Late last year I started at Moodle HQ in the role of Open Source Development Coordinator. It’s been a very busy and exciting couple of months getting up to speed on everything Moodle and working with the team to get development for Moodle 3.5 underway. I thought now is a good time to give everyone an update on the activities of the open source team at Moodle HQ.
We’re currently focused on the following projects for the 3.5 roadmap:
Implementing functionality in Moodle to assist sites with compliance to the new European data privacy regulations: GDPR. This is our top priority at the moment, more on this below! Some of these changes involve a new API for plugins to request what personal data they store. We are still fine-tuning this, but we will make the details available as soon as possible. Plugins will have to implement this API as part of the GDPR compliance changes.
Expanding the functionality for tagging questions in the question bank. This is a project selected by the Moodle User Association (MUA). Further information can be found on the MUA page and in the tracker. This work isn’t anticipated to impact quiz or question related plugins for those who are using the provided APIs, but there will be some minor modifications to the database tables.
Usability improvements. We’re continuing our work on improving the Moodle user experience based on the in-depth background research, stakeholder analysis and design work from our UX team. The focus is on introducing Bootstrap v4 stable in Moodle 3.5 to lay the groundwork for exciting improvements going forward. Some of the initial UX improvements will likely focus on the dashboard. To help us with this work I’m pleased to let you know that Bas Brands is now working for Moodle HQ on this project and we’ve also recently hired another UX designer who will commence in April. We will try to make the transition from Bootstrap v4 alpha to v4 stable as smooth as possible, but if you have code that depends on particular v4 alpha classes you may need to make some changes.
Improvements to the messaging back-end implementation to allow for future expansion of the messaging functionality in Moodle. This involves some changes to the message database tables and message events, so if you have a messaging related plugin you may have to update your code. We’re also working on including the new LTI Advantage extensions.
Upgrading the Moodle Mobile App to the Ionic 3 framework, some usability improvements and introducing features for GDPR compliance.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
The new EU data protection regulation comes into effect on 25 May 2018 and effectively all organisations in the EU, as well as those outside the EU that store data of EU citizens, will have to comply. Moodle is implementing changes that will assist these organisations to become EU compliant. These changes focus on functionality to:
Provide additional privacy information during user sign up, as well as more extensive recording and logging of user consents. Tracker information on these changes can be found here.
Provide additional means for users to obtain a copy or their data, invoke their right to data erasure and keeping track of all types of data within Moodle in a data registry. Tracker information can be found here.
Given that GDPR comes into effect in May 2018, this work currently takes priority and most of the Moodle HQ development team is focused on the GDPR project. In the meantime we are progressing the other items on the roadmap. We are also continuing to work through peer reviews of community contributions and plugins. However, GDPR remains the priority for the moment which unfortunately might result in slightly longer waiting times for peer reviews.
Rest assured though that we are working to recruit more developers to ease these pressures. Feel free to contact us should you be interested in joining Moodle HQ and of course we always welcome and very much appreciate community contributions!