RSC JISC Moodle User Group May 1st 09

Moodle User Group Meeting

As usual I shall be attending the regional JISC Moodle user/admin group meeting.  Hopefully I’ll be presenting something on iPhone development, MoodleMoot 09,  and Moodle Detective.

The event will be held at

Askham Bryan College, York Campus, York, North Yorkshire

on the 1st May 2009

Hope to see many of you there.

MoodleMoot 09 UK

This years MoodleMoot 09 was great.  The keynote by Martin (above) was very interesting.  The future of Moodle looks solid, and the addition of proposed Moodle API’s will lead to so much more interactivity.

Imagine an iPhone app, an Adobe AIR app and seamless integration with other API’s such as Twitter and Facebook.  I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

AJAX Moodle user search

Having found the user search on Moodle very cumbersome I decided it was time to create an AJAX driven user search.  Every time I used the old search and entered a filter I was prompted to remove it before performing a new search.

By using my new AJAX search, results are displayed as I type, this allows me to find users much faster.  I have added links next to the results so I can quickly go to the user profile pages, messages or Moodle detective.

Read messages from blocked users

One of the most annoying things about the Moodle messaging system is that when a user receives a message from a user who has blocked them it doesn’t show. 

The message windows still pops up and says there is a message waiting but the user in unable to read it.

Many of our students complained about this as the pop-ups become increasingly annoying.

To fix this I changed the code in /message/discussion.php

Moodle Detective

Moodle Detective is a tool which collates user information from Moodle and displays it on a page that only Administrators can access.

Moodle Detective came about when I was asked to investigate an particular students” Moodle activity.  This student had been sending inappropriate messages to other users and posting obscene things in the forums.

It was then we realised that we needed a reporting feature in Moodle that would bring up a users entire message, blog and forum logs…and that”s exactly what Moodle Detective Does!’,

Moodle Forum Subscription change

When a user posts to a forum and unless they click otherwise they are then subscribed to that forum.  Many of our users don’t read that far down the page and then complain to me when they receive 100+ forum posts via email.

To stop this from happening I changed the default subscription option at the bottom of the forum reply page so that the default option is DO NOT receive copies of this forum by email. 

Here’s how to do it:

We need to change 2 lines of code in the file /mod/forum/post_forum.php (around line 47)

Ban Moodle Messaging

Moodle messaging is a fantastic tool but it is often abused by our students here at college.  Students have been reported to spend too much time sending messages in class.  Often the male students spend time looking for female students to whom they can send a message to.

When a student receives an unwanted message they can report it by clicking a link. 

Ban forum posting rights

Although it is possible to remove forum posting rights using roles in Moodle I needed a quick way to ban posting rights for a particular user and forum.

We use Moodle as a student intranet as well as a VLE.  On the student intranet we have a student forum where students can discuss almost anything.  Occasionally, some students abuse this and post inappropriate messages.  We required a way to ban re-offenders from posting to the student intranet forum but retain their posting rights for their course forums.

Online Users Page

Online Users Page

The Moodle bar provides a quick glance as to how many users are using Moodle at any point in time.  In order to extend this functionality we created an Online Users page which does exactly what it says on the tin.

It grabs a list of active users that have been using Moodle in the last 5 minutes.  It displays their name and a link to their profile.

When an administrator views this page they see a link to Moodle Detective, a loginas button, an edit profile button,  a message history button and an option to send the user a message.

Moodle Word Censorship

It was brought to my attention that when Moodle filters out a word found in the "bad words" list it in fact leaves the word in the alt text.  So moving your mouse over the word "Scunthorpe" produces some quite interesting results!!

The resolve this I edited the file filter/censor/filter.php

And around line 36 replace this code

 $words[ ] = new filterobject($badword, ‘<span class="censoredtext" title=".$badword.">’, ‘</span>’,

with this: