Updated in August 14, 2020. Your prayers have been answered: Behold the new Activity Chooser in Moodle 3.9:
Activities are the heart of a Moodle course. From content to interactive resources to assessment exercises, Moodle is a powerhouse of activities. However, some, including staff at UCLA argue, the options are simply “too much”.
To select a new activity, Moodle provides the “Activity Chooser,” which lists the site’s available activities. A brand-new Moodle site provides 14 options for activities, and it is not uncommon for individual sites to expand upon this list. For example, UCLA’s Moodle site features 26 activities and 9 resources for a user to choose from. Rex Lorenzo, from UCLA, believes the current layout of the Activity Chooser adds unnecessary complexities. In an Issue submitted to the Moodle Tracker, he details his frustrations with the chooser, offers some possible fixes (as visible in the attached video), and requests a new implementation.
Lorenzo has made some of his own changes to UCLA’s chooser: It adds an empty star icon next to each activity. Clicking on the star next to it will turn the star gold and mark the activity as a “favorite”. A collapsible section on top of the regular activity list, titled “Show favorite tools”, displays all starred activities. A “Reset favorite tool” link sits below the section.
As is often the case with well-thought-out contributions, the Moodleverse has responded with encouragement and built upon the proposal with ideas of their own, as well as a few words of caution. If Lorenzo’s changes were implemented, they would mess with a layout educators and instructional designers are already accustomed to. Others mention alternatives that already exist, such as the popular Blocks Catalogue plugin developed at Cergy-Pontoise University.
Implementing the new chooser on the Moodle core would give it the benefit of massive testing and feedback, but it might bring a new wave of headaches.
So what do you think? Is it time for a new default Activity Chooser? You can join the conversation in the Moodle forums or discuss on the Moodle Tracker. And of course, you can include your thoughts in the comments section below.