Clarification and information on a number of topics requested Using blog as primary information channel Recent examples – Standard reporting, theme advice, 2.7 assignment changes, 2.8 Upgrade. Feedback desired
Reminder of address New blogs highlighted on main ULCC website Please visit and comment
Roadmap important to us AND our customers ULCC shifting balance from reactive to proactive
UG informs roadmap Reporting (RH held workshop) Moodle 2.8 (EW to update) Archiving Assessment + many, many more small updates, fixes and features
In early stages of using an Agile (Scrum) process to manage our ongoing product development Looking at possibility of creating a customer consumable version of (some of) the roadmap
We conducted this workshop really for a few reasons To involve a set of customers who had previously expressed interest in real value input. To allow us to identify what is most important. To make sure we are going in the right direction with the right priorities To facilitate networking and sharing of wider experiences between customers.
There are 8 core integrations of Moodle, lets run through this quickly..
Today, I want to give a brief overview of integrations in layman’s terms. As you may know, I’m not a technical expert so I may not be able to offer anything ground breaking in the next 20 minutes. But I hope to offer a better understanding
So to begin, here are the common integration which I will be covering in a little more detail, you may already be using one of these methods already.
The External Database is a core Moodle tool which allows for integrations with an external database.
the Staging database contains an enrolments table and optionally a courses table for populating Moodle.
Options we have worked with for the transport mechanism include the customer making available the data through either a set of views, tables or files.
The enrolments table can be set up to map against any of the unique values, but must contain a unique identifier for the course, the role and the user. Such as… course shortname, the user usernames and the role shortname.
And When an enrolment disappears from the table, they can either be set to unenrol that user, keep the user enrolled, disable the course enrolment and remove roles.
The Courses table must contain the courses full name, short name, course id and optionally the category if you are not using a default category. A course template can be set up for all new courses to copy content from.
ULCC have also created a separate tool for Moodle which allows for course creation and enrolment synchronisation. It also caters for group creation, group member addition, category creation and updates. In this scenario a number of additional views, tables or files are all enabled for integration. Moodle looks at this local database and crunches the data similarly to external database.
Moodle contains a number of functions that can be called in order to do a number of predefined tasks.
So this diagram works in this zig-zag way following the arrows. (run through the process)
ULCC have increased the number of web services available but in summary courses, users, enrolments, groups, categories etc can be read, created and updated by calling given functions with its parameters.
Web services are also a good way of retrieving data about a particular item as well as including available logs etc. It is relatively easy to write a new web service if one doesn’t exist but using them does rely on the customer having a developer who knows how to use web services.
Another integration we have done for a few customers is around sending grades back for entry into the student record system automatically.
In this system, the Lecturer creates an activity, students submit to that activity and then the lecturer grades that activity.
When the lecturer is happy to send grades across to the student record system, they choose from the ID number field within the settings of the activity and the assessment to bind that activity to ________ based upon a table / view supplied as part of the integration.
These grades are then either made available for retrieving via a web service or are exported and made available for retrieval via a file / database table.
And finally, ULCC have also created a integration so that user accounts can be created and updated based upon a table or view. This allows for things such as changing email addresses and passwords as well as configuring what happens when a user disappears from the table or view e.g. keep, suspend or delete.
This is particularly useful for those who do not use LDAP for synchronising accounts and instead use an alternative authentication provider such as Shibboleth or CAS.
Reporting Workshop Feedback
Why a Workshop?
• Small group of customers to have real value input.
• Prioritise requirements on what should be done.
• Let us know whether we are going in the right
• Facilitate sharing between Customers.
Key Findings (1)
• Moodle reporting is too basic.
• Availability under menus.
• Customised grouping.
• Graphs and Interface paramount.
• Flexible and range of filters (Google Analytics).
• Creation of own Departments.
Key Findings (2)
• Report Categories and Descriptors.
• Role based permissions system.
• Empowered to create Reports.
• Standard Service.
• Retrospective Data.
• Event Flags by Email.
• Make it easier to download Logs
Reports for Students
• Grade & feedback overview across courses & modules.
• Student resource and activity access:
– Benchmarked to course average (overall and per resource and activity).
– When, where and interaction frequency.
– Suggest activities and resources to view or complete.
– Visual progress (completion tracking, activity engagement, benchmarked
Reports for Lecturers
• All reports for students they teach but at different levels.
• Submission dates for activities (category, courses)
• Total submitted, late and not submitted by activity.
• Completions & Badges by student and total per course.
• Predictions for intervention e.g. access / interaction / submissions /
• Individual Learning Plan Entries by Course (Sussex Downs User Group).
Reports for Middle Managers
• Option to access Lecturer & Student Reports.
• Department Course Access Totals & Averages (views, interactions).
• Department Course Totals for students needing intervention (over time).
• Department Course Visibility & Enrolments.
• Department Course Activity & Resource Totals vs. total interaction by type.
• Department Lecturer Access (interactions, views).
Reports for Senior Managers
• Option to access Middle Manager Reports.
• Comparison of Departments for Middle Manager Reports.
– Student & Lecturer Average Interaction Totals.
– Resource and Activity type by Total and average interaction.
– Students needing interventions trend over time.
– Visible Courses & Enrolments by Department.
• ULCC to review outcomes further and feed the priorities into
• Communicate back to customers on progress
– Steering group
– User group
What is Coursework?
• Activity Type in Moodle
• Facilitates Double and Blind Marking
• Integrates with Turnitin
• ULCC been working on the idea for a while.
• Funding and demand from the Higher Education Sector.
• Adding missing features to Moodle.
• Now on version 1.0 (rewritten to be a more holistic tool set).
New Features & Interest
• Closed Steering Group Discussions.
• Plugin available to customers on request.
• If interested contact the Service Desk on
by Alistair Spark
• March 2013 - strong push from Academic Lead to go paperless on RP2
• April 2013 - Initial discovery of the project
• June 2013 - ULCC User Group discussions with Mike Dearing
• July 2013 - Initial meeting with Registry & Exam Office
• September 2013 - Cancelled meeting w/ other interested parties by ULCC
• November 2013 - Initial meeting w/ ULCC => Write Use Case document => signed off by end of the month
• Feb - March 2014 - Follow up meetings w/ ULCC.
• Apr 2014 - ULCC agrees to resourcing the project & starts refactoring
• May 2014 - RVC gets access to latest code to follow status & bug test
• Oct 2014 - v1.0 released by ULCC - stable & ready to go live. - met to review required additions - checked w/ Exam
Office specifics - Quote raised
• Jan 2015 - RVC requirements met & delivered
• 9th March 2015 - Pilot Submission Deadline
• 11th May 2015 - Pilot Marking deadline
• All summative coursework submitted online since
2012 for plagiarism detection by Turnitin(TII) via
• Students have to submit twice both online & paper
• Considerable amount of paper to dispatch to
examiners - time consuming
• If submitting online can we go paperless?
• Currently Turnitin only supports single marking - no double blind marking,
• Deadlines in Turnitin cannot be granted to individual students for special
circumstances, extensions apply to all students
• various file size & reliability issues with TII also
• So an alternative solution was needed
What OCM does
• Students submit their coursework online.
• Extensions can be granted individually if needed
• Markers can then be allocated for each paper - either automatically at
random or manually
• both markers can mark papers at a convenient time
What it does
• Once both markers have marked they can agree a final grade
• final grades can then be exported by the exam office once all papers
• Individual feedback / General feedback can be released (optional)
Markers are allocated manually or at random
automatically depending on the coursework
Benefits vs Turnitin
• Student submissions still go through Turnitin for
• If TII is offline, the submission is stored in Learn and can
be submitted to TII once service is restored
• No file-size limits for students, Learn limit is used which is
very high, if TII cannot cope, this can be submitted as
plain text separately thus removing stress from students
• Plagiarism score not displayed to students (optional) also
relieving potential stress.
• Individual Deadline extensions w/ info
• Submit on Behalf of student
• ability to download all grades in csv backup & restore (for archiving)
• sample marking
• group submission marking
• Improve data flow -> save time
• Feedback from markers about the experience required
• Copy Agreed grade & comments from initial marking
• Auto-agree grades for small differences
• 9th March 2015 deadline- Trial w/ RP2 markers (45 students / 68 markers
- mix of techno-phobe & techno-savvy)
• May 2015 - Review survey data from trial -can we go paperless in 2016?
Any additional requirements?
• Schedule for Q1 Release
• Upgrade Process
• Major changes
• Plugin Status Report
Schedule for Q1 Release
• Q1 Release available from 30.3.2015
• Tailored customers can request to pull this release from our GitHub
Repo from 30.3.2015 (to test)
• All emails / request via firstname.lastname@example.org
• Upgrades will be scheduled Mon-Thurs between 09.30 -17.30 each
Schedule for Q1 Release
• Emails confirming booking plus visible slots in our public upgrade
• ULCC upgrade team will notify you if there are any third party plugins
that are currently installed that are either unsupported in 2.8 or are
currently not available.
Schedule for Q1 Release
• Access to Moodle 2.8 demo site 13.3.2015
• Release Notes (today)
• Plugin Matrix 30.3.2015
• ULCC will contact you 2 weeks before your upgrade date with
a new IP for any new servers that will host your upgraded
• Please make sure you change your firewall rules to accept this
IP for any external connections used by your Moodle service
for example LDAP, SITs and any ILP materialised views
• It is very important to make sure that you have the right
staff available on the day of the upgrade (networks, MIS)
• On the day of the upgrade at 9.30am ULCC will place
your current Moodle Site into a 'Read Only' state
• If you have a Mahara service as well this will be in
maintenance mode during 09.30 to 5.30
A description of read only is provided below
• ** Turnitin capabilities are not set correctly in Moodle so that if the view
capability is set to allow but edit or submit is turned off a user can still
access submit.ac.uk which can result in database updates.
• Logs (now called Legacy logs)
• Feedback from last year
– truncating to 3 months impacted on end users
– As end users still need access to this academic year
logs for review
• This year we will offer max 1 year. *impact on downtime for minor
updates for large sites
• Ideal is three months
• You will need to update your firewall and
any scripts / automation that references
the IP address directly. Where the DNS
name is used no update is required as this
will move with the server at the time of the
When the upgrade is complete we initiate the
switchover to the new site. Below is a list of
steps / actions
• ULCC will contact you to inform you that the upgraded site is ready to be
• ULCC will switch the internal DNS to point to the 2.8 version of your site
– This process will mean that for about 30 mins the current live site will be inaccessible to your
– Once the switchover is complete you should direct your users to clear their browser cache
– ULCC enable crons
– ULCC remove the 'read only' mode
– The site is now released!
Since 2.7 Moodle only supports two core themes; Clean & More
• More will replace current theme for services currently on Bloom /
• Tailored / Private theme will be moved across
• ULCC will configure logo and colour scheme on upgraded site.
• Bloom includes new configurable themes BCU & Essential
• ULCC will contact services affected by this individually
• 2.8 includes mathjax plugin - requires newly written
mathjax filter but is 100% compatible with existing
• Removal of Wiris
(3) Atto Editor
• No option to re-size text with Atto
• Cannot change the font colour
(4) Logging system
• Since 2.7 Logging system changed
• Plugins are moving to using the new log
• Mnet_logs removed
• For 2.8 The two systems will run side by side with the old log referred to
as the ‘legacy log’
• If you maintain your own plugins and developments you will need to re
write them to work with this new system.
• Log Retention
(5) Events Monitoring
• A new feature introduced within Moodle 2.8, events monitoring
allows admins and teachers to receive notification when certain
events happen in Moodle.
• An administrator can view a list of all events from
Administration>Site administration>Reports>Events List.
• The list can be filtered to show specific components (core,
Assignment, Book etc.) levels (Teaching, Participating, Other)
and database query types (create, delete, read, update).
Plugin Status Report
• Not all Plugins have a 2.8 version ready
• Mod subpage no longer supported
• Equella, oublog, ouwiki
• Full list updated weekly on demo site
Quarterly Update Schedule
• June 2015 (Core update)
• Sept 2015
• Dec 2015
Currently exploring options for OOH
Moodle Web Services
CLIENT MOODLE SERVER
Web Service Login
Token for successful Login
Call Web Service Function
Web Service Function, Parameters &
Return Result of Function
Check user can call function
Check user has_capability of
Run function and return result
Moodle Grade Binding
DB Sync Other (User Accounts)
TABLE / VIEW
Interested in integrations further?
Please contact the Service Desk via