Back in 2011 Sussex University (UK) were trying to bring ideas from social media into their Moodle instance, one of the more eye catching developments was the addition of a recent activity feed which you can read about here:
The idea is to try and encourage engagement with users, perhaps creating the impression of a living system as opposed to a static one.
Unfortunately that code relied on core changes (Its hard to believe that was all done in Moodle 1.9!) and was never released, but their work did not go unnoticed.
It is now possible to achieve something very similar with Amanda Doughty’s CUL Activity Stream Suite:
If you add the block to My Home or the homepage of your site then all activity across the site is shown. As you go into individual courses the results are specific to that course.
This means it can be used to replace the standard “recent updates” block and here we gain another benefit as the CUL block is scrolling and lazy loading, it only ever takes up a set amount of space on the page regardless of how many entries there are to display.
The set includes a second recent updates plugin which also scrolls and adds course images to the events.
One of the CUL set is a messaging plugin to capture events for the feed, and in another interesting twist Pau Ferrer Ocaña made a post about a “User message tray” in one of the developers forums recently
With a little luck these developments will come together in the not too distant future to offer Moodlers the option of using Activity Feeds either as blocks or in a message tray within the theme!