Moodle announcements  RSS

Martin Dougiamas
Moodle 3.5 is released! GDPR is here!
 
Moodle Kids with pixellated faces to protect their privacyHi again!

For every release since Moodle 1.0.7 in December 2002, I've posted a release announcement here in this forum with a picture of my kids in some creative pose related to the release.  We've all grown up together, and I have often called the Moodle project my third child. 

Moodle is much bigger now though - there are so many people worldwide involved in our project - so I think this will be the last time I use the moodle.org release posting for this little personal vanity of mine, and we will invent new and better traditions going forward!

The last little offering at right reflects our recent work on privacy-related features in Moodle 3.5 (we originally created a much edgier image with the kids wearing Guy Fawkes masks which I liked a lot, but quite a few of the team here at Moodle HQ felt this could be misinterpreted so we canned it tongueout).  The image is not important.

Privacy, however, is extremely important.

This is a topic which I've personally given a lot of thought to over the past 20 years.  There have been some who have said that privacy itself is a concept of the past (Mark Zuckerberg included) - that the future is one of full transparency.  While this is a nice dream in many ways, and we do need to place a high priority on society over individuals in some cases, my experience leads me to think it's practically impossible to implement transparency in a truly equitable way, and it will always ends up with people's data being exploited in some way (Facebook just being one high-profile example).   So I think we should just agree that we, all human individuals, need to have some control over what we want to be private, and what we want to be public, and that we should design our digital and non-digital worlds accordingly.

Unfortunately, privacy policy clashes with the very physical nature of digital information, which "wants to be free".   Designing a complex computer system to collect, process and replicate data is not easy, but it's definitely easier if you don't need to worry about getting permission for every little bit of data.

This is why so many of our software systems end up pooling data forever and just "trusting the admin" to do the right thing with it all.   To do anything else is so much work that it's been very difficult for any software system to justify the investment of time and effort to rewrite systems to respect privacy properly - there is always some more pressing work to do.  In Moodle, for example, even though we've been consistently working over 15 years to implement innovative systems to guide how data are shared between users in education contexts, we gave very little of that control to the end users of our system -  students and educators.

This trend has all changed with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) being enforced in Europe from next week: May 25, 2018.   Those mastermind geniuses in the European Union have found a way to force practically all software makers and websites worldwide to put control of data back firmly back in the hands of citizens.   It affects anyone who may have EU citizens using their systems, which, given how global the internet is, basically affects everyone.   This is a terrific fabulous thing, really!

We ourselves have spent millions of real currency in recent times working on this issue here at Moodle HQ, and I can only imagine the billions that have been spent worldwide.  But just improving our software is not enough.  As some famous person once said: it's not what you have but how you use it.  

If you are using Moodle, and you have any of your servers or your users in the EU, then just upgrading to a recent version is not enough.  We have built new tools in Moodle 3.5 that make your job easier: but you are still 100% responsible for ensuring that your installation is GDPR-compliant.   You need to define your policies, you need to define your processes, and give people roles to support those.   A good place to start is in our GDPR docs or by speaking to one of our local Moodle Partners.

What else is new in Moodle 3.5, you may ask?   Well, a surprising amount, considering the GDPR focus!



  • Features to improve privacy control for users
  • Audio and video recording direct into any text in Moodle
  • Image-based listing for courses in the dashboard
  • Question bank searching using tags
  • Global search without installing additional software
  • New badge criteria
  • Cohort themes
  • Support for IMS LTI Advantage!
  • much much more

See the Moodle 3.5 New Features page for a better overview, or Moodle 3.5 release notes for full details.  

Moodle 3.5 is available as usual via the Moodle download page, or speak to your friendly Moodle Partner.

Thank you so much to all the team at Moodle HQ who I know have worked incredibly hard on this release ... not just what you see but for all the problems that you have now blissfully avoided because they were fixed early on.   I also want to thank the full list of 120 developers who directly worked on this release, as well as the hundreds more who helped indirectly in all the other ways you do.  Thank you.

It's a very exciting time for Moodle as we are refactoring how we work, starting new products, hiring a lot more people, expanding our Barcelona office, and much much more, but we'll be posting a lot more about all that on our main Moodle news site so follow that!

I know I'll also be seeing many of you at our upcoming MoodleMoots and Moodle Parties around the world.

Best regards to you all, and best wishes for the improvement of educational quality in all your Moodle projects!

Martin

P.S. Definitely Laurel, not Yanny.

 
Picture of Sander Bangma
Moodle 3.4.3, 3.3.6, 3.2.9 and 3.1.12 are now available
 

Next to our new major release of Moodle 3.5 we have also released Moodle 3.4.3, 3.3.6, 3.2.9 and 3.1.12. These are now available for download via https://download.moodle.org or Git.

GDPR, the General Data Protection Regulation that comes into effect in the EU on 25 May 2018, has been a big focus of our development for the past 6 months.  Moodle 3.4.3 and 3.3.6 include support for the latest version of the GDPR plugins that assist Moodle sites to become GDPR compliant.  The Policy plugin and the Data Privacy plugin are available for download from the plugin database.  Note that the GDPR plugins are incorporated in the standard distribution for Moodle 3.5.

Moodle 3.4.3 and 3.3.6 also include a number of bug fixes and small improvements.  All released minor versions include important fixes for security vulnerabilities.  We highly recommend that you upgrade your sites as soon as possible. Upgrading should be very straightforward. 

Administrators of all registered Moodle sites will receive an email with details of the security fixes and we'll publish these more widely next week. 

The release notes for each version can be found here:

Version 3.2.9 is the last version of Moodle 3.2 with security fixes.  Hence, it is highly recommended to upgrade to 3.3.6, 3.4.3 or 3.5.  Please see the releases page for more details.


Sander Bangma

Open Source Development Coordinator, Moodle HQ


 
Picture of Helen Foster
100% pass rate for Moodle 3.5 QA tests
 

A big thank you to all our Quality Assurance (QA) testers, as listed in the Testing credits, who helped us achieve a Moodle 3.5 test pass rate of 100% in just 3 weeks. Congratulations to everyone who received a Moodle tester 2018 badge for running three or more tests in the QA cycle.

Thanks also to all our core developers, who helped with fixing bugs identified through testing, so that tests could be reset and run again as quickly as possible. Thus we are all ready for Moodle 3.5 to be released!

 
Picture of Juan Leyva
Moodle DevJam in Barcelona
 

We are inviting developers to attend a Moodle DevJam in Barcelona where we are planning to help instruct developers on how to make their plugins Mobile App and Privacy API compatible. This two day workshop event will take place on the 25 & 26 June.


Please, see the Moodle DevJam in Barcelona discussion for details.

moodledevjam logo

 
Picture of Doug Belshaw
Complete the MoodleNet survey (prizes to be won!)
 

MoodleNet logo

Have you seen our MoodleNet project

To inform an upcoming design sprint, we need educators of all kinds to fill in a short survey. As an incentive, we're offering prizes of two Amazon e-vouchers, and credit for the Moodle online store! 

Click here: http://bit.ly/moodlenet-survey

Note: the survey is anonymous, but if you enter your email address at the end, you're in with a chance of winning.

 
Picture of Helen Foster
Over 100,000 registered Moodle sites worldwide!
 

As reported in our Moodle statistics, the number of registered Moodle sites has now topped 100,000!

To help celebrate this milestone, please share how you use Moodle by posting a message or video in the Lounge forum thread Moodle has 100,000 registered sites: how do you use yours? or on social media using the hashtag #MoodleLove.

If your Moodle site is not yet registered, you can do so via the Registration page in the Site administration, then you'll receive security alert notifications plus other benefits as listed in the Site registration guide.

 
Picture of Helen Foster
Moodle 3.5 Quality Assurance testing
 

Moodle 3.5 is scheduled for release on Monday 14 May 2018, and so once again we’re running a Quality Assurance (QA) testing cycle. The list of over 560 tests includes tests covering new features and improvements in Moodle 3.5.

If you can spare any time and would like to volunteer to help, please see the discussion Help needed with Moodle 3.5 QA testing for details of how you can be involved.

Thanks in advance for your help with our next version of Moodle!

 
Mary Cooch
Join us in June for Learn Moodle Basics 3.5
 

I'm pleased to announce that Moodle HQ is running another Learn Moodle Basics MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), starting on 18 June 2018.

Learn Moodle 3.5 Basics is for anybody who wants to use the Moodle learning platform for teaching, whether it be in a school, a university, a company or just personal interest. In this 4-week MOOC, learners will explore many of the features in Moodle and have the chance to create a practice course of their own.

If you're interested, please sign up here: learn.moodle.net. You'll receive an email reminder before the course begins.


Finally, many thanks to everyone who participated in our previous MOOC. Please see Learn Moodle Basics 3.4 Feedback and actions for details of how we are using your feedback to improve the course for future participants.


 
Picture of Sander Bangma
First iteration of GDPR plugins available on the plugin DB
 

Further to the announcement of the minor release earlier today, we have now published the first iteration of the GDPR plugins on the plugin database. The plugins will continue to be updated and refined over the next few weeks.

The Policy plugin provides a new user sign on process, with ability to define multiple policies (site, privacy, third party), track user consents, and manage updates and versioning of the policies.

The Data Privacy plugin provides the workflow for users to submit subject access requests and for site administrators and privacy officers to process these requests.  The subject access request process currently retrieves the user information from the following core plugins:

  • Choice Activity Module
  • HTML Block
  • User Tours

Support for retrieving user information from the remaining core plugins will be added over the next few weeks. The plugin will also be further extended to include functionality for data erasure requests and the data registry to define a purpose and retention period for data stored in a Moodle site.

Moodle 3.4.2 and 3.3.5 include the following core API changes that are required to support the GDPR plugins:

  • An age and location check to identify minors
  • The API to request personal data from all plugins
  • Implementation of the API for a subset of Moodle core plugins so far

Those wanting to explore and use the new plugins should therefore upgrade to either Moodle 3.4.2 or 3.3.5.  All GDPR functionality will be integrated in the Moodle 3.5 release.

 
Picture of Petra Vanessie
MoodleMoot Australia 2018 to be held in Brisbane, 24 - 26 September
 

Moodlers in Australia and surrounding regions,


The dates and venue for MoodleMoot Australia 2018 (#MootAU18) have been revealed. 

Join us in sunny Brisbane from 24 - 26 September as we hold three days of collaboration, learning, networking and sharing of ideas through workshops, presentations, Dr Moodle sessions and a Moodle Party. 

Early bird registration is now available and you can also submit your MoodleMoot presentation at https://moodlemoot.org/mootau18 

We at Moodle HQ are looking forward to seeing many of you in Brisbane in September. 

MoodleMoot Australia 2018, Brisbane, 24 - 26 September