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Does every Moodle student need to have an email address

 
 
Picture of Adrian Stock
Does every Moodle student need to have an email address
 

Does every Moodle student need to have an email address

29 Mar 2008

Hi, All,

I am the Administrator of a Moodle site and am taking my first steps. I have the "Using Moodle" book (second edition) in front of me. Two teachers at the school have asked me to set up a Forum (my first task) and have given me a topic and a couple of starter questions. I also have the names of three pupils for each of these teachers.

My plan is:

1 Create accounts for 2 teachers and 6 pupils (primary school).

2 Create one course ("Year 5" and "Year 6") for each teacher.

3 Create one Forum with default values inside each course.

4 Assign the teachers to the two courses.

5 Enrol all the pupils to their respective courses and forums.

6 Put the content provided by the teachers into the Forums

There are some slight discrepencies between the buttons mentioned by the book and those I see on my screen. But I managed to get to a screen called "Add a new user". 

Now opens a questionnaire which demands a lot information about each user, including an obligatory email address for each.

*** That strikes me as NOT FEASIBLE. The teachers may or may not have email addresses, but most of the pupils do NOT have email addresses (unless they can be created inside Moodle). ***

Where am I going wrong?

Is the above 6 point plan correct and feasible? Or will I run into more obstacles?

Are the pupils perhaps NOT "users" in the Moodle sense of the term? And should I register them elsewhere or at a different point of the 6-point sequence?

Thanks for any help.

Adrian

 
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Art Lader
Re: Does every Moodle student need to have an email address
Group Documentation writers

Hi, Adrian,

Not a great solution, but if you upload users from a test file, they can all have the same email address (real or bogus) -- http://docs.moodle.org/en/Upload_users

username, password, firstname, lastname, email
janedoe, joeblow, Jane, Doe, someone@example.com
binky, binkypass, Jon, Smith, someone@example.com
rainbow, colors123, Marianne, Jones, someone@example.com

Just a thought.

Regards,
Art

 
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Picture of Ken Wilson
Re: Does every Moodle student need to have an email address
 
Hi Adrian

The plan looks feasible to me. One minor point is that you'll need to create the users (using the "Add new user" screen) first before enrolling them onto a course. The creation process adds a record for them in the moodle user table (usually called mdl_user), and the enrolment process links the user to the course.

If you have a user who does not have an email address, use a dummy address such as nobody@localhost.com. A big word of warning: Moodle uses email a lot - mainly for communications between teacher and pupil and it's fundamental to the pedagogical ideals behind the software. If some of your users don't have email addresses, they'll lose out. For example in notifications from the forum as well as teacher feedback of pupil work done. So, try to get them to have email addresses - some suggestions are to use one of the free email providers or maybe create addresses for them on the server which is running Moodle itself.

Hope this helps and good luck!

Ken
 
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Picture of Adrian Stock
Re: Does every Moodle student need to have an email address
 

sat 29 mar 2008, 17.59h GB time

Hi Art and Ken,

Thank you for your very helpful replies. I am learning.

I had been thinking of giving all pupils the same, but real, dummy address. I have a few to spare.

But Ken points out, pupils will lose out if they do not have their own working email addresses. Perhaps Moodle presupposes a more sophisticated infrastructure environment than in the swampy backwater in which I work.

I should have thought that Moodle should have envisaged backwaters like mine and, instead of an 'external' email address, one should be able to create an 'email address' ***inside Moodle*** for each user. Is that not possible?

I believe there is a messaging system inside Moodle. Cannot that be used for the purpose?

???

I do not want the pupils to lose out. The Moodle site is hosted by a reasonably priced commercial company, and I will ask how much it will cost to create one email for each pupil and for each teacher. If the cost is reasonable and the school can afford it, they might accept.

Any other suggestions?

Thanks.

Adrian

 
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Picture of Hans Bos
Re: Does every Moodle student need to have an email address
 

Hi Adrian,

Can't you install/use a local e-mail system installed on the server your using?

A POP3 or IMAP?

Hans.

 
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Not a PHM :-)
Re: Does every Moodle student need to have an email address
 

Any other suggestions?

Your students and faculty will not miss out on anything by not receiving the Moodle generated email...in fact, the vast amount of email Moodle generates has resulted in major annoyances for many.

If you are paying a reasonable fee to have your Moodle site hosted, then that should come with unlimited email accounts...never hurts to ask. If not, you could always use gmail, yahoo mail, hotmail, etc. If that is not an option (some school/district policies prohibit student use of these accounts) then you could always create an account with an inexpensive host like bluehost and use that to create all the email accounts you want. There are lots of free/cheap options here to look at before paying too much for your host to provide this.

Steve

 
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Picture of John Isner
Re: Does every Moodle student need to have an email address
 
Steve,
You said

in fact, the vast amount of email Moodle generates has resulted in major annoyances for many

I don't see why you say that. Aside from forums, there is very little e-mail notification going on in Moodle, at least for students. If you subscribe to a forum, you get mail from the forum. If you don't want the mail, you unsubscribe from it. If the forum "forces everyone to be subscribed" then presumably there's a good reason for it (e.g., general news and announcements from the teacher), and if the teacher making a "vast amount" of posts to such a forum, then clearly she is doing something wrong and students have a right to complain.


 
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Not a PHM :-)
Re: Does every Moodle student need to have an email address
 

Have you graded an assignment lately?

And...forum email is a huge headache for many with a default install. As you know in a default install every time a person posts to a forum they get subscribed to that forum unless they take action to change that setting in their profile or choose not to be subscribed each time they post....most people don't even know that setting exist, so they post and unknowingly get subscribed. Read the forums....this annoyance isn't anything new.

Of course, there are way to overcome this through a combination of changing database settings and hacking out code from cron.php....which I do on all my installs. 

Steve

 
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Volcano
Re: Does every Moodle student need to have an email address
Group Developers

The email for assignments is selective now in 1.9 with MDL-6591 depending if a teacher wants to email notificaitons or not.

And as you mentioned, it is easily patched for previous versions.  It was an obvious pain when used to supplement face-to-face instruction.

--Gary

 
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Not a PHM :-)
Re: Does every Moodle student need to have an email address
 

Good....that's one step in the right direction. Now, make forum email "opt in" instead of "opt out" by default and that will be another step in the right direction. Most people don't know how to hack code and change default database settings...this would help reduce their headache in the web-assisted and online setting.

Steve

 
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Picture of Vicke Denniston
Re: Does every Moodle student need to have an email address
 
Steve I think you might have the answer to a problem I have been having. My hosting provider reported to me that Yahoo was complaining about spam coming from my install. I tracked it down to forum emails. Do you know what I change to make it so no one ca subscribe to a forum?
Many thanks
Vicke
 
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Picture of Lesli Smith
Re: Does every Moodle student need to have an email address
Group Testers
Hi, Adrian. A couple points of clarification. I set up my students myself with "fake" addresses first and allow them to choose whether they would like to subscribe via email or not. But I work with teenagers. Since you are working with primary students, I'd suggest beginning with the "fake" addresses for most of the year and making sure that you click the option to disable the email in each profile when you set up the students. With more than 10 users, this is kind of a pain (I know--I've done it myself) but since you only have six, it shouldn't be an issue. If you don't make sure that the email is disabled, you will receive error messages as the admin every time someone posts to the forum, just so you know.

Steve is right. At this age, they won't be missing out on much if they don't have email as I doubt many their age are as "wired" as students are at the age I teach. They can still retrieve IM's from peers and see forum posts without the email. The only time I find that students who opt out of email for me miss out is when I post an announcement like, "Deadline postponed," or some such. Somewhat crucial, but not the end of the world since they will likely hear about it from friends or from me the next time I have them in class. Hope this helps.

I also think there's a quickmail option out there, but since I haven't used it myself, I can't speak to whether that would set up the internal system you are looking for. Basically, though, I think you probably want to think about whether you want students at this age to have to log in to more than one place to get their class info. It seems to me that you wouldn't, but then again, I don't teach primary and will defer to those that do.
 
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Picture of Adrian Stock
Re: Does every Moodle student need to have an email address
 

Hi All in general, and Lesli Smith specifically.

Thank you for your suggestions in general, and Lesli Smith's summary.

What Lesli says makes a lot of sense to me. My job is to get the school and the teachers going, to give them something concrete to start with, but I don't have to do the whole job.

So I will use the fake addresses for the three or six pupils, who are only 'specimens'. I am the 'super-administrator', but the teachers and the real school administrator will add more pupils and change settings as they see fit.

So Lesli's suggestion is a good way to start until everybody gets a feel of things.

Thank you. You have been so helpful.

Adrian

 
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Ray Lawrence
Re: Does every Moodle student need to have an email address
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Just to add to Lesli's comments.

Emails can be disabled at a stroke if you set this in a CSV file used to upload users pre-1.9. In 1.9 there is a simple GUI that mirrors the "Add new user" interface to do the same thing.
 
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Picture of Marc Grober
Re: Does every Moodle student need to have an email address
 
As mentioned here http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=91720&parent=405527 the problem with bogus addresses is that they also create a pile of bounced mail messages when yer little darlings start messaging each other. You can turn off messaging, but that is another ball of wax altogether....

I really suggest either providing your students with local e-mail accounts via whatever is hosting your moodle, or using google apps to create a sister domain to your moodle, and using it to provide students with access to google mail, docs, etc and then look at the google authentication module work and authenticate to your moodle from the google domain or team. Using your moodle hosts mail system also allows for quite a few options as far as calendar noticing to various nested mailing lists, listservs, etc.
 
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Picture of Adrian Stock
Re: Does every Moodle student need to have an email address
 

Thank you Ray and Marc.

All right, I have written to our hosting company re (POP3) addresses and asked them how much it would cost to provide every pupil and every teacher with an email address. POP3 is the most respectable option. When I get a price, I will raise it with the Headteacher.

Adrian

 
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Picture of elearning edu
Re: Does every Moodle student need to have an email address
 

How about internal mail module?  In the light of non availability and instiutional policy to prevent the use of external email at the primary school age, the internal mail may be an option.

Nagarajan

 
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Picture of Adrian Stock
Re: Does every Moodle student need to have an email address
 
Hi Nagarajan,

Are you saying an 'internal mail module' exists and I could use it. If so, where do I find it? Strikes me as a very helpful feature.

Or are you saying it would be a good idea for someone to create such a module?

Please clarify for me.

Thanks.

Adrian
 
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Picture of elearning edu
Re: Does every Moodle student need to have an email address
 
Hi Adrian,
In Moodle three mail provisions are available. One is mail and the other two are email and internal mail. I did use internal mail and there is a thread available on email and internal mail. Please find the links given below:
http://moodle.org/mod/data/view.php?d=13&rid=701

http://moodle.org/mod/data/view.php?d=13&rid=114

What is Internalmail?
Internalmail is a internal email system that works within the LMS moodle. Each user can have its own internal mailbox to send and receive messages from the moodle site users.
Why shoud I use internalmail?
* Because Moodle providers don't have to provide internet email acounts to their users.
* Beacuse if email is to be used as a tool for education there has to be a way to track the status of the messages.
* Because internalmail provides course contextual folders.
* Because Internalmail is trully spam free
* Because internalmail does not cause cancer, not other diseases, is made with non genetic modified source code, is sugar free and its cool.
My understanding is that Moodle is a learning tool for adults and focusing Moodle to young children may demand additional provision to avoid the misuse of internet based emails by children while using Moodle.

 
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Art Lader
Re: Does every Moodle student need to have an email address
Group Documentation writers

Some folks like http://www.gaggle.net/. Might want to look at that.

-- Art

 
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Picture of Anil Sharma
Re: Does every Moodle student need to have an email address
 
Making a small change in the code will allow more than 1 users to have same email ID. details are here :

http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=101232


hope that helps
 
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