Adding blocks to lesson
The lesson module lends itself well to blocks. It already has a three column format same as a course format. Also, via the lesson settings, one can add a left menu, a timer or a link to a media file. All of these are displayed in the left or the right column, are static and are block like. In order to add greater flexibility to the lesson display and to reduce the number of lesson settings, which are numerous, block functionality should be added to lesson.
Lesson features that would be extracted from lesson and placed into blocks would be the following:
- Left menu (block name lesson_menu)
- Media file (block name lesson_media_file)
- Timer (block name lesson_clock)
The settings for these features would be removed from lesson and would be handled by the block configuration interface. Also these features, as blocks, could be more easily expanded. For example:
- lesson_menu could be configurable to include any lesson page or branch table (often requested).
- lesson_media_file could be configurable to display the media file via a pop-up or embedded into the lesson page.
- lesson_clock could be configurable to be a count down timer or as a clock that displays how long a user has been in a lesson (has been requested).
By adding block functionality to lesson, other blocks become available to lesson. Some blocks would not make sense in a lesson like the admin block. To handle this, lesson would have a global configuration that could disable blocks from being added to a lesson. This will help to reduce confusion for lesson authors.
Sticky blocks could be used to force a block to appear on every lesson page. Then non-sticky blocks would only appear on the page to which it was added. This would allow one to add a sticky block like lesson_menu to all pages and add an HTML block that would only appear on a single page.
The possibility of using sticky blocks is still fuzzy. It could prove to be difficult to design an interface that works well with the current block API. If a clean implementation of sticky blocks cannot be found, then all blocks would like sticky blocks; all pages would have the same blocks.
Adding blocks seems to suit lesson well. By doing so, lesson gains a the following:
- A more flexible layout.
- A new powerful tool: blocks. Users can create their own blocks to plug into lesson.
- The lesson settings will be reduced.