Canada Moodlemoot 2013 ConferenceLess is More: Stripping Moodle Down                                      1
What’s this going to be about?                                 2
If you haven’t read the description…We’re going to discuss:• Plugins• Theme• Core Hacks Our customizations solve problems...
First a little background                            4
Who are we?              5
Who do we work for?The Neil Squire Society has for over 25 yearsempowered people with physical disabilities throughknowled...
The Neil Squire SocietyIn 2013, we’re reaching a lot of people through e-Learning.                                        ...
Now that you know who we help                                8
Usability: How easy is it for your users to do what  you want them to be doing?Accessibility: Does your content take your ...
UsabilityWe want our Moodle students to:• Log In• Follow links to Blackboard Collaborate• Visit their courses• Do course a...
UsabilityWe want our Moodle teachers to:• Log In• Follow links to Blackboard Collaborate• Visit their courses• Know what t...
AccessibilityWe do not take user abilities for granted. The same  content is there for:• The blind to hear• The deaf to re...
That’s the background…Let’s talk about our problems(and solutions)                                13
Accessibility & usability(problems)                            14
Our users are diverse*Assistive technology (hardware and software)Literacy (digital and literal)Culture*Teachers and Stude...
Moodle can be a painThere is a lot going on!There’s a lot of stuff to click… I don’t have a mouse.There’s a lot to read!Th...
Don’t worryThere are lots of little problems here. If you have  them too, our code can help.                              ...
Accessibility & usability(solutions)                            18
The file picker… OuchAfter trying to kludge a block to replace it, I gave up   and hacked core. • Turned off most of the ...
Before         20
After        21
Comments > ForumsScreen reader users struggle with Moodle forums.Our users have a 0% subscription rate.We dumped forums:• ...
Our comment page                   23
We use a lot of questionnairesForked the questionnaire module to comment  some things out and restructure things for  keyb...
NanogongWe love multi-modal learning (visual + aural).Nanogong is wonderful, but keyboard users can’t  use it and its tabu...
Say It!          26
YoutubeEmbedded Youtube videos are not focusable. We  wrap them.We type: [[swf|yt|Wellness For Work|CHg-E0BWGBw|wide]]We g...
Text to speech block 2.0Huge shout out to Patrick Thibaudeau and OOHOO.They ported my 1.9 TTS block to 2.0.They added a le...
TinyMCEWe forked TinyMCE to add in an autosave.                                           29
Block: templateFork of the HTML block.Attempts to inject its content into the text editor.Will respect HTML/noHTML formats...
Squire themeAdds:• WAI-ARIA landmarks• A “center” region for blocks• A site navigation (too custom for custom menu)• Cours...
Navigation (problems)                        32
Our users get lost… a lotThe navigation block is complicated.The settings block is just “clutter”.The home page lists EVER...
Navigation (solutions)                         34
We got rid of a lotNavigation blockSettings blockBreadcrumbCourse listing on front page                               35
We addedA customized frontpageSome frontpage blocksA custom menu that’s more custom than Moodle’sProfile editing back in t...
Frontpage before                   37
Frontpage after                  38
DisclaimerThe “before” page still shows up for administrators.The “after” page shows up for users.I hacked core to force u...
Main menuHome (moodle/my)My ProfileA report that shows “friends”A link to noscript version of messages                    ...
Profile management (core hack )                                   41
Edit profileUser - Change password / edit links to profile page                                                      42
Block: course list lite            List of enrolled courses            Categorized            Alphabetized                ...
Block: collaborateLinks that are populated from hidden profile field.Classroom and moderator links populated during   acco...
Badge course formatEach section has two iconsOne for all activities completeOne for some activities incompleteSections are...
Badge course format                      46
Badge format admin             Way easier to implement in 2.3+                                               47
Badge course format: single sectionWhen you click on a section:                                      48
When you’re in an activityNavigation buttons are added after “Main Content”.•   Back to the main course view•   Back to th...
So…Users can tell what they’ve completed.They can’t spam the “next button” till they get lost.They can use the main menu t...
Community (problems)                       51
Cohorts are not quite thereWe like cohorts for:• Community.• Cohort-sync enrollment.We wish:• There was a cohort context (...
Community (solutions)                        53
We made some cohort pluginsNow we have:• Cohort friendship sync• Friends report• Cohort breakup• Cohort relationships     ...
Admin tool: cohort friendship syncCron checks that each “from” cohort member is friends  with each “to” cohort member.New ...
Report: friendsLooks like OutlookHas email addresses and Moodle message links.Encourages profile pictures.Easier for scree...
Admin tool: cohort breakupBreaks friendships.This lets teachers move on when they have a new  class of students.          ...
Admin tool: cohort relationshipsEach member of cohort “from” is assigned a role in  the “user” context of each user in coh...
Tracking (problems)                      59
NavigationOur staff hate the navigation and settings blocks.We’ve had facilitators on screen readers.We don’t grade anythi...
Tracking (solutions)                       61
This was trickyWe made a “Class Facilitation” course.The course contains:• A comments activity• A marking block• Links to ...
Marking blockOur marking block:• Doesn’t use AJAX• Shows assignments, questionnaires, say its!, and  questionnaires.   – C...
Report: unread commentsBreaks comments down by course and activity.Provides “mark as read” link for each comment.         ...
Report: badges                 We can see that                  Bart has only                  completed one              ...
Report: participant credentialsShows anyone you are “teaching”.Displays:• Name• Username• Whether their password is still ...
Report: participant submissionsThe inverse of the marking block.Helps blind teachers reference user activities.           ...
Thank you for your timeChad Leaman – chadl@neilsquire.caRyan Thomas – ryant@neilsquire.ca604 - 473 – 9363www.neilsquire.ca...
Questions? Talk shop?                        69
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Neil Squire Society Moodlemoot 2013: Less is More; Stripping down Moodle

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This slidedeck was used to support Ryan Thomas, Chad Leaman, and Milad Hajihassen's presentation at the 2013 MoodleMoot. They work at the Neil Squire Society, which uses technology to empower people with physical disablities. They made numberous changes to Moodle to increase usability and accessibility across a variety of disability and literacy groups. What resulted was a very lean, simple, and accessible Moodle site.

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  • Talk about some extra text put in for screen reader users.
  • Mention here that keyboard users HAVE TO tab through everything. Screenreader users have too many links on the page.
  • Heavily altered.
  • Neil Squire Society Moodlemoot 2013: Less is More; Stripping down Moodle

    1. 1. Canada Moodlemoot 2013 ConferenceLess is More: Stripping Moodle Down 1
    2. 2. What’s this going to be about? 2
    3. 3. If you haven’t read the description…We’re going to discuss:• Plugins• Theme• Core Hacks Our customizations solve problems with:• Accessibility/Usability• Navigation/Complexity• Community• Tracking 3
    4. 4. First a little background 4
    5. 5. Who are we? 5
    6. 6. Who do we work for?The Neil Squire Society has for over 25 yearsempowered people with physical disabilities throughknowledge, technology, and passion. 6
    7. 7. The Neil Squire SocietyIn 2013, we’re reaching a lot of people through e-Learning. 7
    8. 8. Now that you know who we help 8
    9. 9. Usability: How easy is it for your users to do what you want them to be doing?Accessibility: Does your content take your user’s abilities for granted? 9
    10. 10. UsabilityWe want our Moodle students to:• Log In• Follow links to Blackboard Collaborate• Visit their courses• Do course activities• Know what they have completed• Message each other and their teachers 10
    11. 11. UsabilityWe want our Moodle teachers to:• Log In• Follow links to Blackboard Collaborate• Visit their courses• Know what their students have completed• Help their students with their accounts• Message each other and their students 11
    12. 12. AccessibilityWe do not take user abilities for granted. The same content is there for:• The blind to hear• The deaf to read• The mouse-less to command• The low-literacy to listen to• The inexperienced to find 12
    13. 13. That’s the background…Let’s talk about our problems(and solutions) 13
    14. 14. Accessibility & usability(problems) 14
    15. 15. Our users are diverse*Assistive technology (hardware and software)Literacy (digital and literal)Culture*Teachers and Students 15
    16. 16. Moodle can be a painThere is a lot going on!There’s a lot of stuff to click… I don’t have a mouse.There’s a lot to read!There’s too much scrolling.It can be overwhelming! 16
    17. 17. Don’t worryThere are lots of little problems here. If you have them too, our code can help. 17
    18. 18. Accessibility & usability(solutions) 18
    19. 19. The file picker… OuchAfter trying to kludge a block to replace it, I gave up and hacked core. • Turned off most of the repository plugins• Forced the <noscript> version unless a profile field is checked.• For the <noscript version>, added a bunch of redirects that auto-select the upload repositoryThere is a lot less fuss with this one. 19
    20. 20. Before 20
    21. 21. After 21
    22. 22. Comments > ForumsScreen reader users struggle with Moodle forums.Our users have a 0% subscription rate.We dumped forums:• Forked “Page” module into “Comment Page”.• “readable comment” block in “center of page”• “unread comments” report 22
    23. 23. Our comment page 23
    24. 24. We use a lot of questionnairesForked the questionnaire module to comment some things out and restructure things for keyboard users.Replaced a lot of quizzes with questionnaires.Created a block to “mark questionnaire as read”.Integrated “unread” (public) questionnaires into our marking block. 24
    25. 25. NanogongWe love multi-modal learning (visual + aural).Nanogong is wonderful, but keyboard users can’t use it and its tabular layout is confusing.We broke it out of tables and added html buttons.We renamed it “Say It!” 25
    26. 26. Say It! 26
    27. 27. YoutubeEmbedded Youtube videos are not focusable. We wrap them.We type: [[swf|yt|Wellness For Work|CHg-E0BWGBw|wide]]We get: 27
    28. 28. Text to speech block 2.0Huge shout out to Patrick Thibaudeau and OOHOO.They ported my 1.9 TTS block to 2.0.They added a lexicon for correcting pronunciation.I added an off/on option. 28
    29. 29. TinyMCEWe forked TinyMCE to add in an autosave. 29
    30. 30. Block: templateFork of the HTML block.Attempts to inject its content into the text editor.Will respect HTML/noHTML formats.Assignments and forums discussion topics.Answer templates help students and teachers. 30
    31. 31. Squire themeAdds:• WAI-ARIA landmarks• A “center” region for blocks• A site navigation (too custom for custom menu)• Course navigation buttonsSubtracts:• Most of the login page• A lot of the footer 31
    32. 32. Navigation (problems) 32
    33. 33. Our users get lost… a lotThe navigation block is complicated.The settings block is just “clutter”.The home page lists EVERY course.Courses have “scroll of death”.The “next” and “previous” links are gone from modules. 33
    34. 34. Navigation (solutions) 34
    35. 35. We got rid of a lotNavigation blockSettings blockBreadcrumbCourse listing on front page 35
    36. 36. We addedA customized frontpageSome frontpage blocksA custom menu that’s more custom than Moodle’sProfile editing back in the user profile pageA settings block that only admins can seeA custom course formatNavigation icons in modules 36
    37. 37. Frontpage before 37
    38. 38. Frontpage after 38
    39. 39. DisclaimerThe “before” page still shows up for administrators.The “after” page shows up for users.I hacked core to force users to “MyMoodle” and hacked it more to make every MyMoodle page the same.  39
    40. 40. Main menuHome (moodle/my)My ProfileA report that shows “friends”A link to noscript version of messages 40
    41. 41. Profile management (core hack ) 41
    42. 42. Edit profileUser - Change password / edit links to profile page 42
    43. 43. Block: course list lite List of enrolled courses Categorized Alphabetized 43
    44. 44. Block: collaborateLinks that are populated from hidden profile field.Classroom and moderator links populated during account setup.More than one link is supported. 44
    45. 45. Badge course formatEach section has two iconsOne for all activities completeOne for some activities incompleteSections are grouped under “units”Units are sortableSections are sortable 45
    46. 46. Badge course format 46
    47. 47. Badge format admin Way easier to implement in 2.3+ 47
    48. 48. Badge course format: single sectionWhen you click on a section: 48
    49. 49. When you’re in an activityNavigation buttons are added after “Main Content”.• Back to the main course view• Back to the section view• Previous activity within section• Next activity within section(This is done in the theme) 49
    50. 50. So…Users can tell what they’ve completed.They can’t spam the “next button” till they get lost.They can use the main menu to go home.They have an easy time finding their courses and virtual classroom. 50
    51. 51. Community (problems) 51
    52. 52. Cohorts are not quite thereWe like cohorts for:• Community.• Cohort-sync enrollment.We wish:• There was a cohort context (like “user” context).• Cohorts could mass “friend”. 52
    53. 53. Community (solutions) 53
    54. 54. We made some cohort pluginsNow we have:• Cohort friendship sync• Friends report• Cohort breakup• Cohort relationships 54
    55. 55. Admin tool: cohort friendship syncCron checks that each “from” cohort member is friends with each “to” cohort member.New cohort members become instant friends.  55
    56. 56. Report: friendsLooks like OutlookHas email addresses and Moodle message links.Encourages profile pictures.Easier for screen reader users to navigate 56
    57. 57. Admin tool: cohort breakupBreaks friendships.This lets teachers move on when they have a new class of students. 57
    58. 58. Admin tool: cohort relationshipsEach member of cohort “from” is assigned a role in the “user” context of each user in cohort “to”.Our classroom IT is given a role that allows account editing for each student. 58
    59. 59. Tracking (problems) 59
    60. 60. NavigationOur staff hate the navigation and settings blocks.We’ve had facilitators on screen readers.We don’t grade anything.Our staff do live demos… they can’t display client information. 60
    61. 61. Tracking (solutions) 61
    62. 62. This was trickyWe made a “Class Facilitation” course.The course contains:• A comments activity• A marking block• Links to tracking reports 62
    63. 63. Marking blockOur marking block:• Doesn’t use AJAX• Shows assignments, questionnaires, say its!, and questionnaires. – Course • Unit (if course is badge format) – Section » Activity• Is semantically set up for screen reader navigation.• Displays in the “center” block region. 63
    64. 64. Report: unread commentsBreaks comments down by course and activity.Provides “mark as read” link for each comment. 64
    65. 65. Report: badges We can see that Bart has only completed one section. 65
    66. 66. Report: participant credentialsShows anyone you are “teaching”.Displays:• Name• Username• Whether their password is still set to default• Last login 66
    67. 67. Report: participant submissionsThe inverse of the marking block.Helps blind teachers reference user activities. 67
    68. 68. Thank you for your timeChad Leaman – chadl@neilsquire.caRyan Thomas – ryant@neilsquire.ca604 - 473 – 9363www.neilsquire.ca@neilsquiresoc 68
    69. 69. Questions? Talk shop? 69
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