module (last access, number of times read) as well as a detailed “story” of each student’s involvement including postings etc on one page.
  • Rubrics are actually the first plugin of a new ‘Advanced Grading’ plugin type, because we expect users to come up with all kinds of similar advanced grading interfaces and integrations. It currently only works for Assignments but will be extended soon across all modules. Moodle HQ developed this feature, although it was inspired by the Rubrics work done by Moodlerooms.

Repository support

  • File management has undergone a major change in both the interface and function.
  • The File picker presents a standard way to access the new File bank repository system.
  • This allows Moodle to integrate with external repositories of content, making it really simple to bring documents and media into Moodle via an AJAX interface that looks like a standard Open dialogue in desktop applications.
  • Initial plugins in 2.0 include: Alfresco, Amazon S3, Box.net, File system on Server, Flickr, Google Docs, MERLOT, Picasa, Recent Files, WebDAV servers, Wikimedia, Youtube. These are simple to develop, so many more are expected.
  • You can also import files from your desktop or by specifying a URL.
  • There are more attributes that can be added to a file, such as license and author.

Portfolio support

  • Modules can now export their data to external systems, particularly useful for portfolios where snapshots of forums, assignments and other things in Moodle are useful to record in a journal or a portfolio of evidence
  • Different formats are supported (currently LEAP2A, HTML, Images and Text, but others like PDF can be added)
  • Initial plugins in 2.0 include: Box.net, Flickr, Google Docs, Mahara and Picasa.

Web services support

  • Support for standards-based web services across the entire Moodle code base, allowing the admin to expose particular functions of Moodle for use by:
    • Administrative systems such as HR or SIS applications
    • Mobile clients
  • Framework contains a very high-level of security with a detailed token system and complete control over the range of functions exposed
  • All defined functions are automatically available via:
    • XML-RPC
    • AMF (Flash)
    • REST
    • SOAP (PHP)

Language Support

Over 90 language packs are available for an administrator to install on your Moodle site

Highlighted modules

In Moodle, modules are codes that can be installed in Moodle to provide functionalities to perform some predefined tasks or activities. It can also be used to host or create resources or display certain type of blocks or generate reports. Following are some of the commonly used modules used in Moodle to make a complete LMS/e-Learning platform out of it.

XeoIS provides support with LMS/e-learning software installation, implementation, integration and training

Lesson Module

  • A lesson is a single activity where a series of pages are presented to the student, usually based upon a student’s choice.
  • Content seen by the student is created with Moodle’s HTML editor tool.
  • Students make choices by their answers to questions or by selecting a button with a description. Their choices are linked to other pages in the lesson.
    • This allows for a simple slide show type of presentation, with content and questions.
    • It allows for a branching, adaptive presentation based upon a student’s specific choice.
    • Navigation through the lesson can be straight forward or complex, logical or random.
  • Jumps are associated with each choice that link to other lesson pages.
    • Jumps can be to a specific page or to a random page or a page not seen by the student.
  • Choices that are answers to questions and can be scored and given individual feed back.
    • Question pages include Multiple choice, Multi-answer, T/F, numeric, short answer and essay.
  • Lesson settings offer the teacher many options such as:
    • Different scoring and grading potentials
    • Lessons can build upon each other through conditional dependencies upon one another
    • Student attempts, time limits, minimum score and retakes can be set for each lesson
    • Students may see progress bars, running score, and feedback on their answers.
    • Password, start and end times, and other restrictions can be placed on students.
  • Pages can be created one at a time or imported.

Wiki Module

  • Wiki module is a series of web pages that anyone can add to or edit
  • It enables document pages to be authored collectively
  • Supports groups
  • There are many teacher based editing tools.

Resource Module

  • Resources can display of many types of media content files by a single link on the course page, such as:
    • Word, Powerpoint, Flash, Video formats, Audio formats
    • Internal web pages (HTML formatted) can be created with HTML editor tool
    • Internal Text pages (no formatting)
    • Files can be stored locally or the link point to remote locations
  • Files can be uploaded and managed (zipped, unzipped, renamed, moved) in the course
    • Folders can be created and managed in the course and students given a link to the folder via a resource link.
    • File handling in Moodle 2.0 has a File picker that is associated with specific resources or activities, allowing uploads from server, private, recent or on the fly. Files have attributes for author and license/copyright.
  • content on the web can be linked to or seamlessly included within the course interface.
    • External web applications can be linked to with data passed to them

Forum Module

  • Different types of forums are available, such as course news, open-to-all, one-thread-per-user and question/answers types.
  • Forum posts can be emailed in several ways, some controlled by the student.
  • Posts can have the authors photo attached.
  • Discussions can be viewed nested, flat or threaded, oldest or newest first.
  • Robust subscription methods for each forum
    • Individual forums can be subscribed to by each person
    • Teacher can force subscription for all members of the course, either initially or permanently.
  • Groups features allow options for more entry and viewing limitations for students.
  • The teacher can choose not to allow replies to their posts (announcements).
  • Discussion threads can be moved between forums or split by the teacher.
  • Attachments can be made to posts and shown as part of message.
  • Forum ratings can be used. These can be restricted to a range of dates and included as part of a student’s grade.

Assignment Module

  • Assignments can be specified with a due date and a maximum grade.
  • Students can upload their assignments (any file format) to the server – they are date-stamped.
  • Late assignments are allowed, but the amount of lateness is shown clearly to the teacher
  • For each particular assignment, the whole class can be assessed (grade and comment) on one page in one form.
  • Teacher feedback is appended to the assignment page for each student, and notification is mailed out.
  • The teacher can choose to allow resubmission of assignments after grading (for regarding)
  • Allowing resubmissions can allow the teacher to progress monitor student projects/assignments as they evolve.
  • Advanced assignments can allow multiple files to be uploaded. This could keep together preplanning maps, outlines, research papers and presentations. (Not for beginners)

Quiz Module

  • There are many types of standard questions formats that can be used in the Quiz module. Quiz offers many scoring methods and ways to present itself to students.
  • Quizzes are automatically graded when a student finishes. An entire quiz or specific questions be regarded at any time, should the teacher change an answer’s score.
  • There are many quiz settings options, such as:
    • Quizzes can have a limited time window outside of which they are not available
    • At the teacher’s option, quizzes can be attempted multiple times, and can show feedback and/or correct answers
    • Quiz questions and quiz answers can each be shuffled (randomized) to reduce cheating
    • Quizzes can be attempted multiple times, if desired
    • Attempts can be cumulative, if desired, and finished over several sessions
  • Questions are stored in categories that are part of a robust [[Question bank database] for easy access.
    • Categories of questions can be arranged in the database so they can only be used in a specific quiz, or in a specific course or in any quiz on the site.
    • Edited questions can replace the original or become new questions in the database
  • Questions use HTML formatting images and have a friendly tool bar in both the question and answer areas.
  • Questions can be imported or exported in many file formats.
  • There are more than 10 question types, each with different scoring methods, such as:
    • Multiple-choice questions supporting single or multiple answers
    • Short Answer questions (words or phrases)
    • True-False questions Matching questions
    • Random Short answer questions
    • Numerical questions (with allowable ranges)
    • Embedded-answer questions (cloze style) with answers within passages of text

Chat module

  • The Chat module allows smooth, synchronous text interaction
    • They can be limited to group members or roles, or be for anyone in the course
  • Includes profile pictures in the chat window
  • Supports URLs, smiles, embedded HTML, images etc
  • All sessions are logged for later viewing, and these can also be made available to students

Glossary Module

  • The Glossary module is one of the modules that best illustrates the way that Moodle can fundamentally improve upon the experience of a traditional classroom
  • When students contribute to a course in a public place like the glossary, their ideas are given weight and attention and often result in a greater pride or ownership of the assignment
  • Allows participants to create and maintain a list of definitions, like a dictionary
  • Student entries can be previewed by instructors before publishing
  • Entries can be searched or browsed using alphabet, category, date, and author
  • A glossary of terms can be easily referenced by students
  • Almost any module of Moodle can be set to hyperlink – automatically – to any word or phrase that is stored in or added to the glossary
  • Glossary items can be grouped in categories
  • Participants can comment on glossary entries
  • Entries can be rated using teacher-defined scales
  • Glossaries can be easily exported and imported via xml
  • Glossaries can be fully searched
  • Glossaries can be viewed with different display formats
  • Quiz questions can come from specific question in a specific category or as a random questions drawn from a category. These can be mixed and matched to suit the teacher.

Survey Module

  • Built-in surveys (COLLES, ATTLS) have been proven as instruments for analysing online classes
  • Online survey reports always available, including many graphs. Data is downloadable as an Excel spreadsheet or CSV text file.
  • Survey interface prevents partly-finished surveys.
  • Feedback is provided to the student of their results compared to the class averages

Workshop Module

  • Workshop module allows peer assessment of documents, and the teacher can manage and grade the assessment.
  • Supports a wide range of possible grading scales
  • Teacher can provide sample documents for students to practice grading
  • Being redone for Moodle 2.0

Feedback

The Feedback module allows you to create and conduct surveys to collect feedback. Unlike the Survey tool it allows you to write your own questions, rather than choose from a list of pre-written questions and unlike the Quiz tool, you can create non-graded questions. The Feedback activity is ideal for the likes of course or teacher evaluations.

IMS

IMS is a body, which helps define technical standards for various things, including e-learning material. The IMS Content Packaging specification makes it possible to store chunks of material in a standard format which can be re-used in different systems, without having to convert the material into new formats.

The IMS content package in Moodle enables such content packages to be uploaded and included in Moodle courses. There are various options for displaying content in a pop-up window, with a navigation menu or buttons etc.

SCORM

SCORM 1.2 is supported in Moodle but SCORM 2004 is not – see supported versions in the SCORM FAQ for more information.

SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) is a collection of specifications that enable interoperability, accessibility and reusability of web-based learning content. SCORM content can be delivered to learners via any SCORM-compliant Learning Management System (LMS) using the same version of SCORM.

Blocks

Blocks are items, which may be added to the left, right or centre column (depending upon your theme) of any page in Moodle.

Any block can be made ‘sticky’ so that it appears in all the contexts below, such as throughout a course or a particular activity – see Block settings.

Available blocks include:

Course Block

Activities, Admin bookmarks, Blog menu, Blog tags, Calendar, Comments, Community finder, Course completion status, Course overview, Course/site description, Courses, Flickr, HTML, Latest news, Logged in user, Login , Main menu, Mentees block, Messages, My private files, Navigation , Network servers, Online users, People , Quiz results, Random glossary entry, Recent activity, Recent blog entries, Remote RSS feeds, Search forums, Section links, Self completion, Settings, Social activities, Tags, Upcoming events, Youtube,

There are also many contributed blocks available for download from the plugins database.

Main page blocks

Block settings, Activities, Admin bookmarks, Blog menu, Blog tags, Calendar, Comments, Community finder, Course completion status, Course overview, Course/site description, Courses, Flickr, HTML, Latest news, Login, Logged in user, Main menu, Mentees, Messages, My private files, Navigation, Network servers, Online users, People, Quiz results, Random glossary entry, Recent activity, Recent blog entries, Remote RSS feeds, Search forums, Section links, Self completion, Settings, Social activities, Tags, Upcoming events, Youtube, Blocks FAQ

Reports

Course reports, Logs , Activity report, Participation report, Statistics, Site-wide reports, Config changes report – Shows changes made by an administrator to the site configuration , Course overview report, Question instances report – Reports where particular question types are used on the site

XeoIS provides support with LMS/e-learning software installation, implementation, integration and training

 

Read slimier blog post of Moodle changes

Moodle –new features and Changes Between version 2.4 to 2.5 (Major features)
Moodle changes across 2.3 to 2.4
Moodle overview and feature lists 2.2 and 2.3
 Moodle changes across major upgrade 1.9 to 2.0 to 2.1 to 2.2 to 2.3
 

Reference:

http://docs.moodle.org/19/en/Features
http://docs.moodle.org/22/en/Activities
http://docs.moodle.org/22/en/Resources
http://docs.moodle.org/22/en/Blocks
http://docs.moodle.org/22/en/Questions
http://docs.moodle.org/22/en/Grouping_users
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moodle
XeoIS provides support with LMS/e-learning software installation, implementation, integration and training

tag: moodle, e-learning, software, LMS, feature list, overview, about, modules, activity, design, block, resource, support, learning management, business, learning management systems, development integration

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3 thoughts on “Moodle overview and feature lists 2.2 and 2.3

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