OU blog

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Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 2.3. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version is available here: OU blog.

This contributed code module is an alternative blog system for Moodle. It can be used in place of, or in addition to, the standard Moodle blog system.

Features

  • Provides user blogs (similar to Moodle ones; everyone has their own blog) and course blogs (add an instance of the module to a course, and students in the course can all contribute to a shared blog).
  • Full support for comments. Comments can be turned off for a particular blog or post, but otherwise people can leave comments in both user and course blogs. In order to avoid spam, you currently have to be a logged-in user in order to leave comments, even if the post itself is open to the public.
  • Access control levels: private (user only), course members, logged-in users, or worldwide.
  • Group support for course blogs (so you can have per-group blogs).
  • Blog-specific tags. Tags are not connected to the Moodle tag system but apply only within the blog. You click on a tag to see all posts in the current blog with that tag.
  • User cosmetic options - change the name of your blog (from My Name's Blog to whatever you like) and add a description.
  • Standard Moodle 1.9 role/permission support (eg if you want to make it so students can't post to course blogs, etc).
  • Post and comment management. You can edit or delete posts and delete comments, but deleted or previous text remains available to administrator users. (This is necessary in various circumstances.)
  • RSS and Atom feeds.
  • Automatically integrates with the OU search system (if that is installed) to provide fulltext search of blog posts.

There is no connection between this system and standard Moodle blog; installing this system doesn't do anything to your existing Moodle blogs. If you want to move over to this system entirely, you would use the Moodle admin option that lets you disable its internal blog feature, to avoid confusion. (There is no way at present to transfer actual content from Moodle blog to oublog.)

Requirements

  • Requires PHP 5.
  • Tested with Postgres 8.1 and MySQL 5. (Should work on other Moodle-supported databases.)
  • Tested on current Moodle 1.9.2+ from CVS. (Probably works on any Moodle 1.9 though.)

No complex installation is necessary, just drop the oublog folder into your Moodle mod folder and visit the admin notifications page to install.

OU blog was specified by the Open University which funded the work. The actual development was done by Matt Clarkson of Catalyst, and further bugfixes and minor changes were then added by me (sam marshall) at the OU.

Development status

This blog is in active use at the Open University. We continue to maintain and develop it and plan to do public releases aligned with our internal release cycle.

There are no major developments planned at present.

See Forum post with update as of 19th August 2010 for very recent and good news.


R1.4

Currently version R1.4, don't use the usual download link, use the one in the body of the plugin information page.


From Sam's Blog: I got asked some questions about oublog (I mean, from somebody who is considering using it on their Moodle system), and I thought the answers might be useful to other people, so I'm reposting here.

What is the Personal blogs link on the front page?

The link on the home page takes you to the personal blog for the current user. I don't think there is a way to remove it, so please just hide it if you don't want the personal blog facility (if you are only using course blogs).

How can I set a course blog up for use as a journal where only the student involved, and a teacher on the course, can see that student's personal blog?

a - Set 'Individual blogs' option on blog settings to 'Separate individual blogs' (means students can't see each others' blogs)

b - Make sure your teacher role(s) has the 'View individual blogs' capability (I think they should have this by default but just to check)

c - Decide whether or not to use group mode:

i. If you only have one teacher there is no point.

ii. If you have lots of different teachers, each of which has their own group of students, then use group mode. Use visible groups if the teachers are allowed to see each others' students, or separate groups (and of course make sure the teachers belong to the groups) if they are only allowed to see their own students.

Who can edit comments?

You can delete comments (your own; or whoever posted the blog post can delete all comments; so can admins obviously), but not edit them. We didn't provide an edit facility for comments because they're supposed to be kind of trivial. [Also because, since we have to make sure everything's auditable, making them editable adds a lot of complexity.]

Could you add a grading option when upgrading the module to Moodle 2?

I will see what we can do but can't promise anything unless we manage to get some internal users to request it.

If we added grading, how should it work? Would you want the teacher to grade the student's participation (i.e. a single grade) or to rate each post like on forum (i.e. ratings per post with some kind of aggregation feature, like taking the average, to come up with an overall grade)?

My guess is that the former is more useful - but it's also something you can achieve already by manually adding a grade for the activity in the gradebook and having teachers use the gradebook interface to set the grade, so we'd only be making the interface a bit nicer.

Features

  • comments
  • optional commenting open to the world
  • option of blog at the course level


See also