* You are a teacher in Moodle 1.8. You create a category, share it, put some questions in.
* You go to another course in which you are a teacher, you can see your shared questions and use them.
1.9 upgrade comes along, because your category is shared it is bumped up to the System level. You, as a teacher, have no System rights.
* Now, your questions are still in the quizzes in both your courses, but they are locked. You have lost the editing rights to your own questions.
Please tell me I'm wrong, this is going to turn into an enormous problem. If I'm right, why wasn't this discussed?
I think it probably was discussed (There is Development:Plan_to_Improve_Flexibility_of_Question_Category_Sharing_and_Permissions and the 100+ post forum thread in GDF that it links to.) and of the various options, this was the least bad.
You need to create a Shared question user role and assign it to the teachers who want to share questions - as explained in Question_Engine_Changes_in_Moodle_1.9#Potential_Issues_on_Upgrade.
* The name is confusing... it just seems hard to explain to people... question category / course category... errr...
* My original question - this is another roles-based backward step For most users the reality is that they can't share questions any more. Of course, I realised what the fix was (I work with Moodle all day every day) but even for me I wasn't sure what all the capabilities do and , hence, what the role should be built as. The documentation is weak (e.g., the issues page doesn't seem well linked in to the docs), but I'll fix that. I think there needs to be a mechanism for teachers sharing categories with *themselves* (what most seemed to use it for) in other courses without touching roles.
* The screen to move roles between categories is grim. I actually don't understand why you would need to move roles up and down within a category but I'm sure there's a reason Anyway, three sub-points:
** There's no way to tell what courses questions are being used in from the categories (not easily anyway). This makes management/optimisation tricky.
** Bulk move from one category to another needed.
** How about a magic category optimiser, that moves a question category to the *best* place based on what courses it is actually used in (i.e., if it is actually only used in one course, it just gets moved back there)?
I have very little time for development these days (depressingly), but I may be able to put in some effort on improving this stuff.
Do you remember the bit in Moodle 1.8 where, if the questions contained images, then actually it did not work when a teacher shared the questions between their courses? Actually it was worse than that it looked like it was working to the teacher, but when the students attempted the quiz it was broken. We tried to find a way to solve this for years before this proposal came along.
Specific suggestions for improving the UI are welcome. I will think about it when I work on Development:Moodle_2.0_question_bank_improvements.
However, fundamentally, in any system you have a trade-off between flexibility and simplicity, and yes, we have moved slightly more in the direction of flexibility. However, I don't think the new system is that complex, and your offer to improve the docs is probably very helpful.
On the subject of your last to sub-points. They could be combined. You could make an admin report that that lists all the quizzes that use a certain question or questions. Then, at the bottom of that report, you could have the interface for suggesting the optimum place to move each question or category to.
The difficulty in doing this is, of course, random questions. In particular random questions that will select from a question category and all its subcategories. question_list_instances may be helpful, but does not yet properly account for random questions yet (MDL-5780). I may work out how to solve that as part of MDL-8648.
I like your idea of the admin report. I'll need to look at the random question issue - I don't know enough (well, anything) about it. I'll see what I can do.
That is a mighty statement, Howard. As a pretty ordinary mortal myself I subscribe to it.
From this exchange between you and Tim in this thread I would like to spring to one of my favorite complaints about the general organization of Moodle, of which I have had very few echoes in the past. I am one of those teachers who want to share their questions not with other teachers in the university moodle site but with ... myself, i.e. my other courses on that site. And this holds true not just of questions but of a number of other resources and activities, e.g. glossaries. For instance in each of my moodle courses I maintain a so-called "Grammare Glossary" which contains entries related to the most frequent mistakes my students make when writing their forum posts in English. Each time I add an entry in, e.g. Grammar Glossary in course A I have to remember to add (or export) that very same entry in my Grammar Glossaries in courses B, C, D, etc. Why can't I have just one "Grammar Glossary" belonging to Teacher JR, which would be automatically shared between all courses taught by Teacher JR? Same for questions.
The "category" concept is no use here, since the courses I teach are spread over various "course categories" in our moodle site. I have said it and will say it again, the Moodle system is missing a very important level, the "teacher level". And yet, this level seems to exist in a way, when I import stuff from one course to the other, I can view a list of "all the course where I teach": but this only enables me to import stuff from one course to the other, NOT to dynamically SHARE resources and activities between my own courses, hence the boring duplicate operations.
Oh, and the metacourse concept doesn't help either... It is too cumbersome and does not do what I need.
AFAIK, by default you can't share questions between courses at all. You need to create a category that both courses can "see", create a role with suitable capabilities and then assign teachers in the same (role) context as the question category. That makes sense but you have to have a clear understanding of a number of tricky concepts which is what concerns me. It's also an administrative (with a small 'a') issue, as this all has to be managed manually for any/all teacher(s) coming along who wants to share questions.
The upgrade process from pre-1.9 question categories is something of a car-crash IMHO. If the teacher was foolish enough to select "published" they have their question category removed from their control. The questions do stay attached to the quizzes so they, at least, keep working until the teacher wonders why they can't edit their questions any more.
So, I *think* the answer to your question is no - it doesn't work like that.