Activities ::: mod_diary
Maintained by AL Rachels
Diary is a very advanced version of the Journal plugin. The most notable addition is the capability to make multiple, separate, entries per day, and do so on multiple days. This allows students to revise their writing while retaining the original version. The addition of statistics with auto rating for any min/max combination of characters, words, sentences, or paragraphs also helps to track revision progress of a students writing. The activity can be set to use multiple, time released, writing prompts with each one having it's own auto-rating settings. With the latest v3.7.5 release you can use completions for, View, Receive a grade, and Receive a passing grade.
Latest release:
823 sites
42 fans
Current versions available: 2

The Diary plugin is based off the Journal plugin, but with many more additions and capabilities added. Instead of a single entry, users can start a new entry each calendar day. If enabled, they can go back and edit any previous entry. Also, if enabled, they can edit the date of any entry, which means they can add an entry for previously missed dates. This ALSO means you can make multiple entries for any given day. If, edit dates, is NOT enabled, and a user tries to change the hidden, time created, the attempt will be blocked, an entry put into the logs, and a notice placed in the feedback area for the teacher to see.

There are multiple statistics of character, word, sentence, and paragraph count. Included are unique words, unique one syllable short words, unique two syllable words, and unique three or more syllable words, which will help point out whether the user is using too many small words. In all, there are twenty different statistics that can be shown right after every entry.

Diary uses individual grades for rating each entry, and uses the Moodle Rating system for grades in the Moodle grade book. All the standard rating methods are supported. The user view lists the rating type and the current rating. The teacher report view, also lists the rating type and the current rating for each user, in their entry.

The current version of Diary includes automatic time released prompts. Auto-rating for each writing prompt can use characters, words, sentences, or paragraphs for automatic rating of the entry. All the teacher needs to do for the automatic rating is click a button to add the results to the entry's feedback, then save all the feedback.

When the teacher goes to the report page to grade entries, just like the Journal plugin, they only see the most recently created entry from each user. This is to help prevent a very long page scroll. Diary also uses Groups to help shorten the page. To help prevent extra scrolling, a save all feedback and return button is included between each entry. Since the v3.1.1 release, on the report page, there is now a link for each student that will let the teacher see all of the entries for the selected student. Each of the entries can be graded and feedback text added. Once the teacher is finished, click Save all feedback will update the data for each entry that was changed. If the teacher does not want to make changes, there is a button to take them back to the regular report page.

At the top of both the view and report pages, there is a tool bar. On the normal view page, the toolbar is hidden until the user makes at least one diary entry and saves it. The download results depends upon the user. A regular user (student) can download only their dairy entries, while a teachers gets everyone in the course's entries, and an admin gets all entries for the entire site.

The edit tool (pencil) opens for editing the entry at the top of the view page, and on the report page, it gets the current diary entry for marking.

Each of the directional arrows, sorts the list of entries on the view and report pages. If a teacher has skipped a day or two of grading, they will need to sort for, Lowest rated entries, to get entries they haven't marked yet. Or, even better, use the new link after their name on the report page, Get all Diary entries for this user. The resulting page will allow you to rate and provide feedback for any entry made by the selected user.

If the course format is set to, Weekly, the Days available, setting can be used to control how many days a Diary activity will be available for adding/editing entries. For weekly and any other course format, the Open time and Close time settings can be used to control when a Diary activity is available for adding/editing entries. If a diary activity is not open for adding/editing entries, previously made entries can still be read by the user, and the teacher can still grade entries.

Diary includes Moodle, Tags. It also lets the user turn On/Off the statistics display on the normal view page. If the user is a teacher or higher, the can toggle, Email now/Email later, so that the normal "maxeditingdelay" is bypassed or not.


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AL Rachels (Lead maintainer)
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  • AL Rachels
    Wed, Jun 28, 2023, 10:11 PM
    Hi Harald,

    Yes, when you create a new prompt, the prompt timestamp for start and stop dates are normally filled in with the current date and time.
    I think in this case, the problem might be with the server computer as that is where that time is coming from. Most computer motherboards are equipped with a clock chip and a battery that keeps the clock running when the computer is turned off. The time you are getting is the default time when the battery dies and the time is not set during the computer start up sequence. You might want to check your battery and also set the computer to automatically link to an atomic clock site to keep your time in sync. long winded possibility>
  • Marc Couture
    Tue, Sep 26, 2023, 1:53 AM
    Hello Al, thanks again for all your work on this plugin. We recently discovered the following issue with the Diary activity: when a teacher adds a new Diary activity to her Moodle site, the "Edit entry dates" option shows up as No by default, while on the admin side, it's set up as "Yes". This is a problem, as students can't add new entries and can only edit their original entry. This can be fixed by the teacher afterwards, but it would be nice if the plugin and the admin preferences were in sync.
  • AL Rachels
    Tue, Sep 26, 2023, 3:08 AM
    Hi Marc, thanks for letting me know. I am right in the middle of some major mods to MooTyper, but took the time to take a quick look at the Diary mod_form.php file and I see that the setting you spotted, as well as a few others, need to have defaults from the admin settings added. I will try to do a release in a couple of weeks along with the new Moodle 4.3 release.
  • AL Rachels
    Tue, Sep 26, 2023, 3:50 AM
    Hi Marc, If you want to play with it, I just pushed changes to the master branch, that fixes the two missing settings. There will probably be a few other changes included in the official upcoming release next month. If you are using Diary v3.7.5, you could get away with just cherry picking the mod_form.php file and the setting will just start working as expected.
  • Marc Couture
    Tue, Sep 26, 2023, 9:28 PM
    Hi Al, thanks for the super fast reply, we'll test it and report back ASAP.
  • AL Rachels
    Sun, Oct 15, 2023, 1:18 AM
    In the hurry yesterday to fix a bug, I forgot to mention the quick Diary plus release was due to a closing parenthesis that should have been changed to a square closing bracket on line 76 of the mod/diary/classes/event/journal_to_diary_transfer.php file.
  • Jincai Wei
    Sun, Oct 15, 2023, 8:35 AM
    Thanks, Al, I've only just checked my email so I'm late in replying. I have a situation with upgrad diary 3.75 to 3.76 after a full upgrade to moodle 4.3. you have resolved the issue quickly and accurately with the release of a perfect 3.76+. I've updated it yesterday.
    I'm using it in a Chinese system, so it looks like the rules of words, sentences, paragraphs of diary's are not very accommodating because of the special characters.
  • AL Rachels
    Sun, Oct 15, 2023, 11:27 PM
    I ran into this same problem with just, characters, when trying to use Chinese and some other languages, in the MooTyper plugin. There are some languages that do not strictly have alphabets, and some languages that do have alphabets but do not write them one character after the other. When using such a language, the users computer "word Processor" switches to another entry mode where basically each "character" is drawn on the page. With some, just starting to type, will open a list of suggestions to choose from. I would venture that the hooks to the various statistics, to link to in the Diary code and adapt it to these other languages, is there in the yourmoodle/mod/diary/classes/local/diarystats.php file, as well as the pluralize.php and syllables.php files. However, I am sorry to say that I do not have the needed knowledge or time to try and do it.

  • Trent McNeeley
    Fri, Nov 3, 2023, 12:30 AM
    Hello again, sir. Really enjoying Diary so thank you. I know that it is not really possible to delete entries, but I am finding it impossible to delete a future *prompt* for some reason in Moodle 4.1.4+. Any thoughts?
    I have admin role in Moodle and am helping a faculty member who is piloting the use of Diary for us.
  • AL Rachels
    Fri, Nov 3, 2023, 3:52 AM
    Hi Trent,
    Deleting a future prompt is something I have not given any thought to. For the present, I would just try to edit it and it's dates, and try to turn it into a prompt that you do need.

    At the moment, I definitely think that a prompt that is already past, should not be deleted due to grades have already been posted using it's settings for the grade calculations. As for deleting a future prompt, I will have to think about it and see about adding it to my TODO list.

    @everyone - I have recently been adding more Activity completion settings to the MooTyper and HotQuestion plugins, and I wonder if there would be any interest in adding additional Activity completion settings to the Diary plugin. I could see the possible need for completion settings for Character count, Word count, Sentence count, and Paragraph count. Right now, only the basic, View, Receive a grade and Receive a passing grade are available. Comment here, send an email, or contact me via Skype.
  • Dr. Nellie Deutsch
    Mon, Nov 13, 2023, 3:03 PM
    I am unable to delete old entries from a restored course on Moodle 4.3. Any way around it? Thank you.
  • AL Rachels
    Mon, Nov 13, 2023, 11:26 PM
    Hi Dr. Deutsch,
    Yes, there is an easy way around it.
    I presume there is no need to do the usual backup, since you already have restored the course to begin with.
    1. Go to the course.
    2. Up near the top, click More > Course reuse.
    3. Up near the top left of the new page, click the menu selector and the select, Reset.
    4. Ignore everything but Diaries and click the right arrow by it.
    5. Select both checkboxes, Remove all Diary entries and Remove all Diary tags.
    6. Click, Reset course.
    7. On the new page, click Continue.
    8. When you are back in the course, check to make sure all entries are gone.
  • Michelle Doyle
    Wed, Nov 15, 2023, 12:09 AM
    Fair play on doing this! And what a retirement project. Could I suggest working with a user interface designer? I think this plugin could work really fluidly by hiding some of the unnecessary components. There's no need for the characters, paragraphs, wordcounts to show up unless the teacher turns them on in the settings. If there's a way to coordinate all dates without entering into the writing prompts, this would make this so much easier and faster to use without errors. I think having the ability to collapse the writing prompts would be really welcome too.
  • Dr. Nellie Deutsch
    Wed, Nov 15, 2023, 12:22 AM
    Al, thank you, but does that mean I will have to delete entries by resetting the course each time? There is no delete for users, either. Unfortunately, I find the diary activity for Moodle 4.3 impossible to use. I had to hide all the diaries and copy/paste the diary activities to forums.
  • AL Rachels
    Thu, Nov 16, 2023, 12:59 AM
    @ Michelle Doyle, Sorry, I do not know any user interface designers and typically, add and make changes based on what users, such as yourself, suggest. The latest versions of Diary do allow individuals to set their own preference as to whether or not they see all the statistics. Would help to know which version you are currently using.

    The suggestion to have the ability to collapse the writing prompts is something I will add to my TODO list, but to be safe, could you go into further details as to what you mean? As for, "coordinate all dates without entering into the writing prompts," I am not sure what you mean. Maybe you could create a mock up and send to me via email. My email address is in my profile.

    If you would like, you can talk to me via Skype, and my ID for that is also in my profile.
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