OU blog

Personal Blogs

New blog post

Visible to anyone in the world

Time for this week's development update. I did do a new ForumNG feature (in addition to the public release mentioned earlier), but I thought I'd talk about something different.

Usually, I mainly talk about what I'm working on personally, but in fact the others on my team are working on lots of other things... I don't think they are offended but even so it would be good if I don't leave them out all the time!

And I hope some people reading this might be interested in reading a wider range of what's being developed in the OU's learning environment, even though that's probably not directly relevant. (As a reminder, if you happen to be an OU student - this is not in any way official, all just my personal comment, and features discussed in this blog are generally some way in the future. The things I'm talking about now are due for March, and even if we get them all finished on time, that often means, only in courses which start after March, and often not all of them either...)

Not in any order:

  • Ray is also working on ForumNG features, as mentioned before. He's currently finishing off the 'report offensive post by email' feature. Not the most exciting feature, but a useful one.
  • Anthony has just finished various investigation tasks relating to Sloodle - a community project that integrates Moodle with Second Life. The OU is running a small pilot project using Sloodle so we needed to have a local developer who knows something about it.
  • Tim is working on his new quiz engine. I saw it today (in between pestering him to do things other than quiz) - the bit where you can change interaction model in the preview is really cool.
  • Al and Alan are working together on the OU-specific 'OU stats' (reporting) feature. This is probably not very exciting to most people reading this; basically it means we will provide better statistics about course usage to course teams etc., with nice graphs and so on. (The current version only has text tables.) It's beginning to come together quite nicely.
  • Mahmoud is finishing code that automatically transfers gradebook scores to the main University systems (well, it gets them as far as the department that runs said systems, anyhow). This is going to let courses make quizzes/assessments which are required in order to complete the course, but not scored in the usual way (i.e. you have to complete it but the actual score you get doesn't matter - it's just about doing it). Yes there is a good reason for this! I can explain that if anyone likes...
    Because the deadlines for these don't work like normal exams, it needs this new automatic system.
  • Bryan (who is technically not on my team!) is working on a significant new feature for the OU wiki module (which is available for Moodle 1.9). The new feature is sort of a replacement for comments (comments are still there, but we will probably turn them off) - it lets tutors use the wiki to 'mark' group work via a new annotation system.

Later in this development, apart from 'more of the same' (continued ForumNG work, for instance) we should also be working on:

  • Mobile support for course pages (i.e. if you visit a course page using a smartphone, we will serve you a reformatted version that works better - at least until you enter an activity for which we haven't yet implemented a mobile version). We actually have a slightly unfinished pilot version of this in the December release, but you have to use a special URL to get it, and I think I probably shouldn't tell everyone what that is!
  • Integrating ePub support for [some] course content, so people can download a version formatted for any* ebook reader.
  • Minor improvements to the 'shared activities' system that nobody knows about. (Not sure I should put in a link to that one either, even though it is genuinely available already! Hmmm...)

* Where 'any' excludes Kindle, of course; my opinion is, unless they make a serious move toward open standards, Kindle should be kept well outside bargepole-range...

Well, that's it. Sorry if it was boring or confusing. Next week I'll post about forum developments again, including the new pirate flag feature!

Share post