Brief project description:
TANZ (group of 6 Polytechnics in NZ) has initiated a Moodle networking trial to run throughout 2008. Initially testing the Moodle networking hub capability for centralising course materials the second stage will expand to explore issues with a distributed network of courses available through a number of TANZ partners. While the second stage of the trial will continue to explore some of the technical issues, the main focus will be on the academic approval and management issues associated with networked access to courses – e.g. student & staff support services, quality assurance, Moodle enrolment/user management processes etc.
We are initiating yet a project with a farm of Moodle instances for on-line higher education degree courses so that each diploma may have its own standard autonomous platform.
We shall use two additional instances :
- A first instance will have very few courses, and will allow open enrolment of students from our general LDAP repository. Basically all our staff and all course students should have a first "landing" account there so they can enter the network at first registration time. This instance will have courses that only act as "main entrance doors" for each dedicated Moodle we will have, so that enrolled students in these platform do only come from an account transfer from the "master portal".
- A second instance will be setup as "project center" so that all required people for a cross-team project could meet on a "project collaborative workspace" taylored course (using Moodle components such as Project, Task, Techproject, Scheduler, Tracker, Wiki, Forums, and other). Once more, penetrating this project will require using a "course based door" just as the "main entrance doors" mentioned above.
We had to patch slightly the context level of the capability mnetlogintoremote, and dowgrade it to a course level check. Once accounts being transfered users should login directly on any workspace they have, and use doors for navigating to other spaces.
We have identified the following technical issues we believe need to be addressed and are working with Catalyst (NZ Moodle Partner) on resolving and passing the fixes upstream. We are working on this as part of our "myLearn" project - and are using our local bug/work request system to log problems. I haven't checked the Moodle bug tracker lately to see if they are replicated there. Because we have uncovered such a number of issues with mnet we have shifted the 2nd phase of our project away from exploring the fully distributed network model to a more detailed testing of hub-based model, but with distributed teaching, support and enrolment.
- Initial user roaming issues that were patched and went upstream to Moodle 1.8 & 1.9 stable in Feb 2008.
- My Moodle updated to show networked courses. NMIT/myLearn patched on 1.8.4, WR#52033 resolved but not passed upstream and 1.9 version of TANZ Support site required additional patch.
- Networked courses don’t show in home Moodle “My Courses” block if student is only enrolled on networked courses. Instead the My Courses block shows local Moodle categories. Work around is to enrol all students on at least 1 local course (e.g. generic programme home or help course). Unresolved WR#52033.
- Links in networked Moodle emails require redirection to local Moodle for login. Partial patch applied to myLearn 1.8, then lost during upgrade to 1.9. Further work has been identified to fix more email links once partial patch has been re-established. Unresolved WR#52032.
- Mnet students can’t view their Gradebook entries on networked courses. Unresolved WR#54287.
- Students enrolled via local Moodle Networking -> Enrolments interface are automatically sent a confirmation email. Have requested this is either turned off or made optional. Unresolved WR#54683.
- Admin user unable to “login as” a networked user. Unresolved WR#54512.
- Changing the status of a networked course from “Enrollable” to “Not enrollable” results in networked student who are enrolled on it lose it from their home Moodle “my Courses” and myMoodle listings. Raised as issue in myLearn upgrade to 1.9 WR#53391, but not resolved. Work around is to keep all networked courses as enrollable.
- Issue not yet raised as a WR – we are testing flat file enrolment process as a simple way of allowing networked sites to do bulk enrolments. We have established a "Networked admin" role on the myLearn site and assigned other Moodle admins to this role. The role includes the ability to upload csv files into the myLearn site files area so the myLearn flat file enrolment plug-in can pick up bulk enrolment details there. We may request additional functionality is added to the flat file enrolments process to facilitate students being added to groups within courses. Still exploring the pluses and minus of this approach.
There are five regional agencies in NE, USA that have rolled this out with about 100 K-12 school districts each with their own Moodle instance. The experience begins at a Liferay page that allows for a single sign on for Moodle, Mahara, Google Apps, and BigBlueButton. The goal is to build a learning environment for students and teachers. We are still very early in the deployment, but things seem to be working well. I do have one issue that is causing me a problem. We had run a single Moodle instance for 20 school districts in the past, and used the parent/mentor role to allow a local staff member to monitor student activity and grades. Many of the students using this new system are enrolled in courses outside their home district. I have set up the parent role and assigned the role to a staff member for a number of students, but the role does not allow them to see grades from courses on other Moodle instances. The individual instances are connected using MNet. Is it possible to modify the role to allow the mentor to see student grades for courses on a remote Moodle instance?
What's the latest on this?
Is networking of Moodles stable, straightforward to set up and easy to use?
Just curious. I have just had a call from someone wanting to do this for one subject around an industry standards body.