I recently have opened up a tracker item to debate the inclusion of a new feature in Moodle 2.3. I am keen to get as many users voting, or maybe arguing why not, to add this feature.
Many teachers are aware that Moodle does not allow for an easy way to set a task or resource just for a particular group. But it is something we need on a regular basis.
Advanced users are often made aware of the trick of creating a grouping just for a group. This however is not what that functionality was designed for and as such is difficult to set up, not intuitive and a it buggy.
I propose a different solution. Moodle 2 introduced "Conditions" allowing a teacher to set a pre-requisite for access to any resource or activity. To dat these include things such as:
- restriction based on date criteria
- restriction based on a required grade
- restriction based on a prior resource/activity being complete or not
A condition is just that. A condition of entry/access. A requirement that must be met before something can be accessed. It (at least to me) makes sense that we add the following criteria to future release
- Restriction based on group membership.
This would allow for a teacher to say "this homework task is just for Class A" or "this task is just for external users" and so forth. Ill try to better explain this below as I outlined my argument in the tracker.
A picture of this in action is shown below:
Groupings is critical. It sadly is being misused (abused) to meet a required need.
Groupings was meant to be for setting up tasks with specific grouping mechanics. i.e.
- This forum is for class discussion. Use class groupings (class A, class B, class C)
- This wiki is for group work in groups of 4 (A1, A2, A3, A4)
- This assignment should be done in pairs
In this use groupings is vital so that Moodle understands how to apply the specific grouping mechanic needed as set by the teacher.
The "for group members only" means that students not allocated to this task grouping methodology don't see it. And this is valuable.
The issue here of course is that in Moodle there is a STRONG need by facilitators to set activities or resources JUST for a group. 1.e.
- This is a informal homework task for class A
- This is a resource just for external users
- This task is for the January intake only and needs a specific date.
For the above methodology I would either need to make separate courses (more work for teachers and more confusion for students), or create multiple resources and activities that all students see which also leads to confusion.
So let me reiterate:
Separating by groupings is not designed to be used this way and as such:
- Groupings are a pain to setup. Often today a grouping is created with only one group in it to allow me to separate tasks out as listed above.
- grades still show in the grade book for items that I may not see in the course
- It is not intuitive as terminology does not make sense when used in this fashion
I am not suggesting the removal of groupings at all and I DONT believe it doubles up on functionality. It is a different tool for a different purpose and with different strengths and weaknesses. It is like saying lets ditch glossary because it double up on the database activity functionality.
Lets instead say "HEY! This is the wrong way to do it. Groupings are for grouping mechanics. As intended. Conditions are about setting conditions for access" When done this way I do not think there is a double up. It is a creation of a new feature that meets the needs of our facilitators.
Am I wrong here? Do you agree? Is there a better way? I am keen to hear thoughts from the community on this matter so that hopefully it can be addressed i a future release.
If you do believe this is a good way forward, please be sure to go to the tracker and vote, otherwise I would love to see constructive debate here in this forum post.