Kickstarting MoodleMoot Global + Open EdTech Global 2019, Moodle has made the release available right on schedule. While H5P is one of its most welcome additions, the new Forum features would probably get the most use. Learning Analytics should also see some increased usage by teachers.
Consumer-only H5P, baked in
The H5P engine comes in the box from now on. This version only allows embedding content already made somewhere else or through the H5P Plugin.
Now an “H5P” icon comes on the editor. This inclusion does allow a couple of things not able through the plugin:
- Embed H5P on the Atto Editor using filters
- Control who is able to deploy H5P activities
- Set sitewide H5P display options
- Allow or prevent upgrading H5P libraries
Learning Analytics, progressed
A few, much needed improvements on the Learning Analytics front hope to make the tool more useful and intuitive for common teachers. More default predictors, a visual dashboard and the ability to direct message students according to “risky” prediction values could help improve course outcomes.
By popular request, the Forum can become a gradable activity, part of the Gradebook. Other usability improvements have been added, such as a pop-up summary view and an experimental nested view. Finally, Forum conversations can be exported, with a menu allowing the selection of participants and date intervals.
Admins can now determine the layouts and filtering available for end users on their Course Dashboards.
And Course Color Patterns provide visual grouping and guidance for different subjects.
The Emojis interface is improved and a button on the text editor is available.
Calendar offers slight visualization tweaks and filtering, including an “upcoming events view.”
You can check every single issue fixed for the Moodle 3.8 release here, they include small functional tweaks, enhancements for admins’ eyes only, and updates to web services and APIs (for developers).
Some of the most popular include:
- Time-out alert. Moodle informs the session is about to disconnect automatically due to inactivity (MDL-34498)
- Quiz editing menu. It adds new features and makes it easy to fix things on the spot. (MDL-66956)
- “Hidden from students course label.” Now teachers know which courses are hidden from their students (MDL-65621)
- Alphabet filtering in students lists (MDL-48610)
What you need before installing
Moodle requires a set of supporting technologies in order to run. Moodle 3.8 requires a stack, usually made of the operating system (Linux or Windows), the HTTP Server (Apache) a Database and the PHP programming language.
Below are the database technologies compatible with Moodle and the minimum version required to work. The latest version available is always best recommended.
- MySQL. The “M” in LAMP and “de facto” database for open source projects, requires version 5.6 for Moodle 3.8. (The latest version available as of writing is 8.0.18)
- MariaDB. Another interesting open source alternative. Version 5.5.31 is required. (Latest: 10.4)
- PostgreSQL 9.4. (Latest: 12.1)
- Microsoft SQL Server 2012 (Latest: 2019)
- Oracle Database 11.2 (Latest: 19c)
- PHP 7.1. The 7.x series has been out for a while now, but some plugins might still show compability issues. Moodle developers recommend to “test, test, test.” The latest version of PHP is 7.3. Moodle is already preparing for PHP 7.4, just around the corner.
- Along with PHP, the intl library is also required.
What end users (teachers, students) need to use Moodle 3.8
A modern web browser (Mozilla, Opera, Safari, Chrome or Edge) recently updated is enough to access Moodle 3.8 as an end user.
Upgrading? You should go for Moodle 3.8 immediately if
Keeping Moodle to the latest version is always a good idea, but the benefits can often be minimal compared to the resources required, potential downtime and cost to your peace of mind.
- You want to keep your system up-to-code and free from vulnerabilities
- If you are really excited about the new Learning Analytics and Forum features. (As we mentioned, the H5P integrations does not really bring anything that’s not already available through the plugin.)
- You skipped Moodle 3.7 or any previous release. (Note that you cannot upgrade from version earlier than Moodle 3.2.)
- Your system has the minimum versions or required technologies listed in the previous section.
- You aren’t too concerned about possible bugs not identified by the QA phase, as it was the case in Moodle 3.6.
- Your favorite plugins are compatible with Moodle 3.8 already. (See the full list here.)
Resources & References
- Download Moodle 3.8
- Moodle 3.8 release notes
- See the full list of issues (“Jiras”) included in the release
- How to install Moodle 3.8