[Server-devel] XS Moodle design issues

Dan McGuire sabier at visi.com
Sat Jan 31 22:43:47 EST 2009

As I said in my previous email, I think you might be trying to do too 
much engineering upfront. Here's a couple of thoughts for you to consider.

1.  Topics-style course format, geared for a year-long:

As a classroom teacher I would rather you not arrange the format for 
me.  I find the topics format as it comes in the box from Moodle is just 
fine. I, for instance, have my course organized by subject areas - 
Reading and Writing, Science, Math, Physical Education, and Community 
Issues (where I have parent sign up forms and general announcements.)

2. Change of year admin tools.

I don't see the need to put that much energy into moving whole classes 
at a time. Again, the enrollment options out of the box will work just 
fine. And, I think there's probably a lot of variations in the 
composition of actual classes from year to year.  Here in Minneapolis we 
call it the 'mobility' problem-poor families move a lot here.  It might 
not be the same every where but I think it's still common enough to make 
it so spending a lot of time on the tool as you're describing.

3. "We want a course creation process that is streamlined -- skip the 
course settings page, and enrolment steps. Create the course with 
presets, load a content template, auto-enrol the creator as teacher, and 
put the user directly in the course page."

That's probably a good idea to start, but once they get into it, true 
Moodlers will want to start getting creative and messing around with 
things.  The beauty of Moodle is that I can get stuff from teachers 
anywhere - I can take things that I see high school teachers in Scotland 
doing and adapt it to my students.  Browsing the Moodle forums is one of 
the most exciting things that I've ever encountered as a teacher.  I 
wouldn't want that option taken away or diminished in any way.  I think 
we need to open up the exchange of teaching ideas even more and make it 
possible for individual teachers or schools to tailor Moodle to fit 
their needs..

Also, regarding admin issues/users:  I've found the need for even more 
types of roles, I have non-editing teachers, tutors, parents, editing 
teachers, visitors that have passed a screening, etc. I think this is an 
area where there will likely be even more development necessary 
depending particular circumstances.

4.  What You Paint Is What You Get editor

This is one I'd really like.

FYI, I've just recently started using the workshop module and think it 
has real possibilities.  It was designed for much older groups, but it 
really is a great way to teach writing, I think.

I appreciate your efforts for us all,

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