MoodleNet community calls in the wake of GDPR

Don't step on a brick! (CC BY-NC-ND clement127)

Further to a meeting with Carlo Polizzi, Moodle’s DPO and Legal Counsel, we’re going to have to change the way we run MoodleNet community calls from now on.

We’ll update you about the new format soon, and in the meantime you can read more about the wider impact of GDPR on open source community calls via this post on (MoodleNet Lead) Doug Belshaw’s blog.


Image CC BY-NC-ND clement 127

Prize winners for the MoodleNet pre-design sprint survey announced!

Balloons

Prior to our recent design sprint, we ran a survey at moodle.org which was completed by 175 Moodlers. The results were fascinating, and fed directly into the prototype overview we were able to create during the week.

To incentive participation in the survey, we offered prizes in the form of Amazon vouchers and Zazzle credit for the Moodle HQ store. Those completing the survey had the option to add their email address if they wanted to be considered for the prize.

We’ve been in touch with the lucky winners, who gave their consent to be listed below:

  • Joe Wieland (USA, £50 Amazon voucher)
  • Pete Jones (New Zealand, £50 Amazon voucher)
  • Joelle Le (Australia, $25 Zazzle credit)
  • David Morrow (USA, $25 Zazzle credit)

Thanks to Claudia Dent, Moodle’s Marketing Co-ordinator for selecting the recipients using a random generator!

A warm welcome to Mayel de Borniol, our new MoodleNet Technical Architect!

Mayel de Borniol

Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed a mention of Mayel de Borniol, our new MoodleNet Technical Architect in our previous post about last week’s Design Sprint. After receiving over 70 applications for the role from all over the world, we interviewed candidates from Europe, Africa, North America, and South America.

We couldn’t be happier to welcome someone with Mayel’s knowledge, skills, and understanding of open source. Originally hailing from the Basque Country (north of the Pyrenees mountains), he currently lives in Athens, Greece.

Mayel describes himself a hacker and social/cooperative entrepreneur who enjoys understanding and hacking systems, and occasionally designing and building new ones – such as MoodleNet!


We would love to hear a bit about your work history?

Check out my site to see what I’ve been up to: http://mayel.space

What are your interests outside of work?

Nomadic / slow travel, Sci-Fi & Solarpunk, Decentralised & Federated systems, Free Software / Open Source, Co-operative organisation & production (would love to be part of a beer brewing or winemaking co-op!), my cat and dog!

Where is your favourite place in the world, and why?

Greece (Athens and its crazy graffiti and rebellious vibe and also the islands where time stands still) closely followed by Buenos Aires and its 1am BBQ dinner parties.


Mayel will be working closely with Doug Belshaw, MoodleNet Lead to turn the prototype we came up with last week into reality!

Mid-April 2018 round-up of project activity

This is a quick progress report since our last update in early February. A reminder that the canonical home page of this project can be found at moodle.com/moodlenet.

Doug Belshaw, MoodleNet project lead, as been meeting with lots of people and making notes of what was discussed. That has led to a shift away from the ‘start with a social network’ approach hinted at in the last update.

In the presentation and workshop Doug led at MoodleMoot UK & Ireland, he explained how such a potentially large and complex project needs a concrete starting point. Using the metaphors of cupcakes (always a favourite!) he introduced three different approaches:

CC BY-ND Bryan Mathers

Instead of starting with social networking, we’d instead add that and professional development to a platform that would initially focus on resource curation.

Participants who attended the first monthly community call discussed the pros and cons of starting off in this way, but all agreed that it would be something immediately useful to educators. Doug is now putting together a list of different types of resource-centric social media platforms, for inspiration.

While the white paper needs further work to update it in light of the slight change of direction, we have tidied it up and added new faces to scenarios section

We’ve been doing a whole host of work, including putting together a job landscape for a Technical Architect to join the team at some point in the near future. We’ll also be engaging a design and development agency to help us with design sprint / prototyping / MVP.  More on that in the next update!


Related posts on Doug’s blog:

Forum:


Meet us at the OER18 conference (Bristol, UK) this week, or OE Global 2018 (Delft, Netherlands) next week!

Early February 2018 round-up of project activity

Project MoodleNet planning/experimentation screenshots

We’ve been hard at work behind the scenes over the past few weeks, planning, experimenting, and testing with various protocols and standards. Here are a few updates for those keeping a close eye on the progress of this project:

  1. Whiteboarding — as you can see from one of the above screenshots, we’re figuring out the components of Project MoodleNet, and how everything will fit together. Initially, we thought there would be six components, but this has grown to eight (as a couple of them needed to be separated-out)
  2. Testing — again, as you can see from the other two screenshots above, we’ve been experimenting with two open source projects that are compatible with the (newly W3C-recommended) ActivityPub protocol. We want Project MoodleNet to be a decentralised, federated system and these projects may give us a head start — at least for the MVP. You can read more about Mastodon and Hubzilla on project lead Doug Belshaw’s blog. In terms of authenticating into the system, we’re going to be using OpenID Connect in the first instance.
  3. Compliance — the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in May, and pertains to every organisation based in the European Union (EU), or processing the data of EU citizens. Moodle has already published a plan for GDPR compliance, but this relates mainly to our learning platform. Project lead Doug Belshaw is blogging his reflections on a GDPR course he is currently undertaking.

Thanks again to those who left comments on v0.1 of the Project MoodleNet white paper. We have now transferred the text from Google Docs to the wiki, and will proceed to make changes based both on community feedback and the discoveries we make as the project progresses.

Next week, Moodle’s team leads are meeting in Perth, Australia, for some days of intensive planning. We intend to have a lot more updates for you over the coming weeks!

Introducing Project MoodleNet (Jan 2018 slide overview)

In accordance with our principle of transparency for Project MoodleNet, we’re sharing the slides from a recent All-Hands meeting. You should see them embedded below but, if not, please click through!

Comments? Questions? Add them below!

Get involved in MoodleNet: our next-generation project!

MoodleNet ecosystem

At Moodle HQ we’re always looking to the future, and so are excited to share news of Project MoodleNet. This post points to new functionality and features that we aim to launch in 2018.

Project MoodleNet is one of the key projects that our Founder and CEO, Martin Dougiamas, has mentioned in his “empowering educators” presentations across various MoodleMoots around the world this year.

So what is Project MoodleNet? How will it empower educators to improve our world? Well that’s where you, Moodlers, can play an important part in working with us together to define and shape this project.

MoodleNet core features

Here are some of the basic foundations of the project:

  1. MoodleNet will be built in parallel to Moodle core, providing what Martin has described as “a new open social media platform for educators, focussed on professional development and open content”.
  2. This project is accelerated  thanks to the investment partnership with Education for The Many that we announced in September.
  3. MoodleNet will be developed with significant input from existing and new members of the Moodle community.

The first step in the process will be co-ordinated by Doug Belshaw, our new MoodleNet Lead, who brings a wealth of experience from many different sectors of education. In collaboration with the Moodle community, Doug has set himself the task of writing a white paper to flesh out the vision for MoodleNet and ensure that it meets the needs of new and existing Moodlers.

So, on that note, Moodlers: We need your help!

Moodle is the world’s most popular learning platform because of contributors like you. We want to ensure your voice is heard as part of this process. Get involved in helping define the user stories which form a key part of the white paper.

To keep up-to-date with the project and get involved at various stages, be sure to bookmark the canonical URL for this project: https://moodle.com/moodlenet

Doug and the Project MoodleNet team are looking forward to hearing and working with you soon! Thanks in advance Moodlers for helping us get our new and exciting project off the ground.

Anticipated questions

We’ve already fielded some questions from the community, so here’s some answers to both the questions they asked and questions we anticipate the community will be keen to have answered.

1. Doug, can you provide a bit of background about yourself and how you are connected to Moodle prior to taking on this lead?

Certainly! I describe myself as an ‘Open Educational Thinkerer’, having worked in many different sectors of education. I was a teacher and senior leader in UK schools. After that, I worked in Higher Education for Jisc, a national technology project where I focused on digital literacies (the subject of my doctoral thesis), mobile learning, and Open Educational Resources. More recently, I worked for Mozilla (best known for the Firefox web browser) as their Badges & Skills Lead, and subsequently Web Literacy Lead. I’ve been consulting for the last couple of years with all different kinds of organisations, including those in the vocational learning space.

I was a Moodle user during my time working in schools, and in fact know Mary Cooch (Moodle Community Educator) from that time. She’s been helping me get up-to-speed with some of the more recent features of Moodle! I’m committed to open source, both in terms of code and culture and, in fact, helped found a co-operative that helps spread the culture, processes, and benefits of ‘open’.

I’ve a lot to learn from the Moodle community, and am looking forward to beginning that journey with Project MoodleNet!

2. Why is Project MoodleNet important for educators and all Moodle users?

Project MoodleNet will connect and bring together educators worldwide, to facilitate sharing of this knowledge and expertise. Right now, educators are forced to use proprietary platforms from huge multi-national companies who profit from the extraction and sale of personal data to advertisers.

As part of Moodle’s mission to empower educators, we want to build a new open social media platform for educators, which is focussed on professional development and open content. We will be building this with and for educators, adding features and functionality that enhance learning and teaching.

3. What will Project MoodleNet actually deliver?

The project will evolve around the needs of users, but we envisage it including elements of:

  • Crowdfunding
  • Federated identity provider
  • Learning Object Repository (e.g. OER Commons)
  • Messaging
  • News feed
  • Reputation (Badges 2.0)

Equally important is the way we plan to build it, with the key words here being open, safe, private, ethical, transparent, and connected. Expect to be able to connect with users of all different stripes – including new and existing affinity groups!

4. Will this replace the existing Moodle learning platform?

We have no plans to do that at the current time. The aim of Project MoodleNet is to provide additional functionality without impacting on Moodle core. One way to think about MoodleNet might be as a ‘layer’ that connects together people, resources, and ideas. In that sense, we are seeking to augment and enhance the existing Moodle learning platform rather than replicating or replacing features.

5. What’s happening to the existing moodle.net site?

We are looking to add functionality, rather than take it away, so the ability to share courses and resources will be an important part of Project MoodleNet. The exact form this will take will depend on technical decisions we take over the coming months, but in the meantime you can keep on sharing your courses via moodle.net!

6. What’s the best way for community members to get involved?

The best place to start is by reviewing the existing plans and then introducing yourself on the MoodleNet forum. No matter what your level of experience with Moodle, there is a role for you in Project MoodleNet. Whether you have 10 minutes or several hours to spare, we want to hear from you!

The first job is the writing of a white paper that helps set the direction for technical design and development in early 2018. We need community input for this to ensure that we’re correctly identifying problems, frustrations, and issues that various groups of Moodlers experience on a regular basis.

7. Isn’t developing this in the open a bit of a risk? Won’t competitors steal your ideas?

Moodle is playing a different ‘game’ to other organisations in the same space who are beholden to shareholders simply looking to make a profit. Our aim is to empower educators, and we do that by developing free and open source software. Working openly is in our DNA and, as it’s worked well for us and similar organisations so far, we plan to continue doing so.