Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Moodle Faculty Advisory Board Meeting

The Moodle Faculty Advisory Board (MFAB) met Thursday, October 21st. The following is a list of items discussed along with action items (as needed). If anyone feels anything was left out, or would like to make additional suggestions, please feel free to comment.

1. In the Moodle ISU forums there is no way to isolate the instructor response from other students responses to posts. It was determined that the ITRC will find a way of making it clear who is the instructor, using either a special icon, or by formatting the instructor's name to make it stand out. Whatever method of highlighting is chosen it will be standardized such that it will appear the same in every Moodle ISU course.

2. Internet Explorer often has issues correctly rendering quizzes, assignments, and a host of other course elements within Moodle. ITRC will test out the problematic features of Moodle within the new version of Internet Explorer that is being released; if any problems remain it will be seen what can be done about getting a movement started within the larger Moodle community to get Microsoft to standardize their browser, or at least make it Moodle-compliant.

3. The Google Apps and Attendance tools were well-received by faculty. However, if we decide to use the Attendance tool we'll need to configure it ourselves to work with Moodle 2.0. Since this will required additional resources that may not be available, there is no guarantee the Attendance tool will be added as a permanent (or even temporary) tool within Moodle; ITRC is still exploring this possibility.

The Google Apps tool will be included in future course instances.

4.) When grading in the assignment tool, faculty are unable to input grades that are not whole numbers because it only allows you to select whole number grades from a drop-down menu. ITRC will work to make the grade input a text-based field instead.

5.) The popularity of MFAB has led many to wonder if there is not a similar board meeting available for BengalWeb users. ITRC will look into this and get back to the community.

6.) Faculty have expressed some annoyance with the way the HTML editor works in Moodle, including the following issues:

1. Style sheets don't get copied and pasted correctly.
2. You cannot simply hit the 'A' icon to change the color of text once you've already changed the text color; you have to re-select the new color from the drop-down list of color swatches every time you wish to change the color of some text.
3. Sometimes when you select a color for some text and then bold, italicize, or perform some other operation on it, the color or the other formatting doesn't 'stick'. The problem is also apparent when you first do the formatting and THEN select a color for the text.
4. The default font size is often different than what is imported (usually its smaller).
5. The font selector tool should allow for relative font sizes and not use point-based sizes.
6. Sometimes the formatting LOOKS right in the editor, but when the changes are saved they do not show in the final output.

* ITRC will be looking into all of the HTML editor issues mentioned above for solutions.

7.) Quickmail needs to be improved to show participant's names in the messages history; ITRC will look into this issue.

9.) ITRC will send out a link to the Moodle 2.0 test course, so interested faculty get a chance to see how it works and comment on it.

10.) We are contemplating doing a pilot this Spring for Moodle 2.0, with the actual transition to the new release in the summer or fall of 201l. This is not yet set in stone. One of the great things about Moodle is we do not have to move to the new version unless we want to. More information on this possible transition will be forthcoming as details are known.

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