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Picture of Helen Foster
Ideas needed for course settings page refactor
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If you've had chance to play around with Moodle 2.5dev recently, perhaps using the QA testing site, you'll have noticed a big change in settings pages, due to MDL-30637 being implemented.

As a result, the course settings page is now in need of some reorganising / refactoring (see screenshots below). If you have any ideas, please let us know, then once we have a good proposal, Fred can get going with MDL-38415.



 
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Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Re: Ideas needed for course settings page refactor
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Note that final section not collapsed is a known bug: MDL-38340

 
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Picture of Andrew Nicols
Re: Ideas needed for course settings page refactor
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Hi Helen,

It may also be worth considering the collapsed editor improvements that the OU have been working on. Here's an example:

Example of collapsed TinyMCE editor in Multiple choice question

And open:

Example of opened editor

These will also available from Moodle 2.5 onwards.

Andrew

 
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me at a FIRST robotics competition
Re: Ideas needed for course settings page refactor
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I love the "Show editing tools" option. So many text fields that are being entered in Moodle are plain text, so the editing bar just takes up scrolling space and is visually distracting. The editing toolbar ends up making textboxes seem like more important fields than the other fields (which is the case for Course Summary in a high school).

Setting an "Allow inline" could also save a bunch of space!

One more thought: The items under general are not all that important for course creation.

News items to show, show gradebook, show activity reports, maximum upload size, and force theme are all mostly non-choices for teachers and just distract and confuse from the real questions which are usually: What is this course called? What format do I want? How many sections do I want? How and when do students/guests get into the course?

I would move those options to the open section and move the options under General to a closed section called... Display Settings?

 
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C'est moi :-)
Re: Ideas needed for course settings page refactor
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Hi Colin,

I totally agree with all your suggestions!

I like the show/hide editing tools, and also the ability to have several elements on the same line.

Changing informations in General section would also be a good idea.

Séverin

 
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Gareth J Barnard
Re: Ideas needed for course settings page refactor
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Dear Helen,

Have an 'allowinline' option when adding form elements such that if space they are rendered alongside the previous element.  Then developers can 'group' within 'groups'.  Would also benefit all forms.

Please see attached....

Cheers,

Gareth


 
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Picture of Richard Oelmann
Re: Ideas needed for course settings page refactor
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+1 for Gareth's suggestion

I know I spent a long time styling this kind of option using css for one theme settings page I created a while ago, but that meant it was only usable in that theme itself. This suggestion would go a long way to being able to arrange settings pages in logical, usable blocks and not just in a long line of settings.

Richard

 
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The fox I once modeled, vertex by vertex, so to me it is no ordinary fox
Re: Ideas needed for course settings page refactor
 

Addition rarther than improvement: Should this settings page have a list (position ...) of this course's blocks somewhere so as to give a complete overview/picture? Not sure myself if needed , particularly if you have dual screens.

 
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Picture of Richard Oelmann
Re: Ideas needed for course settings page refactor
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Not sure that needs adding to the settings page Jago - its more something you can look at and alter actually on the page itself so easily, I'm not sure adding that to the settings would be beneficial myself. The fact that you can add blocks, hide them, drag them around and dock them on the course page itself probably reduces the usefulness of adding that as an extra settings section.

Happy to hear what others think though smile

 
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Picture of Frédéric Massart
Re: Ideas needed for course settings page refactor
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Thank you all for your feedback here.

If you don't mind, I'd like to refocus the discussion on the goal of this topic. There are many great ideas going on here, but for now we're trying to re-arrange the current form so that it's easier to set up a new course.

I'm all for the inline elements and collapsed TinyMCE and stuff, but unfortunately we do not have time to tackle that down right now.

Now that we have collapsible sections, the names of the sections are way more important than before, and some are being pointless (ie: the language section with only one input). I will try to come up with a refactoring and gather your feedback about it, but don't hesitate to suggest anything in the mean time.

Many thanks!

Fred

 
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The fox I once modeled, vertex by vertex, so to me it is no ordinary fox
Re: Ideas needed for course settings page refactor
 

...move course Format selection dropdown, from General to Formating section. For each format consider having  icons or sreenshots like for the selection of themes...appearance of course is a Big thing for users.  Gareth Barnard and other are doing good work on course formats which we need to build on.

 
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The fox I once modeled, vertex by vertex, so to me it is no ordinary fox
Re: Ideas needed for course settings page refactor
 

....so you would effectively split away from the general section, a section that controlled the central content column/area - maybe called "Start date & content area format". So maybe course start date and news items would have to follow.

And a new 'Blocks' section would include 'show grades', 'activity reports'... and display the arrangement of the course's currently included blocks.  This might be easier for teachers to understand quickly? Because easier to visualise, like editing a Google site layout.

 

 

 
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Picture of Helen Foster
Re: Ideas needed for course settings page refactor
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As Fred says, thanks everyone for your feedback so far. approve

Regarding reorganising the course settings, whilst thinking about it, I wondered whether quite a few settings could be removed from the course settings page completely. In particular, I thought of

  • News items to show - Makes more sense as a Latest news block config setting.
  • Legacy course files (as shown in CF101 on the QA testing site) - If the legacy course files repository is disabled for the site and 'Legacy course files in new courses' in 'Common repository settings' is set to no, do we still need this course setting?
  • Allow guest access - Setting appears to duplicates the enrolment methods functionality show/hide plugin.
  • Password - Seems better suited as a guest access config setting, just as enrolment key is a self enrolment config setting.
  • Groups settings - Perhaps these settings could be moved to Settings > Course administration > Users > Groups?
  • Show gradebook to students - Isn't this now controlled by the capability 'View your own grade report'?
  • Show activity reports - Isn't this now controlled by the capability 'View activity report'?
  • Completion tracking begins on enrolment - Does this setting do anything at all? (I couldn't figure out what it did!)

I don't expect all we can remove all of the above settings from the course settings page in Moodle 2.5, but it would great if a few of them could be removed.

As for the rest of the settings, I tried to think of a manager or course creator creating the course initially, then imagined which settings a teacher might wish to change. Any settings which they'd be unlikely to want to change, such as category, course ID number and force theme, could then be placed under 'Show more...'.

Regarding the course format, as it's only topics and weekly formats which have formatting options, it seems pointless having a formatting options section. Instead, formatting options settings should be displayed directly below the format setting.

Regarding the availability setting (also a section), I've noticed this particular setting seems to cause a lot of confusion. How about we rename it 'Visible' with show/hide options, to make it consistent with activities and admin interfaces. Also, since there is only one setting, it can be added to the general section.

Implementing all the above ideas, I came up with the following course settings reorganisation (as illustrated in the mock-up below):

General
Course full name
Course short name
Course description
Course start date
Visible

Show more...
 Course category
 Course ID number
 Completion tracking
 Maximum upload size

Appearance
Course format
then if say topics is selected...
Number of sections
Hidden sections
Course layout

Show more...
 Force theme
 Force language
 Role renaming


 
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Mary Cooch
Re: Ideas needed for course settings page refactor
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Really good ideas Helen -  I wish I had more time to make longer comments but I am in the middle of an extremely busy two weeks (for various reasons) and not around much at the moment. Few thoughts (pasting some of your comments)

Allow guest access - Setting appears to duplicates the enrolment methods functionality show/hide plugin - yes - surely  having this in the course settings is a hangover from 1.9 and should be got rid of? Same for the password. 

  • Groups settings - Perhaps these settings could be moved to Settings > Course administration > Users > Groups? Yes - I find that teachers set up groups in the groups area  of course admin and then are confused when they don't seem to work as expected. It is because they forgot or never realised they also have to go into the course settings as well.So I am definitely up for moving it.
  • Completion tracking begins on enrolment - I am glad it's not just me not knowing the use of this. I seem to recall a discussion in the tracker somewhere sometime?
 
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Picture of Helen Foster
Re: Ideas needed for course settings page refactor
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Hi Mary,

Regarding the 'Completion tracking begins on enrolment' setting, I searched in the tracker and came across MDL-26644. Thus it seems this is definitely a setting which can be dropped from the course settings page!

 
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The fox I once modeled, vertex by vertex, so to me it is no ordinary fox
Re: Ideas needed for course settings page refactor
 

Helen your refactoring looks like a step forward.

Regarding the course completion block &  related settings: 

I think a  text 'hint' of somesort is needed some where, for teachers/managers, to remind them that they need to add this block manually.  Otherwise students & teachers find it difficult to access .../report/completion/index.php?course=XX ... and its seeing this report which help users make sense of course completion by giving them an overview

 

and maybe a similar hint to add the 'self completion block beside related settings?

 
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Picture of Helen Foster
Re: Ideas needed for course settings page refactor
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Hi Jago,

Thanks for your feedback.

I'm a bit confused though when you refer to "the course completion block &  related settings", as I'm not sure of the connection with the course settings?

 
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The fox I once modeled, vertex by vertex, so to me it is no ordinary fox
Re: Ideas needed for course settings page refactor
 

Hi Helen,

Sorry not that clear above.  I think if using course completion in a course, then it is critical that the  'Course completion status' block is visible to users?  So a hint, to add this block would be useful, to make it quicker for non-experts to get going with course completion


 
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Picture of Helen Foster
Re: Ideas needed for course settings page refactor
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Hi Jago,

Thanks for your explanation. I agree with you about having a completion tracking help pop-up and so created MDL-38755 for it. I was thinking also that the course completions settings page could also benefit from a help pop-up mentioning the Course completion status block.

 
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Picture of Frédéric Massart
Re: Ideas needed for course settings page refactor
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Thanks for the suggestion Helen, that looks really good! I only have 2 concerns:

As a non-teacher, I tend to use the option to set a password and guest access in the course settings. Could it create confusion to the users if it's not possible to change those settings there any more? Though don't get me wrong, it makes much more sense to have everything in the right spot!

The other thing is about the "Show more/less". I wonder if it's a good idea to keep using those... As a teacher, as most sections are hidden by default, I will need to expand the ones that seem appropriate and then click "Show more" to find the setting I am looking for. It is even worse if I am not sure what I am looking for but assume there is a setting for it.

Even though I think it's a good idea to have the ability to hide some settings by default, I think the less we use them, the better. Actually, weren't those settings suppose to solve the complexity of the forms? Now that we are simplifying them, are they really necessary?

I'm just raising a point. In any case Helen's suggestion would be a great improvement!

Edit: Anothing thing I quite dislike about the "Show more/less" is that the fields will randomely appear in the section. As a developer, I can hide the first field of the section, and only display it when showing more. This is rather confusing for the user who expects the hidden fields to be added from where "Show more" was displayed. This could perhaps be solved programmatically, but that would be a bad idea...

 
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Picture of Joseph Rézeau
Re: Ideas needed for course settings page refactor
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Frédéric "Another thing I quite dislike about the "Show more/less" is that the fields will randomely appear in the section. As a developer, I can hide the first field of the section, and only display it when showing more. This is rather confusing for the user who expects the hidden fields to be added from where "Show more" was displayed. This could perhaps be solved programmatically, but that would be a bad idea..."

+1

 
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Picture of Helen Foster
Re: Ideas needed for course settings page refactor
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I've found tracker issues or created new ones for moving or removing all the course settings I mentioned previously:

Assuming none of them, apart from MDL-26644, can be fixed in time for 2.5, and we don't have any settings under Show more/less (Fred's suggestion), here's another suggestion for how the course settings could be organised:

General
Course full name
Course short name
Course description
Course category
Course ID number
Visible
Course start date
Completion tracking (only when completion tracking is enabled for the site)
Maximum upload size

Appearance
Course format
Number of sections (only if topics or weekly format is selected)
Hidden sections (only if topics or weekly format is selected)
Course layout (only if topics or weekly format is selected)
Force theme
Force language
News items to show
Show gradebook
Show activity reports

Guest access (only when guest access is added as an enrolment method)
Allow guest access
Password

Groups
Group mode
Force group mode
Default grouping

Role renaming
Your word for 'Manager'
Your word for 'Teacher'
Your word for 'Non-editing teacher'
Your word for 'Student'

 
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Dan at desk in Moodle HQ, Perth
Re: Ideas needed for course settings page refactor
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The other thing is about the "Show more/less". I wonder if it's a good idea to keep using those...

No, I think these should be used incredibly sparingly, practically never.

 
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Picture of Azmat Ullah
Re: Ideas needed for course settings page refactor
 

I think Course completion criteria should be set from course setting.

 
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