Moodle Versioning at NMC - Your feedback is needed!

In the Educational Media Technologies department we keep close tabs on versioning and we continually upgrade technologies used by our instructors and students. Why? Mainly to ensure that everyone has access to the latest and greatest features. Sometimes, however, upgrades mean that our instructors have to learn about new features and make adjustments. That’s what will happen when we upgrade to Moodle 2.9 sometime in the near future. We’re keeping you informed because we’d like to hear from you about changes in Moodle and when you’d like to see them go into effect.

Moodle 2.9 features & improvements

Below is a short list of some of the fantastic new features we found in Moodle 2.9:

  • Autosave for students and instructors.
  • Grade book calculates correctly without any workarounds.
  • Improved grader & user reports.
    • new single view mode allowing editing for single students or single assignments.
    • smooth, stable scrolling in all directions.
  • Improved quiz builder making creating and editing quizzes easier.
  • User interface (UI) improvements.
    • drag & drop imagery into the editor.
    • new design with easier terminology and clearer layout.

Our big concern

There is, of course, one big concern. Moodle has introduced a New Natural Weighting Aggregation Method to the grade book. It’s actually a huge step forward for Moodle that makes the initial grade book setup much easier. It does, however, present implications for instructors who import grade books from older courses, especially for those who have learned how to use workarounds like the ‘Extra credit’ value or the ungraded category for assignments they haven’t given to prevent those assignments from being calculated in student scores. The workarounds will no longer be needed because Moodle 2.9 will calculate only what you’ve graded with one click and you won’t need to save grade items in special categories or mark them as extra credit.

The drawback is that when we move to 2.9, all instructors will have to get accustomed to seeing weights in the grade book, even if they formerly used the ‘Sum of grades’ method. Weights will now appear in every instructor’s grade book setup page, but weights will adjust automatically when assignments are added to categories or when assignments become active.

The new look of the Moodle 2.9 gradebook.

The new look of the Moodle 2.9 gradebook.

We want to hear from you!

These changes are enough to make us a little hesitant to pull the trigger on the 2.9 upgrade, but we know that this change is inevitable. We’re leaning towards upgrading for the fall semester, but if you have any questions or concerns we’d love to hear from you. Please submit a Technology Help Desk request, email us or call us at 5-1070 if you’d like to learn more. We’re more than happy to show you what your course grade books look like in 2.9 and we’d love to hear what you think.