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.