Moodle Course Report Block – An automatic course checking system

UPDATE: Due to popular demand I will be releasing this block to the Moodle community. I will start working on this in September 2010.

I have just finished work on the beta of the Moodle Course Report Block. An automatic course checking and points scoring system to encourage a balanced blend of resources and activities.

The block works by collating statistical information from a course such as the number of files, types of resources used, number of assignments and quizzes etc..

Based upon this information it creates a printable report with suggestions for improvement and also informs the teacher on areas of good practice.

I have a attached a weighting to each resource and activity installed on our Moodle system and the report calculates a total so each course can be graded.

View a Sample (PDF) Report by clicking here

The block is hidden from students and is sticky so that it appears on all courses.

It’s Purpose

The purpose of the block is to allow teachers to perform their own course checks and get instant feedback on areas for improvement. Points are awarded for the number of resources available but to avoid a repository-based course more points are awarded to the interactive activities. So a course with 12 word documents will not score as highly as a course with a workshop, a forum and a journal.

A course with an average score of 80 is good, 100+ is excellent and over 200 is fantastic.

Further Developments

I have a added a file count and a script to display the size of the course directory.

The report highlights items that need addressing on the course, such as:

  • Encouraging the use of labels to aid contextualisation.
  • Encouraging the use of webpages rather than links to word documents
  • Encouraging the use of forums, journals, books etc..
  • The tutor is commended for using key activities
  • A green tick indicates a good point
  • A red cross indicates a bad point
  • A yellow warning triangle is a recommendation/suggestion

Beta Testing

I am currently beta-testing the block with our e-Learning mentors at college. Based upon their feedback I shall add more elements and maybe an even more detailed reporting engine.

Currently the block searches all the default Moodle activities/resources plus the extra “third party” ones we use here at Leeds City College, such as the Book Module, Gallery, Questionnaire etc.. so it’s still bespoke to our installation. I don’t think I’d ever make it work for all third party modules, there’s too many to list. I still have many bug tweaks to do and I need to clean the code up before I can release this block to the public.

Moodle Twitter Post Block

Twitter PostI have just finished an early release of my Moodle Twitter Block. The block simply allows you to post a tweet to a Twitter account. At present it asks you to enter your Twitter username and password but I will be customising this to pull the data from user profile fields already in Moodle. A lot of work has already been done on a similar block by M3 (http://m3.jiscemerge.org.uk/) but I wanted to create my own and slowly develop it over time to fit in with my custom tweaks. It uses some simple AJAX to submit the form so it stays inside the block.

The block uses the “Twitter for PHP” class created by David Grudl. (http://davidgrudl.com) (http://twitter-php.googlecode.com) so I will be able to make use of upgrades on this project as and when they are released.

Future upgrades will include:

  • Retrieving Twitter posts from your friends list
  • Embedding Twitter user photos
  • An ajax popup in My Moodle Bar to allow quick status updates
  • Automatic tweeting when a user completes a quiz, submits and assignment or posts to a forum
  • Sign on to Moodle with your Twitter ID
  • Posting to a Twitter Wall which will become an Activity Type within Moodle

Please feel free to give it a try, but please…back up your Moodle site first and don’t use it on a production server! It’s still in beta. Please leave some comments on this page for me.

Download the block here

Moodle Bar almost ready for public release

My Moodle bar is almost ready for public release. I have cleaned the code up (a lot), the bar now installs with just one simple PHP include tag in the footer of your Moodle theme. The buttons now have a CSS based tooltip rollover (like Facebook). I just have a few Internet Explorer 7 glitches to take care of.

I am also planning a notifications module for the bar which will alert users of messages, deadlines and calendar events.