Comparisons and advocacy

 
 
Picture of Gavin Henrick
30 reasons to Move to Moodle 2
Group Moodle Course Creator Certificate holdersGroup Testers

These should be helpful for those trying to persuade those that be about moving to Moodle 2 from Moodle 1.9.

I created the three presentations on “10 reasons to move to Moodle 2″ to help answer the questions:

  • What are the differences between Moodle 1.9 and Moodle 2?
  • Why should I upgrade to Moodle 2?

Over the three presentations I have put forward 30 reasons for moving to Moodle 2. There are  others which could have been added in, such as command line admin feature or filters however I had to choose 30 for the presentations.

If you havent caught all of the presentations here are the links:

10 reasons to move to Moodle 2

10 more reasons to move to Moodle 2

Another 10 reasons to move to Moodle 2

 
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Picture of Paul Nijbakker
30 reasons to Move to Moodle 2 and one reason not to...
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Hello Gavin,

This is all very well, but all this neat new functionality is obscured for us by the obstacle of an unintuitive, unattractive file system that appears to have thrown away basic functionality and usability in exchange for advanced functionality that not everybody needs. The developers may claim our mountain is a molehill, but that is not helpful to us who have to present this unwieldy system to our teachers and defend it against competing VLEs that do offer the familiar kind of easy-to-use file system that some Moodle developers seem to despise. Our teachers will never get around to using all the neat stuff in Moodle when they cannot start with a simple, easily overviewable course file system on which to base their courses.

Rgrds,
Paul.

 
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Mary Cooch
Re: 30 reasons to Move to Moodle 2 and one reason not to...
Group Documentation writersGroup Moodle Course Creator Certificate holdersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup TestersGroup Translators

I take your point regarding those teachers moving from 1.9 to 2, Paul, yes, who have been used to using Moodle to store their files. In my experience it hasn't been so much an issue for those beginning with Moodle 2 (ie, who don't know any different)

 
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Picture of Paul Nijbakker
Re: 30 reasons to Move to Moodle 2 and one reason not to...
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Hi Mary,

We have used Moodle 1.x a very long time, our teachers are used to it and a lot of course material has been built using the "deprecated" course files system. I cannot get my head around it that the developers chose to throw away the advantages of the old system without solving the disadvantages of the new. Many very experienced Moodlers I have seen in the forums are confused by the new system or have issues with the fact that you cannot easily find files, share files, or update files, that you cannot delete files (the system has to delete them for you), that local links do not work anymore in the majority of resources, etc.

Most teachers that I know do not start using Moodle by creating a fancy Workshop. They start by adding files to a course, course information, study material and the likes and then maybe assignments and we move on from there... Many who use Moodle only in support of classroom activities do not feel a need to go past that level and couldn't care less about how advanced some of the activities are; they only need the basics. If that entry level is made difficult, my life will be difficult, for I will become the target of all complaints. I consider it only fair that I channel some of that discontent here in the hope that solutions can be found before we have to upgrade our main production site.

Rgrds,
Paul.

 
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Mary Cooch
Re: 30 reasons to Move to Moodle 2 and one reason not to...
Group Documentation writersGroup Moodle Course Creator Certificate holdersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup TestersGroup Translators

I totally understand -in fact, my school area is still on 1.9 and (fingers crossed) will probably (possibly) move to 2 ready for September 2012 so I have all of this to come. (In my region the authority is in charge of the 700+ Moodles, not the schools themselves) It will be a challenge and I am not quite sure how it will gosmile I sometimes think the ones who will find it the hardest are the most organised ones - file/folder wise and ironically , those who just bung in their files to upload them directly onto the course page via link to a file or website , not even being aware there IS a course files area (as some of ours aren't) will maybe not suffer as much. I am a really untidy person and not at all bothered  by organised "stuff" so the idea that one file is in a "page" where I hyperlinked to it and another image is in a "label" because that is where I uploaded it to -just doesn't bother me. But we have a music teacher who laboriously uploads everything into folders and sub-folders and then displays to the students - and she might be a more difficult person to convince.

By the way, one of my jobs is to train newly arrived teachers in the school and I do so by getting them started on NON-file uploading tasks such as assignments, webpages, forums etc with a brief mention of file upload at the end... I am hoping this might pay off when we do eventually upgrade in that those teachers won't get so stressed out when we do move to 2... but... who knows?mixed Watch this space in 6 months' time.

 

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: 30 reasons to Move to Moodle 2 and one reason not to...
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
From a spectators point of view, the score stood at 30-love until the turn of the year. Now some points have arrived. Could somebody update the score please?
smile
 
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Picture of Jim Peterson
Re: 30 reasons to Move to Moodle 2 and one reason not to...
 

I have not followed the whole thread, so this may not help with the increasing the thirty, but does address the file problem. We used the Dropbox repository and showed teachers to download their Legacy Files into their Dropbox accounts. The Dropbox tie in is new in Moodle 2 and once your legacy files are moved it works exactly the way the old file system worked, with one huge advatage: you drag and drop files on your hard drive to make them available in Moodle. Once teachers saw this they were sold. Some teachers quickly figured out that if you store your files in Dropbox Public folder and use the URL resource set to download you could even change your files and they get automatically updated on Moodle. 

 
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Picture of Gail Reiken Tuzman, Ed.D.
Re: 30 reasons to Move to Moodle 2 and one reason not to...
 

What is the security of the files in the Dropbox Public folder?  Will the files also be available to people who are not in the course(s) for which the files were intended?

 
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Mary Cooch
Re: 30 reasons to Move to Moodle 2 and one reason not to...
Group Documentation writersGroup Moodle Course Creator Certificate holdersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup TestersGroup Translators

I'd imagine that the Dropbox files in the public folder would be available to anyone who had the URL - so potentially a student in the course could tell someone outside of the course what the URL was and they could access it. It all depends on how secure you want or need your files to be, I guess. It was always the same with sitefiles on the old (1.9) Moodle or even with course files in Moodle 1.9 in that, potentially, students could guess URLs if teachers didn't give them obscure  names.

 
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Picture of Jim Peterson
Re: 30 reasons to Move to Moodle 2 and one reason not to...
 

Public is public: anyone who finds the link can use it. This has stopped some teachers for going that route. However, for teachers who share resources but not Moodle courses and for teachers who make late changes to documents they are willing to comprimise the public nature with the flexibility.

 
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Picture of Paul Nijbakker
Re: 30 reasons to Move to Moodle 2 and one reason not to...
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Hi Jim,

We have looked into Dropbox, but we are wary of using any outside services over which we have no control, some material used in some of our courses is furthermore confidential, so while users will be allowed to use Dropbax, we will not propagate it as the solution to the file system problem.

I am awaiting the integration of our "test" Moodle 2.2 site with a "test" Mahara site to see if Mahara could, if need be, provide a file management platform for Moodle courses.

Rgrds,
Paul.

 
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Picture of Bob Puffer
Re: 30 reasons to Move to Moodle 2 and one reason not to...
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

IMO, Mahara has a worse file management system than Moodle, previous to 2.x in how it relates files and resources made available to the user (a two-step process disallowing any resource actions until the resource is uploaded in a completely separate procedure).

 
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moi!!! it is what is is...
Re: 30 reasons to Move to Moodle 2 and one reason not to...
Group Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers

mmm I tried to help a friend set up a Mahara, and the Mahara community was not interested in helping him. We both did not achieve success on his system so I am unable to make comment about the file system, but the set up process sucked big time. Cannot be bothered after that experience.   

 
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Picture of Paul Nijbakker
Re: 30 reasons to Move to Moodle 2 and one reason not to...
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Hi Colin,

We already have one Mahara installation and had no trouble setting it up and networking it with Moodle (1.9). I am eagerly awaiting another (test) installation of Mahara to try out the further integration with Moodle.

Rgrds,
Paul.

 
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moi!!! it is what is is...
Re: 30 reasons to Move to Moodle 2 and one reason not to...
Group Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers

Hi Paul,

That was my thought as well, when my friend asked for help I jumped at the opportunity to do it. However, installation proved impossible, OK it was a standalone XP machine, with an AMP, but that should be no barrier to setting up Mahara. It was supposed to be a one stop operation and we could not get past the error message that said it was updating the database. Seeing as how we had upgraded the PHP to install a Moodle 2 just a few weeks earlier without a hitch, and both v1.9 and 2.0.2 (I think it was) were both running flawlessly, and it was a completely new installation of Mahara, I could not see where it was going wrong. Henry was unbelievably frustrated by it all and I cannot say I blame him. Unfortunately, that failure to launch has done a lot of harm to the perception of Open Source in his workplace and there are other issues as well for him.

I am absolutely appalled at the lack of support he got from the Mahara community, but I was even more disgusted by the paucity of documentation and obvious lack of understanding of their product.

All that aside, I really do not have time to play around with it anyway, so while it is no skin off my nose, I am just disappointed that other Open Source PHP Apps do not get the same degree of interest from their own users that Moodle does. Or, maybe I have been spoiled by this community. smile      

 
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Picture of Jim Peterson
Re: 30 reasons to Move to Moodle 2 and one reason not to...
 

Paul,

As a community my school is less risk averse about outside resources, especially ones that you can pay for and have a business model (like Dropbox) or that are open source and we can fix ourselves if push comes to shove (like Moodle). 

As technology people we are always holding a tension between having only one way to do something and knowing completely how it works and giving a lot of options and seeing what is compelling and used. With the dramatic change in the file system we showed off to our faculty five options for maintaining files and are allowing them to pick which works for them. Oddly enough most of them have chosen to try to maintain their legacy files, which personally drive me nuts, but to each his own. 

Another option you might consider (the one I use in the course I teach) is the drag and drop file upload block. It is an add on, but is very well maintained and works like a charm. This emlimates outside resources beyond Moodle and a contributed block.

 
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Picture of Glenys Hanson
Re: 30 reasons to Move to Moodle 2 and one reason not to...
 

Hi Jim,

What were the other three options you gave your faculty (legacy files and the drag and drop file upload block being the first two)?

Cheers,

Glenys

 
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Picture of Jim Peterson
Re: 30 reasons to Move to Moodle 2 and one reason not to...
 

We implemented and gave training on the Private Files (this will be huge as we roll out more iOS devices). We did Dropbox and Google Apps as well. 

 
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Picture of Paul Nijbakker
Re: 30 reasons to Move to Moodle 2 and one reason not to...
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Hi Jim,

I do not find it at all odd that most of your faculty members chose to stick with the simple, intuitive file system that they have been using all their lives (just remember the good old paper card systems and file folder archives of yonder days).

Thanks for pointing me towards the drag and drop block. It seems to me not yet entirely out of its swaddling, but certainly could help to make adding files easier, so it's worth testing out. Do you know where the dropped files go in Moodle, does the block function as a repository of sorts? From what I can tell, it only adds files to the course page, not inside existing resources (e.g. if a teacher wants to create a page resource which links to a number of files, rather than creating a list of files on the course page, this block would not help, as far as I can tell unless it drops files into a known location from where they can easily be linked to existing resources).

Rgrds,
Paul.

 
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Picture of Jim Peterson
Re: 30 reasons to Move to Moodle 2 and one reason not to...
 

I do not know where they go when you use drag and drop, but I would assume it is the same place they go if you choose Upload a file from the Moodle 2 file picker. They are associated with that resource or activity only and if you want to use the same resource again you have to upload it again. 

None of the options eliminte the need for some level of using Private Files if you want to create folders of resources. This seems to be the only way to do folders. 

I would like to add that I think the new file picker is awesome. I think it has power way beyond what anyone knows Moodle will need. In our transition it was the second biggest hurdle as well. Only the new quiz module was a bigger transition (we jumped straight from 1.9 to 2.1). In case you are wondering the new themes with the ability to dock the blocks was the third biggest hurdle. Get your ducks in a row on these issues before you role out any level of 1.9 transition. I learned this the hard way and did a lot of on demand training. 

 
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Mary Cooch
Re: 30 reasons to Move to Moodle 2 and one reason not to...
Group Documentation writersGroup Moodle Course Creator Certificate holdersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup TestersGroup Translators

hi there - judging by this tracker entry http://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDL-29766 I think they are planning for drag and drop to be part of the file picker capabilities in the next version.

 
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Picture of Paul Nijbakker
Re: 30 reasons to Move to Moodle 2 and one reason not to...
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Hi Jim,

I checked out the drag and drop block (and created some lang files for it). As I had surmised, it only drops on the course page as File, Page or URL resources. This limits the usefulness, also the fact that it does not work with I.E. and the fact that the user must have AJAX turned on in their profile (our default is no) are hurdles. In concept it is great functionality, though, and it would be awesome if it could indeed drop files anywhere, i.e. on existing pages, in existing File resources, in Folder resources, etc.

In our case the file picker will be the biggest obstacle to overcome. I am not blind to what it can do, but I'm mostly concerned about what it should do and yet doesn't. The new functionality is fine, but if the price for it is that part of our existing material is going to be messed up, then I consider that a serious flaw.

We do not use quizzes on a very large scale and they are mostly created by us, the support staff. Also the new themes do not worry me too much as most users will just want to continue with the same view they had before. We will just have to teach them how to put accidentally undocked blocks back in their place.

Rgrds,
Paul.

 
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Picture of Glenys Hanson
Ajax turned off as default setting
 

Hi Paul,,

Would you mind explaining why your default setting is Ajax off? It makes life so much easier for teachers creating courses. I know there were problems many versions ago but in my experience (1.9.16 and all the recent versions) it works just fine.

Cheers,

Glenys

 
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Picture of Paul Nijbakker
Re: Ajax turned off as default setting
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Hello Glenys,

Ajax was off because we did not need it in Moodle 1.9. Now in 2.3 it is on for all users, but unfortunately, it does more than make life easy. It makes it slow too...

Rgrds,
Paul.

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: 30 reasons to Move to Moodle 2 and one reason not to...
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Hi Paul

Keep in touch with the discussions in the "Repositories" forum. For example, this one, "managing and updating a large number of files (repository, legacy files, show a directory)" http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=194486.
 
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Picture of Bob Puffer
Re: 30 reasons to Move to Moodle 2 and one reason not to...
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

You're singing from my songbook, Paul.  When the final tally is made I firmly believe the 2.x file system will rank somewhere around the 1.7 roles.

 
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Picture of JD Moodle
Re: 30 reasons to Move to Moodle 2 and one reason not to...
 

 When the final tally is made I firmly believe the 2.x file system will rank somewhere around the 1.7 roles.

True, the file system is meh.  Sometimes I yearn for the simplier Moodle 1.x file system. However, Moodle 2.2 destroys Moodle 1.x for the following reasons:

  1. TinyMCE (Finally a real editor with tons of awesome pluggins) no more crappy indent problems.  I was able to port Geshi over to TinyMCE within minutes.
  2. Rich text multiple choice answers.
  3. The Quiz module
  4. A workshop module that finally works.
  5. Themes and mobile themes.

I suppose that if your teachers just want to use the simple assignment module then stick with 1.9.x.

I think power users love Moodle 2.x.

 
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Picture of Paul Nijbakker
Here we go...
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Message this morning, I quote:

"Today we had an iLinc session with Vaasa and Kotka for the Prosa-NET project. I showed how the materials may be added to Lappia Open Moodle, but it was considered so difficult that we have agreed that the Vaasa and Kotka partners send the material to you via e-mail, and if you could then upload them to Open Moodle. How about this?"

And this comes from users who had been using their project environment without trouble until I upgraded it to version 2.2.

Rgrds,
Paul.

 
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Picture of Paul Nijbakker
Re: Here we go...
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Hi all,

Only this morning I was made aware of another issue that occurred during our upgrade to Moodle 2.2. In at least one of the courses a large part of the file resources have lost their link to their file. They display the "This legacy resource type (file) was not yet migrated, sorry." error. From the forums I learn that this has to do with timeout issues during the upgrade, but our test site is very small (only a dozen courses) and there were no timeout issues during the upgrade. It went smoothly (or so I thought).

The files are still available in the (Legacy) course files, and I can repair the course by editing every flawed file resource and restoring the link. I can only shiver at the prospect of having to do this in our main installation which has thousands of courses.

Rgrds,
Paul.

 
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Picture of Visvanath Ratnaweera
Re: Here we go...
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
I notice that the subject has changed from "30 reasons to Move to Moodle 2". Does it mean that the score has changed too?

Where is the umpire, BTW?
smile
 
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