I’ve been working with a few developers to start thinking up the next community funded development project. There were a few good suggestions from developers and I think we have a solid potential project. The project is tentatively called Autopilot for Moodle and it addresses a few ideas and tickets I’ve seen in the Tracker which pertain to pre-scheduling or delayed delivery of Moodle messages.
- MDL-19657 – Pre-schedule Multiple Messages in Moodle Messaging
- CONTRIB-3647 – Automating Email reminders for calendar events
The idea is this, using something similar to the News Forum, teachers can pre-configure messages in their courses to be sent to students based on a few criteria options:
- Enrollment based: You can specify a discussion post to become visible after Enrollment + X days of the student’s enrollment.
- Activity Completion based: Visibility and Notification based on conditional activity completion
- Fixed Date: Post becomes visible to all students on a fixed date
Messages are delivered to each user individually (so it could really help with self-paced courses where students may be at different parts of the course). From an instructional design perspective this could help to build in messaging, reminders, and proactive prompts for students as they move through the course. It could be used for encouragement, to provide timely tips, to create a more interactive classroom with more messaging, or even to provide students reminders for events and the like relevant to your classroom.
Autopilot is a Moodle plugin aimed to simplify setting up self paced courses and their management. Autopilot allows you to pre-define messages and scheduled notification emails as per some rules (discussed further). These notifications are then automatically sent to each student based on the student’s own progress and set rules (not blasted to all students at once).
This would be an ambitious project but I think it would be valuable. Before we start moving forward with an official campaign though I’d like to hear your thoughts. Would you use it? Does it address a problem that you have, what other ways might you use it? Is it missing an important function? Let me know in the comments or contact me.
Here are a few screenshot mockups created that help to illustrate how the messages might be configured in your course: