Getting feedback on resource uploading in MoodleNet


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.


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!

MoodleNet at the Creative Commons Summit 2019

Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon, Portugal

Last week, Doug Belshaw (MoodleNet Lead / Product Manager) spent three days at the Creative Commons Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. This annual event features “hundreds of leading activists, advocates, librarians, educators, lawyers, technologists, and more” coming together for “discussion and debate, workshops and planning, talks and community building”.

The focus was on Creative Commons and its licenses, but also on the more general concept of the ‘commons’, defined by Wikipedia as:

The commons is the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society, including natural materials such as air, water, and a habitable earth. These resources are held in common, not owned privately. Commons can also be understood as natural resources that groups of people (communities, user groups) manage for individual and collective benefit. Characteristically, this involves a variety of informal norms and values (social practice) employed for a governance mechanism. Commons can be also defined as a social practice of governing a resource not by state or market but by a community of users that self-governs the resource through institutions that it creates .


The MoodleNet team did not run a session at the Summit this year. Instead, our aim was to make connections with as many people and projects as possible. The Summit was very useful in that regard, and this posts serves to list (in no particular order) some higlights in the form of potentially-relevant projects.

1. Creative Commons Network Platforms

Image with CC logo

In order to facilitate community dialogue, Creative Commons is setting up a number of ‘network platforms‘, or working groups. These are currently being set up via mailing lists such as Google Groups, synchronous workplace chat apps like Slack, and monthly teleconferences.

There’s a real opportunity, we think, for MoodleNet to be the default open place that people from different organisations come together to organise, discuss and share.

2. Wikidata

Screenshot of Wikidata website
Screenshot of the Wikidata website

Wikidata is very well summarised on its main page:

Wikidata is a free and open knowledge base that can be read and edited by both humans and machines.

Wikidata acts as central storage for the structured data of its Wikimedia sister projects including Wikipedia, Wikivoyage, Wiktionary, Wikisource, and others.

Wikidata also provides support to many other sites and services beyond just Wikimedia projects! The content of Wikidata is available under a free licenseexported using standard formats, and can be interlinked to other open data sets on the linked data web.

There are currently 50 million items that have been contributed by 20,000 users on the platform. They describe it as the largest Open Educational Resource ever!

We’re particularly interested in Wikidata as a way to represent, in an objective, multi-lingual way, the data used by the resources added and uploaded to MoodleNet instances.

3. Global Digital Library

Screenshot of Global Digital Library website
Screenshot of Global Digital Library

Global Digital Library (GDL) is a project that aims to “provide access to free, high-quality, early grade reading resources in languages that children use and understand”. A key component of their strategy is that, instead of simply translating OER produced in English by western educators, content is created locally in around 100 languages.

We’re interested in the work GDL are doing in terms of the glocal (“reflecting or characterized by both local and global considerations”) perspective they bring to OER. We’re aiming to do something similar with MoodleNet! Interestingly, the presenter, Chris Gunderson, also talked about the newly-formed Digital Public Goods Alliance, which we will keep an eye on.

4. OER World Map

Screenshot of the OER World Map
Screenshot of the OER World Map

The OER World Map is a project which aims to “illuminate the global Open Educational Resources movement by facilitating interaction and collaboration”. It does this by collecting and sharing “open data about actors and activities related to OER”. One of the people involved in the project, Adrian Pohl, kindly left a comment on our recent Voodoo categorisation post.

We think that the OER World Map is a great visual representation of the work that’s going on in our field. The data that we can gather on educators’ work through MoodleNet would be a useful way to augment this map, and we can also learn from the work they’ve done around categorisation.

5. CC Search

Screenshot of CC Search
Screenshot of the new Creative Commons Search, now out of beta

Creative Commons Search is now out of beta! It currently searches 300 million images across 19 providers, as well as a small number of 3D designs courtesy of Thingiverse. In addition, they have one-click attribution tools to really focus the search on reuse.

Later this year, Jane Park the project lead told us, CC Search will also feature open textbooks. They’ve already got an API for accessing the data they have, but are also looking to create a ‘Push API’ so that data from other sources can make it into CC Search.

We’re particularly interested in the potential of a ‘Push API’, as it means that original OER uploaded to MoodleNet could make it into the global CC Search to be discovered and reused by educators worldwide!

An honourable mention should also be given to OASIS, another OER search portal, which we’ve discussed in a previous post. It’s actually been created by two guys from the State University of New York in their spare time.

Concluding thoughts

Panel session at CC Summit
Panel session at CC Summit

There were so many other great sessions and conversations in which we took part. However, in the interests of time, we’ve reduced some of them to bullet points:

  • Open by default vs Privacy by design — an interesting discussion that led us to think that perhaps the meta issue here is coercive power relationships?
  • CC ID — some researchers in China have proposed a system similar to Digital Object Identifer (DOI) for Creative Commons-licensed works. We have our reservations about this, but will see how the project progresses.
  • H5P — lots of excitement about this in regards to Moodle. We think it’s going to be great to curate collections of activities in MoodleNet!
  • Wikimedia — we were part of discussions about the Wikimedia Foundation’s goals for 2030 in regards to education. More on this soon, no doubt.
  • Open pedagogyLeigh-Ann Perryman from the Open University spoke about the vital importance of educators operating in the open.

On the third and final day, we were involved in a Virtually Connecting session right at the end of the Summit, which you can watch below:

It was a great Summit, and we look forward to putting in a proposal to present at next year’s event!

A final, special shout-out to Bryan Mathers’ Remixer Machine, which produced a whole gallery of ‘stamps’ relating to Lisbon and the CC Summit. Check out the beautiful images that were created by participants below:

Stamps created by participants at CC Summit using The Remixer Machine
A gallery of ‘stamps’ created by participants at CC Summit using The Remixer Machine

Provide feedback on our draft Contributor Covenant!

Update: the consultation period is now closed — thanks for your comments!


A ‘Contributor Covenant‘ is a code of conduct for contributors to Open Source projects such as MoodleNet. The original version, adopted by over 40,000 projects, is based on the work of Coraline Ada Ehmke.

We have been inspired by this and other approaches to create a draft Contributor Covenant for MoodleNet. It will be used for:

  • Code contributions and interactions between community members
  • Beta testing (after which there will be a user agreement)
  • Security reviewers

Before we call this ‘version 1.0’ we would like feedback on our draft Contributor Covenant from the Moodle community. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Read the entire document
  2. Think about a traffic light system for giving feedback:
    • What’s good? (green)
    • Do you have any questions? (amber)
    • Does anything concern you? (red)
  3. Select the relevant text and ‘add comment’

This document is open for feedback over a two-week period from Wednesday 21st November to Wednesday 5th December 2018.

Link to draft Contributor Covenant:

Image by rawpixel used under the terms of an open license