As reviews for Moodle™ 4.0 continue to stream and real-life testing begins moving from early adopters to actual students, development teams are starting to identify priorities to address for Moodle™ 4.1, the following major release. Depending on the urgency and magnitude of the updates required, bug fixes may come on a minor release within two months, or the date for 4.1 could move forward from the original 6 months between major or “single point” releases.

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A “second point” 4.0.1 release was already made available on May 9, addressing navigation issues, performance related to the native BigBlueButton integration, badges and LTI among others.

Why Moodle™ 4.0 needs an update

It is not uncommon that major updates, whether it’s Moodle™, Open Source tech or software in general, bring a series of patches soon after it’s on the hands of the public. Among the several phases of software development, plenty of testing is involved. In the case of Moodle™, development teams and plenty of users join the “QA” call religiously, a few weeks before the release.

In the QA phase, the core team develops a series of tasks for the testers. A list that is, by most accounts, comprehensive. But when a software grows in features and complexity, it is very difficult to predict all the tasks users can perform. Especially if they involve several different components.

As Martin Dougiamas, Moodle™ CEO explains, «We have so many features that address all kinds of niches in education… That has resulted in a system that has a lot of features. Our main challenge is to present and use all those features in an effective wayYou are going to see that going forward into 4.1 and 4.2 as we continue to double down on that user experience.» (See video.)

At this time, the most salient issue involves the Quiz and Question Bank activities. Veteran “Moodler” Tim Hunt from Open University has identified an issue when attempting to grade an already graded multiple choice question in a quiz (re-grading) once it’s been edited, which may produce incorrect grades. This has become MDL-74752 and at writing it is under review.

It is likely this is not the only issue related to Quiz and Question Bank. Rick Jerz has found a database connection issue for multiple choice type questions that have been edited, which may not be related to MDL-74752.

On the Moodle™ Tracker there are over 4,000 open issues classified as “bugs” that may still affect the 4.0 release.

Shaping up the Moodle™ Quiz and Question Bank

Presenting on MoodleMoot UK & Ireland 2022 earlier this month, Hunt took the time to give a peek behind the scenes of an open source project. In theory, open source development offers numerous benefits in term of collaboration, transparency and the role of merit and quality as main factors determining what goes in and does not in a software release. In reality, these elements still hold true, but with a number of caveats: Project-specific knowledge beyond a programming language and standard dependencies is highly encouraged, if not required. Or the fact that it’s not always possible to judge quality of code from direct examination, case in which reputation becomes a useful proxy.

These principles have played at length during the Quiz storied career, dating back to 2002. Enhancements have come by way of internal development, volunteered code, plugins baked into the core, user feedback and most notably in recent times the Moodle™ Users Association Project Development Cycle.

Hunt also offered ideas for improvement on the Quiz and Question Bank that are not mere bug fixes:

  • Multiple grades from one quiz, such as section grading
  • Question numbering customization
  • Quiz (and activity)-specific language setting
  • Better Question Bank search
  • Better Question Bank management, including permissions, import\export and categories, among others

Over 200 plugins ‘early bird’ compatible with Moodle™ 4.0

On a press release, Moodle™ has announced and commended the developers of 246 plugins by upgrading and testing their creation with the Open Source LMS’ latest release within days of release, following the invitation by HQ’s David Mudrák. More plugins became 4.0 compatible after the “Early Bird” period, so they did not earn the customary badge, but are nonetheless compatible. Check them all out here.

Disclaimer: LMSPulse is part of Open LMS. Plugin mentions on this website should not be seen as endorsements by Open LMS or any team members. Please look into Moodle plugins carefully before implementing them into production. Connect with the eLearning Community to learn about availability of plugins and features in Open LMS systems.

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