Goodbye, for now!

goodbye-for-now-blogAlmost a year later and I’m finally posting..but it’s to say goodbye! For the past 5 years I’ve been working in a school district and part of my job was being a Moodle admin. Now, I’m moving on and joining AmplifiedIT. I will be focusing on Google Apps for Education and helping districts deploy and set up their GAFE with best practices. This means I won’t be doing anymore Moodle stuff and even though I haven’t written in awhile I still had planned on getting back to it. That won’t be the case now.

I’ll still leave this blog open for a bit in case there is any useful old information.

I can be contacted at or @mebenson on Twitter.

I will mention one more thing, I’m disappointed that the Moodle Moot US 2015 is coming to Minnesota right as I’m leaving the Moodle world :( It sounds like a great time–check out more info:

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Still here..hope to be posting again soon!

Just checking in to say I’m still here and I’m still doing Moodle work. I’m starting my 5th year at Bloomington Public Schools as a Database and Web Integration Specialist. We just upgraded to Moodle 2.7 and I’m liking it. Unfortunately, I have not kept up with Moodle networking and sharing on this blog! And really, I haven’t been able to dig deep at work either because we have started going 1:1 with Chromebooks! We also have spent a lot of time and energy on our parent/student/staff portal (using Drupal). Check out my Chrome blog here:

I am planning on getting a new theme for this blog and re-doing my web site. I do have plans on posting on here again, there is a lot to talk about! Cheeers!

Moodle 2.4 is out – What’s new?

It’s been awhile..a long while! I’ve still been working with Moodle but within the past year we switched from using a paid-for service for our district web site to using Drupal. I’ve been living in the Drupal world and love it. Looking at ways to integrate the two–but that will be another post. I’m very excited to upgrade our 2.3.3 Moodle server to Moodle 2.4 I’m looking over the release notes and I wanted to jot down a few items that caught my eye.

Significant size reduction of navigation widget – this caught my eye. I wonder if this is just for admins or everything? One thing that annoys the heck out of me is that dang navigation block. It’s so long! And honestly there is only 2 links on it that are useful. And unfortunately they are useful so i can’t remove the whole block :/ . I’m crossing my fingers this improvement reduces my annoyance.

Plugin updating from within Moodle – Say whaa? Awesome! Thee may be some set up or something? I’ll have to take a look at it. Only thing to be careful about is if there is customizations within the plugin. It will overwrite them. We have a few modified plugins. But what a great new feature!

Course Format Plugins – “Moodle has always supported pluggable course formats, but now we’ve given developers even more flexibility than before. Course formats can now provide their own settings for courses and sections, and they can also have a lot more control of all the pages in a course.” – This sounds interesting. I really haven’t looked into it. I want to see who sets this up, admins or regular teachers? I need to look more into this but from it’s description it’s exciting.

New Icons – Well about time : ) We have a custom theme with custom icons but I’ll have to see if these core ones are better.

Editor improvement – “New TinyMCE editor settings allowing an admin to customise the toolbar, enable/disable icons such as insert equation and insert emoticon.” Small but nice.

Integration of external calendars – You can now integrate other calendars, like Google Calendar, and have it flow into your Moodle calendar.

Users can set the order and number of courses displayed on their My home page – YESSSS.

Last but certainly not least..

Performance – We concentrated on improving server performance in this release, and there are many small improvements all over the place.  The biggest single change is a new caching system called MUC (the Moodle Universal Cache) which allows Moodle admins to tune their servers with a variety of fast caching solutions.  We’ve only started to see the benefits of this – future Moodle releases should continue to get faster and faster as we apply MUC to more Moodle code.

I truly hope so..

Going through the release notes I’m seeing some little but awesome updates. I would recommend going through them if you’re a Moodle Admin. Happy upgrading!

And now for a totally non-Moodle related video…love this little kid : ) it’s worth a watch!

Midwest Moodle Moot update

quick note from Floyd Saner….

midwest moodle moot

The 2012 Midwest Moodle Moot offers an extensive array of opportunities to learn about Mooodle and online learning and training – 9 half-day workshops and 37 conference break-out sessions! Get the conference schedule here!

You must register soon to take advantage of all the opportunities: Register Here

You have until July 18 to receive free meals with your regisration (breakfast and lunch) and to take advantage of inexpensive on-campus housing. You may still register online until July 20, but will have to pay extra for meals on-campus housing may not be available.

Online registration ends July 20. After July 20 you may register on-site, but registration will increase from $190 to $225.
Please contact me if you have any questions about the Moot or registration for the Moot.



#Blackboard buys Moodlerooms and Netspot

April Fool’s joke? Nope..

Blackboard has bought two Official Moodle Partners. Blackboard has not bought the Moodle software.newspaper

WASHINGTON – March 26, 2012 – Blackboard Inc. announced a major investment in open source today with news that it has acquired Moodlerooms and NetSpot, two leading providers of open source online learning solutions to the education industry. Both organizations will continue to operate independently to support their clients. read more

At first, I was like I’m a bit confused, but honestly not (too) worried. I will take a few days to read others’ reactions and see if Moodle HQ has any official explanation..because truly – what’s in it for Moodle? Money? Will it make Moodle better? How? Before we panic, here are a few tweets from the Moodler himself (Martin Dougiamas):

@moodler tweet@moodler tweet@moodler tweet

And apparently Blackboard has launched a new effort, – he will probably post on soon.

I’ll weigh in on this a bit later but here are some blog posts for more opinions

Mark Drechsler – Blackboard Education Open Source Services – a personal view.

Mark Smithers – Blackboard Aquires Moodlerooms and Netspot

So what do you think? Will this make Moodle stronger? Is it the beginning of the end…the end of the beginning? I’m not sure “what this means” yet, I have to read what other people have to say before I come to any conclusion. I’d be very interested in seeing what smart business-like people think about this..someone with no ties to either side.

It came as a pretty big shock last night when the news broke, especially to the Moodle Community, but after the initial surprise I think there is some optimism and Martin’s tweets have brought people back from the ledge.

Either way, our district is excitingly forging ahead with Moodle 2 this summer and fall with no of now : )

Call for 2012 Midwest Moodle Moot Proposals!

The 2012 Midwest Moodle Moot has been announced and will be held July 25-27. The keynote speaker this year will be Stuart Mealor, New Zealand Moodle Partner and Manager of the Free Moodle Project.

They’re currently asking for proposals so if you’re interested in presenting at the Moot check it out here.

It looks like registration information will be available soon.

Little Change in Moodle 2.0.2 Release Date

Just a quick note about a small change in the release of Moodle 2.0.2. It will no longer be January 31, 2011 which I.

I’m sure there will be many more changes as this is pretty normal compared with past “release dates”.  You can keep track of the progress on the Moodle Tracker.

Moodle 2.0.1 out + Moodle 2.1 timeline #moodle2

Moodle 2.0.1 came out a few days ago. Here’s the latest from Martin Dougiamas

We just released Moodle 2.0.1 with 80 bug fixes made in the past month or so since the Moodle 2.0 release. There are no major security issues, they are mostly just related to polishing the interface and functionality of Moodle 2.0. See the Moodle 2.0.1 release notes for details, and get it from the Moodle download page or CVS/Git as usual. read more

Martin goes on to talk about 2.0.2,

“Moodle 2.0.2 will be focussing on performance in particular and should be about 4 weeks away.”

Also, I just found this version timeline on the Moodle Tracker

It looks like the end of June is when the projected release of Moodle 2.1 . However, we all know that it can and will get pushed back if it’s not ready : )