Mobile App Review – mPage

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This week I’ll be focusing on reviewing the various released and soon-to-be-released Mobile (both native and web) apps for Moodle.  These apps each are for Moodle 1.9 or previous versions and are available either through the App markets on iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and Android or by download directly from the developing organizations websites.  If you have specific questions about usability or features which I haven’t covered, just let us know in the comments.

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In most cases I am testing the sites/apps using a borrowed iPad or my Android 2.1 handset and am accessing a copy of the Moodle Features Demo Course from http://demo.moodle.net.

For a complete and growing list, check out our new Mobile services collection: Moodlenews.com/mobile

mPage

mPage (mPage.hk) is developed by MassMedia out of Hong Kong.  This app is specifically for the iPhone/iPod Touch or Android handsets.  This paid app ($0.99 for iOS/$1.93 for Android) requires both an app purchase/download and the installation of various files to your Moodle server (available from http://mpage.hk/mod/resource/view.php?id=2).

First impressions: the app’s aesthetics are nice and once logged in all courses enrolled are listed for my test user.  Opening the first course provides the same (listing each week by it’s Summary rather than week dates); unfortunately, that’s where things start to go downhill.  While the navigation thus far is simple and easy, it seems overly difficult to navigate to individual resources or topics unless you know exactly where you’re headed.  In fact, tapping most topic areas will simply open a blank page showing only the name of the week again.

The only way to truly navigate to the various activities and resources included in a course is to use the alternate “activities” view which provides the same aggregated view that the normal “Activities” block would provide on a Moodle site.  As a student this makes it incredibly difficult to access resources and activities on a weekly basis or to progress through a course as intended (which lays a poor foundation of utility overall).

Accessing resources through the activities view does work, however most activities and resources are not supported.  Accessing a mp3 linked as a resource did open the native mp3 player on my phone, but the app crashed immediately after.

Breakdown:

  • easy navigation to courses (view topics or by activity/resource)
  • basic myMoodle available (site blocks not supported)
  • unfortunately the simplification gained in navigating to courses is nullified by the fact that getting to the various resources and activities is a pain.  For example, you might have a list of each topic area by title, but clicking on them doesn’t show any of the label information or the activities/resources which might be included in that particular topic area/week.  This is a MAJOR usability flaw.
  • crashed when attempting to play mp3/access other activities

Screenshots:

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