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Blocks: Blur Names

block_blurnames
The presence of this block on gradebook and some other pages will blur the names, email addresses, and images of students - e.g., in both the Grader and User Reports; and it will do the same for names in Moodle core's Forum, and in the Choice module, as well. This protection of student privacy allows for more FERPA-friendly sharing among faculty.
Maintained by: Picture of Brendan Lalor Brendan Lalor
for Moodle
2.5, 2.6

/*
The Blur Names block is created by Brendan Lalor, and released for all.

WHY: It helps protect student privacy, that FERPA-compliance might not dampen
our Moodle spirit.

WHAT: The Blur Names block helps conceal information that might otherwise
reveal the identities of students when faculty are displaying Moodle courses
to each other.

HOW: The presence of this block on gradebook and some other pages will blur
the names, email addresses, and images of students - e.g., in both the Grader
and User Reports; and it will do the same for names in Moodle core's Forum,
and in the Choice module, as well. This protection of student privacy allows
for more FERPA-friendly sharing among faculty.

Take whatever block-placement measures are appropriate in your situation to
ensure that the block is loaded on the relevant pages. For the simplest
cases, when you want to use it, add it to all pages in the left column (so
that it's loaded even when there is no column on the right). This is not a
one-size-fits-all strategy; so adapt it!

CAVEATS:
1. The block will not presently blur names in tooltips, which appear
when hovering over gradebook cells.
2. The block has not been designed to blur names in modules beyond those
listed: Choice, Forum, and in the Gradebook.
3. The block has not been tested for Moodle releases prior to 2.6. However
there's nothing too snazzy in it; so it should work with earlier releases
as long as they feature the relevant CSS class and ID names.

SOLICITATIONS: If you know a CSS-method for blurring the names in tooltips
that appear while hover over gradebook cells, please share it with me.
JavaScript solutions are welcome as well. In future releases, I'll also try
to honor requests for CSS-based extensions. Drop me a note at
Brendan.Lalor@castleton.edu.

*/

This plugin contains potential privacy issues:
This block actually helps resolve outstanding privacy issues.

Screenshots

screenshot
screenshot

Contributors

Picture of Brendan Lalor
Brendan Lalor (Lead maintainer)
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  • MD shot of me from his iphone4
    Mon, Feb 3, 2014, 1:10 PM
    Thanks Brendan, thanks for submitting this. It is a step towards improving privacy. It would really work best within a setup where users aren't allowed to view the source of the html or the network transmitted information.

    Can you furnish some url details, see http://docs.moodle.org/dev/Plugin_validation#Recommended_URLs

  • Picture of Brendan Lalor
    Wed, Feb 5, 2014, 6:46 AM
    Okay! I've added a git URL.

    I very much agree with you, Apu, that deeper security would be better. in fact, I would love to see a coder more adept than myself provide it!

    Till then, my block plugs a small hole in the privacy wall in that with it, faculty can display (e.g., to other faculty) some relevant Moodle activities and gradebook set-ups WITHOUT thereby making visible private student information. However, this is only a visual layer of "privacy protection," mostly for use in workshops and presentations where making names and photos invisible is all that's really needed.
  • MD shot of me from his iphone4
    Mon, Feb 10, 2014, 10:32 AM
    Thanks for that Brendan. There is an obsolete article that seems to talk about Moodle-wide anonymity @ http://docs.moodle.org/dev/Anonymous_Users. Besides that there are some plugins i see under https://moodle.org/plugins/search.php?s=anonymous&search=Search+plugins towards that effort.

    ps: i see the validation (Admin>View validation) showing this "you have specified $plugin->requires = 2010112400, which is earlier than the official release of Moodle 2.6 (2013101800)"
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