Moodle Monday: Tagging by @timdalton

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After looking at the user profile in a previous week this post moves on to look at profile tags.

When editing their profile a user can add tags of their interests. Simply type them in, if it already exists you get added to that tag, if not Moodle creates a new tag for you.

When viewing a user profile you can see what interests they have tagged, and clicking on that tag takes you to the tag page.

The tag page lists all users that have added that particular interest to their profile, creating small communities of users with similar interests. This is neat, but the extended features of the tag page make it a more interesting tool.

As an individual user you can add a description of your tag, and also link it to other related tags. For example, I am part of the theatre technician tag. That is linked over to the drama group. The idea is a user could browse through related tags, join groups they are interested in. Not the most advanced social networking software out there, but I like it as a community feature.

The tag pages also link into the Moodle blog system. If I write a blog post related to something to do with the theatre I can add the theatre technician tag to it and a link will be added to the tag page (providing a user has permission to read my blog post). In this way we start to add related content to the interest groups as well.

Admin Functions

As an administrator you also have permission to modify the layout of the interest page and add some more content. The extra blocks you can add include the standard HTML block, and in our particular installation blocks to display related Flickr and Youtube content too.

You also have the ability to view all tags on the system. You get to the manage tags page by clicking the ‘manage’ button at the top of any tag page, or by going to yourmoodleURL/tag/manage.php

On this page you can see how many users have joined a particular group, and edit/remove tags. As an admin user I occasionally browse through the tag list, tidying things up and removing bits I don’t think are useful. On this page the ‘flag’ option is a useful one. Users have the ability to flag tags they would consider inappropriate, and sorting the whole tag list by this field helps a busy admin find the things they want to remove quickly.

You can also use this page to create ‘official tags’. These appear to users when they are writing blog posts, so creating some official tags might be an easy way for you to encourage students to use a common format for tagging their work rather than always having to think of their own.

Tag Block

While you can view tags by navigating into user profiles, the tag block is a far more visible way to display the most popular interests on the site. Enable this on your homepage so students can easily browse others interests.

In Use

I would be interested to see how others are using the tag functions. At the moment we don’t impose rules on the tags, students can add whatever they are interested in and we moderate what appears there. Obviously there is potential for misuse with this arrangement, but if your AUP is in place it shouldn’t be something to worry about.

I think there is potential for the tags to be used in a more official way though. Use of the official tags admin function, and publicity to show students how and why they should tag their blog entries could very quickly create pages of useful content that isn’t necessarily linked to the curriculum related content of your course pages.

This post originally appeared at, all content refers to Moodle 1.9.9. More Moodle posts on the blog, or find me on Twitter @timdalton

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