Recap of day 1 #MootUS15, including @Moodler’s keynote

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Woo, today was a whirlwind of a day chatting up Moodlers from all over the US attending the US MoodleMoot in beautiful Minneapolis on the Twin Cities Campus of University of Minnesota.

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Two takeaways from today:

  1. Martin’s keynote was a great opener for the event showcasing all that’s happening with Moodle and what the future holds for the LMS, see below for my full thoughts and notes.
  2. The Working Group sessions, if you can be involved at a future Moot or online, are a great opportunity to dive into a new project that could have a lasting and important impact on Moodle in the future. I had the opportunity to work with Moodle administrators, developers and faculty on the idea of a core Learning Analytics solution to identify students at risk so that they could be retained and ultimately be successful. It was a great experience, I can wait to track the progress over the next few months/years as additional specifications are written and developed.

Tomorrow is day two of the event and I’m looking forward to attending sessions and being a spectator at the slated sessions. More to come on those…

Keynote Notes

Martin Dougiamas fittingly kicked off the event with his keynote deck. I previously recapped it when it was given at the iMoot however hearing some of the announcements again, this time further developed (3-4 months on) was a great refresher and a great indicator of Moodle HQ’s master plan which I believe can be summed up with this quote Martin gave later in this keynote titled “how to win friends and influence Moodle”:

it [all the projects] is all designed to make the Moodle project function as well as it possibly can

carnegieSo what is “it”? It is the current HQ agenda which is being fleshed out currently in a lot of the stuff we’ve been covering here over the last few weeks.

The keynote kicked off with a few thoughts on Feedback and it’s importance to students as they learn. Moodle, like a good student, is a learning organization receiving feedback from it’s environment, from people, and from testing (of which Moodle is doing more officially for accessibility and usability).

Martin continued positing that Moodle is a necessary infrastructure for the world: a neutral online education platform supporting teachers in teaching and learners at learning. HQ is working to make it “disappear” in the sense that it should just be background enabling teaching and learning in the way that email facilitates communication.

His view on returns was framed as successful teaching and learning rather than any monetary gain or “exit” which is often the goal of VC funding/outside investment. Martin reiterated in this keynote that Moodle will not be bought, will not seek outside funding that would bring on an agenda to capitalize.

Three initiatives underway now all are working to advance Moodle without compromising those goals:

  • Moodle Association: a non-profit funding arm that brings power to the people (albeit through their dollars)
  • Moodle Moots: creating an official Moot brand to engage Moodlers (and bringing video in the form of a Moodle TV site a la TED talks)
  • MoodleCloud: bridging the gap between the individual user and partners through a free, always up to date, always available limited use site for teachers that might not otherwise have an option.

The keynote was sprinkled with a lot of tidbits and great information (and hints at things to come). Here’s a bulleted list of some of what I was able to scribble down as they were rapid fired out:

  • new US partners might be announced this week
  • Moodle Mobile 2.0 is coming soon
  • Accessibility is a major priority
  • Competency is coming likely in 3.1 or after
  • Templates will help to create better consistency in usability
  • Moodle is seeking UX designers to assist in the usability and accessibility
  • MoodleCloud will be a great resource for feature A/B testing and usability research
  • Working groups so far are huge hit with great ideas coming out of them (bulk actions, better UI, new course wizard aka MoodleMia, read only course status, etc.)
  • Every 4 releases will be LTS (long term support)