We all know Moodle HQ could make a much better job in “self-help,” or making people find the information they need without the need to ask someone else, or at least not having to pay for it. By the way, it is surprisingly hard to find paid quality Moodle support if it’s not from a long-term, not very affordable Moodle Partner relationship.
Those with a just couple of months of experience know what the best, or at least most obvious ways to ask for help (once you have exhausted the Moodle Docs, of course) are:
- First step should always be the Moodle Forum at moodle.org. It is supposed to be organized according to the category an issue might belong. These results are often the top result in web searches. The problem is that often they offer information for old versions of Moodle, and it is not very easy to figure them out.
- The second way is Facebook, which might surprise some people. There are several groups, in many languages. Like the Moodle Forum, some are more active than others, there can be specialized groups, but the process feels needlessly longer than it should, if not downright frustrating with many dead ends. One of the most active groups is “Moodle Admins, Trainers & Support People” which by its own name does not help with all kinds of questions users might have. The upside is that, like the Moodle Forum, you can find some knowledgeable and eager to help Moodlers. But it is a closed group and it does need a Facebook account. By the way, our own Facebook Page at facebook.com/moodlenews has assisted a couple of readers in the past!
These are basically the main choices. Options that seem just as viable, if not more, for other technologies, apparently did not catch on in the Moodleverse, judging by the volume of activity. But there is always an odd chance someone can help you there. You have
- The /r/moodle subreddit
- The ‘moodle’ tag at Stack Overflow, the popular reputation-based scoring forum
While not strictly a support tool, it’s worth mentioning the Moodle Tracker in this same breath. After all, there is a tiny, but not null possibility that your issue with your Moodle site is in fact a bug that needs to be fixed.
Ray Mizzi’s brilliantly simple strategy
He made a video. Simple as that. Without the effort of finding the right keywords to explain his issue, he just recorded himself trying to accomplish something and failing to do so in the way he thought it was supposed to work.
In all fairness, he also posted the video on Facebook, and had the good fortune to be assisted by no other than Chris Kenniburg, author of the plugin Mizzi has looking to be assisted to. Even Gareth Barnard himself piled on the thread.
If you are looking for help in Moodle
- ALWAYS State your system’s variables: Moodle version, Operating System version, ideally the system or server’s properties, the version of the supporting tools (PHP, Apache, the database engine) if it’s relevant, etc. However, Mizzi’s video is an effective way to gather most of the relevant specs.
- State as clearly as possible what your desired outcome is, the series of steps required to accomplish it, and what your unfortunate result is. Again, a video is an easy and straightforward way to get this done.
- If you find the answer and it is possible, emphasize the correct answer. You can pin or highlight the important info in most systems. It is algo good tech etiquette to answer your own question, if you figured it out before a third party did.
This Moodle Practice related post is made possible by: eThink Education, a Certified Moodle Partner that provides a fully-managed Moodle experience including implementation, integration, cloud-hosting, and management services. To learn more about eThink, click here.