Dear Chris Tebb,
I read your pdf with interest. It looks like powerful developmental muscle and vision, combined with a very Moodle-like pedagogy.
But at the same time, like Martin says, while starting out with the aim of integrating with Moodle, the proposal seems rather to duplicate a lot of what exists. Was the proposal made by people that have/do use Moodle?
I imagine a boardroom filled with important professors who do not use Moodle getting together around a table, to share ideas about the system that they want.....
Prof A: "I need some good threaded forums"
Prof B: "We need something with groups too"
Prof C: "Yes, and something to provide instant messaging"
Prof D: "And, private contact with students"
Prof E: "And, access to documents"
Person F (the only person that has used Moodle): "That's just like Moodle, Moodle can do this"
Chairman of Meeting: "Really? Well, lets base our system on that, Okay?"
And proposal is written concluding that they must make something which is "forums+groups+instant messaging+private contact+document access+moodle" even though Moodle is all those things already!
I guess that there are all sorts of reasons why you will be creating a new stand alone module (perhaps licencing is one of them) but, I think that the best way of achieving the aims as layed out in the survey would be to consolidate the functions that exist already by:
1) (as Ger says) "Providing a Portal Like functionality," so that all of the functions above, which already exist in moodle are regrouped so that the learners can see them in functional groups too.
David Delgano recently pointed out (moodles main features), one of Moodle's strengths is its topic/course based organisation but, as Martin points out, these need to be supplemented with a "my-moodle (this is a short but important post)" function which does not *recreate* Moodle's chat module, the forum modules, the resource module, the dialogue module, buth rather *re-assembles* them in as My-chats, my-forums, My-resources, my-dialogues, my-courses. Trouble is that this would require far greater liason, and much more digging into the Moodle core. Perhaps, as now being suggested by Tom Murdock, something could be based on the user profile page? Combined with the my-grades page? Or in a sence an improvement of functionality the left hand side bar?
2) Relatedly a Document management system, with groups features. Please see the discussion about Document Management Systems, a feature which moodle urgently needs, here
3) The one MODULE-like thing on your list and, and very often often mentioned is, again as Ger says, "titki"/"wiki like" functionality. Such is the importance of group created documents/databases, TikiWiki tops rankings in popular open source software at souceforge. This is a module that is yet to be made, very much in demand (please see the search below) and very complex.
Perhaps demands of copyright, accountability, traceability, security, funda-block-ability, will mean that you, Chris, have to produce a self contained block of module code?
And or perhaps Martin prefers standalone module development (because core reorganisation sounds like a pain in the takemoto)?
If not then, rather than another "view onto the moodle data," I beg you to apply your apparent developmental muscle to provideing another view onto the object which is Moodle (with behaviours as well as data) so as to avoid, er, with respect, reinventing several wheels, and so to make Moodle really excellent, world-beating.
But then again, I think that if I were you, then for ego-enhancement reasons I would go and make my-own-separate-thing/baby and not want to enhance the whole. But I am a takemoto.
(too bad no one from Leeds to Lugano wants testing, sniff)