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Musings on Moodlemoot 2014

This post was written by Andrew Downes and first appeared on the Epic blog on 17th April 2014.

Moodlemoot Edinburgh 2014 – what a blast! I’ve had a fantastic time, learnt loads about Moodle and made some new friends. Writing this blog from the flight back to Gatwick it’s hard to know where to start, so let’s just drive in and I’ll take you through my top four highlights from the event. Mark and I deliberately went to separate sessions so none of his talks make it into the list, but I heard they were very well received.

1. Timeline by Alex Walker

By a long shot my favourite session of the conference was by Alex Walker from City of Glasgow University. Like many institutions, City of Glasgow struggled with announcements noise on their platform, with the learning technologies team spending all their time moving the announcements of various departments back up above one another on the page. Alex’s timeline plugin solves this by drawing on lessons from social media and letting learners follow those departments they are interested in. Timeline also pulls in attendance, alerts and other data into the timeline to give students an instant visual of their progress.

Sadly the code for Timeline isn’t currently available, but Alex agreed to look into this possibility. Even so, this serves as a great example of what’s possible, and I’d love to work with any of our clients who’d like to integrate something like this into their Moodles, possibly powered by Tin Can.

2. The people

That brings me nicely on to my second highlight, which was meeting so many of you in the Moodle community. I was able to demo Tin Can, Learning Locker and gomo with a number of people and had some great discussions about a whole range of Moodle-related topics. We gave out piles of pens, gallons of gomo fortune cookies and a billion business cards so we’re expecting plenty of you to get in touch.

At the gala dinner (see number 4) I was able to sit next to somebody who’s been an avid reader of my Tin Can blogs almost since before I started blogging and Mark got asked to sign a copy of his book, Moodle for Mobile Learning. The atmosphere at the event was great; a really friendly and welcoming community.

3. Moodle 2.7 and beyond

My second favourite session of the event was the keynote at the end of the first day with Martin Dougiamas. Martin outlined the features coming in the next release of Moodle, 2.7, and then spoke about 2.8 and beyond.

Moodle 2.7 will see the addition of a new type of plugin called the ‘log’ plugin. This plugin is designed to listen to Moodle events and then feed out to an external system or pull in data from an external system to trigger events within Moodle. Martin didn’t mention Tin Can specifically, but he didn’t need to. This is a great first step towards really integrating Tin Can into Moodle. A brand new text editor, mobile app notifications and enhancements to chron processes are other great developments for 2.7. Watch this space!

4. The food

I couldn’t complete this blog without mentioning the excellent food put on throughout the event. The gala dinner and Wednesday’s lunch were particularly delicious and if you’re considering attending next year, it’s almost worth coming for the food alone! Big thanks to Gavin Henrick and his team for organising.

If you’ve got questions about anything I’ve covered or are interested in finding out more about Epic’s work with Moodle, Learning Locker, Tin Can or gomo, please get in touch.

You can find more information about Tin Can on Andrew’s website, tincanapi.co.uk.