I'm still looking for this option after all of this time. How can I alter the required user fields?
You could simply tell your students to use
Though it may be confusing if you ever need to view your logs or gradebook.
All users are addressed, tracked and logged by username, hence why the full name is irrelevant. As it stands, they can make up any name they want on the site, and any other sort of workaround (i.e., telling users "Real name doesn't matter, register however you want") looks unprofessional. As if the software isn't "right." Which it isn't!
The only solution is to make certain items not required upon registration, or better yet to remove them from the registration form altogether. Surely this is not all that impossible!
No these things are not impossible, not recommended, but not impossible.
To make the first and last name fields not required you will need to edit the user/editlib.php file. Look for $mform->addRule and then comment out the lines pertaining to the first and last name fields being required. You will also need to go into the database and make sure that mdl_user accepts null values for those fields.
The tricky part is I'm not sure if there is other code within Moodle that requires first and last name, so you may end up with some funky errors where Moodle is looking for something that is normally there but isn't now.
Good luck, HTH.
Still searching for the answer to just that issue:
IF I make the first and last name not required in the coding, will it cause errors elsewhere in the system?
Moodle was never designed for anonymous use and you are going to have a struggle to make it do what you want. It won't be hard at all to fix the profile editing screen but it is a coding job. You'll also need to modify the code (probably in various places) to add fake firstnames and lastnames.
My concern would be that Moodle quite possibly isn't the right software for your needs in the first place.
I agree with Howard. It is most unusual in education for the purpose of teaching and learning that the outcome is some people who cannot be identified may have learned some things but we don't know who they are.
It is far more common in my experience, particularly as I have just gone through exam results for an intense scrutiny of who learned what and who did not.
I am of course using "pass exams" as a proxy for learning which is not always an exact relationship.