As part of the preparations for a new MoodleNet plugin coming in Moodle 3.8, the current sharing site, moodle.net will be closed and its content archived. This means that from August 2019, it will no longer be possible to share courses on moodle.net.
To see what this means for teachers, and to find out what you need to do as an administrator, please see our guide: Sunsetting moodle.net.
Last month, we gave you a sneak peek of the prototype we’ve been working on for an updated version of the MoodleNet user interface. After further iteration and testing, the team is pleased to share with the community a clickable prototype, upon which we would like your feedback.
Note: a clickable prototype is a series of images with ‘hotspots’ that link them together. Not everything that will be linked in the final version is linked in this prototype. Nevertheless, before committing code, this is a good way of ensuring that this approach resonates with the community.
When we shared the MVP of MoodleNet back in January, Stephen Downes was kind enough to record his first impressions. The team found that kind of feedback so valuable that we’d like to encourage as many people as possible to do likewise this time around! We’re going to offer another rare badge to those who share their thoughts.
How to get involved
Install an app or browser extension that allows you to record your screen. We recommend Loom. Ensure you have the microphone activated!
We’re looking for volunteers (individuals/organisations) for a federation testing programme we’re running next month. There’s a pretty tight turnaround, so initially we’ll require all communication to be in English, although you’re welcome to set up your test instance in another language.
It’s important to note that this is NOT simply a way to be notified of updates to MoodleNet. It is an expression of interest to run a server requiring both technical knowledge and a time commitment. There will be another rare badge available for those who participate in the programme!
What is ‘federation’?
The easiest way to explain federation is to think about email. Anyone can create their own email address via any provider they choose, and they can use any email software they choose. As the whole system is standards-based, anyone can send an email to anyone else knowing that it will ‘just work’. You only need to know their email address, something like email@example.com.
If we extend that idea to social networks, so long as a social network adheres to a particular standard, then anyone can send a message or other content to anyone else knowing that it will ‘just work’. In our case with MoodleNet, the standard is ActivityPub, which is already used by social networks such as Mastodon, Peertube, and Pixelfed.
To begin with, we are interested in federation between servers running MoodleNet. Thanks to ActivityPub, users will be able to join communities, follow collections, and interact with other users, no matter where they created their account. And then, in addition, users of other ActivityPub-compatible social networks (‘the Fediverse’) will be able to follow and interact with MoodleNet users, and vice versa.
Why do we need a testing programme?
The aim of the MoodleNet Federation Testing Programme is to test all aspects of federation, both between MoodleNet instances and the wider Fediverse. The programme will be successful if it:
Demonstrates that users on any MoodleNet instance may follow, join, and interact with communities and collections on any other MoodleNet instance.
Confirms the value proposition of organisations running their own MoodleNet instances
Establishes that search and discovery is possible across MoodleNet instances connected to the Moodle HQ API-as-a-service (‘mothership’)
Shows that Fediverse accounts can follow and interact with MoodleNet users.
We envisage that the testing programme will cover three areas:
Interaction between MoodleNet instances
Join communities, and follow users and collections
Add resources to MoodleNet collections
Discuss, comment, like, and flag content
Search and discovery
Find MoodleNet users, collections, and communities
Locate MoodleNet resources with a specific tag
Browse fresh content from across all mothership-connected instances
Integration with the wider Fediverse
Follow Fediverse users from MoodleNet
Display Fediverse status updates which @mention MoodleNet users or communities
Interact with Fediverse users (e.g. reply to an @mention)
Who should be involved in the programme?
We’re looking for individuals and organisations with both the time and technical knowledge to be able to test MoodleNet effectively. This includes moderating communities, updating their instance to the latest version, and providing regular feedback to the MoodleNet team.
Ideally, we would have a combination of Moodle Partners, educational institutions, organisations, and interested individuals who:
Will accept the MoodleNet federation testing programme agreement (forthcoming)
Have a working knowledge of Linux server administration with Docker containers (MoodleNet’s stack includes Elixir, PostgreSQL, and React)
Can dedicate around 3-5 hours per week to testing MoodleNet over the testing period
When will the programme start?
We will begin the testing programme when MoodleNet federation is ready to test. This should be before the end of August 2019, although it also depends on the corresponding user interface work being completed by that time.
How do interested parties apply?
Please use the following form to express an interest in the federation testing programme. Note that not all applications will be successful, as we are looking for a range and spread of use cases.
By taking this approach to uploading content to MoodleNet we would be following the lead of Wikimedia Commons, who have a comprehensive page on what is and what is not allowed on their platform. We believe that we can take a simpler approach with MoodleNet, with the added advantage that Creative Commons licences are already translated into most major languages.
Here is a (low-fidelity) wireframe example workflow for a user uploading a resource to MoodleNet:
What do you think of this approach? Is this what you were expecting? What else would you like to see (if anything)?
Today, the team is pleased to have released MoodleNet v0.9.4 alpha.
Create a unique @username
Update profile header image (via URL)
Reset password (via email)
Karen and James, our new backend developers, are now up-to-speed with MoodleNet. Ivan, our UX designer and front-end developer, has been working on a new approach to MoodleNet’s user interface to make it much more conversational.
Mayel has been working on Moodle Core plugins and exploring fork/remix/share functionality. We’re looking forward to sharing more details about all these things soon!
We’ve updated the iterative slide deck that we use to give a non-technical overview of MoodleNet. It should be embedded above. Alternatively, you can access it via our wiki or directly at http://bit.ly/2I5Eebg
Community members have told us that they find this approach useful for a number of reasons, including seeing how the project is progressing, and being able to explain MoodleNet to others. You are, of course, very welcome to use the slides for this purpose. Please let us know if you do so!
We’d like to call your attention to the two slides below in particular. Are they useful? Do they help explain MoodleNet concisely? How would you change them?
Thanks in advance for your feedback, which you can leave in the comments section below!
This is meant to be a user-focused document that explains in clear language what data we are collecting and how it will be processed. You may find it particularly interesting if you are interested in how we are planning for MoodleNet to work technically!
If you have comments or questions on this version of the DPIA, you may add them underneath this blog post. Alternatively, please follow the suggestions in the ‘Consultation process’ section towards the bottom of the document.
Now that we’ve proved the value proposition of the newMoodleNet service, we’re planning to ‘sunset’ (i.e. gracefully retire) the existing moodle.net service. The date we have in mind is in time for the inaugural Global MoodleMoot in November 2019.
This will take time and effort, as there are many services and subdomains related to moodle.net. You can track the progress of this project in its own right at the following Moodle Tracker epic: MDLSITE-5854. We welcome community input and suggestions, so please do comment on issues linked from that epic!