Moodle Updates Free Mobile App Plans, Limits On Push Notification, Offline Content Access (Updated)

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Moodle Updates Free Mobile App Plans, Limits On Push Notification, Online Content Access
Credit: Juan Leyva — moodle.org

Updated on November 11. Moodle has announced that it will officially discontinue Moodle Desktop on May, 2021. Existing customers of Branded Moodle Applications will continue to receive basic maintenance and security updates until the validity of their existing contract. Mobile apps for the Android and iOS mobile operating system will continue to be available as usual.

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More details follow:

  • Premium subscription must be for 2 years minimum

See also:

Effective April 2, 2020, the free Moodle app will stop offering the unlimited functionality to which many of us have grown accustomed.

Juan Leyva, Moodles HQ’s Mobile app lead, announced on March 6 the introduction of 3 app tiers, 2 of them paid starting at €199 per year.

Leyva assuaged concerns about this decision becoming another step away from Free Open Source Software:

It’s important to make very clear: all our software is free and open source, and that will never change.

We would love to provide all our services for free too, but making software and providing services costs money, lots of money. We estimate that Moodle has cost over US$100 million dollars to develop so far, and we still have big dreams! Our mission and our values prevent us from using advertising, data collection and other techniques that some companies use to provide “free” services.

More information will be provided as the switching date approaches. Leyva welcomes questions, comments and further discussions on the dedicated forum post at Moodle.org.

Institutions must pay, not individual users

While individual students will not have to bear the cost of the app —not directly anyway— they will see limitations in ways not yet determined. Some of the features may become unavailable in the institution does not upgrade its plan. The offline access limitations being the main example.

The Free version provides 2 offline courses per device. Pro version gives you 4 offline courses while Premium imposes no limits on the user. Given than the app allows you to connect to several Moodle sites, the users will be able to choose up to 2 sites to download from Free sites, up to 4 from Pro sites, and as many as they want from Premium, MoodleCloud and Moodle Partner hosted sites.

Want push notifications on your device? Be first in line

Push notifications will also be limited. The first devices to get a notification in a month will get notifications throughout the month, at a rate of 50 on Free, 500 on Pro, and unlimited on Premium.

Devices for iOS and Android are counted, while Moodle Desktop apps are not.

Admins can disable notifications site-wide, but they cannot limit particular users.

Go premium to enable some features, disable others

Some extra features will only become available on paid plans, some of them on higher tiers. Currently they are “Free,” “Pro” (€199 per year) and “Premium” (€499 per year).

  • Multimedia push notifications: Pro and Premium
  • Basic CSS branding: Premium
  • Custom menu items: 1 in Pro, 2 in Premium
  • Custom strings: 10 in Pro, 20 in Premium

Another feature available on paid tiers is the ability to disable features. The Free app allows for 1 disabled feature, the Pro for 2, and the Premium allows disabling an unlimited number of features. “Disableable” features include:

  • Offline access
  • Blocks
  • Comments, ratings and tags
  • Account creation
  • Items on menu
  • Access to Course properties and activities such as Blog, Search and Competencies
  • User activities and actions: Badges, Course completion, Messaging, Block contact, Notes, User pictures
  • File repository

Moodle sites hosted by Premium Partners get the Premium app for free

“Hosted” is the instrumental word here. While Moodle Partners offer Moodle hosting, Clients may acquire Moodle Partner services other than hosting, such as on-premise Moodle installation, training, consulting and support. It would appear those sites would not be eligible for Premium app treatment, regardless of billing.

MoodleCloud users also get the Premium app, including users of the free tier.

NGOs that are not schools or universities may be eligible for the Premium tier

Ask for qualification instructions at [email protected]

The full app is always available at open source code

You can get it here: github.com/moodlehq/moodleapp .

Developers are welcome to build their own Moodle apps using this code. Leyva is confident, however, than the price for the Premium app is “very reasonable” compared to the cost of customizing and compiling it on your own.

Want the full Moodle Mobile experience? Pay for the Branded App

Arguably, part of the reasoning behind the increased pricing is to ultimate encourage institutions to switch to the Branded app. In addition to the unlimited features from the Premium app like push notifications, offline access and custom CSS, the Branded app also includes:

  • App store page (Android and iOS)
  • Dedicated notifications server
  • Full branding with logo and colors
  • Google Analytics
  • Email support

The Branded app has a standard pricing of $4,000 USD per year, and an optional maintenance fee after the second year. Moodle Partners may offer different distinct pricing or discounts.

App, what is it good for?

Under the direction of Leyva, the Mobile operation of Moodle has been the subject of significant evolution. After a critical technical transition, involving among other things the introduction of the JavaScript-based Ionic framework for “hybrid” or agnostic mobile, web and desktop application development.

The latest release of the Moodle app, launched in December, 2019, includes:

  • H5P offline
  • Dark mode
  • MathJax
  • Option to delete comments
  • Calendar filters
  • Course participants search
  • Offline state notification
  • Minimum app version requirement

Since Moodle 3.6, the app offers full compatibility with all of Moodle’s core activities.

R&R

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