Moodle Pty Ltd is debuting a landing page, a blog, and a few new tools to help move their new education-based “open social media,” MoodleNet forward. The main link, moodle.com/moodlenet, currently redirects to the documentation page, itself a work in progress, listing a series of ideas and possible “envisaged” features, from messaging and news, to identity provider and verifier, to OER repository and monetization platform. Users and enthusiasts can follow the developments on a dedicated blog at blog.moodle.net, maintained by Doug Belshaw. There is also a (very preliminary) white paper available here.
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.
But since then, the image Moodle built already looks to be lagging behind. Top social media sites are able to continuously add new features and improvements, a rate of development Moodle is just not able to match. Moodle CEO Martin Dougiamas admitted as much during a recent community panel. Tallying the development tasks that would make the Moodle Calendar look like the Google client showed the project to be unfeasible.
Will educators be willing to join and remain active on yet another social media site? The answer can still be yes, as long as Moodle finds the “it” or “X factor” that makes recurring usage seamless and worthwhile.