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User:Chris collman

From MoodleDocs

Hi, I have over 4 years experience at being a perpetual new user and helping new users who come to Yes, I might change my picture whenever I feel like it at my photo at My Moodle profile tells a different version of my story.

In December 2010, I am spending more volunteer time in Moodle Docs. Slowly working with the community to transition Docs into M2 (Moodle 2.0), while understanding the vast majority of users have older versions and need to know things. "Learn by documenting" is what I do. Having moved the content of a 1.5.3 Moodle to a new server running 1.9.9, I am ready to do the same for a 1.5.2 Moodle on a different server. Moral: wait long enough and all those custom modules might become standard parts of a Moodle install and then upgrading will be simple after that. Best practice: DO NOT WAIT 4 YEARS to upgrade :).

Trivia: If you believe in these things: on the DISC assessment scale I am a low D, high I, moderate S, and a very low C.

"We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit"

Moodler interests

Help for new users goals

As a Moodler, I am interested in giving help to the so called "Newbie": The KISS, "what are the basic things I need to know". Typically "my" newbie is like me - a little bit of a teacher and a little bit of a site administration. Initially my help focused on "how you make Moodle do things", more or less a translation of developer talk in MoodleDocs.

In 2010, more effort at has been put by others in sharing "What can Moodle do for you". We are now seeing more pictures (or videos) and dozens of different courses as examples, not to mention new genres of Moodle books. I have also noticed some great sites that have excellent and pithy help information for their set of users.

Helping people is a challenge on because everybody "sees what they want to see, hears what they want to hear, you dig?" (says the Rockman in The Point), this includes my next door neighbor or someone in another country. Plus there are so many ways to use Moodle, all new (or old) users certainly do not all have the same goals!

I appreciate all those who improve upon my work and Helen Foster for the alignments with the big picture.

Examining other people's questions, helps me learn and jump from my Confuzzled ruts to happy learner.

Recent projects

History at Started Moodling Jan '06, in 2008 was asked to help moderate the Lesson forum, then 2 other forums. I helped develop a new Lesson topic in "Features" course at for 1.x, given some additional Admin rights in MoodleDocs and in the Modules and Plugin database. In, most of my time is spent editing words and looking at user comments.

I watch about 800 pages in the en_MoodleDocs, very few are development pages. I am noticing fewer and fewer edits are showing each day and they are generally small ones. Big difference from 2006-2008. I make a point to provide links to specific Moodle Doc pages in my answers to forum posts. I look at special pages links (redirects, stubs) if I have a few minutes. And the M2 release has caused a flurry of activity in Docs.


Currently, there is a 1.5.2 site that services 3 schools. It is "cranky" and the plan is to put each school on its own 1.9.9 server. A shortage of tech time, has delayed implementation but not my prep work. One of the schools is getting a complete makeover, consolidating 70 courses/subjects, into 1 course per cohort. Could be my prep work there might become obsolete, if we jump to 2.0 in the Summer of 2011.

In addition to normal operations, July to November was all about bringing 1.5.3 content into a production 1.9.9 Moodle. Really glad I spent time since 2007 preparing a localhost as if we were upgrading to the next 1.x. Still tweaking a few site administration things and helping teachers create new courses on that server.

In March- April my MoodleDocs was spent with Themes, followed Helen's twitters to some new apps and toys for Moodle and some impulsive cross linking in older pages to other pages. I created some new pages.

In Feb I worked with others on Metacourses and File upload pages. Want to clean up my Tracker entries and look at those for Lesson.

In Nov-Dec 2009, one of regular job's F2F classes ended, then in December one of my outside compilation projects had a site failure. At my salary job, I basically customized a Moodle server and populated it with old/new courses. Oh yes, we do have a little construction project going on in our house. Then there were the holidays. I seemed to have emerged and back to "normal" things by end of January 2010.

Current Moodle work projects involve:

  • Preparing for a 1.5.2 to 1.9.x, when each of 3 schools get their own server.
  • Editing 2000 quiz questions for grammar and punctuation.
  • Housekeeping on 150 question categories and quizzes
  • Trying to figure out how my localhost server can get phpMyAdmin to manage another server.
  • Consulting/mentoring course builders on a for profit site.

Reports and Excel

I have a created several spreadsheets that are used to track student progress. All these use the "download" features found in Quiz, Grades and Questionaire (contributed code) in 1.5.x and 1.9.x.

  • Grades. I download uncategorized Grades in Excel for a course and paste everything into another spreadsheet's worksheet of the same name. I then have Excel tell us everything we wanted to know about the class and each individual in a series of worksheets. I keep summary info for each column for previous classes.`
  • Quiz. I do the same with quiz scores. I wanted to have statistical information on a separate worksheet for each Quiz. Looking forward to 2.0 reports to replace my graphs.
  • Logs. I want to know who has filled out a subject evaluation (25 questionnaire activities) and who has not. In 1.9.x I will be assigning 1 point grade to each questionnaire activity, this will appear in gradebook and everyone is happy.

Courses are Rooms for my wife

My wife was tired of not being able to share files, communicate and keep information up to date with her school counselor association via their web site. Why not Moodle? So I have been having fun changing courses into committee rooms and translating Moodle into language that ironically is all about the social constructionist point of view, for this group of adults that just wants to communicate (or not). I call this applied anthropology (big grin).

Here is a brief bio.

As a support person, I work with Moodle 1.5.x & 1.9.x within a very specific learning environment: 'certified training'. My primary job is to assist state agency trainers. Most Moodlers are trying to be fantastic educators and interact with students for weeks or months. Our goals are similar but the interaction is very different. After hours, I also work for private trainers who supply certified on line training in other parts of the country. Outside of Moodle, 600 hours a year will find me multitasking as a site adjunct for training being presented via video conference technology between 4 sites. And just to keep me aware of new users, I like to teach introduction to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Computer courses at the local community college.

I am constantly learning.

As a young adult, I lived and worked with Ibos, Effics (Nigeria), and Somali people during my 4 years in the Peace Corps doing Community/Rural Development. Served in the Army for 2 years. Lived with the Navajo for a year as a volunteer at a boarding school for special students in New Mexico, while I did historical research. I have a BA in Anthropology from Franconia College. My wife and I ran a small manufacturing company in rural New England for 20 years before my current job. Beside Moodle, my hobbies include walking my dog, genealogy, local histories, and encouraging wild flowers around my house near the White Mountains of New Hampshire, USA.

Fun of course

Need I add that Life Should be Fun!

Frank Ralf tells me:

"Humor is the only test of gravity, and gravity of humor; for a subject which will not bear raillery is suspicious, and a jest which will not bear serious examination is false wit."

Cheers to all


Footnotes and links

After I learned about subpages on userpages in wikipedia, I decided to put my handy formats for MoodleDocs here

I am thinking that a page with documentation that is already indexed might be useful

Category:Pages requiring updating. Or {{Update_section}}

Discovered David Scotson's David Scotson concerning MoodleDocs.

Moodle download stats [1]

Lesson Development pages

More notes to myself