If economic history rhymes, then the recent timeline of social web technologies is a frantic beat. As soon as a Facebook reaches massive scale, its room for growth dwindles. In order to grow and remain relevant, it must find a new blue ocean, because no market proven to be profitable remains uncontested for long. Users repurpose features beyond their original intent ―something at which teachers seem to distinguish themselves― and when a new opportunity is visible, new competitors will bring clarity to the field in the form of diverging features. No matter how thoroughly the main player diversifies to please everyone, niche products will rule over niche segments.
With the expansion of the messaging and messaging options in Moodle 3.2, questions about Moodle as a social learning media site, or about why there is not a unanimous “LinkedIn of education”, start to come up again. The update of web standards resembling the social sites of today that are introduced in Moodle 3.2 could be seen as part of a strategy for Moodle to level up a learning platform that is already social by design.
From a standards point of view, the Moodle 3.2 update is compatible with the “Semantic Web“, of data shared and reused across services. Regarding Messaging, a text balloon icon next to a profile picture will open a familiar list of contacts. Clicking on them will open real-time chat windows that allow rich content, including
  • emoticons,
  • links,
  • embedded images and videos that fit to the window dimensions,
  • mathematics notations
and “many more“.
When real-time interaction is not possible, a Notifications icon opens a similar menu with details of things that happen in Moodle that could be of interest while the user was away. A final layer of personalization is a complete dashboard of preferences for notifications and reminders. Users can disable or enable them for their Moodle sessions, via email or through Moodle Mobile if they have it.
Notification preferences dashboard
Are all the ingredients in place, perhaps except the “x factor”? The Moodle 3.2 update suggests that the technology is already in place to push the envelope on social engagement within Moodle and across Moodle sites. Despite the place of seeming privilege of the Open Source LMS to spur an world-connected community of learners, and having fulfilled the items on the “social media site checklist”, there is no official word on Moodle’s plans to head into this untapped, blue, niche ocean.


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Should Moodle allow you to interact with users from another course, site or organizations? Thoughts!

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  1. […] Users will have access to the dashboard for each MoodleCloud site of a Course they are enrolled in. I think MoodleCloud has a real opportunity, if it will allow students to get one dashboard for all their Courses no matter the MoodleCloud site they come from, therefore moving towards the vision for a distributed learning social network. […]

  2. […] Dougiamas was not unprepared. During the course of the event, the team kept their ears to the ground to try to get a sense of the vibrations. Coincidentally, it seems one of the recurring concerns was related to how the community could get more involved in all aspects of Moodle, from development and improvement to advocacy and promotion of the open source LMS. These concerns led the team to envision a “Community 2.0” that, much like the Web 2.0, hands more control and responsibility over content creation to users, but this is a couple of “point-0s” ahead technologically. […]

  3. […] Speculation about the move by the Moodle team has been around for years, making the announcement look long overdue. In turn, new features in recent major upgrades, starting with the revamped real-time messaging and notification options in Moodle 3.2, seemed like the beginning of an answer. The similarity in functionality and look resembled that of more popular sites at the time and could be considered Moodle’s inroad into the Semantic Web. […]

  4. […] This post detailing the new features on Messaging and Notifications in Moodle 3.2 sparked some debate on, a) the actual need for a unique social network for learning, b) the ability of Moodle to evolve or reach towards this “blue ocean” space, and c) the actual plans to at least test the waters. As noted in MoodleNews, the higher rate of responsiveness of interactions, the increase in control over notifications and personal data, and the increasing integration with Moodle Mobile, is giving Moodle all the supporting elements for an eventual “Semantic Web” site that promotes creation and curation of content, for personal and organizational learning purposes. […]


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