Moodle 2.8 – New Features

moodle-laddersThe Technology Enhanced Learning team and Information Learning Services have been working hard over summer to upgrade Moodle.  This latest version (2.8) brings significant evolutionary improvements to the Assignment activity, Gradebook, Forums, Quizzes, Analytics and usability in many areas to empower academics and improve functionality for everyone across all devices. We explore some of these updated features in this blog post.

Moodle Quizzes

The usability of Moodle’s Quiz activity has been significantly improved in the most recent version, making it much easier for tutors to manage quizzes and questions.  The new quiz interface provides an intuitive, clean environment for authoring quiz questions. The repaginate button allows tutors to quickly reorganise the structure of quizzes by selecting the number of quiz questions per page. Watch the video below from Moodle HQ to see the new features of the quiz activity in action:

Moodle Gradebook

Just like the Quiz activity the Moodle Gradebook has undergone significant usability improvements. The Grader report (the main interface displaying the grades) has been redesigned to work on all platforms. A notable improvement to the Gradebook is that the student column now remains static as you scroll through the graded activities making it easier to associate the grades with the relevant student. Two new reports, single view report and grade history report also improve the usability of the Gradebook. The single view report allows a tutor to see all the grades for an individual student and the grade history report allows tutors to search for specific criteria (student, grades, graders) within a specified period.

PDF Annotations

Using the PDF annotation tool, you can mark online directly in  Moodle. This means that assignment files no longer need to be downloaded to be marked electronically. Simply, click the ‘Launch PDF editor’ button that appears at the button of each students submission/grading page. If you are going to use this feature remember to ask your students to submit their assignments as PDF documents. You can specify this in the assignment instructions. To find out more about PDF annotation feature, watch the video from Moodle HQ below:

Atto, Autosave

In the last upgrade (Moodle 2.7) a new default text editor was introduced to improve both the usability and accessibility of Moodle. It includes some new features such as an equation editor, screen reader support and an accessibility checker. If you are using FireFox as your browser then you can drag and drop images directly into the text editor on a Page, Quiz question or Label. To find out more about the text editors new autosave feature watch the video below:

Forums

The forum activity has also seen some significant improvements in Moodle 2.8. You can now easily subscribe to individual thread/topics within a discussion. This means you will only get emails alerts for the discussions that are relevant to you. In addition to this, you will soon be able to reply directly to discussions via email. It is recommended that when you reply via email, you remove the original forum post content to prevent it from being re-posted. To see the new features of the Forum activity, watch the video below from Moodle HQ:

BigBlueButton

Finally, this upgrade has also seen significant improvements to BigButtonButton. BigBlueButton is the institution’s virtual classroom and web conferencing application that is integrated directly in Moodle as an activity. It is the ideal platform to deliver high quality learning to remote students. BigBlueButton allows you to:

  • Deliver lectures and presentations virtually
  • Record and playback virtual sessions
  • Communicate using audio (all you need is a microphone and speakers)
  • Communicate via the built-in chat facility
  • Share multiple presentations and documents
  • Annotate and highlight key areas of documents that are being shared
  • Share webcams to see who you are interacting with
  • Share your desktop

Make sure you keep an eye on the TEL blog to receive regular updates, help, information and advice about the new and existing features of Moodle. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at: tel@yorksj.ac.uk

Daniel

Daniel Mackley

Daniel’s role is to identify staff learning needs and strategically design, deliver and evaluate development interventions related to the effective use of current and emerging Technology Enhanced Learning tools in Higher Education. Working to the Learning & Teaching Development annual objectives and the TEL quality framework, he pro-actively supports and develops staff in their use of technology to enhance the student learning experience. Daniel is also the lead for the teams iPad Project.

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