Boston Area Moodle Users Group

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May 11, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Adam Lipkin @ 7:48 pm

If you’re planning on attending the BAMUG meeting at Brandeis next month, please fill out the form linked here. As always, please feel free to pass this on to any colleagues who might be interested.

April 28, 2010

Save the date: The June BAMUG unconference will be on Wednesday, June 9!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Adam Lipkin @ 7:19 pm

Based on the feedback we’ve gotten via the Doodle poll, Wednesday, June 9 is pretty clearly the best date for everyone. I’ll send more info as we nail down the details, but I wanted to post this to make sure everyone had the date on their calendars. As always, please feel free to spread the word to any colleagues, and let me know if you have any questions.

April 21, 2010

BAMUG June Meetup?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Adam Lipkin @ 1:25 pm

Hi, everyone!

There were a lot of favorable responses to the suggestion that we hold an all-day BAMUG meeting, and I think we can definitely generate enough content to fill a day with programming.

Since April and May tend to be insanely busy months all around, I’d like to propose June as a possible timeframe. I realize that summer presents its own share of problems, with conference travel, vacations, and server upgrades — but I do hope that there’s a good time for everyone.

I’d like to propose three possible dates. Please let me know which ones work best for you; although there may be no date that works for everyone, finding the one that the most people can commit to would be a great start. We will once again gladly host it here at Brandeis.

Proposed dates:

Wednesday, June 9

Thursday, June 17

Tuesday, June 29.

As with the all BAMUG meetings, this will be free, as we want schools to be able to send as many people as possible. And naturally, if anyone has something they’d like to present, please let us know! I do see us running this relatively like a Barcamp/unconference (is “MooCamp” a much sillier name than “Moodle Moot?”) , so it’s perfectly fine to decide to present or host a talk as late as the day of the meeting.

I’m looking forward to hearing from everyone. Please feel free, of course, to pass this along to anyone local using Moodle. As always, this information will be available on our blog, too (http://blogs.brandeis.edu/bamug/).

March 15, 2010

Viewable Profiles in Moodle?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Adam Lipkin @ 4:43 pm

A few quick question for other BAMUG folks (or any Moodle users out there, really): Do you allow students to view user profiles? And if so, are there any FERPA or other privacy concerns? What fields (if any) do you hide? How do you deal with fields like email that can’t be hidden? Have there ever been complaints or problems as the result of the profiles being visible? And if you don’t have visible profiles, what concerns informed that decision?

HEre’s a video:

March 11, 2010

Boston Area Moodle User Group: Notes from first meeting

Filed under: Uncategorized — Adam Lipkin @ 1:00 pm

Attendees:

Brandeis:
Janet Hill
Adam Lipkin
Bren Campbell
Anne Woodrum
Judith Pinnolis
Ian Rifkin
Garth Sainio
Jim Lambert

Roxbury Community College:
Jenene Cook
Tom MacDonald
Gautam Gautam

Regis College:
Chad Bergeron

Wheaton College:
Roslyn Metz

Boston College:
Tim Lindgreen

Minutes:

After introductions, we discussed a number of policy and technical concerns including:

1. Policies for maintaining old courses. Brandeis currently keeps all Moodle courses since 2006 on our production server, a practice that creates scalability issues. Wheaton is implementing a policy of maintaining separate instances for each of three years, and dropping the oldest instance in the fourth year, a practice that has its own share of scalability issues. The need to balance access to older courses (for both instructors and faculty) with space and staff considerations is a big concern (and exacerbated by the potential for compatibility issues when Moodle 2.0 is released).

2. Interfaces and feeds from student information systems to Moodle. Our group uses a widely disparate set of information systems — Banner, Peoplesoft, home-grown, Jenzabar — and the need to use course data to populate Moodle is a common factor. There are some open-source tools being used, some homegrown ones, and some folks are still populating and/or building courses by hand.

3. CLAMP. Regis and Wheaton are members of the Collaborative Liberal Arts Moodle Project, and there are some great tools and documentation being developed there (including the Moodle Liberal Arts edition).

4. The Moodle community. Going beyond CLAMP, the greater Moodle community offers both challenges and opportunities for us. The lack of a true dev team and the focus on Moodle 2.0 means that 1.9 developments and fixes are relatively stalled, but the distributed and talented experts in the community often provide solutions to problems quickly. Participation in the community (including the Moodle Tracker) often has the extra benefit of helping raise issues and problems that affect us to the top and get them more attention.  The community also offers opportunities like Moodle Moots (including the virtual iMoot) that are worth investigating.

5. Moodle 2.0. The beta of Moodle 2.0 is due sometime this March (in theory), with a  final release planned for this Summer.  The features look impressive, but most of us are hesitant to upgrade on the initial release. There are also some concerns about what upgrading will do to current content (we know that themes, for example, are likely to break).

6. Demos. Brandeis briefly showed the Syllabus tool we implemented in our release, as well as the semester blocks and support enroll tools we’ve built.

There was lots of informal discussion of everything from release management to cloud computing.

Next steps:

It was agreed that there is definitely a benefit to having a local group to complement national groups like CLAMP and NITLE and the international Moodle community as a whole; while all groups can offer good spaces for asking questions, a local group offers more opportunities for hands-on demos and discussions. We’ve set up a BAMUG blog space for public discussion.

We also agreed that we do not want to be affiliated with Nercomp or other groups yet. Further, it was noted that, in spite of our geographic proximity, a two-hour meeting is almost too small a group to justify the drive for some folks; we’ve agreed that an all-day event would probably be better, as folks were already setting aside over half a day after travel time was included.

With that in mind, we want to plan an all-day BAMUG event. It will, of course, be free (as schools should be able to bring as many folks as are interested). Obviously, a full day’s commitment can be tough to manage, and we’d like to get a sense of what would be a good time for everyone. We’d also love to have some volunteers to lead discussions or run demonstrations, as well as a sense of what topics you’d like to discuss. Please drop me a line or feel free to leave a comment on the BAMUG blog with any thoughts you might have.

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