Moodle mobile use – to note for teachers and students

Every now and then we receive questions concerning Moodle mobile use. In this blog entry you’ll find an overview of the current situation:

Moodle use is followed through login statistics. Based on the stats, mobile use altogether, i.e. logins from smaller devices than computers, has been growing. In tablet use, iPad is more popular than Android-versions, but in using Moodle via phones Android-versions are more popular than iPhone. Overall, using Moodle via mobile devices is a fraction of using Moodle via computers.

Mobile use may refer to two types of user interfaces: web browsers and separately installed mobile applications.

  • Browsing: You can already now use Moodle with you mobile device via a web browser (e.g. Chrome). Moodle reacts to the device size by decreasing the number of columns in the user interface, from the normal three columns to two and then to one. You can test this with your computer by narrowing the browser window width. Teachers should remember to test this to check that the designed course area is reachable for students also via mobile devices.
  • Mobile apps: There are numerous mobile apps available for Moodle. To note is that most of them lack such relevant features, e.g. shibboleth login, that are required to be able to log in and use UH Moodle. So far, based on the ratings, mobile apps are quite low-rated. Moodle Mobile, provided by moodle.org, is at the moment in test use, but desicions can be made only after we have some test results. In addition to features required for end-users, also data security must be taken into account.

Mobile use can also refer to different user needs and goals: needs for reading and following what others have done, or writing and participating needs.

  • You can already now read pretty easily via the web browser.Teachers should remember to take into account the growing number of mobile use when they design their course areas. For example, assignment submission dates and other important facts should be published on the course area, on subpages or in the calendar. Then it is easy for the students to reach the information even via mobile devices. If the information is hidden in e.g. lecture slide files, it is slower and maybe more expensive for students to reach the information, and some file formats may not even be available for mobile devices.
  • You can write short discussion messages already now. Instead, taking an exam via a mobile phone is something to consider, especially if the time limit is strict and there is lots to write, because of the slowlier writing process on a small device and submission via mobile broadband connection.
  • The probably most popular additional feature that mobile applications provide compared to browsed use would be the news feed which you can receive as notifications to your mobile phone. A news feed keeps the used informed about what is going on and would e.g. in the Moodle case support students in for example a small group online discussion. But the features needed for notifications may not always exist or they are not implemented as wanted. Based on the first text experiences, Moodle Mobile lacks the notification features and the information included in the news feed is quite insufficient. Overall, the mobile application seems not to be anything above mobile browsing.

Moodle service break on 2nd January 2014

Moodle is going to have a service break on Thursday the second of January 2014 from 10 am to 1 pm. The break may be over even sooner. During the service break Moodle will be unavailable. Please remember to schedule your working plans accordingly!

During the break Moodle will be updated. The list of new features published by the international Moodle community presents the most noticeable improvements for teachers and students. Note that at least badges will most likely not be taken to use in UH Moodle.

Student, don’t you find your course?

It is easiest to search and find courses in Moodle with the search feature, instead of search through categories by hand.

Now you find the Search courses field before login on the main page as well as after login on your My home page, below the My courses list.

Why don’t I see all my courses in Course overview?

The Moodle update on 10th June 2013 brought new features to Course overview. It is now possible for each user to edit the course list and thus personalize their view based on needs! Note that no course areas have been disappeared in the update.

The default setting for Course overview is to show 10 course areas in the list. If you have more than 10 course areas in Moodle and want them all to be shown in the list, edit the page:

  • On My home page, click on the Customise this page button
  • Select Always Show all in the drop-down menu
  • Edit the order of course areas in the list by dragging-and-dropping the corresponding arrow icons.
  • Click on the Stop customising this page button.

There are more thorough instructions in Finnish in the Opettajan opas at https://wiki.helsinki.fi/x/8A_jBQ.