Letting students add select Gifs/Animations to the Online Users block (Moodle 1.9.x and Moodle 2.2!)

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An Adaptation of the Online Users block

Fourteen days ago, I set out to modify Andy J. Davis’ Online Users block. My objective was to make my Moodle site more engaging. I think that with the generous help of PHP developer, Matteo Scaramuccia of Italy, and Stephane Gully’s Shoutpro Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License code,  the objective has been achieved.

New Features of the Online Users block

I started out with the challenge to make the Administrator invisible on the Online Users block. Well one thing led to another and this challenge has turned into a programming quest to make the Online Users block more engaging and visceral to users. I have since, with invaluable help from Matteo, added these features:

  1. The student (Student, Teacher and Administrator) is able to make himself or herself invisible.
  2. The Administrator can see how many students at any one time are invisible, but not who they are on the Online Users block. Hint: As Administrator, you can still detect who is logged on by checking the Live Logs. Alternatively, you could install the Chat Console to see who has logged on.
  3. The student is able to choose from a fixed list of moods (mostly positive moods) set by the Teacher or Administrator
  4. The student can display a custom text mood on the block.
  5. The student can display a fixed set of animated GIFs on the block alongside the username
  6. The student can choose to display an animated GIF by supplying the URL of any animated GIF file from any website. The sky’s the limit now.
  7. Both Features #4 and #6 are filtered by a profanity list (what!? why!??). This is to make sure that any custom text displayed is suitable for educational consumption (clean). It is also to ensure that no adult or unsavoury GIFs are chosen by the student.
Here’s what the block looks like on my Moodle 1.9.15 site:

Figure 1: Static picture of my Moodle 1.9.15 Website

Live Demo – Moodle 1.9.15
For a live demo, surf over to:
Username: alex
Password: alex

Here’s what the block looks like on my Moodle 2.2 site:

 Figure 2: Static picture of my Moodle 2.2 Website

Live Demo – Moodle 2.2
For a live demo, surf over to:
Username: me
Password: me

For more information and details of installation,
go here >>

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