New version of Moodle: 3.6
November is always an exciting month for Moodlers. This time Version 3.6 is coming out, but in fact the release has been put back a few days for final testing. Read about it at
https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=378740#p1527109 (corrected link)
At MUA we are particularly excited because we have not one but two projects in 3.6:
- Statistics for random quiz questions (that are clearer to read and interpret)
- Course overview: customisable display
The second of these projects was initially slated for 3.7 but, thanks to the vision and drive of the Moodle HQ team, it has been implemented in a slightly re-jigged version and put into 3.6, as a shared MUA / HQ project. The Committee was happy to support this initiative, after consultation with MUA members.
Looking ahead to Moodle 3.7
The implementation of the Course overview project in 3.6 means that MUA no longer has a project for 3.7. The Committee is keen not to let any major release go by without a MUA contribution. With this in mind, we have taken a look at the other top-voted projects in the original 3.7 round. Second-place was
- Ability to set activity dates based on course start/end date or enrollment date (often abbreviated to "Relative dates")
Moodle HQ like this project in principle too, and it has received much anecdotal support at MoodleMoots and in other forums. It therefore seems like a good idea to try to do it. But in order for that to be the case we need a detailed schedule of the work involved, and the price tag. It might be too expensive for MUA but even so it could be possible if it can be re-scoped or if HQ can share the cost with us.
HQ have undertaken to do a detailed estimate of this work as soon as 3.6 is released, i.e. after 3 December. We certainly hope to be able to bring back some good news on this very soon.
Meanwhile, we don't want to vote on 3.8 projects while we are still deciding on our 3.7 input. So we have decided to postpone voting on these projects for two weeks, starting not on 5 December, but rather on 19 December. We have indicated this change in the project cycle information and on the MUA site calendar.
Talking about calendars
Recent experience shows that it would be good to condense the MUA project implementation period, if possible, by re-aligning the MUA / HQ calendars. Currently there is too long between making initial proposals and seeing the winning project released in Moodle core: as much as 18 months. Together with HQ we are looking at the best options for enhancement and will present some ideas at the December Town Halls. This week we have also seen some suggestions in the forum about adjusting Moodle's major release dates and support periods, so that could be part of the discussion too.
Other on-going MUA initiatives
Read about or watch the latest MUA discussions by consulting the updates in the new Town Hall Minutes and Recordings database. (Thanks for that, Emma!) Database activities do not admit discussion so please continue the Town Hall discussions in the General Association-related Discussion forum.
And consult the latest Committee meeting minutes (November minutes here). Feel free to continue the discussion there too.
One of the suggestions from a previous Town Hall was for MUA to "explore supporting ad-hoc Moodle groups which have formed in the community, beginning with getting feedback from some groups to understand their needs". If you know of such groups, whether thriving or struggling, please send their contact details to us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can get the ball rolling.
This month we hoped to present MUA at MoodleMoot India 2018, which is taking place as I write. In the end, we were not able to be there in person or online so we prepared a slide presentation with a voice over. We plan to prepare an improved version of this video for general distribution in the new year. To give this the right feel we want to include some user stories about the benefits of MUA membership and we hope that some of you will want to participate in that.
As the year draws to a close, I wish to place on record my thanks to the members of the Committee for their vision, enthusiasm and contribution. I also want to give recognition to the Moodle HQ team and the thousands of volunteers and enthusiasts around the world that keep taking this wonderful educational platform to the next level. We hope to move MUA forward with renewed vigour and success in 2019. And I wish the same for all of you too.
Meanwhile, watch this space, and do not forget to vote for your favourite 3.8 project when voting opens on 19 December. This could be your most important decision this end-of-year season!