Hi Josep,> the HotPot module might even be a replacement for the current Flash module?
I hadn't thought of it in those terms, but it would be quite possible to create a small class, based on the "service" class detailed in the Flash module documentation
, to receive and store the results so that a current Flash activity could be used as part of the "unit" in the new HotPot module.
Actually, the new HotPot module will pick and choose features from several other Moodle modules. As an overall concept, I will be aiming for something like the lesson
module, but with each "page" allowing dynamic feedback, multimedia content and more than a single, static question. Using Flash players, I envisage it will be possible to make HotPot quizzes "secure", like the Quiz module, so that they can be used for tests. However, unlike the current Quiz module, the new HotPot module will not be limited to one image per question. The caching and returning of results will be inspired by what I have seen of the SCORM
module. I also like the idea of being able to specify local file paths in the media URLs, like the latest resource module, so that large media files do not have to be constantly passing from the server to the clients.
What I feel is special about the HotPot module is that it allows teachers to use the content which they created outside of Moodle. When I am using Moodle, or demonstrating how to use Moodle, I always seems to me that creating content in Moodle is not as easy as I expect. I have to click-click-click around many screens. If there are many questions in a quiz, or many pages in a lesson, the interface becomes very full and, and soon after that, unmanageable. On the other hand, if I create the content using Hot Potatoes, TexToys, Qedoc or ExamView, it can all be done much more intuitively. What's more these external quiz creation programs have very nice quiz players which make the most of the features that were added using the editor. The goal of the new HotPot module is to administer these quizzes, using the original players, via Moodle. By using the external editors we minimize the teacher's effort in creating materials; by using the original players, we can maximize the learning experience for the students.
One final piece of the puzzle is how to make the HotPot module support itself. Open Source software is not free. Somebody is paying for it somewhere along the line. With this new HotPot module, I intend to provide an open-source version and a licensed version. The revenue from the licensed version will be used to pay for the development of both versions of the software.
At the moment, I envisage that the open-source version of the software will do what the current module does, with the addition of
- caching browser content on the server
- optimizing the sending of results back from the browser
In effect, the new open-source version will do what the current module does except run faster and use less server resources
The licensed version will additional provide
- HTML-only players suitable for use on mobiles and hand-held devices
- Flash players for the PC
Hopefully this will be enough to tempt people to buy the licensed version. There are several key points I have not decided, like where to put the HotPot block, where to put other players, and the exact pricing structure, but that may become clearer as I see how things are developing.
Of course, anyone will be free to create extra players, which they can make available to others, or not, as they see fit. For example, over the summer I will be working with James McCormack of Qedoc to create a version of the Qedoc player, which is written in Java, to work the new HotPot module.
Today is the last day of the "Golden Week" break, so rest assured that I'm unlikely to have time to write such long posts for the next 12 weeks
thanks for reading!