Journal (add-on)

 
 
Picture of Kasper Lauest
Will the journal work in Moodle 2 as a contrib?
 

Has someone tried to see if the journal will work with Moodle 2 as a contrib? At my school I guess around 95% of the use of moodle centers around the journal and the ability to get an overview over all students responses very fast (not for grading purposes, but to see whether they have a decent grasp of the concepts being asked about).

This is so important to us that it could well be a dealbreaker for us with regards to upgrading to Moodle 2, which would be a great shame, since I have been looking forward to some of the new and improved features.

So have anyone tried it?

 
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Mary Cooch
Re: Will the journal work in Moodle 2 as a contrib?
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I haven't tried it - but we use the online text assignment and as that is core I presume that will work fine. Is there any reason why you prefer the journal over the online text assignment?
 
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Picture of Kasper Lauest
Ang: Re: Will the journal work in Moodle 2 as a contrib?
 

Yes. The journal gives you the opportunity to have all students responses in one window with zero need to click around to read their responses.

My students have to do a journal before every class, where the have to answer a few key questions regarding the text they've read. They don't get grades for this. All I need is to skim through their responses in 5 minutes to see if they have grasped the key concepts and maybe I'll provide super-short feedback to a random handful of them.

This is how many teachers at my school uses the journal. As I wrote, it is easily the most used module at my school - probably about 95% of the moodle use at our school.

 
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Picture of Hartmut Scherer
Re: Will the journal work in Moodle 2 as a contrib?
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Hi Kasper,

I cannot answer the question, if the journal module will function in Moodle 2.0. As soon as I read the information that the support for the journal module will be discontinued for Moodle 2.0, I looked for alternatives.

Have you tried out the database activity module? HERE is a sample reading journal that I uploaded to the Database of Databases. This is a generic weekly reading journal. Adjust it to your needs. Before you change anything in templates, make sure that you have disabled the editor. In my classes I use this journal with separate groups, i.e., one person builds a group and all groups are added to "individual students" as grouping.

Once you have set up this activity, you can save it as a preset and make it available for all teachers. Whenever they want to have a reading journal, they add the database activity, select group mode with "individual students" and select the preset. Each week you will see the entries of your students on one page - no additional clicking needed compared to the assignment module.

With kind regards,

Hartmut
 
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Picture of Kasper Lauest
Ang: Re: Will the journal work in Moodle 2 as a contrib?
 

Hi Hartmut,

Thank you for that suggestion.That is worth considering if the journal won't work in moodle 2.smiler

I am still upset that the developers are even removing the journal from moodle. I think it will greatly hurt the chances of moodle catching on in my part of the world (Scandinavia).

 
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Picture of Kasper Lauest
Ang: Re: Will the journal work in Moodle 2 as a contrib?
 
It appears so far that it doesn't work. I just installes Moodle 2 RC1 on my own computer to try it out and I can't get it to accept either the journal or the flashcard modules.
 
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Paul
Re: Ang: Re: Will the journal work in Moodle 2 as a contrib?
 

I tried to install it on 2.0 (after the release).  It just leaves and empty module in the the modules config page in admin tools.  Humph!

I have some teachers who just built a unit utilizing regular journal entries.  I am intrigued by the previous posts about using databases and templates.  I'm a little confused about that.  Online text seems to be too unwieldy ( different one each time).  Hmm.

It is odd that the journal module page implies that it will work in 2.0. "From Moodle 2.0 onwards, it may be downloaded via the download latest version link."

Any ideas on using the journal2assignment script?  Would this work to move old journals over?

Thanks for your input.

 
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Picture of David Monllaó
Re: Ang: Re: Will the journal work in Moodle 2 as a contrib?
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Hi Paul, you can try that journal 2.0 upgrade, feedback will be useful smile

 
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Paul
Re: Ang: Re: Will the journal work in Moodle 2 as a contrib?
 

Thanks David-

Does anything need to be modified in here or should it be more/less ready to go in a standard moodle 2.0 setup, where I would just put it in the /moodle/mod directory?

Thanks

Paul

 
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Picture of David Monllaó
Re: Ang: Re: Will the journal work in Moodle 2 as a contrib?
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Yes, you can install it like any other module, it's ready to deploy. I had test it on a Moodle 2.0 RC1 and it worked fine (without errors nor notices, xml strict compliant, backup 2.0, groups...) it should work on the latest 2.0 release. If you find something wrong please tell me, thanks Paul.

 
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Picture of Marc Grober
Re: Will the journal work in Moodle 2 as a contrib?
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Questions and answers.....

It appears according to the tracker (which now seems to be responding again thanks to additional RAM....)  that http://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDL-17725 was not included in the Moodle 2 upgrade scripts,  which means that journal tables are apparently orphaned in some way on upgrade as best as I can determine based on info that persons upgrading to Moodle 2 RCs were successful in upgrading, but had no access to the journal activites.

It also appears that there is extensive confusion surrounding the Journal plugin db entry on Moodle.org as it seems to still be in need of a maintainer (IS that going to be you, David, and have you discussed the plugin db entry with Anthony Burrows?) and while there are comments indicating that it won't work with moodle 2.0 on the plugin entry, the posts here are that it does.

Additionally,  even if the module works for Moodle 2,  the question is how one migrates from a Moodle 1.x with journals to Moodle 2 with journals.  That is to say,  can one simply NOT convert the journals and then upgrade to Moodle 2, install the module, whereupon the module will work and all the pre-existing journals will function?

So while there is one train clearly southbound,  there is another northbound,  and the conductors on both trains have inconsistent statements to make which of course leads to tremendous confusion.

It would seem that the FIRST thing to do is tyo update the Journal module entry in the moodle.org db so it is vetted, current and has an active maintainer.  Once that is accomplished I would suggest the second thing to do is to make it clear in forums and moodle docs that there apparently IS a transition path for the journal module, as wel as clarify any issues with respect to the db (especially if one is also changing from MyISam to Innodb) and migration.

 

 
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Paul
Re: Ang: Re: Will the journal work in Moodle 2 as a contrib?
 

Thanks so much David.  It looks like it works just fine.  One of my teachers had just created a whole new unit which included journals as an important part of reflection throughout.  While the online text is a similar idea, it just doesn't have the personal sense about it that a journal does.  I'll post here if we have any problems.

Thanks

Paul

 
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Paul
Re: Will the journal work in Moodle 2 as a contrib?
 

Marc-

As posted above.  I am aboard one of those trains.  I don't know if I am going north or south.  I am definitely not conductor material.  However, my students journals that were written in 1.9x are now back in 2.0 and we can continue with journals.  I can't speak to the gradebook piece of this, as I do not use the gradebook.  The assignments do appear to still have grades attached to them.  I used the link from David above.  Many thanks from my teachers.  I'm just the principal and moodle maintainer, so I will only hear if it doesn't work.

I did try the journal2assignment script but I think that needed to happen in v 1.9x, as it doesn't seem to work in v 2.0.

I have yet to move from MyISAM to Innodb.  Frankly, I have no idea what those are, but I'll do some reading and figure it out. smile I might consider waiting until I upgrade the OS on my ubuntu server.  I'm still running 9.10 but it is running well.  Don't mess with success.

 

 
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Capt. Moodle
Re: Will the journal work in Moodle 2 as a contrib?
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For better or worse, beginning in Moodle 1.6, folks were encouraged to move from the journal module to the assignment module. Those that did not, continued to make use of the journal module which in 2.0 is now officially in CONTRIB and no supported in core. You are correct that currently there is no official maintainer of the journal module. Getting an active maintainer would certainly help.  From what I read it does sound like there is a way of getting things working in 2.0 but it requires a little familiarity with administering a Moodle server. Peace - Anthony

 
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Picture of David Monllaó
Re: Will the journal work in Moodle 2 as a contrib?
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Hi Mark,

About the 1.x to 2.x upgrade, I have not seen the upgrade code nor attempted to upgrade from 1.9 from 2.0 but if it doesn't explicitly delete the journal tables I suppose that they will remain there and should not be a problem to retrieve the old 1.9 entries after the module 2.0v installation.

 
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Picture of David Monllaó
Re: Will the journal work in Moodle 2 as a contrib?
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Hi,

Anthony gave me write access to the journal module, I'll do my best to maintain the journal as a contrib plugin for moodle 2.0. These days I'll be commiting the pending changes available now in http://moodle.org/pluginfile.php/158/mod_forum/attachment/705606/journal_2010102800.zip, after that I'll work on the opened issues and the module refactoring.

If I'm not wrong, the "download latest version" link of the modules & plugins journal entry will be updated every day with the latest CVS version.

There are many code changes since the 1.9 version so all the feedback will be welcomed

 
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Picture of Kasper Lauest
Ang: Re: Will the journal work in Moodle 2 as a contrib?
 

You're a star, David. I'm sure your work will be much appreciated by thousands of Moodle users. Yes

 
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Picture of David Monllaó
Re: Ang: Re: Will the journal work in Moodle 2 as a contrib?
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Hi Kasper, sorry but I'm only a poor developer with a limited english vocabulary... anyway, thanks for the selfesteem upgrade to 2.0 smile if you found issues related to the journal module please, report it in the tracker and I will work on them. Thanks again and regards

 
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Picture of Marc Grober
Re: Will the journal work in Moodle 2 as a contrib?
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Thanks to David for taking this on and to Anthony for facilitating.

Some action items:

  • Track down all the places where it is being said that journal is kaput and alter them to reflect that while journal is not core anymore, that the journal module is alive and well.
  • Confirm the impact of Moodle 2 upgrade on existing journals  so that there is an accurate picture/plan available for transitions/upgrades (e.g. if one leaves journals in place and then upgrades to Moodle 2, will moodle 2 install or will you get a flagged module error message, and if the former, will subsequent install of journal module then resolve all table entires so there  is nothing orphaned as well as properly integrate with the rest of moodle, such as gradebook.
  • Address whether the module will be provided in easily unzipped form without the leading /moodle so that users who have installed moodle in a directory other than /moodle don't have to deal with the problem (cf format employed with Dragmath.
  • Identify the direction the module will take in the future (since there is obvioualy a great deal of emotion about the format currently employed though functionally the activity is, as Howard has been at pains to explain, very close to the online assignment.
 
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Picture of David Monllaó
Re: Will the journal work in Moodle 2 as a contrib?
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Hi Marc, nice roadmap!

  • I've been looking for a "journal has died" in Moodle Docs and in the M&P entry and it seems that they already reflect that from 2.0 onwards it's not in core and should be downloaded via the M&P latest version download.
  • I've just finished a upgrade from a 1.9.8 with journal activities and entries to the latest (2010112400) moodle 2.0. The journal tables and his data remains into the database; after that, I've installed the journal module for 2.0 and the journal activities and entries were restored to the corresponding courses. I'll also try to copy the journal module into the moodle 2.0 mod/ directory before the upgrade execution, but I guess that the behavior will be the same. There is an issue with the gradebook, 2 years ago I attached a patch (http://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDL-16761) for 1.9.x to add compatibility with the gradebook but it has not be applied to core, I'll add an upgrade process to the 2.0 module version to add the existing instances to the gradebook. I'll add a post when all will been done and available through the "download latest version" link (probably thiw weekend)
  • If I'm not wrong, the root from the M&P automatic download link .zip it's the journal/ folder itself
  • About the module future, I don't have a pedagogical view (I'm not a teacher) and I can't help on that, should be the community who demands what is prioritary with her votes on tracker, I'm sure that you and other moodle users could be very useful to define that direction
 
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Picture of Marc Grober
Re: Will the journal work in Moodle 2 as a contrib?
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

David,

As far zips.....

  • There is an automagical way that the CVS respository creates zips from existing contribs.  Unfortunately,  for some contribs these automagically created zips include /moodle,  which meant that for anyone who did not have a /moodle,  its was pain in the rear. I asked Anthony to talk to HQ folk about changing that behavior but as I recall we were told, "no."
  • Some zips are designed to be placed in a target folder to be exploded  (such as /mod, or /filter.)  You indicated that this is how the current zip is set, and I checked and that is indeed the case. This suggests there is something about how the cvs was set up for DragMath that we didn't understand (maybe the diff between patch and plugin.) This behavior is fine, but it does mean that the user has to place the zip in the correct folder.....
  • To try and address the issues we faced with dragmath,  I created an archive that allowed for it to be placed in the moodle root and unzipped. This meant that no matter the moodle,  all one had to do was place the zip in the moodle root and unzip. Under the current scheme that would require additional steps, and that is really unnecessary as long as the docs make it clear that one is to place the zip in the mod directory (though it may be obvious to us,  newbees often miss that) and unzip.

I don't know if you have done this before, but once you edit the db entry for the module, it will become invisible until Anthony OK's the changes, and once you see the editing interface for the db you will see that you can have different links for different versions (that way you can differentiate between versions for various branches of Moodle.)

I always created a custom grade for journals in GB; I was not aware of your patch (but note that the url you used include the paren some doesn't bring up  http://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDL-16761 )  I really hate to push patches as so many users have difficulty with patches and it can be a pain at upgrade time. But since the devs have clearly indicated that they are not listening evil .... How many files outside /mod/journal have to be patched for journal to interface with GB, and would it be worth it to create the same kind of archive I describe with respect to dragmath so that unzipping not only adds /mod/journal, but also overwrite any other files necessary?

Once upon a time I was called upon to create an interface to query a db400 store with a gui.  SInce historically this was 5250 terminal green screen country, any change in what the users wanted required a rewrite in RPG. In order to empower users I set up a a basic toolkit and variables structore that made it relatively simple for users to manage things themselves. It would be very nice to be able to provide a Moodle interface that provide a constructor to make creation and or modification of activities based on basic templates available; like an openoffice Base integrated with Moodle.  One can only dream wink

 
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Picture of David Monllaó
Re: Will the journal work in Moodle 2 as a contrib?
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Hi Marc,

It's only necessary to patch a pair of files, both inside mod/journal, to add jorunal instances to the gradebook, there aren't other moodle core modifications.

I've followed the MDocs page to create the http://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDL-16761 patch, it can be applied with the -p option set to 1 to skip the first directory (link), I also shared it as a .zip (http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=102154#p464241) for admins without diff/patch knowledge, according to MDocs info that shouldn't be the way to do, but the journal was declared dead before that and I supposed that there wouldn't be future code changes...

About M&P, I don't have write access to the journal entry, anyway I only have write access to the journal contrib version (from 2.0 onwards) and the "download latest version" link should be refreshed with that contrib version (HEAD), the journal versions lower that 2.0 are moodle core code and I can't change it.

I've the journal 2.0 version (with the upgrade process to add instances to the gradebook) ready to commit, I'm waiting for the tracker component access to assign to me a new journal issue related to the commit.

 
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Picture of Eleanor Ramsay
Re: Will the journal work in Moodle 2 as a contrib?
 

Hmm, I tried a dry run of a Moodle migration from 1.9 to 2.0 and was not able to complete the installation until I removed all traces of the Jounal from the plug-in directory *and* the database fields.

How did any of you get it to work? Import/install after the migration?

Ran into the same thing with the Lightbox Gallery plug in (even though it says 1.9 or above)

While I am realistic about perhaps having to switch from the Journal to another activity (onine assignment or the blogs), I have faculty who love its simplicity.

It would be really nice for it to have a future.

We've decided to stick with 1.9 for this semester. Just too many issues with 2.0 and contrib plug-ins.

 
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Picture of David Monllaó
Re: Will the journal work in Moodle 2 as a contrib?
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Hi Eleanor, to get a moodle 2.0 with the journal module working with the previous data I followed the usual process to upgrade moodle: I had a 1.9 with contrib plugins installed, I uploaded a 2.0 release on the same server path and the 1.9 config.php file (I didn't delete database journal tables nor any other DB modification) after the upgrade I added the 2.0 journal version and I went to 'Notifications' to install it.
 
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Paul
Re: Will the journal work in Moodle 2 as a contrib?
 

That worked for me too.  It did give me warnings about journal being missing when I was in the upgrade process.  It still completed the upgrade but left me with little missing journals.  As soon as I added David's copy of the journal files all those mystery journals turned back into reality.

 
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