It is wonderful to see the knowledge, passion and commitment that exists in the Moodle community. For this release we have over 1300 direct contributions from over 120 developers from 20 different countries. Many more community members have made further contributions along the way. Thank you all very much!
Moodle and the Open University
In line with our recent tradition of dedicating each Moodle release to a key contributor, we are dedicating Moodle 3.7 to The Open University, our long term contributor, supporter and one of the driving forces of the Moodle project! This year, The Open University (OU) is marking 50 years since it was established. As a pioneer of distance learning they have provided education to over 2 million students from 157 countries, which is a remarkable achievement.
Since 2006 the OU has used the Moodle LMS as the platform for its online learning environment. This has led to one of our most successful collaborations with the Moodle community. Through our collaboration with the OU the Moodle LMS has received significant contributions such as the Roles and Capabilities system, development of which was funded by the OU.
Over the years more than 1750 contributions have either been developed by the OU or have been reviewed by them. They have further supported the broader community by the development and maintenance of 25 plugins in the Moodle Plugin database, sharing their work in the true spirit of being involved with an Open Source project.
Dedicating Moodle 3.7 to the OU team is one way to thank them, and we especially would like to acknowledge the contribution made by Tim Hunt, OU’s Leading Technical Developer. Tim’s passion and commitment have resulted in many contributions to Moodle, in particular for Moodle’s Quiz and Question Bank modules. Did you know that worldwide there are now more than 1.6 billion quiz questions used in registered Moodle sites? (Imagine what that number might be if everyone registered their sites!)
Key new features for Moodle 3.7
Moodle 3.7 brings with it many improvements and here are some of the headline new features:
- Forum re-architected and new features; a collaborative project supported by the Moodle User Association (MUA). New features have been added to this key Moodle activity. We now have in-page posting of a reply and new discussion, the ability to reply privately to a post, starring and sorting of discussions and the ability to manually lock discussions. Behind the scenes we have also improved the accessibility and architecture of Moodle Forums, paving the way for further Forum enhancements for Moodle 3.8 to meet key future needs as our collaboration with the MUA continuous on this ambitious project.
- Advancing Learning Analytics; we want Moodle to proactively assist educators and make their lives easier by providing them as well as students with insights into how the students are progressing on their learning journey. In Moodle 3.7 we’ve expanded on Moodle’s Learning Analytics capabilities by adding: the ability to create, delete, import and export Learning Analytics models, a feature to evaluate imported models using the data on your site, new predictions targets, and a new model to generate insights as reminders of upcoming activities that are due.
- Building on Moodle Messaging; in Moodle 3.6 we revamped Moodle Messaging with a new user interface and the introduction of group messaging. For Moodle 3.7 we’ve worked hard to deliver additional messaging features and improve overall usability with the introduction of: muting of conversation notifications, group messaging notifications and an email digest of new messages, a capability to allow users to delete a message for all users, a personal space where you can keep useful messages, notes and links, new site settings pages that combine all messaging related settings centrally and more!
- Open Badges v2 and Badgr backpack; Moodle 3.7 improves its support for Open Badges v2.0, allowing you to connect and exchange badges with the Badgr platform. This is an important advancement because Mozilla has announced it will retire the Mozilla Backpack and help users migrate to the open Badgr platform.
- LTI 1.3 and Advantage; this is the latest iteration of the Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard created by the IMS Global Learning Consortium and offers improved security. It facilitates sharing and linking of content and resources between learning platforms. Moodle is at the forefront and one of the first learning platforms to implement this standard.
- Theme changes; Moodle 3.7 contains some important theme changes. From now on all our themes are based on Bootstrap 4, which will allow a more standard approach to all Moodle theme and content development. We have introduced the Classic theme as a replacement for the Clean theme. Classic provides an upgrade pathway for those sites that are using a Clean-based theme and prefer the 3 column layout and traditional navigation block. Please refer to our theme documentation if you want to know more about updating your theme.
- Accessibility; overall accessibility of Moodle is an ongoing priority and for the 3.7 release we have worked on a number of improvements including accessibility of the Boost theme and Moodle Forums.
- Custom course fields; it is now possible to add custom fields to your courses to store and display additional information that is important for your site’s users.
As always you can download Moodle 3.7 from our download page or contact one of our Moodle Partners. Over the next few weeks we will also release updated versions of the Moodle App and MoodleCloud platform in line with Moodle 3.7.
We are a global project and together making a significant contribution to solving real world problems as we continuously improve the Moodle LMS as part of our mission to empower educators worldwide. This is something we can all be very proud of!
A big thank you to everyone!