USI.8

Moodle Notifications

Long Title: Moodle Notifications
Leading
Organization:
Universita della Svizzera Italiana
Domain: ELS
Status: finished
Start Date: 23.08.2010
End Date: 31.12.2010
Project Leader: R. Mazza
Website: http://notifychanges.sourceforge.net/

Not always logged in, you want to be up to date about new content, discussions or events in your Moodle courses? The project team has developed the necessary functionalities - additional notification options improve the LMS and facilitate teachers and learners workaday life.

Results

The software (moodle course plugin - notify_changes) is released as free software under the GPL software license and is available for download in the Sourceforge website.
The results of this project will be presented at the MoodleMoot Italia 2011 Conference that will be held in Trieste in June 2011.

The project was carried out by the eLab laboratory at USI. A module that implements a missing functionality of the Moodle LMS was developed:
the notifications of new contents or events via multiple and configurable channels e-mail, RSS and SMS.
The instructor of the course can configure the notification method, and the learner can decide which modality to use. This module is available as side block on Moodle courses, and can be installed just by putting the files in the right directory of the moodle installation.
The SMS notification modality allows to send messages via the SWITCHsms service, hence any Swiss university or university of applied science in Switzerland can use the SMS notification out-of-the-box.
Two versions of the software are available, for Moodle V.1.9.x and for Moodle V.2.0.


Initial Situation

Learners and instructors need effective tools that facilitate their interaction. To actively participate to the class' activities on the learning platform, learners have to be informed whether new content has been posted into a Moodle course. Either the instructor has to inform their learners (by posting a message in the news forum) or the learner has to periodically log into the Moodle platform to see whether new content or activities have been inserted since the last visit.
In the current version of the Learning Management System Moodle, notifications exist only in the Assignment module (notification emails are sent to the learners when the teacher provides a feedback) and in force-subscribed Forums (emails are sent out to subscribers on each message in the Forum). Forums and Glossaries moreover allow learners with an RSS aggregator program to be notified of new forum discussions or new entries in the glossary. No means are available to learners to be notified on new contents or activities in a course.

Goals

In order to facilitate the notification of new Moodle events, we will design and implement a solution that periodically notifies learners about new content or activities included into a Moodle course. This solution will act as a sentinel that detects whether new contents or new activities have been included into the Moodle course, and notify the learners and/or the instructors about that. Notifications methods will be:

  1. e-mail message
  2. SMS message on the mobile phone
  3. RSS aggregator

Users of the learning platform can choose which notification methods to use. The SMS message notification requires that the user insert his/her mobile phone number in the own profile. The RSS aggregator is always available for any user, it does not require a specific configuration in his/her profile. The only requirement is a RSS reader software for receiving the news.

The feature will be implemented either as additional add-in for the Moodle platform or will be proposed ad integration into the Moodle core and will work for Moodle version 1.9.x and 2.
Moodle SMS Gateway will be used for the delivery of SMS, hence this module will be an optional requirement. In case the Moodle SMS gateway is not installed, the SMS notification method will not be available. This feature will be available in the Moodle environment as an additional block that instructors can add to their courses.

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