The issue of allowing students to upload files into Moodle touches on many different areas such as presentations, portfolios, assignments, digital libraries, etc. There are also some potential problems that we can probably avoid from the start.
I've done some thinking and discussing about this in the past, so I thought I'd dump these ideas here to start the discussion rolling - hopefully this will lead to an overall plan that we all agree to, and that some of us can start implementing. My apologies for the long post.
There's four main issues that I see here:
- Centrality. I think it would make sense for all the files by a single student (in all courses within a server) to appear as a single collection of files - a library that the student can build up over time. This also makes it easier to think about adding WebDAV or FTP access later on.
- Accessibility. It's probably sensible that files should default to being private from other students, but there should be capabilities to publish them or make them available to other students in particular courses. Some thought needs to go into a scheme that allows students to share documents in educational ways without encouraging illegal warez archives.
- Quotas. With large amounts of students it would make sense that the admin is able to restrict groups of students to particular limits.
- Metadata and Indexing. Perhaps not initially, but eventually I would like to see support for metadata attached to any file in the system to promote re-use, searching, etc.
These apply to teacher files too, obviously.
Once a solid file system like this exists (in fact this is a true Content Management System that goes beyond most of the open source systems that use this definition) then almost all other modules in Moodle can build upon it.
- a "presentation" module could allow students/groups to choose files to present to their classmates, manage display of the whole list as well as collecting feedback etc (perhaps just anonymous comments or possibly grades).
- a "portfolio" function could allow a student to easily choose internal or external resources to build up an attractive, commented list, either within a course or across all courses.
- the assignment module could allow a student to select one or more of their uploaded files (eg a web site).
- journals and forums could provide easy ways to link to uploaded files
- ...I'm sure there are more.
Does this make sense? What do you think? What is missing from this picture?