Introducing MoodleNet ‘office hours’

Update: this will now be an hour later at 14:00 UTC.

OPEN

A few months ago, due to advice we received around GDPR legislation in the EU, we postponed future community calls. Now that summer holidays are over in the northern hemisphere, we have some good news!

After further consideration and discussion, we’ve decided to institute ‘office hours’ for the MoodleNet project. These will be times in which the core team (currently Doug Belshaw and Mayel de Borniol) will be available to take your suggestions and answer your questions and concerns.

Our first office hours:

Note that we’re using Zoom to connect, which you’ll need to download and configure beforehand. There’s no set agenda and we won’t be recording the office hours.

If this proves successful, we will run monthly office hours and be more accommodating to various timezones. You are, of course, welcome to interact with this project in a number of other ways, including the discussion forum and our Changemap.

*Alternatively, dial in:
US: +1 669 900 6833 or +1 646 876 9923
Meeting ID: 968 146 5087
International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/laeOX


Image from pxhere used under a Creative Commons license

Keeping track of and contributing to MoodleNet

MoodleNet architecture of participation v2

Product management is a delicate balancing act between allowing enough ‘wiggle-room’ for innovation while imposing enough discipline to get things done. After all, scope creep applies just as much to the tools we choose to use to complete the project as the output of the project itself.

We’ve been using Trello to keep ourselves organised since the start of the MoodleNet project. While we really like and value that platform, we’ve made the decision to take a different approach for the next stage of the project.

Going forward we’re going to streamline things a little by using the following platforms:

  • Teamwork.com – internal updates, planning, and potentially sensitive information (Moodle HQ members only)
  • Changemap – community-suggested ideas and features
  • Moodle.org – discussions with the Moodle community
  • GitLab – contribute code and find out more about the technical side of MoodleNet

The Trello board we were using remains as an archive of the first five sprints. As ever, the canonical URL for the project (i.e. the one to share) is moodle.com/moodlenet.


Note: we’ve updated the Contributing page on the wiki to reflect these changes.

MoodleNet UX Milestone 2: Screencast #4

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been working on UX Milestone 2 with Outlandish. This is the fourth and final screencast from that work, in which we demonstrate how we envisage sending a MoodleNet collection to a Moodle site might work.

You can check out Screencast #1Screencast #2, and Screencast #3 if you missed them.

Remember, this is a prototype with no code behind it. We’re very interested in your opinions, which you can leave in several places:

  1. In the comments section below this post
  2. On the Moodle.org forum
  3. In the comments section of the YouTube video
  4. As a suggestion on our Changemap

MoodleNet UX Milestone 2: Screencast #3

We’ve been working on a series of screencasts as part of our UX Milestone 2 work with Outlandish. You can check out Screencast #1 and Screencast #2 if you missed them.

In this third screencast, we’re demonstrating the user flow for new user sign-up in MoodleNet.

Remember, this is a prototype with no code behind it. We’re very interested in your opinions, which you can leave in several places:

  1. In the comments section below this post
  2. On the Moodle.org forum
  3. In the comments section of the YouTube video
  4. As a suggestion on our Changemap

MoodleNet UX Milestone 2: Screencast #2

Yesterday we posted Screencast #1 from our UX Milestone 2 work with Outlandish. In this second screencast, we’re demonstrating an example of the user flow for adding an ‘Alt account’ in MoodleNet.

Remember, this is a prototype with no code behind it. We’re very interested in your opinions, which you can leave in several places:

  1. In the comments section below this post
  2. On the Moodle.org forum
  3. In the comments section of the YouTube video
  4. As a suggestion on our Changemap

MoodleNet UX Milestone 2: Screencast #1

We’ve been continuing our work with Outlandish on MoodleNet UX. In this first screencast from Milestone 2, we’re demonstrating an example of the user flow for adding a resource in MoodleNet.

Remember, this is a prototype with no code behind it. We’re very interested in your opinions, which you can leave in several places:

  1. In the comments section below this post
  2. On the Moodle.org forum
  3. In the comments section of the YouTube video
  4. As a suggestion on our Changemap

First thoughts about Open Badges in MoodleNet

Update: Got ideas around badges in MoodleNet? Why not add a suggestion to our Changemap?


MoodleNet badges (first draft)

With a project like MoodleNet, there’s so many things to think about! While we’re still working on the backend system, UX milestones, and legal policies, we’re also keen to think about the reputation system within MoodleNet and how that might work.

Given MoodleNet Lead Doug Belshaw’s deep experience with Open Badges, we thought it was a great opportunity to use them in a brand new ecosystem. These are some of our first thoughts, in collaboration with visual thinker Bryan Mathers.

There’s lots to consider, especially when you see badge systems from other open source projects such as the Fedora Project that have been running for five or more years. They have a whole host of badges for categories such as:

  • Content
  • Development
  • Community
  • Quality
  • Events

The value of the badge, of course, like any credential, is in the eye of the beholder. We envisage some badges being earned by every user within MoodleNet (e.g. for completing their profile) whereas others might be much rarer (e.g. for beta testing or mentoring other users).

Inspired by the Fedora Project, here are some other badges that we’re considering:

  • Curator – creating x number of collections
  • Evangelist – telling the world about MoodleNet
  • Documenter – writing up HOWTO guides, etc.
  • Localiser – helping with translation and localisation work
  • MoodleNetter – completing your MoodleNet profile
  • Mentor – helping others with MoodleNet

We could also issue badges for participation in MoodleNet sessions at events, and for the ‘quality’ of MoodleNet collections (although we haven’t yet figured out how we’re going to determine that!)

MoodleNet at MountainMoot 2018

MountainMoot

Last week, MoodleNet Lead Doug Belshaw flew to Helena, MT in the USA for the eighth annual MountainMoot. This independently-run event is well-regarded in the Moodle community, and it was a great opportunity to both run a session on the current status of MoodleNet and get to know the needs of participants a little better.

You can read details of the workshop session on this page of the MoodleNet wiki.

Sneak peek of latest MoodleNet UX work

With the continued help of Outlandish, we’ve been working on the first post-Design Sprint UX milestone:

    1. Improve/tweak UI of XD prototype (mobile)
      1. Prototype comments / threaded discussions
      2. Iterate on activity feed prototype
      3. Notifications

We’re not quite ready to release a screencast of the improvements, but you can find a sneak peek below! Note the simplified three-part navigation:

Some comments on the above:

  • A reminder that, unlike Google+, Communities and Collections in MoodleNet are inextricably linked, in that every Collection is owned by a Community.
  • After some research and experimentation, we’ve decided that comments should only go two levels deep.
  • There are three types of update in the Notifications tab: those alerting you to something new happening in your Collections, in your Communities, and recommendations from the ‘Moodle Bot’.

We’ve got a small bit of work to do before moving onto the second UX milestone. That will include tagging and taxonomy as we decided to include notifications in this first milestone. Other things we’ll be working on as part of the second milestone include: search functionality, Moodle Core integration, authentication, adding a resource, and privacy options.

A reminder that, if you’re interested, you can get involved in this project!

Responding to questions from #MootES18

Last week, in Barcelona, Doug Belshaw (MoodleNet Lead) and Mayel de Borniol (MoodleNet Technical Architect) presented at MoodleMoot Spain. It was an interactive session, with participants not only asking questions, but writing down their thoughts on a series of structured post-it notes.

You can see the slides we used below, or by clicking here.

Participants wrote down what they liked about MoodleNet on green post-its, what they had questions about (yellow), and any concerns they had (pink). We’ve transcribed these, and translated those written in Spanish on this wiki page.

Given that we’re still rethinking community calls, we thought that this post could serve to  answer some of the questions from #MootES18. Below are some recurrent themes, and ones that caught our eye.

Post-its from MoodleNet session at #MootES18

First of all, there’s a whole bunch of questions where the answer is effectively ‘yes’. Let’s deal with those first:

Can you share full courses (.mbz files)?

Yes! In fact we’re aiming to use some of the functionality in Moodle so that MoodleNet collections are imported/exported as .mbz files.

How is it shared? Just by exporting the content/course and importing it to yours? Can it be customised, adopted, changed, then?

Yes! So you can take a collection of, say, 10 resources, and choose to use just one or two of them in your course.

The searches are going to be made only in one language or will allow more than one?

Yes! We’ll be allowing searches in multiple languages.

Does it let you know if a group appears according to your interests?

Yes! We’re already doing UX work to show how MoodleNet will recommend communities and collections to users.

Can you subscribe to a topic without a group?

Yes! You can follow a collection that’s curated by a community without following or joining the community itself.


Then there’s other questions that can be answered quickly, for example:

I don’t understand where ‘content’ will be stored? If I want to share a 500mb video where is this held?

MoodleNet will be a place to share links to resources. So, for example, if you see a YouTube video and a resource on an OER repository, you can point to them from a MoodleNet collection. So your 500mb video is best uploaded to a video sharing site and linked to from MoodleNet. We are, however, planning to create a repository for Moodle-specific resources and activities such as quizzes.

Is it mandatory that someone has to add me to a group? Can I create groups? Can I share content that is outside a Moodle course?

We’re going to experiment with different options for this. So, for example, there may be communities that anyone can join without asking, while some are moderated and you have to ask to join. You can create your own community too, and the idea is absolutely that you share content from around the web that can be used in your Moodle course.

Is MoodleNet available for all Moodle versions?

Right now, we’re thinking that we’re probably best off integrating MoodleNet with MoodleCloud for launch. We’ve enough work to do initially without the added complication of supporting different versions of Moodle. After that, we’ll work with Moodle Partners to test MoodleNet in hosted installations, and finally roll out a plugin for any Moodle site.

Will there be any moderation?

Moderation is going to be the responsibility of communities. If a community does a particularly bad job of moderation and doesn’t seem to be responding to the concerns of Moodle users, then Moodle HQ may have to step in. The idea, however, is that issues around spam, ‘fake news’, and link rot is dealt with on a community level.

Is it possible to geolocate educators to facilitate local meetings?

That’s an awesome idea, and something we’d very much like to enable. It depends on a few things, including getting past the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) stage for initial launch, getting people’s location in a GDPR-compliant way, and building an interface where people can find each other easily. An added complication is that we’re purposely not building a private messaging feature in the MVP, and you’d probably want some location data not to be public knowledge.


Finally, there are some questions that require a lengthier response, such as:

Will there be some form of translation? Collaborative or automatic?

This is something that we need to work on. Translation in Moodle Core is a community effort, as it is for a lot of open source projects. While we could do automatic machine translation of resources, it’s arguable as to whether that would be worthwhile. After all, if an educator doesn’t speak the language used by a community, what use are the resources and collections likely to be? It’s an area where we’re open to ideas, particularly if people have examples they’d like to share.

What kind of resources I can publish? A course? A section? A resource? What’s going be the license?

All of the above! MoodleNet will be content-agnostic, so you can share pretty much anything you like. We can imagine, further down the line, for example, people sharing collections of Moodle plugins they find useful. In terms of the licensing, it’s important to remember that, initially, MoodleNet will be collections of links to resources. So the copyright information depends on whatever license the original uploader decided to use.

What is the model of economic sustainability of this platform? Answered, but is real?

This is an open question, but we have lots of options, which is good. Our main revenue, over and above the investment Moodle HQ received at the end of the year, comes through Moodle Partners. So we want to ensure that MoodleNet provides value to them. There’s also integration with MoodleCloud, which we could do at the paid level, for example, as well as featured collections, and other options that we’re still investigating.

Will MoodleNet include a market place? Like for hiring developers and consultants.

I wouldn’t say that this is going to happen any time soon, but it’s a good idea and one that I know Martin Dougiamas has talked about in passing. Our first goal is to get the resource-sharing social media element of MoodleNet up-and-running, providing value to the community and to Moodle Partners, before we build out any additional functionality. I think a markeplace would probably be focused on community members crowdfunding projects that they’d like to bring into existence. Developer and consultants could absolutely be part of that process.

What will happen to existing shared resources on moodle.net?

We haven’t finalised plans for sunsetting the existing moodle.net site, but we’re not getting rid of anything! The likelihood is that all content previously shared will be archived and available to be referenced in the new MoodleNet platform. It’s important to remember that MoodleNet is content-agnostic, so you could have a collection of courses, for example.


So, there we go! Have you got any questions for the MoodleNet team? We’d be happy to answer them in the comments section below.

Thanks to Txell Llorach for allowing us to use a photo she posted to Twitter during the event!