General developer forum

Where to get started

Picture of Kurtis Staples-King
Where to get started
Hi All,

I'm completely new to Moodle Development and my experience consists of doing a couple of online tutorials on developing blocks and modules. So if the wording is strange I apologize in advance and really appreciate the effort required to bring the discussion down to my level.

I have a course that's comprised of 30 individual topics, one for each day of the month. The topics all contain one exam, each containing a true false question. The topics and the exams are only to be accessible/visible on a certain day of the month.

Now I could hypothetically use a WebDriver and automate interaction with the Moodle GUI - so this isn't exactly a practical problem. What I'm hoping to do though is learn how to compose questions using the Development tools available. Where I'm having issues is identifying which tools to use to accomplish this.

How do I create courses?
How do I modify courses, for example adding activities?
How do I modify the topics and activities themselves?

If you're a developer who is using some automation to create your courses I'd really love to understand a little bit about how you accomplish this.

Thank-you to everyone who takes the time to read and respond.

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Mary Cooch
Re: Where to get started
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Hello and welcome smile Sorry I am not a developer so I can't help from the technical side but perhaps I can help with prompting  you to clarify a bit on why you want to create courses, add activities and modify them in a developer-y kind of way and not simply through the regular non-technical editing interface that teachers use?

Are you looking to add courses in bulk with certain activities (such as course templates)? Or what?

And when you say "compose questions using the develoment tools available", what do you mean? Do you mean quiz questions?

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Picture of Kurtis Staples-King
Re: Where to get started

By composing questions I mean creating the questions on the System level. I'm probably less concerned with this as I am aware of the XML format for questions, but if there's a more API based way to generate questions that would be ideal as I don't think the MoodleXML was designed to be authored, but more for moving questions between banks.

The reason I don't want to use the regular interface is time. I find it super arduous to do all of the dragging dropping, selecting from drop downs, copying and dragging into sections, etc., I think this is obvious lazy to some degree - but its my honest feeling. I love learning macro languages because they allow me to automate  a lot of the setup and transformation - so I'm hoping to be able to have that in Moodle.

My process now is to:

Create a topic per day. Set description labels, and set access restrictions by date - both a from and until.

Create a quiz activity in each topic. Even if I copy the quiz I have to adjust the the access restriction date ranges as well as update the title/description for each, although they probably inherit access from the parent topic I just set it to be certain.

For each iteration of creating the course I'm going to have to make a couple of hundred edits to the various topics and quizzes, in addition to all of the dragging and dropping, and copying of objects.

And I'm planning to do this every single month. So I don't really get any advantage from my experience because the process is more or less the same, with a little less dragging and dropping.

So in my perfect world there's something like VBA, ExtendScript, where I can do some of this.

I think I've found a way where I can create a series of SQL statements to do some of this work - but I worry about referential integrity when faced with such a large table count.

Thank-you for allowing me to clarify and for any insight you can provide. smile

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