Moodle Upgrade August 2016
Posted by Katherine Martell, Last modified by Katherine Martell on 20 August 2016 05:34 PM
On August 21, 2016, PSU will upgrade the Moodle Learning Management System to take advantage of visual and interface improvements, new features, and bug fixes. The appearance of Moodle will change slightly, but you will also see new functionality in some tools. Course content will not be removed or edited, but the general appearance of courses will be altered by new themes.
To test the new site, click here. Please note: This site is only accessible on-campus, and is for testing/viewing only. Please do not add course content.
Below, we have outlined the most relevant changes, which will link to more detailed help documentation when the update takes effect. If you would like to schedule a consultation on Moodle, or if you have questions, comments, or feedback, please contact Katie Martell (email@example.com, 603-535-2579).
Visual and Interface Changes
One of the most significant changes to Moodle in August will be the use of new themes, and a move away from themes that were previously supported. The justification for this change is that the new themes are streamlined, fully supported, and tested for functionality. The new themes are More (default), Clean, Essential, and Aardvark. The themes have differing color schemes and slightly different designs. Feel free to explore these themes and decide which one may best fit your course.
Fewer Default Blocks
On all Moodle course pages, there is a set of default blocks on either side of the main content area. In this Moodle release, you will see a a streamlined set of the most commonly used blocks, which helps to reduce clutter on your course page. You can still add blocks that you typically use by turning editing on, and then locating the desired blocks within the "Add a Block" menu (see image below). We have also added a "Help & Resources" block that includes technical links, links to university policy documents, and links to resources such as the Writing Center and PASS office.
There are a few changes to the Gradebook that may affect users. The "Categories and Items" view was renamed "Gradebook Setup." Grade aggregation settings for the course and for each category will now be edited from this page using the "Edit Settings" tool. Grade aggregation has been simplified and improved, and also includes additional options for dropping lowest grades and giving extra credit. Note that courses imported from previous semesters will retain their gradebook settings, but instructors should still review the Gradebook for accuracy at the start of the semester. "Sum of Grades" has also been renamed "Natural," so be sure to double-check the Gradebook if you previously used the sum aggregation.
Another change to the Gradebook is the addition of "Single View," which allows the instructor to make quick edits to a single grade item or a single user.
The new aggregation called "Natural" combines grades simply and has a clearer interface for using weights. It can be used for sum of grades and weighted mean of grades depending on the settings you choose. Extra credit, excluded grades, and hidden grades are all supported.
New sticky scrolling in the Gradebook means that horizontal scrolling is done within the browser, rather than within the grader report. This means that as you scroll to the right, the table of grade reports will extend within Moodle while keeping the student name and/or grade item visible at all times. This can be useful for large courses or courses with many graded items.
Within the Quiz module, there will be new question types including 'drag and drop' for images, text, and markers (see image below).
Quiz editing will also be improved, making it easier to add new questions via the 'Add' button. You can choose whether to add a new question, select a question from the question bank, or to add a random question. You can also add descriptions or helpful text to a quiz, and there are now more options for question shuffling and the number of questions per page.
Discussion Forum Updates
Faculty will notice several improvements within the Forum module, including the ability to add a 'Like' rating as a single-item scale, bringing an aspect of social media to course forums.
Yet another update is improved navigation through threads. Within a discussion forum, you can now navigate with convenient links from one topic to the next.
It will also be possible for students to subscribe to individual threads via a subscribe button in each topic.
We hope that these exciting updates will improve your Moodle workflow and further engage students. If you have any questions about best practices, functionality, or settings, please don't hesitate to contact the Help Desk (603-535-2929, firstname.lastname@example.org)