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Picture of Christoph S.
Grading Moodle forum posts in a less traditional way, i.e. "+1" instead of grades from 1-n?
 

We're currently building an eLearning system and up until now Moodle 2.2.1 has been a great choice and was able to do just about everything we wanted it to do.

However, one of the desired features for this system is giving me a bit more of a headache than I expected:

In order to give students an incentive to post constructive feedback and questions on the forums we want to give them the ability to rate each others posts. This should not be part of their final grade, but we would like to display a public ranking of students with the most helpful post to incentivise others to follow in their footsteps.

In order to increase fairness and avoid problems arising from a traditional grading scale, the students should only be able to give positive feedback for posts they liked, but no negative feedback for posts or possibly even students they may dislike. This is somewhat similar to Google's "+1" or Facebook's "Like" approach to rating content - not perfect, but it eliminates several problems of the more traditional public rating system.

Sadly, I found no proper, somewhat native way of doing anything like this or even similar with Moodle's grading system. sad

Just using a simple scale of 0 to 1 would be perfectly fine if one could display the total sum of "ones" under the post and create a small, live table of the top ranked students that the students can see.

Even when chosing to display the sum of all votes, Moodle naturally caps this at the highest possible grade, one, making the result useless.

So in short the features required would be:

  • adding votes/likes/plus or similar to forum entries - this doesn't have to be overly pretty and can make use of the existing dropdown menu
  • showing who liked/graded whom to the teachers and admins internally - this is already possible with the existing system
  • possibly show a list of the highest ranked students to students and teacher alike

Ist there any clever way of using Moodle's othwerwise incredibly powerful grading system in the way we want to, did I simply miss an existing function? Any simple hack to allow for it without sacrificing the abiliuty of somewhat painless Moodle updates in the future (tweaking a couple of lines of Moodle code would be fine as long as it can somewhat painlessly be applied to future versions)?

How easy would it be to extend Moodle with this feature for someone with php knowledge and a background in php-based CMSs? Is there maybe already a plugin providing something similar? How flexible and well documented is Moodle's plugin system in this area (could one hook into the existing grading system and extend it or would one have to reinvent the wheel)?

 
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Picture of Christoph S.
Re: Grading Moodle forum posts in a less traditional way, i.e. "+1" instead of grades from 1-n?
 

Wow, now I feel silly: I only just noticed that the exact same system that we want is already in place in this forum.

How could I have I have missed that? surprise

But a much better question: How do I replicate it in our Moodle setup and how do I automatically generate my own "Particularly helpful Moodlers" group (just shorter and showing the total number of useful posts per student)?

I apologize if this has been asked before and/or is well documented, by neither this site's and forum's internal search nor a Google search found what I was looking for. Additionally, my Moodle 2.2.1* setup won't allow me to create grading scale with only a single entry (like the "useful" scale used here). I also have to apologize for not necessarily using all proper Moodle terms to describe every setting, our Moodle install is using a different language by default.

*we're still in comparably early stages of deployment, and upgrade to a later version would be possible if it is reasonably stable and secure.

 
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moi!!! it is what is is...
Re: Grading Moodle forum posts in a less traditional way, i.e. "+1" instead of grades from 1-n?
Group Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers

"How could I have I have missed that?" Easily.. congratulations on recognising it, few people would have done so so quickly. I am not sure how this is done, but you might be posting in the wrong place though. I think it might be better in the Developer's forum, or more likely, you will get a better answer there than in here.

BTW, you used a word I was unfamiliar with...

"incentivise" - defn: (1) A corporate-jargon non-word meaning "motivate," coined in 1968. Some 10 years later, it was shortened to the equally annoying verb "incent." Unfortunately, both are recognized by both Merriam-Webster and the OED. (2)Verb, apparently. American version of the much simpler root word "incent". Why they can't seem to cope with this much simpler word, I don't know.. obviously doesn't sound important enough. Ex(i)- I would like to motivate him to never say "incentivize" again by telling him I will rip his windpipe out of his throat the next time I hear him say it. Ex(ii)- I hope everyone who says "incentivize" in earnest knows they come across as a jargon-spewing clown. Urban Dictionary.

Although I am a great mangler of the English language myself, I am not that cruel to it..smile

 
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Picture of Christoph S.
Re: Grading Moodle forum posts in a less traditional way, i.e. "+1" instead of grades from 1-n?
 

Thank you, Colin, for confirming that I'm not entirely crazy. Well, at least when it comes to configuring Moodle, not necessarily when it comes to the English language, which, in my defense, isn't my own but was taught to me, among others, by a very special American who now has some explaining to do. big grin

I'm still rather baffled by the fact, that the official Moodle.org forums are using a feature that I need and that a typical Moodle installation, for all that I can tell, not only doesn't allow me to replicate through regular means but seems to actively forbid for some reason.

At the same time I'm perfectly willing to admid that my exposure to Moodle has been a relatively short one and that I may just be missing something terribly obvious. So if anyone could point me towards the proper settings, I'd still be very grateful.

 
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moi!!! it is what is is...
Re: Grading Moodle forum posts in a less traditional way, i.e. "+1" instead of grades from 1-n?
Group Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers

This is a very interesting point Christoph. I don't know as much as I would like to about Moodle, the more I learn it seems the more there is to learn, but I am sure it is going to run out some time..maybe...  You suggest that the feature that allows admins/teachers to generate icons that identify contributors and their type of contributions as used here should be available as part of core? What a great idea... I have not run across this as a plugin or a block, but I would think it is, which means it could be made available. Interesting..   

EDIT: I just created this Moodle Tracker item - http://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDL-31783.

 
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Mary Cooch
Re: Grading Moodle forum posts in a less traditional way, i.e. "+1" instead of grades from 1-n?
Group Documentation writersGroup Moodle Course Creator Certificate holdersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup TestersGroup Translators

Anyone can add icons in their Moodle - they are group membership icons and when you create a group you have the option to add an image that identifies the group . I don't think (but I might be wrong) that the icons appear automatically when you become a Particularly Helpful Moodler for example; I have always assumed that it is done manually by adding the user to the group.

 
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Picture of Christoph S.
Re: Grading Moodle forum posts in a less traditional way, i.e. "+1" instead of grades from 1-n?
 

Thank you, Colin and Mary.

However, I'm currently still stumped at the first step: Moodle doesn't allow me to create a grading scale with just a single entry.

I can create a dropdown menu that says not useful and useful, but I cannot create one that just says useful as a single entry. Moodle complaints, that every scale requires at least two entries.

I'm sure I could remove this silly limitation if I dug deep enough into Moodle's source, but I'd be rather worried that this may break things elsewhere. If there is one, I'd rather go the proper route. I just can't find it - which is equally surprising and frustrating, considering that these forums use something that my Moodle simply won't let me do. sad

Showing the results of these votes in a public manner is step two of what I have to do, I still need help with the step above first.

After some review, I agree with Mary that the "Particularly Helpful Moodler" is probably not generated automatically, but maintained manually. However, this probably happenes based partly on the metrics ("who has the most useful posts?") I'd like to display publicly on our Moodle setup, if possible.

 
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moi!!! it is what is is...
Re: Grading Moodle forum posts in a less traditional way, i.e. "+1" instead of grades from 1-n?
Group Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers

Also Mary, it seems that you have to recreate the group in every course, there needs to be a simpler way. I created a group in the front page, but it does not transfer to a course. I recreated the same group in the course and an image appeared. I would think that it would be better if it was done once, that is, site agreed images, site agreed groups (names), then accessible in courses by adding in a block and adding a User to the block. Everywhere the block appears, if a User's name is on the list, the grouping name and image also appears. I must admit to being really chuffed winning the two icons I have, and I try to keep earning them - it is a recognition from my peers that perhaps I am doing something right, occasionally..smile In this modern world such a positive is valuable, if not to the world at large, it is to me. Imagine this as a merit badge accessible to anyone who puts the effort in. School captains, class leaders, prefects if you have them, anyone who contributes to the school community, any number of groups can all gain recognition within the school Moodle for services they perform in courses to assist others in learning, in achievement school school wide activities.    

And Christoph, how about Useful, Good point, Helpful. These can all mean different things without the negative. Have you looked at Ratings in your forums? I think that there is a way to grade Ratings awarded, or add Ratings to grades - never done it myself, but I recall some discussion on it.

 
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Picture of Helen Foster
Re: Grading Moodle forum posts in a less traditional way, i.e. "+1" instead of grades from 1-n?
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers

Just adding a link to Christoph's discussion in the general developer forum: Replicating Moodle.org's forums' "Useful" votes feature and a user ranking based on it in a "regular" Moodle installation?

Colin, as part of our moodle.org improvements, we're hoping to have cohorts which populate groups in every course, so wherever you post, your group icons are displayed.

 
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moi!!! it is what is is...
Re: Grading Moodle forum posts in a less traditional way, i.e. "+1" instead of grades from 1-n?
Group Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers

Ahh Thanks Helen, that would acheive the same sort of thing!!

 
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