General add-ons

 
 
Picture of sam marshall
OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Hi,

Just posting here to announce that the OU blog (developed by Catalyst IT for The Open University) is now available for Moodle 1.9 (also requires PHP 5.x).

Download it via the Moodle plugins database

This is an optional plugin which is separate from the existing standard Moodle blog (and doesn't affect it).

There's a list of features on the link above, but the main ones are:
  • Comments.
  • Course/group blogs (you can add a blog from 'add activity' like with forums and whatever).
As with all plugins, you should try this on a test server to make sure that it works acceptably on your system, before using it with real students. It is live on our system, but isn't used very heavily yet.

Please post here if you successfully install it (at least until a couple of people have done so) - one person reported problems so if it is completely broken for some reason I'd like to know. smile The file looks ok to me...

--sam

PS I have temporarily turned on email for this forum so will probably see replies to this post. After about a week or something I will likely turn that off again though smile If you need to report a bug after that, the most reliable way is to click my name to send a Moodle private message.
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Matt Crosslin
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
Just curious - how is this different from the existing Course Blog optiomal module?
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
I searched for 'Course Blog' in the moodle modules db (hoping for a feature list) and didn't find an entry for it. So basically I have no idea!

Hopefully the difference is that ours is better? :> Just kidding...

I wrote the spec for this (based on our user requirements, of course), but I wasn't directly involved in the 'we are going to build something' decision, so it wasn't me who evaluated existing options - hence I don't really know what else is out there.

Maybe somebody who has tried 'Course Blog' could compare? (Either just by looking at the oublog feature list on the link I gave - that isn't quite all the features but it will probably do - or by trying out oublog as well.) It'd be interesting to know...

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Jeff Wood
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
Just installed the mod into 1.9.2 system and it installed fine. I have found the add an activity but cannot find the private/individual blog. Am I missing something? I do not see any settings under Modules > Activities OUBlog.

Any help would be appreciated.

Jeff
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Thanks for trying it! Glad to hear it installs okay. And...

DOH.


I forgot to tell anyone how to access the user blog! You need to manually create a link to it (eg from your site homepage), or else do evil things like patching profile view code to add a link there. The URL is just:

yoursite/mod/oublog/view.php

That'll take you to your own blog.

I am going to add this information to the modules database now...

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Jeff Wood
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
Ah... much better - thanks Sam.

Anyway a teacher can see the blogs of their students but not allow students to see each others?

Jeff

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Not quite sure what you mean here.

For individual blogs in oublog, teachers have absolutely no control (in fact there's not even a concept of a teacher, because individual blogs operate at site level, while teachers are at course level). Any individual is free to make posts on their blogs that are available to the public or to other logged-in Moodle users, or not.

For course blogs in oublog, there is only a single 'blog' unless it's grouped - so you can either see it or you can't, and you can either post to it or you can't. (These are controlled by the capabilities system; the defauilt is that students can both see and post.) Teachers might have special powers eg to delete posts.

If you add a course blog it's a single blog, which happens to have multiple contributors. If you are a course member and you can see it, you can see all posts by everyone.

When it's grouped, there is conceptually one blog per group. if you can see it, you can see all posts within your group. Like other grouped activities there are 'visible or separate groups'; depending on that setting, students either can or cannot look at other groups' posts. They can't post to other groups.

Finally, if you're talking about actually having URL links to other people's individual blogs, again there aren't any links as standard. One way without changing code is that if you use your personal blog, you can add a link to it from your Moodle profile description. Once you have a link to somebody's blog, you can view all posts on there which are set to 'logged-in user' or 'public' access (ie not a private/draft for user's own purposes).

Hope that explains it.

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Jeff Wood
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
Hi Sam,

Your explanation clears things up. Thanks!

I am still getting my head around roles and permissions.

Jeff
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Michael Cenkner
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
Hello,
What Jeff is asking for here is exactly what we want as well. We want to use the blog as a "web log," in which the student keeps a journal of thoughts and impressions throughout a course, and which the instructor has access to.

Privacy is paramount concern. If we have only settings that give access even to other students in the course, never mind everyone in the site, never mind everyone in the world, then we simply can't use the tool. So that's point #1.

Point #2 is that it would still be nice to enable replies, first, by the instructor, secondly, by other students in the course.

BTW, I'm thinking that thinking of blogs as being significant in terms of collaboration is probably off-base. The wiki or even the "old-fashioned" discussion posting allows for greater focus.

The blog properly is about one person's voice, and its intentional sharing. That sharing ranges from confessional to soap-box - but it's not the best tool for "collaboration" no matter how you slice it.

Thanks,

Michael at Athabasca U.

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Jeff Wood
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
Michael,

You hit my meaning exactly.

We have worked around this by using the journal function. Not exactly a blog, but allows students the ability to keep that "web log" and allows teachers the ability to access it.

Jeff
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
On the contrary, blogs are definitely not restricted to 'one person's voice'. See www.realclimate.org for an example of a successful group blog. There are many, many others.

When it comes to teaching purposes though, the main intent of the 'course blog' feature of oublog (as opposed to personal blog) is really just to make it easy for students to see what each other are posting and group it all in one place. We're envisaging activities such as, within each tutor group students are asked to blog about specific tasks. For example each student might be assigned a different book to read and in a particular course week they are all supposed to blog about their book.

The feature you want we are referring to as an 'per-individual blog' as it's similar to the 'per-individual wiki': a blog that sits on a course, but every user sees a different blog [their 'own']. Certain users (teachers) would have power to see other people's. It would certainly be nice to have, but unfortunately I don't have any development time to work on blog right now.

If anybody would like to develop it, please let me know as I can then find time to write a specification that details clearly how it ought to work. (It's best if you don't try to develop it without that...)

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Michael Cenkner
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
Thanks Sam, I stand corrected. You have pointed to an excellent example of the "collaborative blog." This is obviously a great strategy for learning. It's hard to assess though, and let's face it, people in courses (as opposed to the wide-open Internet) do get assessed on what they're doing.

So let's say students are building knowledge together as on the realclimate site. At some point the instructor will need to ask, OK, what did you learn? what did you contribute? and so on.

This is important in terms of getting individual feedback and input from the instructor. There needs to be some kind of framework regarding expectations on all sides.

So, I think it would need to be some kind of portfolio-style assessment, leading (for example) to the scenario Jeff and I are identifying. The time-honoured - the learning journal that supports students in synthesizing their understanding.

I'm not sure how else you would approach evaluating the realclimate-style blog in an actual course. They could write an essay, but that seems to be going away from the "web log" original and still valid use of blogs.

So it seems that the per-individual blog is really crucial to people actually integrating blogging into courses, rather than just as a fun and interesting add-on, and also as opposed to having a very valuable realclimate-style blog attached to a program.

Comments? I've been wrong once, maybe I'm wrong again?


 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
I agree such collaboration needs to be assessed manually and there will need to be guidelines - but the same applies to wikis...

Also, the blog might only be part of an assessed activity. And I think we still have unassessed activities too (does anyone do them... hmm) or activities which have 'token' marks just to encourage people to do them.

I think a tutor group working together on 'their' blog could be quite a fun thing to do, though - it's not all about assessment, you can maybe look at other groups to see if their blogs are better, etc. Perhaps the blog is even public to the internet and, as a group, you're trying to create something worth reading. Lots of good collaboration stuff. Maybe. smile I'm not a pedagogy expert...

By the way I have requested development time for OU blog in our next window (summer). If I get it, individual blog would definitely be one thing on the list.

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
DeeKnow
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
Hi Michael,

Just wondering if you or Jeff have considered the Dialogue Module? It isn't a blog clearly but it does allow for private conversations between a teacher and student. Take a look at the docs and if interested ask any further questions in the forum for the module. It was updated last year to support 1.9 and we have just released a number of patches to it.

Dean
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Michael Cenkner
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
Hi Dean,
Thanks for the lead, looks interesting...
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Tin Dang
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
I have installed the OUblog and played around with the css, it works fine and I love it. However, it looks isolated from the general site. I was wondering if anyone could help me with the code for the oublog tags so that I can embed it in other html blocks and stick them in course layout.

Thank you very much.
 
Average of ratings: -
DeeKnow
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
Just thought I'd share a patch we've made to this module to support restricting or allowing comments from groups other than the one the post author is a member of. We have introduced a new option on the config screen for OUBlog labeled "Comments from Other Groups" with two options:

"Comments Not Allowed" - only members of the group that owns the blog will be able to make comments

"Allow Comments" - anyone who has access to view the blog will be able to also make comments

group-comments.png

Hope someone finds this useful, it may not end up in Sam's OU development branch but if you do use it and have suggestions for changes feel free to post them back here. A patch file is attached to this post which should include all the changes required.

Dean Stringer (University of Waikato, NZ)
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Hi Dean,

Neat. I reviewed the patch, it looks good with some minor issues. I filed this as bug CONTRIB-1079, hopefully we will include it into the main oublog release soon. (Ish.)

Up to you whether you want to fix the patch to address the issues I list in the bug, or leave me to do it. I guess if you do it things might go more quickly, but who knows. smile

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
DeeKnow
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
Hey Sam, glad you thought it might be useful. I have another patch attached to this post which others may find useful. We decided to add a global activity setting for OUBlog so that the administrators for a Moodle instance can decide whether or not blogs on their site are allowed to be configured with Maximum Visibility of world-view or not. The default setting in the patch is No. For some institutions this restriction may not be relevant, but for others they may only want authenticated or class members to view the blog. (note: at the moment the RSS is still visible)

As you will see from the patch we added a new capability "oublog_allowpublicview", tweaked mod_form to expose that setting, tweaked locallib to check if user has the capability in the context, and added a couple of language strings to the lang files.

Good to see you are using tracker. Not sure if you want this sort of thing posted directly to this discussion area or into tracker? I'm sure you'll let me know smile
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
If you want it included into 'standard' oublog, please do add an issue into tracker. However you should probably also post a link to it here in case other people are interested in it, before it gets into standard! [Which might be a while seeing as I am extremely busy at the moment...]

(Before including in standard oublog, we would change the default to Yes to retain existing behaviour. Other than that, sounds good though I haven't looked at the patch.)

As for Atom/RSS feed access - these are protected by magic numbers, so you shouldn't be able to access them unless you can see the blog (at least once in order to get the URL). Unless I'm forgetting something? So I don't think you need to do anything to them. Atom/RSS feeds become useless if you apply authentication because nobody wants to have to log into a site every time their feed reader checks for new messages...

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
DeeKnow
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
Tracker entry created, see: CONTRIB-1099
Thanx for clearing up the RSS/ATOM linking thing too.
 
Average of ratings: -
DeeKnow
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
A big thanks to the Open Uni for contributing this to the community. approve

I installed the module on one of our development machines yesterday at Waikato Uni and had no problems (Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server + Apache2.2 + PostgreSQL 8.1 + PHP5.1 + Moodle 1.9.2). Have been playing with the features with developer/debug mode on and no problems yet. Will keep you posted.

We're planning to deploy a course-focused blog to our production machine shortly and have been looking at "simpleblog" up till now. Defintately impressed with the clean UI of the OUblog, the roles and groups integration, and the visibility settings.

some minor glitches/suggestions that you may want to address:
  • maxvisibility.html is missing from the help files
  • if you click a tag link under a post you end up with two "tag=xxx" paramaters in the URL, should probably only be one, or maybe two independantly named ones if you need to display posts containing both tags?
  • would be nice to be able to filter posts by individual as well as tag, clicking a users name displays their profile page
  • including user's avatars against their post
  • maybe include a reminder somewhere in the docs that site RSS support needs to be turned on by the administrator
A great effort, thanx again, and well done Catalyst smile
 
Average of ratings: -
DeeKnow
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
turns out the visibility file is there but named visibility.html instead of maxvisibility.html as specified in mod_form.php, renaming the file sorts that out.
BTW, any thoughts of managing the change-suggestions and bug-tracking thru the Moodle Tracker?
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
The help file is supposed to be called visibility - it's used elsewhere under that name. mod_form.php is wrong; I am about to correct it.

And good point. I have requested components for oublog (and ouwiki, the other one which people use ;) on moodle tracker.

--sam


 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module [Bug tracking available]
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Helen has now added a component for oublog [and ouwiki] to the Moodle tracker. (Thanks Helen!)

So you can report bugs and feature requests using the Moodle tracker - when you create a bug, select 'Non-core contributed modules' and then under 'Component' select 'OU blog'. The bugs will be assigned to me.

We'll try to fix actual bugs, especially serious ones. As for features, there may not be development time, so don't get your hopes up too high! (Yes I did just implement userpics when somebody asked, but er... technically I probably shouldn't have, with regard to my schedule.) And if you want to implement a feature yourself and you would like it to go into oublog distribution, please contact me (by filing a bug and/or chatting online etc) before you do the work, to make sure we agree it should be included, and how it should be implemented.

Thanks to everyone who's tried oublog so far smile

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Thanks for checking it out and reporting these issues! Here are my responses...

tag links - fixed - yes this was a bug. we don't support searches for two different tags at once.

filter by individuals - this might be nice but the 'click name to see profile' is pretty standard in other places such as forum, [OU] wiki so I don't want to change this (at least not in that way).

user pictures - added - these were not included because OU doesn't presently use them. (We let people change them, but in general, don't display them in most areas where standard Moodle does.) There isn't a global option for this, which sucks. However, I decided it was pretty poor that oublog didn't support them, so I have added support via an option in blog settings. The option defaults to on so you'll just get them [as long as you visit admin page after upgrading].

For these changes I have checked the fix into CVS. The download file is updated daily so you may need to wait 24h to get the new version. The new version number is today's date to make things clear (there are not really any database changes).

Just to note, while looking at it in standard theme, I'm not very satisfied with the styling... and also currently trying to remember why post titles are not a heading tag.... ho hum. Maybe that will get fixed at some point anyhow, not today though.

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Grant Swaim
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
>>>>>>>
and also currently trying to remember why post titles are not a heading tag.... ho hum. Maybe that will get fixed at some point anyhow, not today though
>>>>>>>

Looks like you are missing a class for "oublog-title" in styles.php. I stuck one in my installation and it works fine.

Thanks for the module!

Grant
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Enrique Robredo
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
Hi, this is the spanish translation.
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Thanks Enrique! Much appreciated. I have added this to CVS so it should be included in all downloads from tomorrow.

--sam

PS If anyone is waiting for a reply from me in here or on an email, I will get to it - just maybe not quickly. (I'm suddenly really busy...)
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Simon Preston
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
Anyone having problems when trying to add a comment or view a comment on a Blog? Show's a blank page when i try to add a comment but does add the comment, but when trying to view the comment it will again show a blank page.

Any ideas?
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
I just retested in MySQL to make sure I had checked that. (We use Postgres normally, so that should already be thoroughly tested!) Adding comments doesn't cause those problems on my system.

You might want to check the version numbers of PHP and MySQL/Postgres that you are using. Also, make sure you have set the server 'debug' level (in admin settings) to the maximum, 'Developer'. This will reveal any error messages; it's likely that a 'blank screen' in Moodle is actually an error message that gets hidden because debugging is turned off.

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Borut Ratej
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
We are having the exact same problem, no solution so far. A bug?
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog (problem adding/viewing comment)
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Maybe! But I can't really do anything about it without more details. (Uh unless you want to give me a remote login to your moodle server that has the problem, with access to a moodle blog and with a shell account that can edit the source code...? Probably not.)

Could you please file it in the Moodle bug tracker (put the bug number here when you're done)? Include:

your Moodle version (eg 1.9.2, 1.9.2+, etc)
your PHP version (eg 5.2.4)
your database type (eg Postgres) and version (eg 8.1.16)

If everyone who has the problem can confirm those details maybe there will be some kind of common factor. (For example it could be that you're all using 1.9.1 and for some reason I haven't noticed, this only works on 1.9.2.)

Thanks!

--sam

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Borut Ratej
Re: OU blog (problem adding/viewing comment)
 
Sam, Sorry for the lack of data, I just blurted out the problem smile. Here is some info: Moodle 1.9.2+ (build 20080917) PHP 5.2.5 MySQL 5.0.5.1 I added the OU blog as an activity into a course and as soon an entry has a comment the "add your comment" link dissapears and when you click the link to read the exisiting comments a blank page appears (no html code whatsoever!). The problems occurs regardless of the user role. I am running OU blog on a production server and due to time issues we had no time to test thoroughly. I'm hesitant to turn on warnings and errors. I'll set it up so they're redirected to a log file and post here if something useful comes up. Borut
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog (problem adding/viewing comment)
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Thanks - if we can get an error message that would be useful. I don't have those precise versions of PHP, MySQL but similar ones, so it's probably not a low-level issue. If I get time I might try upgrading mine (these are just things i installed on my desktop, not the system we actually use) to make sure they are the right/latest point versions etc.

Agreed about redirecting errors to log - also even when doing that, if concerned about possible other effects it's best to turn debugging on only temporarily, ie turn it on, go hit the page that causes the problem, then turn it off.

thanks,

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog (problem adding/viewing comment)
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Thanks to assistance from Roy Overthrow, I have been able to see this problem at first-hand, but unfortunately I haven't yet come up with a resolution. The problem is:

When accessing the viewpost.php page (by any route including adding a new comment or clicking on the '1 comments' link) with any parameters, including missing/invalid ones, the server returns a completely blank page. Examining the HTTP header sent to the browser reveals a 500 Internal Server Error. The page remains completely blank even if debug is set to maximum level.

This indicates that it isn't running the PHP code - if you miss out parameters, pretty much the first thing it does is call error() - but something else is going wrong before it gets to that point. For example I wonder if there is an unusual character somewhere in that script file?... Hmm what command would that be... *thinks*... *eventually works it out*... od -tc -w1 viewpost.php | egrep "\\[^rn]". But no there aren't any.

One speculation is that I noticed Roy is running IIS. I don't have IIS here so unfortunately can't test - we use Apache, which is also what I'm running on my Windows desktop. It's just possible that IIS could behave differently in this case. For the others experiencing the problem, are you on IIS as well, or on Apache?

I have now tested on identical PHP version (Windows, 5.2.5) without problems here, and based on seeing the symptoms and the fact that the problem's been reported in both MySQL 4 and 5 (while it doesn't occur on my same-version MySQL 5), it seems fairly unlikely that database version would have anything to do with it.

This information has been added to a new bug report. If anybody else encounters this problem (or doesn't), feel free to add information about your working/nonworking configuration to that bug or here.

http://tracker.moodle.org/browse/CONTRIB-838

--sam

PS I'm not necessarily 'blaming' IIS or PHP settings or whatever turns out to trigger the problem - it could well be a bug in our code which happens to cause a problem only in that context. Or it could be that IIS sucks. ;)
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Philip Leeson
Re: OU blog (problem adding/viewing comment)
 

I am running a test version of Moodle 1.9.2+ which I have installed on my local machine running Windows XP, Apache, MySQL 5.0.37 and PHP 5.0.25. I have just installed OU blog to try it out. The install went smoothly.

I can create a new blog and add new posts OK. But when I add a comment to a post I always get the following error message when I click the 'Add comment' button at the bottom of the 'New blog comment' page:

Parse error: syntax error, unexpected $end in C:\Program Files\Apache Software Foundation\Apache2.2\htdocs\moodle19\mod\oublog\viewpost.php on line 211

If I then go back to the blog page with the 'New blog post' button at the top, I see next to the 'Edit' and  'Delete' links under the post that it has a '1 comment' link (followed by the name of the commenter and the date/time). So it looks like the comment has been added. However, if I click 'Edit' or the '1 comment' link I get the same error message as above.

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog (problem adding/viewing comment)
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Philip helpfully provided the viewpost.php file for comparison with my version (there was no difference) and while examining it, I finally spotted something 'odd' - some of the PHP tags were just <? instead of <?php. It worked fine on our system but that's definitely bad practice at least. So I made all the tags the 'right' <?php version and that appears to have fixed it.

Bug link, btw

Downloads of oublog after 24 hours (ie from 15 November 2008, 14:30 GMT) should include the fixed file, or you can grab it directly from moodle CVS:

viewpost.php

Not all the problems related to viewpost.php had identical symptoms but I'm kind of hoping this will fix all of them anyway.

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Bryce Holland
Re: OU blog (problem adding/viewing comment)
 
This still doesn't work for me. Even as the admin, I receive the following message when I try to add a comment to a post:

"Sorry: you do not have access to view this page"

I'm running Moodle 1.9.2+ (soon to upgrade to 1.9.3+). Any thoughts?
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog (problem adding/viewing comment)
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Yes. My thoughts are 'Sh**! I just stopped the Apache and MySQL services on my PC after fixing another oublog issue, now I have to start them again!!!' smile

Sorry - having restarted those services I did just test with the latest code (we have actually been through fairly rapid change recently, what with Jenny adding new features, and both of us fixing a security hole every few minutes so often*). Unfortunately, on my configuration (as well as obviously on our live site) I am definitely able to add comments to posts, so it isn't a general problem.

I looked through the code and one thing that could cause that error is if you don't have the 'oublog:viewpersonal' capability. This was added in a recent upgrade. If you didn't go to the Moodle /admin page after upgrading, you won't have this capability. If you did, though, you should have it: it should be assigned to the 'user' role, meaning that every logged-in user ought to have it. And admin gets it anyway thanks to viewanything.

If possible set debug to max ('developer' level) and retry, there might be some problems happening there.

--sam

* Today's hole was actually a minor privacy problem and not, er, a major one like the earlier ones; CONTRIB-944 if anyone's interested.


 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Bryce Holland
Re: OU blog (problem adding/viewing comment)
 
OK, I do not have the "oublog:viewpersonal" capability listed in the available permissions.

Do I just need to download the oublog zip file again to get the upgrades you are talking about?
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog (problem adding/viewing comment)
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Yes; download it, put it in place, visit the notifications page. You definitely ought to have that permission then - if not, let me know.

--sam

PS I might not be checking these forums after today, until the new year - so apologies if I don't reply promptly.
 
Average of ratings: -
Jamie
Re: OU blog (problem adding/viewing comment)
 
Hi. I have downloaded and successfully installed the oublog. I am having a problem that I can't seem to get around. I want a blog that admin can add posts to, and that authenticated users can view and comment on. Guests should only be able to view the posts and comment, not make any.

What I get is " Access denied" when I am logged in an authenticated user (not admin), when I click on the "add your comment" link. I can see the posting just fin, and I am also able to click on and read the comments (I added a few generated by admin wink

Anyway, I am including a screen shot of my permission on the administration - users - permissions - authenticated user role

Thanks,
Jamie


 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of matt montagne
Re: OU blog (problem adding/viewing comment)
 
Jamie,
I am experiencing this same difficulty. We'd like to do exactly what you are describing, but we keep getting an "Access Denied" error when a user clicks the add comment button. The user role is setup to be able to view posts and comment, but to not add new posts.

Have you made any progress on this front??

Matt
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog (problem adding/viewing comment)
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
With regard specifically to personal blogs (not course ones), we haven't implemented this feature at present. In order to make comments on personal blogs, users need the 'contributepersonal' capability. This is the same capability that they need to be able to post on their own personal blog. So unfortunately you can't currently have anyone able to comment on other people's blogs but not post on their own.

(All of this applies to personal blogs. For course blogs the permissions are separate so there is no problem.)

I have requested development time to work on outstanding oublog issues. If I get it, separating the 'contributepersonal' capability into 'postpersonal' and 'commentpersonal' will be one of the first things on my list.

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Nicolas Papaconstantinou
Re: OU blog (problem adding/viewing comment)
 
Hi, Sam,

We're about to put OU Blog on our test server, but it sounds like it will fulfil a few different needs we have here.

I understand that you're busy so any extra development may take a little while to get to, but I'd like to put in a request for the Course Individual blogs, as mentioned elsewhere in this thread. As useful as the module already sounds, this feature would make it indispensable to us.

(For a quick example of how it might be used, I have academic staff requesting an individual space to write a development diary of their adventures in podcasting, to go in a dedicated training area we have - an instance of a blog tool like this would be perfect.)

However, I had a bit of trouble parsing the Tracker pages, and not sure how to add a request for a feature like this. Is it possible to ask you in a really obsequious way here and get it added to the queue that way?

Or is it already on your list?
 
Average of ratings: -
Bob Singletary
Re: OU blog (problem adding/viewing comment)
 

We are having this issue with OU blog for a course blog. Anyone with a student role gets an access denied message when trying to add a comment, although they can add a new blog post just fine. Even changed local override permissions for "Comment on a post" from Inherit to Allow, unfortunately with the same result. Here's our environment:

OU blog version 2008121100
Moodle version 1.9.5 build 20090515

Apologies if I missed anything in this thread or the tracker regarding a fix for this issue. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

~Bob

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog (problem adding/viewing comment)
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
I know developers always say this and it's annoying, but could you try upgrading to the latest version of oublog (2009111801)? We have regularly fixed a small number of blog bugs and this might be among them. I don't recall it specifically but there was definitely a point when we changed a lot of handling around permissions, this might have been after your version date and could possibly affect this issue.

If at all possible I would advise that you do this (and any) upgrade on a test server using a copy of your database first, to make sure it doesn't damage your existing content or make things even worse (don't think it should, but you never know).

(Or should you be feeling cautious, you might want to dig into CVS and get the 2009090300 version, which is the one currently on our live system here. This has had more testing.)

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Bob Singletary
Re: OU blog (problem adding/viewing comment)
 

Sam, I thought that might be the case. No worries, we are running a pilot environment and are going to be installing a number of additional plugins to test in our "sandbox". I'll get the update for oublog on the list. Many thanks for your help here and for a great plugin.

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Rena P
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
Hi all

I can see the comments without any problems (on 1.9.2 (Build: 20080711)), but can't find an easy way for the teacher to review the blog postings. I can do it (as an admin) by changing the id number at the end of the URL, but somehow I think I must be missing an easy trick here ... any pointers? thoughtful
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Hi. Thanks for letting me know comments are working for you, that's reassuring smile

There are two kinds of oublog - a course blog and users' individual blogs.

For users' individual blogs (those linked with mod/oublog/view.php?user=42), these are not conceptually part of any course. A user could be on two courses, or no courses, and still post to their individual blog. There isn't any way to associate individual blog postings with a particular course.

For course blogs (those added with 'add an activity' dropdown onto a course page), all postings show in one place and teachers have special permissions eg they may be able to delete student posts. These blogs are obviously related to a specific course.

So... If I understood it correctly, I think you might be asking whether a teacher can access blog posts on personal blogs, for all students on a course, without having to click through to each blog separately. Unfortunately that is not currently possible.

However if a course is specifically requiring people to make a blog entry, it might be a good idea to use a shared course blog instead of the users' own individual blogs - in this way everyone can see everyone else's posts, and obviously the teacher can do that too.

In other words, the user would post to their own blog when they are using it as a personal blog, but if 'making a blog post each week' (say) is actually part of the course, then you would use a course blog instead so that students do it all together in one place.

Did that make sense? I might not have understood the question here... (And obviously there are some situations where this system might not handle it well, I'm not saying it is perfect or anything.)

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Rena P
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
Hi Sam

Thanks for the ultra-prompt response. smile You've understood my question pretty well, I think ... it's the actual nature of the site I'm running that is rather complicated!

We have a course (in the normal sense of the word, not the Moodle sense) which is made up of 4 modules (Moodle speak = "categories"); each module is broken down into a number of units (Moodle speak = "courses"). Have I lost you yet!?!?! mixed

What I'm looking for is a way to replace the Journal feature, which I have been using for Reflective Journals (a.k.a. learning diaries/journals). If students want to share their RJs, that's fine, but I need to be able to provide for those who might want to keep theirs more private. The idea is that they maintain the same RJ throughout the entirety of the course.

However, not all students follow the same enrolment pattern - some may do only the first 2 modules, others may do all 4. Therefore I don't want anything linked to a specific unit (Moodle "course"), as I feel this would be a "bitty" approach and would get really confusing. (Can you imagine trying to find a particular post from a potential 33 units/"courses"!?!?)

Would it be possible for me to link the OU Blog to the front page of the course, and if so, would the "group" functionality still work? This could solve the problem perfectly for me, as it would mean that the students only need to look in one place for their blog - the home page! I use the groups feature extensively to keep all the different students (about 350 at the moment) in the correct cohort (about 15 at the moment).

Any thoughts gratefully appreciated,

Rena
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Wow, complicated!

So your 'course' is really an entire Moodle site?

The fundamental problem is really two things:

a) the privacy issue - you want for students to be able to make posts in private, but for the teacher to still be able to read them.

b) the separate blogs issue - we don't have a way to look at every student's blog entries on one screen.

Part (a) is not a problem - you can give the 'teacher' admin access (or to put it another way, mod/oublog:post at site level), this will let you view 'private' posts. (The helpfile already explains that admin staff can see private posts.)

Part (b) is not easily possible in the current system, you currently would need to look at each student's blog as a separate page. However you might be able to achieve this by using any blog aggregation software to aggregate the RSS or Atom feeds for all students. Doing this manually for 350 feeds would not be fun though...

As for using a course blog (added to the front-page course) with groups, I don't think this will work without a lot of hassle. You'd need to create a separate group for each student. Using separate groups then means that students can't see each others', but a teacher who can view all groups is able to choose the 'all groups' option to see all posts together. So, it should work, but it is a major hassle to set up though, you'd need to put work in to automate it.

If we were to improve oublog to make your situation better, I think one possibility would be to create an 'individual' option for course blogs (similar to the way you can have individual wikis in ouwiki/moodle wiki). This would be just like the group option but with individuals instead of groups, and would mean you could put your blog on the site front page and it would do what you want (I think). Basically, a blog specific to an individual but within a specific course (rather than for public consumption) is pretty much the definition of a learning journal I guess - we didn't consider learning journals in this, we were mainly aiming just at 'blogs'. Anyway, feel free to submit a feature request to the tracker if you would like us (or maybe someone else!) to consider that feature in future. I can't promise it will happen soon - or ever - though!

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Rena P
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
Yup, the course is indeed an entire Moodle site!

I think I may have lead you up the garden path a little with the groups and blogs on the front page. It's not a course blog as such that I want to add to the front page, but rather the individual blogs where a teacher from the relevant group can access the blog entries for the students from their particular group. I'll try to explain more clearly ...

We currently have a number of different groups (e.g. some from Argentina, a few from Turkey, some from Venezuela, etc.) who all have different tutors. What's happening at the moment is that because I wanted to avoid the hassle of a separate journal for each unit (Moodle "course"), and because there wasn't really a particular unit (Moodle "course") I could guarantee all students would do because of the different enrolment patterns, I put the Journal *on the front page* ... not realising that on the front page, group functionality doesn't work! sad So when a teacher from Venezuela looks at the journal, they see entries from all the counties/groups - which of course has a massive page load time, along with privacy issues! <sigh>

So I guess my question is:
  • If I put the oublog (private) onto the front page, will a teacher be able to access only the students from their group, or will they (as currently happens with the Journal) see *all* students' blogs ?
I got a bit lost on the " 'individual' option for course blogs" - if I think about how the wikis work with groups, I think I can see where you are heading.

The RSS feed sounds like an interesting idea that I hadn't thought of. As each tutor usually only has 15 - 20 students (okay, some have up to about 40 as they have mulitple groups), perhaps that's an idea to consider.

The other alternative I've been looking at for a Journal replacement is the online assignment - but as I said elsewhere, I'm really not into it as a solution! At least blogs seem pedagogically a bit closer to reflective journals than an assignment does! However, I quite take your point about how much work would be involved to make it work technically ... sad
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Your assumption is correct - if you put oublog on the front page, teachers will see students from all groups, because those other groups do not exist on the front-page course.

By the way I think if you can automate it you could copy the other groups into the front-page course. Maybe? The system doesn't seem to give you UI to create groups on front-page course but I think probably it should work... Duplicating the groups in this way should let you use them with Journal (I know nothing about journal, just assuming based on your description). You would need some kind of program/script to do this, otherwise you have to create all the groups twice, once in the 'real' course and once on the front page course.

Anyway - groups in oublog do not work the way you want because they apply to students as well as the teacher. When you turn on group mode for a course blog, it creates a 'group blog' for each group - i.e. all students in one group see a single blog. They can all see all the posts and post to it. It's a shared blog for that group. (And if you don't turn in group mode, you get a single shared blog for the whole course.)

This is the same way wiki works: no groups = single wiki that whole course can edit, group mode = one wiki for each group that everyone in that group can edit.

The corresponding 'individual' option, if it existed in oublog, would let you have a separate blog for each user. Potentially this might be combined with groups in order to allow teachers access to view users in their group through a name-selector dropdown or an 'all users in my groups' option. (I don't think wiki does this, but it could / maybe should...)

In your situation you would still be left with the problem that groups in courses do not apply in other courses (such as the front page course) so I'm afraid even if we implemented this feature it still would not solve your problem!

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Rena P
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
Sam - just a brief message to say many thanks for your input and for explaining more about the oublog. It's given me plenty to think about and will hopefully help me to make a better choice that will suit the needs of our course in the longer term.

Cheers,

Rena
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Sandy Warner
Re: install tip for newbies
 

Hi Sam

I am a newbie and so here's a tip for those like me.  I have noticed that unzipping mod files seem to make an extra file directory folder with the same name as the mod.  So then when you drag the first file folder over to Mods, in the FTP that you cant find the files.  I have learned to drag the second file folder over now and Mods install. 

Correct:

http://www.mywebsite.com/mod/oublog/view.php?user=2

Not correct:  http://www.mywebsite.com/mod/oublog/oublog/view.php?user=2

Yours installed great.  I am looking around now.

Thank you for making this, I was really wanting comments added to the blog.

sandy

 

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Sandy Warner
Titles show on Front Page, but blog is empty
 

My newbie status might be showing here.  But I have successfully

1.  installed this Mod

2.  disabled blogs under site policy

3.  changed authenticated users to be able to read and write to new blog

4. turned off authenticated users to the Moodle blog.

5.  added the ouBlog resource to the Front Page.  And updated my personal blog with name and summary.

HOWEVER when I click on the title of my blog on the Front Page, it goes to:

http://mywebsite/mod/oublog/view.php?user=2

and the page is blank.  The proper headers are there for the school and directories, but the only thing there is to Update the ouBlog in the upper right corner.  When I click on it, the summary is there. 

How do I make my blog visable?

And where do I go to give each student their own blog?

Thank you for your help,

sandy

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: Titles show on Front Page, but blog is empty
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Hi,

1) The link there is to the per-user blog. (There are some special cases with blog on frontpage... it uses one, which I thought was hidden, to provide individual per-user blogs. If you manually created one I thought this should be different - a normal id= blog - but maybe not, hmm.)

2) Everyone automtically has their own blog, if it's working. If you put in a link to mod/oublog/view.php, this will automatically redirect to view.php?user=whatever, when user number 'whatever' clicks it. That's your blog. smile

3) If the page is blank (especially if the normal page footer doesn't appear), you might be seeing a bug where an error message should display but due to Moodle error level, it is being hidden. Please set debug level in server settings to 'developer' and let me know the error message - file a bug with it [also include your PHP/database/moodle versions] in the oublog component of moodle tracker, if possible, otherwise post here. [Note that if you are doing this on a production site you may want to set it to display errors to a logfile rather than the screen, and also turn this on temporarily - see Borut's post above].

sorry it took me a while to respond - still busy! (out of one crisis, into another)

thanks for trying it! seems clear that there are problems at least on some setups, hopefully can resolve these...

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Nils Eriksson
Svar: OU blog - optional blog module
 
Hi!

Maybe this has been answered but how do you replace the moodle blog entierly? For example: on a user page (participants page) the blog link in the tabs row is linking to the moodle blog.

Regars,
Nils
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: Svar: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Hi,

There is an option in standard moodle to turn off the blog. I forget where it is, somewhere in admin settings but I think it's somewhere slightly odd, like the option is called 'who can use the blog' and you get a couple of options about who can use it then 'turn blog off entirely'. So, um, search admin settings for that. When you do that it gets rid of the existing blog tab.

You unfortunately can't get it to put oublog in the same place though - this requires a hack to the core code. We did a small hack that puts a normal link (not a tab) to a user's OU blog, on their profile page.

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Bryce Holland
Re: Svar: OU blog - optional blog module
 
Could you share that hack please? That would really help when students want to view other students' blogs.
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: Svar: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
We have made a lot of local changes to profile so I can't give a directly applicable patch. However, here is the general area of code where it appears in user/view.php. I have shown the code just before, then marked the added part that does blog links in bold. It is very simple.

/// Printing Interests
if( !empty($CFG->usetags)) {
if ( $interests = tag_get_tags_csv('user', $user->id) ) {
print_row(get_string('interests') .": ", $interests);
}
}
/// End of Printing Interests

echo "</table>";

// ou-specific begins
// Print link to user's blog
print "<p><a href='{$CFG->wwwroot}/mod/oublog/view.php?user={$user->id}'>View $fullname's blog</a></p>";

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Jenny Gray
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers
I'm thinking of switching over to using the OUBlog module. I'll be honest, I run a separate Moodle site at the OU than Sam's but we want to make them more alike.

There's something that I can't quite decide about, so I thought I'd see how other users felt. I'm just not sure whether the tags people put on their blog posts should appear in the main tag block, and so on tag/index.php, or not. The core blog tags do - along with users and courses, but the OUBlog tags don't.

I've already agreed with Sam that we'll write a page that lists all public OUBlog posts, regardless of user - similar to http://moodle.org/blog/index.php?filtertype=site. So when blog posts are more visible, should the tags be as well?

Does any-one else using OUBlog module use the tag block? What do you think?
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
For info, the current way it works is that each blog is totally independent, so the tag list is separate. The brief was to make each blog behave like a 'real' blog such as one set up with WordPress, etc. So the user blogs are an area for personal expression; if somebody else makes a post about zombies, and you don't like zombies, you don't have to worry about that tag appearing on your blog page. Similarly if a course blog is being used for learning, it will show only the course-related tags used in that blog, and not random tags about people's cats, failboats, or indeed the creeping undead.

Tags let you navigate the blog you're looking at, not jump to other blogs.

Assuming I read her correctly, Jenny is not suggesting changing that within oublog, but instead suggesting that the tags from oublog posts should possibly be included in the main Moodle tags block.

I'm not really against this; unlike oublog, the Moodle tags block is already a place for jumping around the entire system, so hitting random blogs seems reasonable.

There are permission issues - for instance in a course blog used for teaching, probably only students can access it. So we cannot show tags for these posts or people would click them and get nothing. Moodle tag system does not properly handle permissions at all... However it should be feasible to incorporate a 'public' tag list (taken from the list of all public world-viewable posts) along with other Moodle tags somehow.

Might be a bit confusing because it shows some of the blog tags you can see, but not all of them? (If you are in a course blog.) Maybe not a problem though, I don't know...

--sam

 
Average of ratings: -
Nigel's mugshot.
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
We are currently running the OUBlog in test and we are quite impressed! In our discussions about it, however, we see the fact that the tags are isolated within the blog as a limiting feature. This is in the context of examining whether we might want to turn off the current Moodle blog and replace with the OUBlog at site level.

I can understand the logic you describe above of the tags being an aid to navigating a particular blog. That said, Moodle touts itself as a social environment and has public and distributed tagging options for several elements. Implementing the solution you describe - making tags to public posts available centrally - would be in keeping with the current status.

The above relates to the personal blogs at site level. At course level, it would also be good to be able to gather tags from each blog in the course and display them. If I'm doing a course on the ethnography of belief systems, I might want to search for posts on zombies in the course just by using the tags.

Cheers, Nigel
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Thanks for the comments Nigel.

While maybe Jenny has other ideas smile I personally think we might not be able to add [non-public posts from] course blogs to Moodle tagging at the moment for technical reasons.

I understand why you want it though and this doesn't invalidate your opinion or anything - just wanted to explain why we probably won't do it.

The problem with course blogs is that access can be complicated. For example, let's say that a blog is set to separate groups mode. If we made a post about zombies in that blog, the 'zombie' tag would appear. But I don't think there's currently any way to make the tag only appear to that group - so people in other groups would see the tag, click on it, then either get no results, or get a result they shouldn't be able to see, or get a link then click on it and get an error message.

Even if there is a way to do it for groups (or we say it only makes 'real' tags for visible/no groups), there could be problems related to the permission system. For example, you can create a blog just for teachers (by overriding it so Student can't view etc). Again we'd need a way in the standard Moodle tag system so that it could handle these permissions.

I'm not sure tags can even be course-specific... maybe they can though...

Of course if the course blog allows 'public' posts then these can be added to the global tagging system in the same way as for personal blogs (assuming we figure that out - but it should be possible).

--sam

PS Did you notice that you can't tag Moodle forum posts or discussions? The lack of support for access control in the tagging system is probably the reason for that too.
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Jenny Gray
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers
Sam's right that there's a big problem around access to the things that have been tagged that simply hasn't been addressed yet throughout Moodle. So you'll find the core blog tags block will list tags for things that are just draft and visible only to the person who created them. Its misleading and frustrating I think for the end user.

The thing that worries me most about handling access issues is that I suspect it'll be a big performance drain because of all the database queries needed to identify exactly what a user can see before they choose to view it.

And no, to my knowledge, tags cannot be course-specific - though you could check that the user can view the course in which the blog resides.

I guess where Sam and I differ is that I would hook the OUBlog tags up with the core system now and just wait for the core team to resolve the access issue. Sam, I think, would prefer to sort the whole thing out first. Its a valid point of view but unless we take the task on board ourselves, I doubt it'll happen sad

I've been thinking about how we would include OUBlog tags technically. The easiest solution is to migrate data out of the OUBlog_tag database tables into the core ones. More complex is for us to leave the OUBlog tags where they are in the database and add code to the core tags block and page to look there as well. It wouldn't be a nice easy install - more of a hack for those that wanted it. This would leave us in control of which tags get listed - for my own purposes I was thinking publicly shared site-level blogs only, but there might be scope to be more selective on groups and courses.


 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Why not keep both sets of tables? Just add the tags to both of them. Makes things a bit slower but only when you add/edit/delete posts.

Then it could be a blog global option:

'Include blog tags in standard moodle tag clouds'
1. No
2. Only posts that are accessible by everyone (default)
3. All posts (or 'All posts except private drafts')

The OU's system could choose #3 if necessary, since aside from OpenLearn we don't use the standard tag cloud. (But, I definitely wouldn't want to force that on any other user since it's fundamentally broken in an unacceptable way imo, hence the option.)

Alternatively, I wonder if we could get improvements done to tag access (ie include a context id and [for separate groups] group id into that table). We could maybe agree these for Moodle 2.1 and outsource to moodle.com or do it in-house if there's capacity. It could probably be done in a way that lets you query tags for just one blog (so retaining our existing behaviour), and perhaps could avoid performance problems e.g. by only showing 'restricted' items if you are viewing the block from within a course, and only for items restricted to contexts within that course. [Because your access permissions to everything within the course have already been loaded.]

Er this is a bit off-topic for the blog forum. sorry. smile

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Jenny Gray
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers
OK, duplicating the data would work I guess.

I'm going to cross-post in the general developer forum to raise the tag access issue there.

If any other OUBlog users have an opinion about whether tags should be included or not in standard tag clouds, I'd still be interested to hear!
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of D. S.
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 

Hi,

I was really happy to come across this blog module.  I have successfully installed it on my system and have it up and running and testing it with a group of students.  My problem is with the comments:

I want students to make a blog post weekly and to comment on one other blog post.  The ability to make comments was the reason I chose to use OU blog.  However, using a 'course blog' it will become too cluttered with students posting to one blog with several contributors.  I tried to solve this using groups, and making each student a group of 1.  This gave me something I liked, in that students could view the All Participants or just see specific blogs from the other students.  My problem is that the groups are not able to comment on another group's blog.  That is, until the one group comments on their own blog post.  This then shows the 1 comments link and others can then contribute.

I'm wondering if I should use the individual blogs?

I'm also considering this work around:  I have 6 students in the class.  I will make 6 groups: Alex's Blog, Bob's Blog, Carol's Blog etc... I will then add all students to all groups.  This should then allow them to comment on each blog.  This should also allow them to post to each blog which could be problematic and confusing.  Any advice here?

I suppose I could do this as a discussion forum but I like the idea that the students are creating a log of their learning.  I also didn't choose Journal's since it did not allow sharing.

Thanks for any advice you might give.

Doug 

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Do you really have only 6 students or is that an example? If so I would think a course-wide blog is ok smile

I was going to suggest splitting students into small groups and having each of them do a blog (using separate groups) - so they share a blog which they can all post to and comment on. But you already have a small group.

This does sound like a case for the 'individual blogs' feature which was mentioned on here but which we we haven't implemented (so far). However, it could also be an argument for a change to the way grouping works (might be needed as an option for those individual blogs too). Currently if you choose 'visible groups', you can look at other group blogs, but you can't comment on them. I think this is ok for some situations and maybe a safe default, but we ought to have an option to let you comment on other groups (but still not post). I.e.:

Group commenting [Allow comments only on own group / Allow comments on all groups]

If we did that then your 'making a group for each one' (which is basically the same as how the individual blogs feature was envisaged to work) would work.

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
and just to add - in your situation, yes as you suggest maybe one option would be to use the students' existing individual blogs - however as those are not part of the course it is potentially a bit inappropriate, eg there is no way to control it so only people from that specific course can see posts.

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of D. S.
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 

Thanks Sam for your response.  I think individual course blogs with the ability to comment on others' blogs would be a great idea.  I have worked around this by creating six groups (yes it is nice to have a class of six) entitled Andy, Bob, Carol etc... and placed all students in each group.  This allows students in the Andy group to comment on any of Andy's entries.  The only down side I can see at this point is that students need to make their entries in the appropriate group since they have the ability to post in any group.  This means they have to remember to pull down the menu and select their blog/group.

The reason I am not big on the course blog with students contributing to one blog is that I want students to feel that the blog is their own.  In my mind, students would be more reflective on their learning. (citation needed smile

Thanks again for the direction.

Doug

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Pawel Krawczyk
Odp: OU blog - optional blog module
 

Hi,

I am going to make use of the OU Blog RSS feed but what I need is a feed that contains titles of the posts and the beginings of itheir content (say, first 10 or 15 words of each post; another, even better, possibility would be summaries if they existed), not the whole posts. I do not think that it is possible with the current version of the OU Blog. If this is really the case, I would like to suggest to extend the module with such an option.

Pawel

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - RSS feed with summary instead of full text
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
You are right; this is not currently possible.

You might like to create an issue on the Moodle Tracker (in the contributed code, oublog section) requesting this so that your request is recorded.

If anybody wants to code up a patch to implement it, please do so. (I don't think it should be very hard.)

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of NN NN
Re: OU blog - RSS feed with summary instead of full text
 
Hi,

How do you delete this OU blog? I tried it out, and I placed a link on my moodle front page, and now I cant delete the link either !?!?! I get an error message that says "Can't delete global blog"?
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - RSS feed with summary instead of full text
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Sorry this is probably a bug. There is special behaviour with blogs on the front page, it probably thinks it is the 'global' blog instance which provides per-user blogs.

You should be able to delete oublog altogether using the Admin/Modules page.

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Antonio Piedras
Re: OU blog - RSS feed with summary instead of full text
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Hi, this is the catalan translation.
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - Catalan translation added
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Awesome, thanks. I have placed it in cvs which means it should be in all downloads from tomorrow (or so).

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Joachim Vogelgesang
Re: OU blog - Catalan translation added
 
German translation
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - Catalan translation added
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Wow, two in two days!

Thanks Joachim, this has also been added to CVS and should be included in tomorrow's download zip.

(Note - I am using CONTRIB-1684 to track language file updates.)

--sam

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Joachim Vogelgesang
Re: OU blog - Catalan translation added
 
Hi Sam,

“Automatically integrates with the OU search system (if that is installed) to provide fulltext search of blog posts. “=> how does this work? I´ve inserted the whole blog incl. search.php

Joachim
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - Catalan translation added
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Because it's a shared facility, ousearch is implemented as a separate installable block available in the modules & plugins area. If you install this block, the search facility in oublog (also ouwiki, forumng if you have either of those) will appear.

You do not actually have to add the block to a course (if you do, it gives a coursewide search, but only of the modules that use OU search - it doesn't include any existing moodle modules such as standard forums). Just having the block be present and enabled in the system as a whole means that search will work in oublog.

Installing the block might take some time as it builds search indexes for your existing data. I'd advise trying it on a test system first.

I suspect the ousearch feature has been less well-tested at other sites than oublog, so let me know if you experience problems with it.

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Mitsuhiro Yoshida
Re: OU blog - Catalan translation added
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Translators
Hi Sam,

And here is Japanese translation for OU blog.wink

Mits

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - Catalan translation added
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Thank you! I have committed it to cvs so it should be there from tomorrow's downloads.

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Roger Emery
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
Hello,

First the positive - I have a BA English tutor over the moon with the OU blog tool - her students love it too.

The Question:-

Is there anyway of viewing all the posts and comments by an individual student in a course blog activity? (and even across more than one blog in one course?)

Have a tutor doing some marking and wading through a sea of posts that wants to organise them by student for exam board.

If not an interface function to do this, then a query.
I've been looking at the mdl_oublog_posts table which will give some of the posts by 'lasteditied' student, but I need to link in the comments also to get a full picture of what each student contributed (I know this will take the content of the posts out of context)

Anyone invented this wheel, before I re-invent it?

Many Thanks for any help
Roger




 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Thanks for comments.

1) Sorry, but there is no way to view all contributions to a course blog from a single student on one page.

We are about to implement a new 'individual course blog' feature which works kind of like the group course blog only with individuals (so you can use the dropdown to see posts from each user as a separate little blog within the course). This could support use as a learning journal (if you use 'separate individuals' mode so that only the student & their teacher can see their own blog, not the other students).

Anyhow, while this feature will be nice and some people want it, it probably won't do what you want (a 'view contributions...' option) because this is for blog posts only and not comments.

2) Hopefully you can figure out the query, I'm not as familiar with oublog tables as some other modules (I didn't originally write the code) so can't do it without looking stuff up and don't have time for that right now.

If you are interested in implementing high-quality code and user interface etc for your feature so that it could be included in the public version, please get in touch with me (use moodle private message and give your email so i can reply that way) so we can agree on a specification for how it should be done before you do it. smile However, I have to admit it will probably be lots easier if you just hack together the feature for your own purposes, or alternatively just use the pure database output without php.

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Roger Emery
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
Cheers Sam.

I'll write a db query and send the tutor a spreadsheet export of the result.

Afraid my code (or queries) will never be described as high quality, but I'll post what I do up to here in case its useful to anyone else.

Many Thanks
Roger
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
OU blog update - stable R1
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Boom! (Or, this should blow up less often, so maybe the reverse. Er... on second thoughts, let's not go there.)

We just released a stable version of OU blog. By 'stable' I mean, in comparison, the version in CVS and on the previous download link changes immediately that we develop a new feature. So that unstable version is likely to break.

This stable version won't change until the new feature has received some testing and so on. From 7 September, the stable version available will generally be the exact same version running on our live servers for over 100,000 users. This doesn't mean it will be bug-free - in particular there may be certain bugs that don't show up on the OU configuration - but there should be fewer bugs and in general the system is more stable. Also, you will be able to upgrade to a newer stable version (with the same major version number) and be reasonably sure we haven't suddenly added six new features to confuse your users.

If you want to see what OU blog offers I would advise trying the stable version from right now - or if you want to deploy it on a production system, investigate now but I'd advise waiting until at least September 14th (to be sure it's in synch with our release and we fixed any teething troubles) and make very sure you test on a test system first. This is stable only by comparison. We're not guaranteeing anything!

Download via the standard page but not using the links at the bottom - look for the red text, there's a download link just after that. Pick the latest version from my google docs folder. As of right now it's R1.4, I expect this number to increase over the next few days, it will get a lot more genuinely stable after September 7th.

Once you have it installed you can check your current version number (such as R1.4) on the blog settings page. Ordinarily, upgrading to a new stable version with the same R number, such as R1.17 for example, won't require a database update.

Please report any bugs using the Moodle tracker, 'contributed code', 'Module: OU blog'. When you report a bug, please (a) make sure you have upgraded to the latest stable release and the bug still occurs, (b) you quote the R number in your bug report.

If you last tried OU blog a long time ago, you might be interested to know that this version includes among other features:
  • Public comments (moderated)
  • Individual blog at course level (learning journal)
Keep an eye on my blog (which does not get public comments until hopefully September 7th, so you can't comment on it yet, sorry) if you want to see more information and such - I am hopefully going to make a screencast to explain the public comments feature because it's pretty neat (but might need explaining).

Sorry for this long post, and if you got this far, thanks for reading it smile I know some people like OU blog, hopefully this new stable version will make it more practical to deploy at other institutions.

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Glenys Hanson
Re: OU blog update - stable R1
 
Hi Sam,

Yes, I do like OUblog smile but was frustrated not to have an individual blog at course level.

Thanks a lot;
Glenys
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Patric Lougheed
Individual blogs not displaying
Group Moodle Course Creator Certificate holders
Great work Sam! Our instructors are really looking forward to offering individual blogs to courses but I found that they would not display. Course/group work fine but separate and visible would not... did some debugging and found that adding some missing spaces to the sql strings in the locallib.php did the trick:

Starting at line 2203:

//only one user is chosen

if ($individualid > 0) {

$sqlwhere .= "AND $userfield = $individualid ";

return;

}


Starting at line 2209:

//a list of user is chosen

global $CFG;

$from = " FROM ".$CFG->prefix."oublog_instances bi ";

$where = " WHERE bi.oublogid=$oublogid ";


Starting at line 2285:

// Um, only your own blog

$restrictwhere .= "

AND bi.userid = $userid";


I also found about a dozen other spaces missing but don't have the time to debug the effects at the moment.

Looking forward to R1.6!

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: Individual blogs not displaying
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
By the way, I didn't code this feature personally although I did the overall design. Mahmoud (on my team - well he was - he's on Tim's team now) did the code.

And, that's odd. The 2203 change should not be necessary because if you look at where that function is called (line 1489), there is always a space at the end of the string it's called with (which is not the clearest thing ever and there is no phpdoc of that parameter, oh dear, another triumph for our brilliant code review process).

2209 would break if you add a space, supposing that you have a db prefix set (that would make the table name into 'mdl_ oublog_instances' instead of 'mdl_oublog_instances'.

2285 does not need a space before because it has a carriage return before - whitespace is equivalent in SQL, in other words if I want to write

select * from frog
where x=y

(with no space at the end of the line with 'frog'), this should work fine.

So in other words I can't see anything wrong here. Are you sure it's those changes that fixed it for you, i.e. if you rename your version of that file out and go back to the original one, does it actually still work now and there was some other glitch before? Or is there some other diff in the file?

If anybody else can confirm there's an issue, please do. I'm fairly sure it works on our server (hope so as we are releasing it to live version tomorrow) however it's possible there might be a problem when using MySQL or something like that - if so please file a bug with steps to reproduce so I can see it breaking. smile

thanks!

--sam
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Rob Johnson
Re: Individual blogs not displaying
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
I have the same issue with individual blogs. I thought at first OUblog was interfering with something else on my test site. It is heavily modified. I then tried on a fresh install of 1.9.7 and still could not see individual blogs. Adding the spaces to locallib.php fixed it for me. Thank you to Patric for posting what to do.
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Patric Lougheed
Re: Individual blogs not displaying
Group Moodle Course Creator Certificate holders
Thanks for the feedback Sam!

I found line 436 is missing spaces:

$sqlwhere = " bi.oublogid = $oublog->id ";

This now fixes the separate/visible blog display issues we are having without editing the other lines.

This could be a php/mysql version issue and might not happen in older versions. I tested this on a default xampp install with php 5.3.1 and mysql 5.1.41 in Moodle 1.9.9+
and another dev server running php
5.2.13 and 5.0.67 with 1.9.9+.
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Psiko Pat
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
Hi thank you for your great work.

Just one thing: Is it possible that users have the opportunity to upload files in their blog, like it is possible in the standard blog of moodle?

This function is very important for us - so please help, if and how this could be implemented.

Thanking you in anticipation.
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Hi. Sorry, this is not possible!

We will definitely add this feature when we do a Moodle 2 version of OU blog next year.

There's a reason we didn't add the feature, basically we have a different way to handle it due to some local customisations; also Moodle itself is really poor at this in 1.9. 2.0 handles it in a standard manner across the system so we can basically just do it.

If you want to add it to the code yourself, or pay for a Moodle Partner to develop it, you could be able to, I'm not saying it is impossible or anything. But it's not there right now, sorry.

--sam


 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Russ Hunt
Cannot see posts in OU Blog
 
We've installed OU Blog on our system. Nothing I can do seems to allow me to use the individual blog feature: If I select "Visible individual blogs," no blogs at all are ever visible: I get only the message: "There are no visible posts in this blog."

I've tried every configuration I can think of. There must, I guess, be something wrong with the installation, but I cannot (nor can our IT folks) figure out what it is.


 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Patric Lougheed
Re: Cannot see posts in OU Blog
Group Moodle Course Creator Certificate holders
I found line 436 of the locallib.php is missing spaces:

$sqlwhere = " bi.oublogid = $oublog->id ";

This fixed our install.
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Russ Hunt
Re: Cannot see posts in OU Blog: FIXED
 
Thank you, Patric. That does seem to have been the problem. I just now noticed that you'd posted it earlier in the forum, but I didn't recognize it as a response to our problem, so especially thank you for posting it again.

It may be important to know where the spaces got lost -- if it's a common problem with installing it, somehow the issue needs to be flagged. I can easily imagine lots of people who, like me, were looking for something like OUBlog and can't make it work, and can't figure out what's wrong.
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Jesse Remington
Collapse OU Blog entries
 
Hi-
I may have missed reading about this functionality, but is there a way to collapse the entries in an OU Blog? Right now when one views a page it can be a very long page.

Thanks

Jesse Remington
 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of JD Moodle
Re: Collapse OU Blog entries
 

As an instructor you should be able to view just a particular student by clicking on the drop down at the top.

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Russ Hunt
Re: Collapse OU Blog entries
 

It seems to me a problem that the default is the view of all the postings, by everybody, in reverse chronological order regardless of who wrote them.  The drop-down is OK but, I think, inconvenient. I create a separate Web page, outside of Moodle (there might be a way to do this in Moodle, but I don't know what it is), that includes a table of names, each linked to the blog entries of one person (using the dropdown to create the separate links).  Seems roundabout, but if you want to use the OUblog program the way it seems to me blogs should work -- the main point being able to read one person's entries, then another's -- it works for me.

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: Collapse OU Blog entries
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

If there are lots of entries in a blog, there is no way to collapse them; it shows up to 20 entries on a page, in full. When there are more than 20 you get multiple pages. (Encouraging people to write short entries? smile

--sam

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of JD Moodle
Re: Collapse OU Blog entries
 

It should be similar to how the quiz module works.  You can set how many essay questions you want to grade at a time.

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Sue Harper
OU Blog Documentation for instructors
Group Moodle Course Creator Certificate holders
Hi:

We at Learning Systems (University of Victoria) have just posted documentation for instructors using OU Blog.

We are in piloting phase. Anyone interested, you can view it here:
http://elearning.uvic.ca/moodle/instructors/activities/617-oublog

Moodle Support:
http://elearning.uvic.ca/moodle

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Jeff Louw
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 

Hi There,

I tried this module and like it. I ultimately uninstalled it though. The blog activity in a course is perfect. The problem are "user" blogs - we don't really want blogs that are not actively managed by a teacher withn a course. If you could optionally enable/disable either course activity blogs or user blogs blogs or both via checkbox in the Modules -> Activities -> Manage Activities -> ou blog -> Settings (systems admin interface) I would have kept it.

Hope that feedback helps, and keep up the great work,

Jeff

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Hi Jeff, thanks for the feedback.

By the way, although there isn't a setting as you request, it is possible to disable user blogs by altering the 'authenticated user' role so that it doesn't have the related capabilities. If nobody has the capability to post to user blogs, then it is (effectively) disabled.

--sam

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Dan Halson
print_recent_activity always outputting 'New blog posts:' title
 

Hi Sam,

Firstly, many thanks for developing the OU blog, it has already proven to be a fantastic tool for our school.

I'm redeveloping the mymoodle page in order to add some improvements and customisations, in doing so I'm using the print_recent_activity method from the course lib, however, what I'm finding is that OU Blog is printing the title 'New blog posts:' regardless or not as to whether there are actually any new blogs - it's just printed for every course that contains an OU Blog instance. I've played around a little, but am finding I lack enough understanding of the recent_activity framework in Moodle and can't find a fix, any ideas?

Thanks for your help,

Dan

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of David Perry
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group Testers

Hi Sam

Heard about this module the other week at the most recent Yorkshire & Humber RSC Moodle User Group (hosted by my college) from Barry at Grimsby Institute. Just tried it out now on my local moodle2 (we're upgrading to this over summer) and it seems to do exactly what we're looking for.

We also have mahara here, but some people are finding that too much so looks like we can easily support a simpler alternative now. Will find some staff to try it with next time an enquiry comes.

Dave

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Great, sounds good.

For info (i.e. 'Random fact!'), we are intending to add a 'user participation' screen with grading support (optional, of course) to the Moodle 2 version of OU blog, later this year some time. Since with OU blog you can do a blog activity within a course, it makes sense to have way to grade that activity...

--sam

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Michael O'Brien
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 

Are there any details you can share about when OU blog for moodle 2 will be available?

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Lisa Carothers
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 

Hi,


I'm running 2.2.4 and have tried out the OU Blog activity for a course. Seems to work fine until I want to use the different sorting options that are available. When selecting an option under the following drop-down menus or buttons, this is what happens--

From the student view:

  • My Participation--When clicked, it goes to a screen with a button that says to "Download data as." When I click this I get a blank sreadsheet. Under the download button it says that the student has made no posts or comments when he/she actually has
  • Visible Individual--When a student from this list is selected, the current page of blog entries (which contains all the entries made in the class so far) remains unchanged. It does not display the entries made by that student.

From Teacher view:

  • Separate Groups--When I click on one of the groups, the current page of blog entries does not change or show me just the entries from the selected group.
  • Visible Individual--When a student from this list is selected, the current page of blog entries remains unchanged. It does not display the entries made by that student.
  • Participation by user--When I click this I see a chart of students that says they each has 0 posts and 0 entries when this is not true.

On a happy note, the tags work correctly, so my bandaid work-around for students is that they need to list their last name as one of the tags. When clicking the tag, it will show just the entries with that tag. Unfortunately students don't always remember to enter the tags...

Thanks for any help you can give.

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Jenny Gray
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers

Hi Lisa,

The lead maintainer for the oublog module is on holiday at the moment. 

Can you make sure that you're running the latest version of the module from github.com:moodleou/moodle-mod_oublog.git.  If you are, and the problem persists, then please report it in the Tracker and some-one will take a look as soon as they can.

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Glenn Pillsbury
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 

Consider this a vote for making the OU Blog a graded activity.  That would enhance the usefulness of the tool considerably!

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

It already is smile The planned development was actually done and is there now (in the master or MOODLE_22_STABLE versions).

--sam

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Glenn Pillsbury
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 

Hmm.  I have R2.2 installed but there are no grade options showing up.  I'm using Moodle 2.1 but the OU Blog didn't complain about being incompatible.

See below for a screen shot of what the blog set up looks like.  Where should the grading options be?

Thanks.

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Glenn Pillsbury
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 

So, it looks like even though my Moodle is reporting R2.2, that might not be relevant to the problem.  The Read Me for the latest files on Github specifies 2.2+ and the one I have installed specifies 2.1+.  Looks like we'll have to upgrade to 2.2 first.

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Our (oublog) versioning is still in a mess, sorry. We are hoping to move to a situation where the Moodle version of the plugin (as reported on the standard moodle Modules page) is enough to determine things, but not sure we are quite there yet.

I can't be bothered to look up exactly where it should be but yes - if you had the latest version it would have been on that screenshot you made.

--sam

 

 

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of John White
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 

Hi Sam,

Hi have been trying to get an install of OU Blog to work on my local server. Its a Mac Mini 2.5 GHz running OS 10.8.2. (Mountain Lion), running MAMP with a separate MySql database for each install. Whether I use Moodle 2.2.6 or 2.3.3 I'm falling almost at the first hurdle when attempting to use the 2.3 download of OU Blog. Of course I was expecting to have trouble running the 2.3 version on M2.2.6 (by fiddling the version number), but I get the same problem running the 2.3 version on M2.3.3!

With Moodle 2.2.6 running the 2.1 version of OU Blog I get no trouble.

But with the 2.3 version running on EITHER M2.2.6 OR M2.3.3 I get Invalid course module ID error when accessing "http://localhost:8888/moodle_2.3.3/mod/oublog/view.php?user=2". I can see that the error is being generated in /lib/pagelib.php around line 948 because the test if (!($cm instanceof cm_info)) proves true. Which is a surprise because the call to the function set_cm() arrives with what looks to me like a perfectly valid cm_info object in $cm. I wondered if you have met anything similar when kicking off with a clean install of M2.3.3 and OU Blog 2.3?

Of course you will ask we was I trying to run V2.3 on M2.2.6,? The answer is I would dearly like to get OU Blog with grading running on our live system which currently is on 2.2. But I emphasize that I get the same problem with moodle 2.3. Any ideas what might be happening?

Regards, John

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of John White
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 

I've done a bit more research and testing and seen that the course_module object that the function arrives with and the cm_info object are quite different things. The latter contains more info, and info about all that course's modules, from which the relevant one is picked. But I also see that get_fast_modinfo(...) doesn't return a course module because the course doesn't have any, including any reference to the oublog!

So have I started in the wrong place? Isn't /mod/oublog/view.php meant to trigger the creation of a blog if one doesn't exist? And doesn't that blog module need a reference in the course modinfo which currently looks like this:

[modinfo] => a:0:{}

...or have I missed the point completely!?

Regards, John

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Hi John,

1. There is a distinction between personal blogs (which use a single 'global' blog instance that is supposed to be added to the site front page) and course blogs (which use one blog instance per blog). This problem seems to be with personal blogs.

2. I suspect the blog instance on the front page has either not been added, or not been added correctly.

3. I had a quick look but couldn't actually find the code where it adds the global blog instance...

4. If there is a blog instance on the front page, try adding some other activity to the front page (like a label) and saving, this will force it to rebuild modinfo for the front page.

5. If there isn't... uh... it's probably a bug but you may be able to repair it in the database:

a. In the database, check if there is a mdl_oublog row with global=1.

b. If there isn't, manually add a blog to the front page with suitable settings.

c. Then, in the database, edit the mdl_oublog row for the new one you just created to set global=1.

I'm not certain this will work. At the OU we are actually not using personal blogs at the moment (because we haven't moved them from our old Moodle 1.9 system). This is scheduled to happen fairly soon so if there is something hideous wrong with personal blogs we will probably come upon it...

If you need more help, hopefully Jason Platts (who is now in charge of oublog) might be able to assist. (I.e. we will pester him to answer instead of me next time!)

--sam

 

 

 

 
Average of ratings:Useful (1)
Picture of John White
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 

Hi Sam,

Thanks so much for your reply. You were right (#1) this is a problem with Personal blogs. And (#2 & #4) as soon as I turn on editing in the front page course, the Personal Blog instance appears, editing and saving its settings fixes the problem! 

What confused me is that an entry in mdl_course_modules and mdl_oublog is supplied without editing the front page course (and this supplies $cm with appropriate content), but - exactly as you implied - in mdl_course $course->modinfo is not populated until you turn editing on in the course, and for this reason the call to get_fast_modinfo(...) can't find a match for the $cm content.

So its a matter of order and in any new install we need to edit and save the front page course before the oublog system will work. I've learnt something today!

As a very small refinement (perhaps one for Jason) I note that the Maximun visibility property is greyed out when Individual blogs are selected, but it may still appear to imply Visible to the whole world which seems rather confusing. Any such uncertainty tends to make admins rather twitchy I fear.

Many thanks, John

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of John White
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 

Hi Sam/Jason,

I now have the OU Blog (version 2.3) working well in both Moodle 2.3.3 (naturally) and also in Moodle 2.2.6! So far I haven't met any bugs as a result of using the 2.3 version in 2.2, which for me is very good news. It means its possible that we could move up to OU Blogging as a Learning Log tool, with grading, without needing to wait for our own roll-out of Moodle 2.3 which may take us a while. If so we are most likely to use it first in special 'portal-type' courses that cover a whole Year of a degree course, but which can be rolled forward year-on-year so that the Learning Log stays with the student as he/she moves through their degree course.

I have however found one bug that occurs on both moodle platforms. The CSV export tool ('download table data as...') currently appears not to export student grades, even though it will export the rest of the data. The fault appears to be in mod/oublog/renderer.php lines 426-430 where it currently reads...

if (!isset($user->grade)) {
$gradeitem = get_string('nograde');
} else {
$gradeitem = $user->grade;
}

...but I believe it ought to read...

if (!isset($user->gradeobj->str_grade)) {
$gradeitem = get_string('nograde');
} else {
$gradeitem = $user->gradeobj->str_grade;
}

...because the user grades are not held directly in grade, but in gradeobj. Without this the grades are always replaced by the 'nograde' string!

I hope this helps. And many thanks to all there for the OU Blog module.

Regards, John

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 
Average of ratings: -
QED
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 

We have just upgraded to Moodle 2.4

I just tried to upgrade to OU blog  $module->version  = 2013020800;

I put the blog on the front page and here are the issues I had:

1.) I had to go into the database as mentioned above in mdl_oublog and change global from 0 to 1. 

2.) When editing settings and set it on Visible individual blogs I am not allowed to ever select Visible to the world. Whenever you logout and try to access a user blog with the link it requires you to login again.

3.) When I login as another user and try to View Site Entries, it shows no other entries although I've made several entries under various fake students. I feel I am missing something having to do with permissionsfor front page activities?

4.) When I click on the RSS button in Safari I get the attached screen shot. In firefox it downloads feed.php

Any help on this would be appreciated as I'm trying to get things squared away in our new version over Spring Break this week....in Iowa....with snow on the ground still.....depressing.  sad


 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Gilles-Philippe Leblanc
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group Developers

We plan to install OU Blog and replace the traditional with this new blog. Is there a procedure to get there and there are migration tools for our users who used the traditional blogging tool ?

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Sorry but there are no migration tools.

I think a lot of people use OU blog only for 'in-course blogs' which is straightforward (same as other modules). If you want to use it for the site-level 'user blogs' as well, you can, but there is no automatic link to it (e.g. on user profiles) - you have to add a link in your system somewhere, whether that be by the theme or just adding a URL link to your site main page or whatever. (The link is mod/oublog/view.php - if you just go there without parameters it will jump to the current user's blog.)

Also check the capabilities on the authorised user role to make sure they are allowed to do the personal blog things.

Note:

As of yesterday, we have a MOODLE_22_STABLE branch for oublog (and most of our other published modules) which corresponds to the version on OU live servers. You can use this if you only want the tested code. Unless we patch it, there won't be any updates except on our release cycle (currently monthly).

There are a number of known bugs in oublog which one of the developers on my team is  currently working through. I should also warn that as of yet we haven't actually started using the 'personal blogs' feature in Moodle 2 because our 1.9 servers are still running and we want to switch it over 'in one go', not sure when that will happen. Anyway, please make sure you try it out on a test server and are sure it's working for your purposes before you start using it.

--sam

 

 

 

 

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of David Perry
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group Testers

Some staff have looked at using it for 'in-course' blogs as Sam notes. We wrote a couple of helpsheets (one for staff setting them up, one for students submitting them).

FYI we also have a member of staff using it for a cross-site area we've setup in part of the AS/A2 teaching category to keep an eye on any problems students that are taught at multiple sites/institutions are having, in place of email chains between these staff about them. The Concerns pages are staff-only with only specific staff given access to them.

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Niki Vielma
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 

Hi David,

We have just installed the OU Blog and are new to using it. Would it be possible for us to see and maybe use your helpsheets for our staff and students. Our institution is University of Edinburgh and we would give you credit of course as the authors of the documents.

Many thanks,

Niki

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Gilles-Philippe Leblanc
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group Developers

Thank you for the answer. This will help the implentation of OU blog.

 
Average of ratings: -
me at a FIRST robotics competition
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Hello,

We are using the OU blog on our 1.9 Moodle site and I was wondering if there was a way to restore delted posts. I know that I can see them as an admin user, but is there a way for end users to restore deleted posts. If not, maybe I can go into the database and un-delete them...

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Rob Johnson
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

I am using OU Blog with 2.3.  In the oublog_posts table there are two tables that might do the trick.  Take a look there for userdeleted and timedeleted columns.  My hunch is changing those values to NULL will un-delete them.  I would try it on a test post first.  Please post back if you give it a go.

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of sam marshall
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

So far as I recall, end users can't undelete posts - when they delete it and confirm the deletion, it disappears from their screen entirely. In the case of oublog, the deleted posts are only present in the database for an audit trail (i.e. if a student posts something offensive, deletes it and claims they never posted). We didn't use it to implement an undelete feature. (Obviously, that is a possible improvement.)

I think Rob's suggestion about manual changes in the database are correct. The other thing you could do is copy-paste the text of the post (from your view of it as admin) and email it to the user to post again.

--sam

 
Average of ratings: -
me at a FIRST robotics competition
Re: OU blog - optional blog module
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Hi Rob and Sam,

Thanks for both of your suggestions. I am happy to report that changing the two values of ou_blog_posts (deletedby and timedeleted in 1.9)  to NULL restored the deleted post. I also like the idea of sending the content to the user to have them repost (though then the timing of posts might be out of order). We have a student who has been posting "The Daily Gamer" news and then deleting the posts every day. I hope I can convince the student to restore their old posts as an example for other students on how to use the blog tool.

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Łukasz Pawlak
Odp: Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 

I have fresh moodle version (Moodle 2.4+ (Build: 20121220)) and after succesfull instal blog script (https://github.com/moodleou/moodle-mod_oublog, v. 2012121901) when I try to add new post, I receive error:

Coding error detected, it must be fixed by a programmer: PAGE->yui2_lib() is not available any more, use YUI 2in3 instead, see MDL-34741 for more information.

What to do?

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of John White
Re: Odp: Re: OU blog - optional blog module
 

Hi Lukasz,

I'm not any kind of expert with OU Blog! But I have just searched for the error you saw, and I found this tracker item: CONTRIB-4049 In there it suggests you may have used a 'release candidate' version of Moodle and not the latest STABLE version. Upgrade to the latest stable version (for example here) and the problem should be fixed.

Regards, John

 
Average of ratings: -
Lindy anime style
Re: OU blog - no text editor, attachment window won't load
 

Hi folks,

We are currently running Moodle 2.5.5+, with OU Blogs build 2013043000.

 

Our educators would like their students to attach files to their blog posts.  There is an attachments window, but in Chrome (up to date version Version 33.0.1750.154 m) and Firefox (up to date version 28) (let's not even start talking about IE), it never finishes loading - rendering it unusable.

Being a work-around kinda gal, I looked for an alternative - but the text editor (and hence the ability to link a document in the text of the blog entry) is not there.  All we have is a plain text window.

Has anyone else come across this issue?  Any ideas for a fix?

 

All the best,

 

Lindy

 
Average of ratings: -
Picture of Barbara Taylor
Re: OU blog - no text editor, attachment window won't load
 

Lindy,

I just tested with Chrome 33, Safari 6, and Firefox 28 and I didn't have any issues.  Did you edit the OU Blog settings and check the number of attachments that can be added and the maximum file size?

Barbara

 
Average of ratings: -