MoodleMoot US 2018, held in Denver las month, was an amazing conference, filled with great conversations and new ideas. From the keynote to breakout sessions, there was a buzz of activity and good learning happening throughout the venue.
I won’t lie, there was a lot to take in. I attended one session that showed a brand new Workshop module designed to eliminate certain issues and make it easier to use. There was another session touting the custom development of a student-centered dashboard. Who knew that the Poodll plugin could be controlled by permissions and roles! The breakout sessions were filled with these types of innovative and creative uses of Moodle.
Troy (Patterson, Director of Technology at Dearborn) and I left Denver and returned to Detroit with our heads still spinning. I am always looking for things that help our teachers and students. It is very easy to leave a conference like this thinking you need to make a ton of changes and really amp up your Moodle site. But it’s better if you take a deep breath and wonder what can you actually accomplish and how much change is too much change for your users.
With Moodle 3.6 about to be released, I decided to throw in a small “Fordson” theme feature from something I saw at the Moot. Our teachers are constantly switching to a student role because they want to see the course the way a student would. If you have page editing permisions, the top navigation bar changes from white to an orange color. (The specific color can be changed in the theme’s settings.) When a teacher changes their role to student, the top navigation bar changes from orange to white. When they return to their normal role it changes back to orange.
The idea behind it is to make a very visible cue for the user. It helps reassure the teacher that they are viewing the site in a different role. It seems small and wasn’t terribly difficult to implement. But it is exactly the kind of stuff that, it might go unnoticed for many, but represents a continual pursuit towards the perfect user experience. When elements of a page or system become more obvious to the, user it takes some of the anxiety away. This is our goal. Happy Moodling!
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