I’m really privileged to be a mentor for Google Summer of Code with Moodle again this year! If you’ve not heard of google summer of code before the basic premise is that google fund university students to work on open source software over the duration of their summer break. The idea is to get more contributors into open source software and moodle is a proud participant to this great scheme. The great slogan is ‘flip bytes not burgers!’
Penny and I are really excited to be mentoring Christopher Waclawik in his project to make XML administrative settings for moodle. We’re just coming to the end of the community bonding period, developing the specification for the project and moving towards the start of coding, but of course we still need absolute community involvement!
Moodlers, imagine the prospect of installing moodle, choosing your local language and default settings which fit best with how you would like your moodle to be setup. This is one of the great aims of the project!
The advantages of these defaults have perhaps best shown themselves to me in the lively discussions which took place recently about grades over 100%. This concept of grades over 100% doesn’t seem to have spread much further than the in the USA, many outside the USA can’t understand the concept and indeed the original release Moodle 1.9 didn’t support this concept at all. Functionality has now been implemented in moodle to allow this – but it is not default. This choice makes sense to many but those who feel like this functionality is essential – like many localised settings in moodle its impossible to get the perfect defaults for all scenarios – this is really where I see these defaults fitting in.
In my own day job we are frequently overriding moodle defaults to fit more with our localised environment (UK schools) so I realy can envisage the advantages of these for institutions rolling out moodle. But what perhaps I think is the most exciting element of this project is that it doesn’t have to be exclusive, we could all create ‘dans awesome moodle settings’ moodle settings, share them amongst oursleves and satisfy our local preferences or legsilsative obligations. This power of templates might help to combat the misconception that moodle doesn’t fit ‘x senario’.
Please contribute your thoughts to Chris’ project specificaton, point out areas we’ve forgoten and other improvements we’ve missed! This is the great thing about open source, we’re hoping for you all to become involved and become invaluable resource to us all!