This is a special super bonus blog post. Not only are there two blog posts in one day, but this second one has two screencasts in it!
In today's Moodle developer meeting, I suggested (rather rudely, sorry) that the OU's subpage module was a better way to handle the 'everything in Moodle course has to go on the same single page which is stupid' problem than implementing some kind of 'show things on separate pages' feature in every single course format.
Subpage - quick demonstration of subpage using the standard theme so it looks pretty much like standard Moodle (about 5 minutes)
Subpage in real life - how we use subpage at the OU (about 3 minutes) - you get to see our pretty theme in this one
Here are some reasons I think subpage is a good approach:
- Not dependent on course formats, or inconsistent depending on which format you're using.
- Obvious; easily understandable by students and staff. (Except the name! The name sucks, but I couldn't think of a better one.)
- You can keep using convenient views that take advantage of the course format to see the entire structure of the course at once (only it won't be ridiculously long now), or to show N weeks around current, or whatever it is.
- Generally more flexible - for instance, want to nest pages within pages? With subpage, you can. (It's probably a bad idea, though!)
There are some problems with the way subpage is implemented; basically, it's a leetle bit of a hack. In order to make it un-hacky, some of the following things would need to happen to core:
- Add all the 'come back to this URL afterward' features that we included in a short patch. Without that, in core Moodle every time you do anything in a subpage you end up back at the course page. (For instance, add a forum? Okay, great, but after it's added you're back on the course page.) It isn't really practical to use without this patch even though it does basically work if you struggle through.
- Implement something (ownercmid?) in the sections table to indicate that they're owned by a module and therefore take them out of the ordinary numbering. Apply some changes to backup and restore and navigation and formats to make this slicker. (It works OK without, we're using it, but we do have a few special things in our course format to handle it as well...)
Note that this change would let authors create other modules that can include sections/Moodle activities, which could actually be pretty cool.
Subpage code repo (...may or may not work at the moment, I hope it does though).