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MoodleMoot 2007 HackFest

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The main part of the 2007 UK Moodle Moot is on Wednesday and Thursday 24th and 25th October. The day before, on the Tuesday, there will be a HackFest for developers to meet, talk and write code.

Practical arrangement

You need to get right here. This is the centre of the Open University's Campus:

The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes

The area we are meeting in is called the Christodoulou Meeting Rooms. The entry is under an archway, and if you go in and up the stairs you should find us in Meeting Room 15, or the open foyer area just outside it. We will be there from about 10:00am to about 5:30pm, and lunch will be provided. We also have rooms 1, 2 and 7 available if people want to form smaller groups at any time. (Also, in meeting room 11, there will be a separate group of people taking about online equation editors, which may interest some people.)

If you are registered for the MoodleMoot, wireless network sign-in information should be available on arrival.

Programme for the day

In keeping with Moodle's open source philosophy, the day will be self-organising. You can turn up and talk to other developers about anything you like. However, within that general free-for-all, we will have a number of pre-announced discussions on particular topics at particular times. We have a number of other rooms available for these break-out sessions, but I don't know the room numbers right now.

Please feel free to add your own suggestions below.

Naturally, not all developers will be able to come, so it might be a good idea to start discussing some of these topics in the General Developer Forum now. And if anything significant comes out of the discussions, we should try to record it on the wiki.

Particular discussions

These are significant topics, where it might be worth getting about 5-10 interested developers into a break-out room for a focussed discussion on one topic, or a demonstration of a particular idea.

Irrespective of these sessions, there will be other developers around talking about whatever interests them all day.

Repository API

The aim is to develop some consensus on how it can work so that a spec can be started.

Time: 10:30 - 11:20
Room: CMR07
Suggested by: Martin Dougiamas
  1. Portfolio separate from repo
  2. We need to think carefully/clearly about when to copy and when not to
  3. Think users, not roles
  4. It's very complicated

Social Networking tools

Time: 11:20 - 12:00
Room: CMR07
Suggested by: Jenny Gray

The aim is to discuss recent user tagging in Moodle and how it can be used; to think about what else can be tagged (courses, resources, activities etc); and to think about how Moodle can be made more social. Here are some suggestions made to me recently:

  • Learning twitter
  • Learning shared to do
  • Offering self-organising groups of learners their own activity areas (forums etc)
  • shared activity reports

Session feedback:

  • unit tagging from OU to be integrated into new tags block for Moodle 2.0
  • should we push into third party social networking tools or pull from them?
    • push into will be unpopular with students who see these networks a their private space
  • any moodle site could add extra user profile fields like status, mood with existing core functionality
  • ideas for extension
    • see other people's tag clouds
    • when it says "3 things tagged with this", want to know who made those tags
    • need fine grained control over who can tag what
    • need to make sure that when things are deleted the tags go too
    • want to be able to tag other people
    • want to be able to choose to keep my tags private (probably with an admin setting to control whether this feature is enabled or not)
  • facebook apps style API for moodle plug-ins
    • scarey for sys-admins (facebook do it with the app on a separate server)
    • maybe something simple could be done with a better database module
    • something for a lot later!

Accessibility demonstration

My colleague Chetz Colwell and I would like to give a brief demonstration of assistive technologies to developers, particularly core developers, and discuss future accessibility work on Moodle. We'll hopefully have a screen reader JAWS (Thunder?), screen magnifier, do a keyboard-only demo, and possibly speech recognition.

Time: 12:00 to 12:40
Room: CMR15
Suggested by: Nick Freear

Quiz developments

Time: 1:40 to 2:20
Room: CMR07
Suggested by: Tim Hunt

We can discuss some things that have happened recently:

some things that will probably happen soon:

  • The OU's quiz navigation changes, that we hope to put into Moodle 2.0,
  • The OU's changes to adaptive mode that we hope to put into Moodle 2.0,
  • Tony Gardner-Medwin's plans to introduce certainty-based marking,

known problems with the quiz architecture that no-one is working on right now:

  • ... suggestions welcome ...

and anything else you want to raise.

Of course, you can talk to me about the quiz at any time time during the day too, if you have a more specific issue.


Time: 2:20 to 3:00
Room: CMR07
Suggested by: Thanh Le

A quick overview of the Open University electronic portfolio tool and describing its technical underpinning to provide more background information.

From the session, I am keen to:

  • gauge people's interest in the tool;
  • discuss how the tool can integrate with other Moodle tools around the concept of personal data storage;
  • gather interest and collaboration;

Conditional Activities

The aim is to develop some consensus on how it can work so that a spec can be started.

Time: 3:00 - 3:40
Room: CMR07
Suggested by: Martin Dougiamas

Offline Moodle (and particularly synchronisation issues)

Offline Moodle reuses the core components on Backup and mNet(Moodle Network) and adds a synchronisation component to take care of tasks that Moodle doesn't already cater for.

The components are used because they are core components. They already offer functionality that we require and as they evolve the Offline Moodle feature will be able to take advantage of the extra features, functionality and reliability they provide.

Because this is a new feature I'll explain a little about how we use the comments and then jot a few questions down that have come up: Backup and restore is used to get information in and out of Moodle in a standardised format well understood by Moodle. It is supported by most modules and features and is likely to be fixed quickly as changes to modules effect the backup process.

  • Will the backup tool scale effectively
  • Will changes for Offline Moodle harm the backup code?

Moodle Network is used to provide web service functionality.

  • is Moodle Network the best option for this?
  • has the web service been implemented correctly?

Synchronisation (Synch) Component This component is really the main controller of synchronisation whic is the key feature of Offline Moodle at this time. We've spent a lot of our time developing code to get the content in and out of Moodle and transferred between Moodles in a reliable and well managed fashion. The synch component brings all this together.

So far we've proven that we can reliably get course content and related module content from Moodle Server to Offline Moodle. For forums we can get it back again. We've investigated lots more but haven't code it yet.

We would like the communities input. The plan is to improve it by adding functionality such as:

  • merging content: this is a key feature. For example merging a forum discussion with posts from the Offline Moodle and the Moodle Server. Our original proof of concept proved this is possible for forums but the code has not been written for Offline Moodle
  • filtering content: passwords, copyrighted material and other sensitive data all need to be removed at certain points through out the process
  • security: checks for hacking, viruses and trojans, making sure the data doesn't get changed in transit. These are all key issues that need to be addressed.
Time: 3:40 - 4:20
Room: CMR07
Suggested by: Colin Chambers

Other things people want to do during the day

PGP Keysiging

If any developers would like to exchange PGP Keys and expand their web of trust then this could be done during the Developer day.

I think it would be good to follow the Debian guidlines for this.--Dan Poltawski 18:03, 10 October 2007 (CDT)

Enrollment 'Groups'

I would like to discuss the concept of enrollment groups and thoughts on the reasons for such a feature to be incorporated into Moodle. It would be a useful opportunity to discuss approaches with developers. This is with the intention of implementing a solution and offering it for inclusion into core when I work on this in the coming months. --Dan Poltawski 16:46, 16 October 2007 (CDT)

Bug fixing prize?

Should we offer a prize for the person who fixes most bugs during the day?--Tim Hunt 03:46, 14 October 2007 (CDT)

Sorry I won't be there, Ok if you mean somebody submitting the larger number of proposals approved by at least one of the participants, on how to solve various bug. No real code please, if you don't want to create new ones...Pierre Pichet 18:34, 19 October 2007 (CDT)

See also