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Moodle 2.1 Upgrade - Whats new?

Workshop notes 25 November 2011

Facilitated by Miriam Laidlaw from HRD Use the Moodlebites website for training.

Navigating around in Moodle 2

  • Left hand sideblock My courses, drop down menu.
  • My Home page can be customised by each user. - admins have no control over this
  • Dropdown menus now easier to install by administrator. Done in the interface, not serverside, ie no hard coding of theme required.
  • Auto navigation to topic block and expands to show each resource within that topic. See below (this will be disabled initially)

Inbuilt Moodle 2 course navigation block has the potential to stretch forever if you are tutor, course coordinator and have multiple courses. General consensus was that we disable this in EITOnline and carry on using "My Courses" block that doesnt have expandable navigation, therefore limiting the length. To provide access to My homepage, coded will be added to moodle custom navigation bar.

Resource types - focusing on file behaviour

  • Add a resource menu is different, some reduced options. Simple descriptive words, page = web or text. Link to website now becomes link to URL. Directory becomes Folder.
  • Name and description compulsory.
  • Display options - Popup, new window, etc
  • Page, same as 1.9 - some display options. Conditonal access will be discussed later.
  • Label - no change

File Handling

  • File in 1.9 area for storage, no longer available in this form. Files no longer live in central area in your course. If you want a file on your course page, thats where it lives. If you delete from your course page, the file deletes entirely. If you update file on course page, that's where it is updated. You no longer link to a file in another course, metacourse, the file gets copied.
  • If you have a second course, either re-upload to that course, or you can find your way to file in other course and copy it. Makes each file independent of each other. If you need to concurrently update, use folder in one course and create a URL link to original source. Students still need to be enrolled in both courses for this method. (Same as 1.9)
  • Make a meta course for global documents or folders. - see Cohorts for other options
  • Files - Ignore create a folder option and only add one at a time. Force download if required. To update, click icon, click menu button, delete, add new by browsing, save. Caching issues still applies, rename in versions as per 1.9. Any files types are ok. Will recognise all major file types and provide icon to compliment. Deleting a file will delete it completely (no files hiding in the file system). Once its gone --- its gone!
  • Folders - add resource, add folder, add files to the folder individually. Add another folder to parent to create a subfolder, click on it to open and add files. You may upload a zipped folder from hard drive and upload this zipped file. Once uploaded, click icon on right side of file name to access a dropdown menu for unzip options.
  • Alt text in images now called image description (warns of requirement but doesn't force you to use it - naughty!), size can be changed by dragging handles on image. Appearance tab gives advanced options regarding size, constraining proportions, setting alignment etc.

HTML editor

Toggle full screen (Square icon top right hand side of text editor): The difference: 1.9 popped up new window - Moodle 2 toggles to full screen in the same window. Prevents issue of editor being lost behind other windows. Clean up messy code: used to be called clean messy HTML. Removes formatting. Highlight text and click. Paste as plain text will strip any formatting. No need to paste through notepad as per 1.9. to strip word styles. Paste from word will keep formatting intact without bringing over MS rubbish css. Now incorporates a dropdown colour picker rather than popup. No anchors in Moodle 2.1. It will strip them out...Note to Kim and Sally about this.

  • If you link through the HTML editor it does link to files rather than making a copy (see above in files) Emoticons not enabled by default (admin job - now done on test server). Media buttons allows upload of sound and video. Shows up as URL in editor but expands on page to show video, sound player. Enable Media players in admin settings.
  • Table functionality much improved. Table and table cell properties now in a right-click menu. Set one cell width will set the width of the whole column. Pixels are default measure, can change to percentages. Table properties give general and advanced controls. Set bg properties etc.


  • Comments are a minichat forum type
  • Private files area, attach files, create folders etc, remember to save changes. You can then access these files from all courses. Remember that when you add them to a course you are not linking, you are copying, therefore any file changes in My files will not be reflected in the courses.
  • Logged in user block: no real purpose pulls pic from profile
  • Blog (see below)

Student management - enrolment options

Enrolment methods.

Enrolment key is no longer found on course settings page. Guest access is still there and the options to allow self enrolment no longer appear.

Method: Under settings:

  • Click users, view enrolled users.
  • Click enrol users to enrol from list of available users.
  • Click enrolment methods on sideblock.

Manual enrolments:

  • Click on 2 person icon, to bring up 1.9 style manual enrolments.
  • Click and add users as per 1.9, chose role before adding.

Self enrolment

  • needs to enabled by teacher
  • click edit to access settings, eg enrolment key, default access roles, set duration if required (requires care), start and end date of enrolment only, max users, send welcome message(can be customised here, inactive time settings. Can be used for enrolment for workshops. (good idea).


  • Everything to do with users is now under Settings, users. Groups have not changed.
  • Permissions - allowable actions in the course, eg viewing certain activity or resources. Used to be set at a site level, now at course level. Gives tutor greater control of their course

Conditional activities and Course completion

Completion and conditional access. Completion has several options, eg student must view to complete, that activity then gets ticked off on the main course page. Example: the forum activity completion shows as complete when certain conditions are met: ie start a forum thread then reply 5 times before the activity is marked as complete. Many options to set combinations of requirements. It also allows for completion dates to be set.

This needs to be done in order only if you want to use the course completion block to track activity completion:

  1. Set up activities
  2. Settings - completion tracking. Provides options ie, enable student indicates their own completion or teacher needs to tick off, tick the activities that need to be completed before course is complete.

Otherwise you can deal with each individually.

Completion works in with conditional access, ie if you have completed this, now you can access this. Use settings in labels, folders etc to set access to other stuff. Can be used for rewards, messages etc. Can set optional extras for extension.

Set completion criteria before setting conditional access. If you have completion turned on for an activity and duplicate it, it will break. Bug fix in development. Interim measure, disable course completion block.

Quiz / question bank changes

Add activity, Quiz basically the same. Option to show as complete when student receives a grade etc. Questions can be added either by:

  • Go into question bank and add, interface is different.
  • Quiz, add, shows on page one, click add a question, expands to add question types. Checkbox list with help info. Cloze still a nasty coding nightmare. Answers now have full html editors for each answer option. No need to hard code images etc. Makes migrating quizzes between archived course easier (no broken links)

Can now create image to text matching activities.


Browse to courses you are enrolled in. Click on user, add message. This will then popup on user page when they are logged in. Single messages only. Will popup each time user refreshes a page or moves on, until such time as the message is read. Message history is kept regardless of whether you add them as a contact.

Click on participants, check select boxes of recipients, with selected users, send message. Preview and send. If online gets delivered, otherwise emailed out.


Blogging entries to be associated with the course. Add attachments, pictures. Edit view etc. Wordpress/Blogger accounts can be imported. Needs to be imported by administrator. Will overwrite existing entries. Do first.


Same, except new type called Standard forum displayed in a blog like format. Instead of showing just the subject line, it shows full entry. Can discuss and reply, pushes the most recent entry at the top. Does not show which threads have new replies. Read tracking functionality not so great. Use home page to track.


  • Handles non alphanumeric characters better.
  • Wiki completely rewritten to be more robust.
  • Double square brackets to create a new page.
  • Choose format, HTML will give normal editor, Creole and NWiki(doesn't seem to be a difference) give reduced wikistyle editor. No autolink back to first page like in v1.9.
  • Comments - like wikispaces etc
  • No longer able to template a wiki first page by linking an html page.


Tick everything save, follow through, set criteria and weighting. Havent come across anyone who uses this yet. Activity - samples, assessment of others (peer for eg), self assessment. Documentation available on Use question marks to find out more!


More robust. Lesson can be dependent on another lesson without setting up conditional access. Can set time limits, eg you must spend 15 mins on this lesson before you can access the next. Powerpoint import function still not functioning. Add content page, used to be called branch table. Button at bottom says add question page, dont be confused! Question type needs to be selected before you get to the writing part. Reorganisation and renaming, otherwise same.


Cohorts can be enrolled in many courses, negates the need for meta courses - sitewide groups. Self-enrolments can be set at administrative level. Authentication - available plugins, disable email based authentication

My Moodle page Each Moodle user has their own My Moodle Page by default. They can rearrange to suit.