Future major features

Should activity descriptions be required by default

 
Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Should activity descriptions be required by default
Core developersDocumentation writersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers

This is a very long way from being a major feature, but the readers of this forum seemed like the right set of eyeballs to ask about this: MDL-49006

At the moment, when you install a new Moodle site, then for many types of activity, the Description is a required field on the activity settings page. Many people find this very annoying. Shall we change the default? Admins would still be able to make it a required setting in their site settings if they wanted, and we would not change the setting for existing sites.

The reason I bring this up now is that Mary Cooch created MDL-49006, then I did a patch, and now it has been reviewed and submitted for integration, so if you think this is a bad change, you need to scream loudly this week to stop it being integrated.

But hopefully, like us, you will agree it is a good change.

The full list of activities affected are Book, Folder, IMS content package, Lesson, Page, File resource and URL.

 
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Mary Cooch
Re: Should activity descriptions be required by default
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I'm going to tweet this - I think an important thing to note is that many Moodlers don't realise this is an optional setting because the default is always set to yes, thus giving unnecessary grief to regular teachers who keep sticking full stops (or whatever) in the description boxes to get over the requirement.

 
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C'est moi :-)
Re: Should activity descriptions be required by default
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I think it would be a good think not to require this by default, so i'm for this change!

 
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Jim Judges
Re: Should activity descriptions be required by default
 


Mary - you're right that many users don't know the default can be easily turned off by admin, and it can be annoying if it is mandatory. Therefore I am happy to see the default switch.

 

 

 
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Picture of Nicolas Martignoni
Re: Should activity descriptions be required by default
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I'm with Séverin and Mary on this one smile

 
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Picture of Richard Oelmann
Re: Should activity descriptions be required by default
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Me too!

 
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Randy Thornton
Re: Should activity descriptions be required by default
Documentation writersParticularly helpful Moodlers

I agree this is a good change.

I almost always turn these off for people when configuring new sites, rarely have I been asked to keep them on.


 
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Picture of Jez H
Re: Should activity descriptions be required by default
Particularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers

I agree, it should not be required by default.

 
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Picture of Charles Fulton
Re: Should activity descriptions be required by default
Core developersPlugin developersTesters

This is a good change in my opinion--this is the first thing we turn off in any new installation.

 
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Picture of ryan sanders
Re: Should activity descriptions be required by default
 

would prefer -> not required

would prefer -> a "suggested" or "popular" like symbol. 

if you can get over the initial moodle learning curve. things get better...

might encourage. a contest for creation of a "course" that walks newbies through moodle. and is part of a "newbie package" or rather optional content to be installed. during installation of moodle.  (a check mark or like to be clicked for pre populated content)

 
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Picture of Alexander Bias
Re: Should activity descriptions be required by default
Core developersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers

Hi Tim,

I agree that this change is really useful and should be integrated.

However, in my humble opinion, your commit is only a halfhearted solution. There are still several activities like Forum, Feedback or Database which have the description field as a required field and which completely lack an admin setting to disable this requirement. 

We have always asked ourselves why Moodle is inconsistent with these settings and could not find a bulletproof reason why, for example, a forum must always have a mandatory description as for simple usage scenarios everything can already be said in the forum title.

I think your change now would be the chance to fix this discrepancy, right?

Thanks in advance!
Alex

 
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Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Re: Should activity descriptions be required by default
Core developersDocumentation writersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers

That is a different issue. For example, in a forum, the description is what tells the students what they are supposed to be discussing in this forums. I can see why that should be required.

By all means create a new tracker issue for changing that, if it does not already exist, and if you are sure it is a good idea, but I think it is best kept separate from my current change.

 
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Mary Cooch
Re: Should activity descriptions be required by default
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I agree with Tim, and although I can see the annoyance for certain people in certain situations of required descriptions in these activities (forum/feedback/database), more often than not I think they are valuable, and I would vote to keep any default as yes/required, personally.
 
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Picture of Alexander Bias
Re: Should activity descriptions be required by default
Core developersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers

Hi Tim, hi Mary,

thanks for your feedback.

Surely, there may be didactical requirements to have a description and to force teachers to enter text into the description field.

But I also think that admins should have the possibility to decide what's right for their users without having to hack Moodle core. Therefore, the lack of settings for several activities is, in my opinion, kind of dictatorial.

I created https://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDL-49101 for this issue.

Thanks,

Alex

 
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C'est moi :-)
Re: Should activity descriptions be required by default
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Hi,

I completly agree with Alexander smile

And so, voted for MDL-49101.

Séverin

 
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Picture of Alexander Bias
Re: Should activity descriptions be required by default
Core developersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers

I am happy to inform you that MDL-49101 (finally agreed as "Add an admin setting config->requiremodintro to force activity descriptions always or never") has been implemented by Moodle Partner Synergy Learning and has been integrated now into Moodle Core, available in 2.9.

Alex

 
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Picture of Ralf Hilgenstock
Re: Should activity descriptions be required by default
Core developersParticularly helpful MoodlersTranslators

Tim,

I agree with your suggestion.
Let me add two aspects:

  • text page. Most users try to add the content in the description field and not in the second editor area which ist for the content.
  • Why did we discuss about a very small issue here and not about the general problem that most small and mid size systems run over a long time Moodle in default configuartion. The question ist: how can we support a new admin to configure the system for his individual needs. May be an site administration topic where he can start a configuration tour with advices  to do check and change the main settings. 

Ralf

 
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Picture of Alexander Bias
Re: Should activity descriptions be required by default
Core developersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developers

Ralf,

I'd like to support your proposal of providing help for novice admins how to configure the basic settings of Moodle. But I wouldn't dig this help somewhere in the wiki, I would like to see it build right into Moodle as an configuration wizard which can be (optionally) run right after installation.

As an experienced admin, I hesitate from using such wizards, but it might be of great use for novice admins who don't want to go through all admin setting screens.

Alex

 
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Picture of ryan sanders
Re: Should activity descriptions be required by default
 

attaching to Alaxander post....

<quote user="Alaxander>

Ralf,

I'd like to support your proposal of providing help for novice admins how to configure the basic settings of Moodle. But I wouldn't dig this help somewhere in the wiki, I would like to see it build right into Moodle as an configuration wizard which can be (optionally) run right after installation.

As an experienced admin, I hesitate from using such wizards, but it might be of great use for novice admins who don't want to go through all admin setting screens.

Alex

</quote>

include a "dummy course" err admin course... and use of a few activities / resources?   question? answer do this...   question? answer do this?  more of a checklist?

 
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Picture of Ralf Hilgenstock
Re: Should activity descriptions be required by default
Core developersParticularly helpful MoodlersTranslators

Hi Alexander and Ryan,

some years ago we created such a wizard with Urs Hunkler. The wizard was started from a block but it would be also possible to do it as a plugin. 


Ralf

 
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It's only an avatar...
Re: Should activity descriptions be required by default
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With thanks to Tim Hunt for fixing it, and Mary Couch for reporting it, MDL-49006 has now been integrated into Moodle  as an improvement and will be available in Moodle 2.9

Cheers

Cheers

Mary

 
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Picture of Sandra Lennon
Re: Should activity descriptions be required by default
 

Thanks for the update, I agree this.

 
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Picture of Luis de la Torre
Re: Should activity descriptions be required by default
Plugin developers

Yup, I too think the Description field shouldn't be a required one!

 
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