Last week, members of the MoodleNet team ran well-attended sessions at the Mozilla Festival (London, UK) and the US MoodleMoot (Denver, CO, USA). The former was set within a wider framework of the decentralisation strand at MozFest, and the latter was an opportunity to gather ideas and feedback from a subsection of the Moodle community.
As anyone who has been will know, the Mozilla Festival is a mind-blowing weekend of sessions, talks, and collaboration, all focused on the open web. Our accepted session proposal was based on MoodleNet, but also on the wider concept of decentralisation — particularly in relation to the ActivityPub protocol.
Participants in the session ranged from educators who were dipping a toe in the water of decentralised technologies, through to those who worked with, or for, the W3C.
As well as feedback on what we’re trying to build with MoodleNet, a key aim for the workshop was for participants to be able to explain the importance of decentralisation using stories, metaphors, and allegories.
Some of our favourites included:
- “FREEDOM to do weird stuff”
- “In nature there is no boss and it’s evolved, is sustainable and resilient”
- “Distributed power, be it online, in person, or how we live”
- “Put your OER to the fediverse and gain more attraction”
- “You can have nice things without being the product”
MoodleMoots are events for the Moodle community which encourage collaboration and sharing of best practices. We ran very interactive session, with the aim to get as much feedback from workshop attendees as possible.
There were a range of participants, from Higher Ed CIOs, to K12 educators, to representatives from the corporate world. We learned a lot from the feedback we received, with some of the highlights being:
- Insight into some of the tools that people are using that we haven’t come across before.
- What participants liked about MoodleNet, what they have questions about, and what concerns them.
- What we should add to MoodleNet after the core resource-sharing component.
- Anything we’ve missed or haven’t discussed.
Interestingly, after the session, where participants had a lot of chance to ask questions and give feedback, two people came up to us separately and asked variations of the same question. Would organisations, they asked, be able to completely lock down MoodleNet so that it can only be used within that organisation?
We explained that this was not what we are aiming for with MoodleNet but that, of course, as open source software, there would be nothing stopping people from creating a version that would do this. We believe in the free and open sharing of educational resources, while recognising that there are some occasions (e.g. copyright, local laws) where resources would have to be restricted in some way.
We’re still working on working out the nuance here. One simple model is that which GitHub, the code-collaboration platform, uses. Creating a public repository on GitHub is available with a free account but, if you want to create a private repository, you have to pay. There’s an obvious parallel here with MoodleNet and collections, the key difference being the decentralised aspect.
Remember that anyone can suggest features for MoodleNet via our easy-to-use Changemap site!