User:David Scotson

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An E-learning Technologist / software developer working for the University of Glasgow as part of the newly formed Learning and Teaching Centre.

My profile at

Current work

Mostly working on getting Bootstrap embedded into Moodle.

Me and MoodleDocs

I gave a talk about Moodle recently to some of our IT support teams, one of the main points of which was was a great project MoodleDocs was (or at that time 'was going to be'), and how it could be a 'killer app' for Moodle i.e. so good that people use Moodle rather than alternatives simply because the documentation is so good. It's certainly the case that when we evaluated Moodle, the strong community support was a key deciding factor (it's a fruitless chicken and egg question whether the quality of Moodle attracted the strong community or the strong community contributed to the quality of Moodle, obviously they re-inforce each other). Having a commited, passionate community building documentation in a wiki just seemed like such a great idea, especially as I was aware of how much great info was 'hidden' within the postings of the Using Moodle forums, and the shared urge to teach/share that drives much of that. As I'm one of those people who loves to say 'I told you so!' when things turn out as I predict them to and, more importantly, because I think lack of good documentation is one of the areas holding back widespread adoption of e-learning/Moodle, I thought I'd get involved.

I'm particularly interested in:

  • the social/community aspects of the project (including it's role as a community of practice)
  • how the documentation caters to different audiences (dev/admin/teacher/student) while at the same time supporting/encouraging people to move between (or at least understand) different roles
  • effective use of hypertext/web/wiki medium (meaning both collaborative text writing and using hyperlinks to break up and interwingle content)
  • the interaction between the project websites, forums, databases, and this wiki

Things I've learned, realised or had brought home to me through contributing to this Wiki

prose versus lists

Short version: lists win every time. They:

  • allow others to easily interject, add to or edit your contributions, without having to untangle your text. Even editing your own text as you add things can turn into a scene reminiscent of Monty Python: "NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.... Our *four* *Amongst* our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise.... I'll come in again."
  • make following step-by-step lists easy, aiding readability and scan-ability
  • act as an open invite for other others to contribute (I think at least part of this is to do with depersonalisation, which sounds bad, but in a collaborative wiki text is necessary for effective copy-editing for clarity, length etc.)
  • can be easily scannable indexes, into various documentation sub-topics.

singular versus plural

  • MediaWiki seems to have a slight technical preference for singular names of articles. You can use [[Module]]s and [[Quiz]]zes when you need to use a plural in a sentence instead of [[Modules|Module]] and [[Quizzes|Quiz]] if the page is pluralised
  • Categories, when used as lists, make more sense (to me at least) as plurals, but means possibly having two similar very terms e.g. if themes is a list of Moodle Themes, then what do you use for Theme related content? Themeing?