Moodle 2.6 is coming very soon, if you haven’t tried it out you might want to jump over to QA.moodle.net to explore a little and get your feet wet. There is a laundry list of new features, changes, enhancements, fixes and improved usability over in the release notes: http://docs.moodle.org/dev/Moodle_2.6_release_notes.
Below you’ll find 5 of my favorite new features, changes or enhancements and each, in my opinion, goes a long way in improving the usability of Moodle.
1. Performance: first and foremost 2.6 should be a faster and less resource hungry site to run. “Many important changes have been made to improve Moodle’s performance: a new sessions infrastructure with 100% support that adds a new memcached session handler and improves the existing ones; OPcache support; changes to reduce memory usage and lots of new cache definitions to reduce database queries by using fast cache stores.”
2. Simpler Password Recovery: anything that reduces the number of clicks (and the amount of frustration) when using Moodle is a positive. Paring down the number of clicks to retrieve your own lost password on a Moodle site it a step in the right direction (and away from emailing the Admin for a manual reset).
3. Backup/Restore of Large Courses: this is a personal gripe and I’m eager to test it out with the specific courses that have given us trouble. What I can say is that the progress meters that have been added and the improved interface its my hope that the issue of not being able to backup/restore large courses is solved.
4. Marker Allocation and Management in Assignments: Are you coordinating many graders or using a TA for the first time? Perhaps you want two sets of eyes on a specific assignment to increase your interrater reliability? Marker Allocation and Management allows you to corral grades and approve them before they are entered into the gradebook. A handy new feature with plenty of applications.
5. Better looking editing icons, TinyMCE editor and more: Adding, editing and using resources and activities in Moodle gets a bit of enhancement through new icons and collapsed menus (no more icon overload when editing is toggled on and off). Additionally, in another from the WordPress playbook, the simplified view of the text editor unclutters the page and pares down on the number of tools that are, by default displayed. A nice usability improvement.
With these changes and more I think Moodle has made major headway in solidifying its place as a market leader. Hope there’s more to come in 2.7.
Did your new favorite feature not make my list? Share it in the comments!