Association news

February newsletter

 
Picture of Richard Samson
February newsletter
by Richard Samson - Wednesday, 30 January 2019, 8:16 PM UTC
 
Time flies by and we are already at the end of January.

3.8 WINNING PROJECT

The last month has been a busy one for the Moodle Users Association, coinciding with our change of project cycle. The winner in the 3.8 cycle was "Improve Moodle's Core Forums by incorporating features from Moodleroom's Advanced Forums and Other Enhancement to Forum", with 65633 votes. We can abbreviate the name to "Advanced forums", I think. I want to thank all those who participated in this round, giving time, energy and thought to several great proposals. And also thank you for voting. The participation was over 84%.

The Advanced forums project has a mixed pedigree, which I will try to summarise below. The forum module is one of the most popular activities in Moodle and also one of the oldest, with original Martin Dougiamas code. It is not surprising therefore that it needs some attention. Various Moodle users have worked on local enhancements recently and now wish to see these included in Moodle core. The MUA winning project is a combination of two original proposals: one from SUNY Delhi, based on incorporating Moodlerooms (now OpenLMS) Advanced Forums code for usability and accessibility (not feasible as such in HQ's view), and another from Thom Rawson, representing the Moodle Association of Japan, that targets bulk forum text reports for data analysis and also includes some UX improvements. Meanwhile Moodle HQ have a rewrite of the Forum module on their road map, with the aim of bringing accessibility and usability up to current standards.

At MUA we feel that this is a great opportunity to combine insights and energy in order to bring about a new vision of how Moodle Forums can work in the future, bringing in a more dynamic social network feel, similarly to what has been achieved in Moodle 3.6 with the new Messaging interface and functionality.

In all, the combined Forum project goes beyond what MUA and Moodle HQ can bring about in a single new release, so this work will have to be spread out over 3.7 and 3.8. Rather than just picking up the pieces of 3.7 work for our 3.8 MUA project, we have asked to be at the table as work for 3.7 (for May 2019) is decided. We will then continue with the project through 3.8 (for November 2019). Precisely what will be delivered in each release is still to be decided, and also what aspects will be funded by MUA (in both 3.7 an 3.8). In other words, the MUA 3.8 project will now be spread out over 3.7 too, and we will be aiming for as much of the original MUA winning proposal to be included as possible.

So watch this space for exciting news about the progress of this work!

TOWN HALLS

Our next town halls will be on Tuesday 5 February (8am UTC) and Tuesday 12 February (6pm UTC). At the first meeting we hope to have with us Andrew Nicols, who is leading on Advanced forums at HQ, and Bas Brands, who will tell us about the new Moodle theme architecture (removing Bootstrapbase and Clean, adding a new Classic theme). We also expect to have Elizabeth Dalton with us at the second meeting. We will send out reminders just before each Town Hall confirming the HQ speakers.

Please feel free to invite friends to these open meetings, which are a great hotline to Moodle HQ. And remember that you do not need to be an MUA member to take part. But if you are a member, we also offer you access to recordings of previous town halls. Have you seen the January meetings, with Sander Bangma presenting on the HQ road map and Doug Belshaw on the emerging MoodleNet project? Members can consult all Town Hall minutes and recordings in our database

NEXT PROJECT CYCLE

Looking forward, the 3.9 project development cycle has now been launched. The initial project proposal stage is open until 28 February. This time, in response to many requests from members, the committee has decided to devote the cycle to small projects (with estimates of up to AUD35,000), and we hope that we will be able to implement more than one project.

Evidently, when you propose a project, you won't know if it is small enough or not, but if subsequently the estimate comes in too high, it will be removed from the voting round. So please think small this time! This is a great chance for us to attend to glitches and gotchas.

Please send your initial proposals by 28 February. (They can be fleshed out later.)

MUA VISIBILITY

Also looking forward, we are planning various marketing initiatives to raise MUA visibility over the coming months. To start with, MUA plans to be at the MoodleMoots in Shizuoka, Japan, 27 February - 1 March 2019 (Thom Rawson) and Manchester, United Kingdom, 15 - 17 April 2019 (Aurelie Soulier). We hope to see you there.

Whether you are an organisation member or an invidual member, you should have received your 2019 MUA badge by now. Please make your badge or the MUA logo visible in your profile and websites. Details on how to do that are in our FAQ.

WINDING UP

We have various other fish to fry but more about them later. Meanwhile if you have any suggestions or comments, please take a few minutes to put them in our members forum. We always like to hear from our members!