Getting feedback on resource uploading in MoodleNet

Upload

Over the past week, we’ve taken the opportunity to talk with 10 community members about uploading resources into MoodleNet. These range from an expert in metadata standards to an educator who is less technical — with the majority being somewhere on the spectrum somewhere inbetween.

What we have been attempting to establish is the simplest and most straightforward way for users to add resources to MoodleNet, while capturing an appropriate level of metadata. We don’t want users to feel that adding appropriately-licensed resources to MoodleNet (and making them easily-discoverable) is a laborious process.

Context

As we explained in a previous post, we plan to restrict users uploading resources to three ‘Free Culture’ licenses:

If a user adds a resource via a link, then they don’t need to indicate within MoodleNet which license that resource is made available under. That’s because after the user clicks through, the external site should provide this information along with the resource. It also saves us from having to display a long and unwieldy list of licenses.

MoodleNet - add resource

Another thing by way of context is that, as we outlined in our post about MoodleNet metadata, resources will ‘inherit’ tags from their collection. At the moment, we’re thinking of implementing this in such a way that the interface automatically starts to complete tags for the resource — language(s), grade level(s), and subject area(s). That’s not actually shown on the screen below, but you can imagine ‘English’, ‘Postgraduate’ and ‘Education Science’ before ‘IDmodel’.

Tagging resources in collections

What we discovered

Here were the top 10 things that were on the mind of those we spoke with about resource uploading in MoodleNet:

  1. Drag-and-drop – extremely important for ease-of-use, rather than having to navigate a computer’s file system.
  2. Resource type – this is perhaps not strictly necessary as a field, but it was certainly felt that MIME types (e.g. PDF) aren’t particularly useful. Instead, we could simply differentiate, as Moodle LMS does, between an ‘activity’ and a ‘resource’. Alternatively, we could consider a free text approach (with autocomplete) using the generic name of ‘assets’.
  3. Metadata fields – some interviewees weren’t sure whether they were just used to certain fields or whether they were genuinely useful. One example of this was an indication of the time it would take to complete a learning activity.
  4. Accepted filetypes – should zip files of resources be allowed?
  5. Previews – a preview feature would be useful within MoodleNet to have a quick peek at potentially-relevant resources.
  6. Accessibility – perhaps we could add a field which referenced the IMS AccessForAll metadata standard? Or make it available as an option?
  7. Illegal resources – as Open Source software, MoodleNet could be used to facilitate the sharing and discussion of extremely problematic content. We should implement some safeguards around that, for example with a NSFW filter applied to search results by default, as well of course as the revocation of a MoodleNet ‘mothership’ API key.
  8. Maximum filesize – this should be configurable by administrators, with perhaps users having an overall amount of storage space.
  9. Tagging – private tagging of uploaded resources would allow users to tag resources in ways they may not want others to see.
  10. Version control – there are some post-launch options here around git, dat, and IPFS.

One interviewee commented that, with other systems: “I always feel like I’m using against what it was meant for”. This is why we’re putting so much thought into what some would consider small details. Another interviewee told us of a system they were forced to use for a resource-sharing project that was so unwieldy that colleagues stopped using it entirely.

Final remarks

During our conversations, interviewees touched on a number of things that were slightly tangential to resource uploading, but were nevertheless interesting:

  • Perhaps you should only be able to see resources that are Moodle activities if they are compatible with your Moodle LMS version?
  • Some people are much more likely to share resources in smaller groups — even if those resources are also publicly available.
  • Tags and license information from resources and collections could/should feed through to Moodle LMS via the MoodleNet plugin.

Many thanks to those who shared their insights with us, they have proved to be very helpful!

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