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Have you ever been to a conference where you walk up to the registration desk to get your id badge and you feel like you have stepped into Cheers? Not because the registration desk is a bar, but because you are greeted in a manner that makes you feel like everyone knows your name. If you have then you might have attended a Mountain Moot.

 

This Moot can be summed up in one word "Fun". Each year it is put on by Dan Case and Ryan Hazen on the Carroll College campus in Helena Montana. This year was no different. The moot unofficially started Thursday night with a welcome social sponsored by Blackboard. This is a great time to catch up with returning Moodlers and get to know some new Moodlers without the need to figure out the next session you are planning to attend. This casual gathering sets the mood for the rest of the Moot, which is relaxed and friendly. There are pre-moot sessions and I have heard they are very informative, I personally haven't attended them.

 

Friday kicks off the Moot proper with a 5k run walk and then a welcome presentation and keynote. One of these times I will attend the run walk, but this year it was 94-99 degrees outside and I am not prepared to do that kind of running or walking and then sit inside listening to presentations the rest of the day. This year's keynote presented by Andrew Kenny and was about K12 broadband and what the group the education superhighway is doing to help get broadband to all US K12 students. It was an interesting presentation explaining the needs for broadband for K12 districts and classrooms to provide different levels of educational content. We were then treated to a status of the project and how they have positively impacted k12 student's access to broadband.

 

There are usually four to five sessions running at a time, which is a solid number to provide attendees with options without making them feel like they have to choose between conflicting options. Jessica Bryant from Montana Office of Public Instruction gave a presentation on the work that OPI is doing to provide free professional development to K12 teachers in Montana and how they are training the teachers who develop the professional development courses. I am hopeful that she will create a blog post about what she presented at the Moot here and talk about the course they have written and their process for learning how to create quality Moodle courses.

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H5P was a very popular topic at the moot this year. There was a pre-moot session on it and Jason Neiffer and Mike Agostinelli from Montana Digital Academy presented on how they are using H5P with their educational curriculum. I am also hopeful that they will create a blog post at some point on H5P because they are using it extensively. It is also being used with many different educational techniques.  If you get a chance to reach out to them I highly recommend it. They have a very solid strategy for using H5P and keeping it up to date. H5P as a tool is also rapidly evolving, which accessibility becoming a focus for improvements going forward.

 

Sadly Marlene Zentz got sick and was unable to attend, hopefully, she is feeling better. This also meant that Aaron Page was unable to attend and Andy Braden stepped up to present to those who were interested in Blackboard Ally and the recently released integration with Moodlerooms and soon with Moodle. If you haven't seen Ally in action or talked to Andy or your sales rep about it I highly recommend it. Many of the moot attendees were really excited by the prospect of what Ally could help them do.

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Luckily we were able to connect to Aaron Page virtually to the moot attendees to present about the Accessibility MOOC he and Marlene Zentz are going to be running in October.  They recently ran a pilot with 93 people and received a lot of positive feedback about it. They are working on improvements before we open it up for anyone to enroll. I am also hopeful that they will find some time to make a blog post to talk about the MOOC and why everyone should attend not just Moodlerooms clients.

 

This was yet another great Mountain Moot. Ryan and Dan continue to host an event that has a strong community feel while providing a lot of benefit to attendees with a very inexpensive price tag. Minds were definitely blown this week. If you get a chance I highly recommend attending. I also recommend taking a few extra days before or after to explore Montana. It is gorgeous country, hot this year, but hopefully that was a fluke.

Want to try how CBE works in Moodlerooms but haven't had the time to configure frameworks and competencies? We got you covered. In this quick guide we'll review 3 steps you can follow to review to jump-start your test.

 

Step 1. Enable competencies in your site

Before we start any other configuration or actions, make sure Competencies are enabled for your site. You can configure this in:

 

Site administration > Competencies > Competencies settings

 

Once on the settings page, just me sure the "Enable competencies" box is ticked.

 

enable competencies.PNG

 

Step 2. Import a previously created CBE framework

Moodlerooms provides flexibility when creating competencies and frameworks, but in test scenarios, you may want to accelerate framework creation and start working with something that is already defined. To do this, you can use the "Import competency framework" in Moodlerooms, which allow you to use a CSV CBE framework file and import it into the platform so you can use it and edit it as needed.

You can find the link to "Import competency framework" tool in

 

Site administration > Competencies > Import competency framework.

 

import competencies framework.PNG

You can find CBE frameworks in CSV format by searching in the web, but you can also use the Cyber Security CSV test file attached to this post that we created based on Cyber-security competency model available on Career one stop website. This file doesn't require you to change any settings when importing.

 

 

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Step 3. Have fun!

Now that you're all set up with competencies and a framework to test, you can go and check out how those can be used in courses, activities and learning plans. Here are some recommendations on where to start:

  • If you're using the cyber-security framework that we've shared, you can create a cyber-security learning plan templates and assign learning plans to a couple of test users. You can do this by going to Site administration > Competencies > Learning plan templates
  • Go to a couple of test courses and add map competencies to them. This can be accessed from the course dashboard if you're using Snap or from course administration in any other theme.
  • Assign competencies to activities and resources if you want.
  • Rate competencies for your test users and see how they progress on the assigned learning plans. Personal learning plans can be found on user profiles.

 

Hope this mini-guide is useful and allows you to accelerate your tests.

 

Have you tried out CBE features already? how did it go? Let us know in the comments!

Hi Folks,

In case you didn’t see, Moodle HQ has announced that we will be hosting the first MoodleMoot at BbWorld this July 25-27 in New Orleans!

 

With BbWorld and a MoodleMoot held in tandem, we can bring two of the largest edtech communities together. The best part is that attendees need only purchase one registration to access both conferences. After all, BbWorld isn’t just about Blackboard software, it’s easily one of the largest gatherings of like-minded education professionals focused on addressing challenges in teaching and learning across the world.

 

For instance, you can see Martin Dougiamas’ keynote and enjoy the Moot’s tight-knit, Moodle-focused session before branching out to enjoy a wider variety of BbWorld sessions and activities, such as a keynote by educator and former Second Lady, Dr. Jill Biden.

 

Of course, with any Moot, there will be a full agenda of peer-led presentations, but that can’t happen without your input! The Moot call for proposals is open now until May 8th. Our friends at Moodle HQ will be selecting the sessions, but if you’re looking for more information on how to submit, please visit our Moot page on BbWorld.com. You can also reach out to mootus@moodle.com or brad.schleicher@blackboard.com with any questions. Anyone that submits a presentation that is selected for the Moot gets an additional $200 off the discounted speaker rate.

 

Thanks and we hope to see you there!

 

Phill Miller
VP, Teaching and Learning
Blackboard

ab37750

H5P Updates

Posted by ab37750 May 9, 2017

Hi folks!

Back from a little traveling hiatus and I wanted to share some quick notes about the MP2 updates to the H5P plugin in Moodlerooms.

 

1) Grades Support Enhanced.

Originally the H5P activity had a somewhat mysterious internal setting for the grade it would publish to the grade book in Moodle. Now it has more normal support for grades in the settings with the addition of a field for the Maximum grade for the activity.

H5P Grade Setting Screenshot

Still missing in my opinion is the ability to assign scales, single or multiple attempts, the aggregation methods for those multiple attempts, and the grade category the item belongs in. These are standard Moodle activity behaviors and I expect they will show up someday, but for now I have a much more normal workflow to setting up the max grade for the activity.

 

2) Backup and Restore.

That's right, back up and restore now work correctly with this activity so when you create one in a template course, you can count on it rolling out to the copies made of that course. I've tested it and it does work for the scenarios I ran through, including import, duplicate, and the recycle bin.

H5P in the Import ScreenH5P Content in the   Recycle Bin

Please let me know if you find one where it doesn't seem to be working right.

 

There were also some fixes and updates and tweaks to various content types in the H5P plugin. Go explore and share some of what you have done, especially since you can back it up now!

I'll be back within the week to show off some steps in creation of content and some backups of sample files.

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In Moodlerooms 3.1 we introduced Competency Based Education (CBE) and Learning plan components. Here are 3 exciting reasons to be excited about it and an additional overview presentation that can be used freely.

 

1. Multiple components and configurations

Moodleroms CBE implementation provides flexibility in its components to put in place the CBE strategy that better fits organization's context. e.g. Modelling competency frameworks, creating learning plans templates, importing frameworks and having multiple configuration options.

 

2. Integration with courses, activities and resources

Learning plans and competencies are designed integrate with other Moodlerooms components such courses, activities and resource. This provides an opportunity to create great learning experiences that are coherent with the CBE strategy.

 

 

3. Reviewing mechanisms and roles

 

Whether it be that you're measuring competency completion from learning experiences on the platform or outside from it, Moodlerooms provides mechanisms to evaluate user proficiency and asses prior learning evidences. There are also automation rules for rating, manual review processes and different reviewing roles that allow work distribution or centralization as needed.

 

 

Be sure to check the Competency Based Education in Moodlerooms presentation to get more information about CBE in Moodlerooms.

 

Are you already using CBE in your initiative or are you planning to use it?

 

It would be great to hear from your experiences. Let's discuss!

One of the things that we have prided ourselves about Snap in Moodlerooms is the ability to customize the look and feel based on the use of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). CSS is not something that is easy for just anyone to pick however and we receive questions from clients about wanting to make small changes to Snap without purchasing one of our branding services. While I will be the first to recommend a branding service to a client because it really helps to create a cohesive look for your entire site I also want to give clients ideas to make the own changes.

 

One simple change that can have a huge impact on the look of Snap for a site, but does require CSS is just changing the background color for the logo and menu bar.  Below is a screenshot of what I am referring to as the logo and menu bar.

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This blog post makes some assumptions about the reader. First off I am assuming you have some knowledge of what CSS is. If you do not then I recommend reviewing the W3C’s CSS introduction and tutorial pages. These pages will give you a good introduction to what CSS is and some of the code that will be used in this blog. There isn't going to be a lot of code, as I promised this should be a pretty simple change we are working with background colors, font colors and then the brightness of one icon. Let's dive into the CSS.

 

To start we need to navigate to Snap's customization area. In order to do this, you must have administrative privileges on your Moodlerooms site. I also recommend that you only attempt these changes on your sandbox Moodlerooms site and not on your production site until you are sure they are working the way you want them to be. To access the Snap administration area Click on the administration cog in the upper right of the main site page then select Appearance > Themes > Snap > Snap.

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Scroll to the very bottom of the page and you should see a text field labeled Custom CSS. This is where all of the CSS from the blog post should go. We want to change the background color of the entire bar to something other than white. For this tutorial, I am going to change the color to the default cyan (hex color value #3BCEDB) that we create most Moodlerooms sites with. Below is the CSS code to change the background color:

 

#mr-nav {

  background-color: #3bcedb;

}

 

Copy this text above and paste it into the Custom CSS field. The result should be similar to what is shown in the screenshot below:

snapcyantop.png

 

The CSS code #mr-nav refers to the HTML div tag that has the id mr-nav. The background color is as you would expect to change the background color. Do you notice a problem in the screenshot above? Yup you guessed it where did the text My Courses go? Well since it is the same color as the background color we just changed the bar to it disappears visually. It is still the and you can highlight it with your mouse, but it looks like it vanished. To resolve this add the CSS code below to the Custom CSS text area below the existing CSS.

 

a#fixy-trigger {

  color: #FFF;

}

 

You should see something similar to the screenshot below.

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Your My Courses's text should be visible on the page in white. In the CSS above a#fixy-trigger refers to the link with the id fixy-trigger which is what our developers decided the id should be for the link to the My Courses menu. If you open up your site in a browser where you haven't logged into the site (was that a mental twister?) you will notice another problem. Just like in the image below the login button has disappeared.

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As with the previous problem, the reason it is gone is because the text color and the background color are the same. To fix this we need to add the following CSS to the Customer CSS text area below the already existing CSS code.

 

#mr-nav .snap-login-button {

  color: #FFF;

}

 

Now you will be able to see the Login button.Moodlerooms_University.png

The CSS here refers to the div tag that has the id mr-nav and then any other HTML tags that have the class snap-login-button.

 

If you want to get fancy here you might try adding a white border around the link. The way I want to get fancy however is to change the cog/gear icon from the gray it is now to white. To do this we use a CSS filter and increase the brightness of the image until it is pure white. This is similar to over exposing a photograph until all you see is white light. Add the CSS below to the Custom CSS field below all the other CSS you have.

 

#admin-menu-trigger img {

  filter: brightness(200%);

}

 

Now your cog/gear icon should be pure blissful white. MDS__Administration__Appearance__Themes__Snap__Snap.png

If you have any questions about this please feel free to post a discussion about it.

tm37475

Languages@Warwick and Snap

Posted by tm37475 Mar 2, 2017

Our Moodlerooms site Languages@Warwick applied the Snap theme during the summer of 2015 after piloting with a group of interested tutors. Their responses were generally positive to the move to a more mobile friendly theme and they approved of the desire to reduce the "scroll of death" and improve the interface. This document was created to publicise the move and new tutorials created to support navigation. As you know there have been further changes made to the interface since Moodle 3 so we try to help inform our users through an open G+ community and opportunities for "show and tell" sessions during the year.

 

One of our first challenges was to support tutors in their section of images for their course. As we have an international team of tutors there are many different attitudes towards sources images and I was concerned that we would quickly run in to copyright issues. I provided resources to help find CC0 images, increase awareness of Google advanced search, Creative Commons licencing and having these discussions with colleagues was vital to raise awareness of the thorny issues of ownership in the digital world. Since then I have also co-authored this ALT-C blog post to share wider thinking on the use of media. I am currently project managing a Warwick International Higher Education Academy project with staff and students (#knowhow)  to extend the conversation across our campus around open educational practice.

 

A further challenge was to help staff organise and structure their courses so as not to overwhelm our learners and I created this advice in the form of a Top Tips for Course creation on Listly. The site features and navigation are further supported by video tutorials on our open gallery and YouTube channel .  

 

All tutors are enrolled on a 101 course on our site where they can access the documentation and resources from the Moodlerooms knowledge base as well as our own resources. The news forum also provides the latest news on webinars and events for professional development. The Languages@Warwick site prioritises interaction through speaking, listening, video, screen capture etc. thanks to our tools which include Blackboard Collaborate, Voicethread, Kaltura media console and media space and has been how we have managed to innovate in teaching and learning, as captured in some of my publications here:

 

Learning to swim in new waters

Creating and nurturing a Community of Practice

Using e-tools to facilitate international collaborations

A new approach to assessing Online Intercultural Exchange

ab37750

H5P, a new tool...

Posted by ab37750 Mar 1, 2017

An Introduction to H5P

Thanks to those who could make it to one of the Territory Moots to hear me babble about H5P and the interactive content you can create with it.

I will launch a few posts about this tool but I thought it would be good to start with capturing some highlights of the presentation here and share my slides for that part which include my notes.

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To start, especially for those who might have missed out on the talk, H5P is an Open Source tool and a Free Project. The folks at H5P.org are providing a really dynamic and exciting tool which lets you author, share/borrow, and reuse content for learning. The content, of which there are about 30 different types, is in HTML5 format, so it is web friendly by design and will work on all those cool mobile devices like tablets and smartphones.

What kind of content?

Truly interactive content like Games (like Memory or Flashcards), Quizzes, Interactive Videos, Presentations, Timelines, and more. Content that really expands the possibilities for reaching learners in varied and engaging ways.

While you can embed the content straight from the H5P.org site into your course page, the Moodle integration really shines by including an Activity for H5P that provides an authoring tool right in the Settings page. You don't have to launch extra tools or purchase and install software suites in order to create content that is powerful and interactive. You'll need to request the Activity (H5P) to be installed on your Moodlerooms site. There is no charge and it is a simple process. A great suggestion that came up a few times was to install it on the sandbox first to test and then enable it on the production environment.

h5p-create-flashcards.pngOnce the activity is there, you can start authoring content in the activity tool. The interface is dynamic, meaning that it changes based on the content type you choose. It is also pretty straightforward and simple to use but supports a great depth of settings and features. The Activity also includes links to tutorials on the H5P.org site to help you understand what the content types do and how they are created. Lastly but not least, H5P includes essential support for accessibility, such as captioning for videos and alternative text.

 

We explored some of the content types and discussed some ideas on how to leverage these in teaching and learning. One key element I want to hit on again is that the embedded content works out of the box, but the authored or imported content in the activity format will automatically add a grade item to the grade book and record student performance. Very Exciting!

 

One last note I want to make in this post. As HTML5 content, your H5P activities and embedded content will also work on student's mobile devices, no fuss. Learners can engage in the content on their web browser on their device, and embedded content displays in the Moodle Mobile App automatically. While the App does not support the activity natively, it will just launch the browser for the student and let them interact with the content through that interface.

 

So check out the H5P content and activity, and watch for my next post on the topic where we will explore some of the specific content types that I am currently infatuated with and I'll share some example files as well.

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The Moodlerooms team is delighted to welcome you to the new Moodlerooms Community group in Blackboard Community!

 

To get started, we want to share the 3 pillars on which the new community is based and the things you can find here:

 

Find the information you need

In the community you can find relevant information for your Moodlerooms practice not only from the Moodlerooms team but also from other participants from different institutions and organizations. Some of the community features in this area include:

  • Information about Moodlerooms release schedules and notes.
  • Content about practices and recommendations.
  • Updates on Moodlerooms features, processes and services.
  • Ability to navigate through the most popular and most voted content.
  • Searching by tags representing topics or practices (e.g. CBE, Moodlerooms, Release Notes)
  • Ability to navigate through content featured by the community.

 

Share your experiences and ideas

Sharing your ideas helps you and others get better! Here’s how to get started at Moodlerooms community:

  • Create content and share it with the community
  • Start discussions, share ideas and engage into conversations
  • Vote in polls and share experiences
  • Ask questions or contribute with new approaches to answers

 

Connect with peers and Moodlerooms experts

Get to meet with colleagues who share the same professional interests and commitments in a range of institutions and organizations. Here are some examples of what you can do:

  • Follow other users and subscribe to their content
  • Engage into conversations via messages and @user mentions
  • Work in collaborative projects with other members of the community
  • Endorse skills and look for other people in the community that match a particular skill

 

We're really excited about the opportunities that this new space brings in terms of connecting with each other. Don't hesitate to let us know in the comments below what type of content are you more interested in or the things you would like us to cover first.

 

See you at the community!

I am really excited to discuss Moodlerooms' new process for managing feature/enhancement requests and new ideas for Moodlerooms within our user community. With this blog post, we will be moving away from using behind the blackboard for enhancement requests to using the idea space within the Moodlerooms community on this site. This will improve several aspects of our relationship with our community when it comes to enhancing the Moodlerooms product. Below is a diagram of the new process that we will follow with community enhancement requests herein referred to as ideas.

CommunityProcess_Stack2.png

Goals

The goals of this new process are:

  • Implement a simple, transparent process for reviewing, voting for, and building your most popular ideas for new features.
  • Improve two way communication with clients about ideas they have for improvements to the product
  • Involve the community in prioritizing new features for the Moodlerooms product

New Ideas

The process starts by a community member creating an idea about what they think should be added to Moodlerooms or Moodle.

Thinking of an Idea

The idea process starts with a community member coming up with an improvement to the Moodlerooms product. This can happen when a user runs into an area of the product that doesn't make sense to them or when they are trying to do something new that the product doesn't fully support. It doesn't matter how the idea comes but it is useful if the idea focuses  on a problem or business need rather than the exact way the solution should be built. Some questions a community member should think about before posting a new idea are:

  • What is the problem that needs to be addressed?
  • What need would the improvement meet?
  • What is the goal the user is trying to meet?
  • Where did the idea for the feature or improvement come from?
  • What other products might already be solving this problem?

For each of the questions that a community member has an answer to they should try to descibe the answer in as much detail as possible including as much as possible:

  • Screen casts (Jing is a free product that is good for this)
  • Steps taken to get to where the problem occurred
  • Anything else that might be useful

Creating an Idea

To create a new idea a community member clicks on the create and idea button on the welcome page of the Moodlerooms community. The community members picks a title, adds the answers to the questions above in the text area to describe the idea. Skipping over the rest of the form the community member clicks the publish button.

Idea Review and Discussion

When a new idea is published either I or another Moodlerooms Product Manager will review the new idea and then add tags and post follow-up questions as needed. Remember, Community members, are also free to comment, ask questions and discuss the idea. New ideas will remain open for at least 30 days. After that time, its stage will be updated based on how many views, comments, bookmarks it has received, and other external factors.

Voting

Several times per year, we will open a set of ideas for voting. These voting periods will generally align with our development planning cycles in order to receive the most timely feedback from the community. The ideas chosen for voting will be based on a number of factors, including, but not limited to: number and nature of comments, the number of views, feedback from users, business goals/priorities, and prior voting results. Voting will remain open for two weeks. While we will be interested in pursuing all ideas that receive a large number of votes, we will not be able to deliver on every idea, even those that finish very high or at the top of a voting period. However, we will strive to be transparent and share our reasoning when we choose not to add ideas that the community is passionate about to our near-term plans. Ideas not chosen for voting will either be archived or remain in the For Future Consideration stage, depending again on the same criteria outlined above.

Product Development Partnership

As a follow-up activity for the ideas we will be moving forward with, we are creating a Product Development Partnership. After each voting period, we will choose at least one of the ideas for a set of collaborative webinars. During these discussions, we intend to share designs, talk about how we will break down the functionality into deliverable milestones, and project rough timelines for building the new feature. We will begin by inviting the community members who voted for the idea but will include as many interested participants as we can support.

 

Because it will not be feasible to do this for every idea we intend to build, we will kick it off with one per voting period. We certainly expect to build more than one idea from each voting period, though, so an idea not being chosen for this activity does not mean that we are not interested in building it! Also at the end of each voting session, the stage of each idea will be updated appropriately, based on the number of votes, number and nature of comments, and our intentions for building or not building that idea.

Archiving Ideas

In the interest of maintaining an orderly, working backlog, we will review and archive ideas at each step of the lifecycle. Between voting periods, we will archive ideas that have been open for at least 30 days that have not garnered a minimum level of activity. We will seek to normalize activity across all open ideas so that an idea that has been open for 60 days is given similar consideration as an idea that has been open for 30. Ideas may also be archived if they are not chosen for voting or if they finish very low in a round of voting. We will never archive an idea that has moved beyond the Under Review stage without first posting a comment explaining why we are not moving the idea forward at that time.

 

Ideas that are archived can be resubmitted, but it may be best to give the idea some time before doing so. If an idea is resubmitted but does not meet the minimum level of activity, it will be eligible for archiving after its first 30 days. Again, our intention is to keep a consumable number of open, active ideas in the backlog. If we do not have a desire to develop a feature in the next 12-24 months, it benefits the backlog to archive it and revisit the idea in the future.

Stages

Under Review

This is the default stage for new ideas. Ideas in this stage are available for viewing, comments, and bookmarks. Ideas will remain in the Under Review stage for at least 30 days.

For Future Consideration

Ideas meeting a minimum level of activity will be moved from Under Review to the For Future Consideration stage. Many of the ideas that are chosen for voting will come from this stage. We will also use this stage for ideas that have gone through a round of voting but will not be included in the next few releases. In order to keep the backlog meaningful and manageable, we will limit the number of ideas in the For Future Consideration stage to 100.

Open for Voting

Ideas in this stage are open for your votes! You can vote one time on each idea and you can vote on as many ideas as you’d like. Ideas will remain in the Open for Voting stage for two weeks.

Planned

Ideas in this stage have usually gone through a round of voting and we intend to deliver them in a coming release.

Delivered

These ideas have made it all the way through the process and are now available in Learn!

Archived

Archived ideas were open for at least 30 days and may have even gone through a round of voting, but either did not interest the community or will not be built in the next 12-24 months. We will never archive an idea that has moved beyond the Under Review stage without first posting a comment explaining why we are not moving the idea forward at that time.

Prepopulated Ideas

We have an enhancement request process that has changed a lot over the years, but has always been through our support system. Because of this we have been able to prepopulate the Moodlerooms Idea space with 25 ideas from clients. We hope that this will help everyone to get started. If any idea already exists that you remember submitting a support ticket on please comment on it. We would love to start the dialogue with you. All of these pre populated tickets will follow the process about and if they aren't voted or commented on we will consider archiving them.