LWMN009: Week of September 25th | MUA Elections, Quantified Classroom Bias, the Collaborative Liberal Arts Moodle Project

The last week in moodlenews 25 SEP 17

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Hey there – welcome to the Last Week in MoodleNews, I’m Stephen Ladek from

In this episode we’ll be talking about the most important stories from the Moodleverse for the week of September 25th, 2017.

This week I’ll be covering MUA Election Season, Quantified Classroom Bias, the Collaborative Liberal Arts Moodle Project and much more.

Just a quick reminder, if you have a comment about something on the show or an idea about something you’d like to hear, just take 30 seconds out of your day and give me a shout at the Moodlenews website, on our facebook page or twitter, or just email me at [email protected]

But, as usual, before we kick things off, a quick shout out to our sponsor:

eThink LogoThis podcast is sponsored by eThink Education: a high-touch, high quality Certified Moodle Partner that has a passion for the transformative powers of technology for the learning process. Visit them today at


In this section, I summarize the three most popular posts from the last 7 days on

  • First, How do you make an online quiz look good on mobile?
    • The many options you have to make visually appealing Moodle quizzes can be split into two groups: using the Moodle Mobile app and the mobile web browser. Moodle Mobile will give you a nice-looking question, but with a standard look indistinguishable from other Moodle sites.
    • The Moodle on a web browser gives you more choices and the ability to apply themes, but it takes extra work, because each question type needs custom development.
    • To choose what will works best for you – get to know your audience. Do your students prefer the browser, or Moodle Mobile?
  • Next, The audio and video recording plugin PoodLL has been updated
    • With the update, teachers can now create listening exercises for students with a limited number of plays.
    • Other new features include player skins and a standalone app for iOS.
    • And, as a reminder, do you have to pay to play. But we think the investment is worth it.
  • Finally, we reviewed Mike Sharkey’s ideas about EdTech innovation in the -often very conservative- education sector.
    • The VP of Analytics at Blackboard proposes a model where, to increase the tolerance for risk of a partner or a customer in a particular area, we need to understand their perception of how critical the area is for them.
    • In an age where incontrovertible data no longer seems enough, the only way we can find common ground is through empathy. And, Sharkey advocates for real listening, preferably face to face.
    • He also stresses the importance of coming clear with our biases and assumptions as soon as possible.

You can check out the full story of these popular posts, and the rest of our articles for free at


In this section, I dive in-depth into one of the most interesting topics happening in the Moodle community over the past week.

    • Until October 1st, Association members can vote to select the 10 members of the Committee. The Committee takes care of membership engagement and carrying out programs to improve the quality of Moodle and the input of users.
    • Before I go further – full disclosure – Joseph Thibault, the creator and part of the MoodleNews team, is a current member of the Committee, and is running for reelection.
    • You can check out his “platform,” for reelection on And, we are extending a similar invitation to all candidates for the MUA committee. Please reach out to us or [email protected]
  • But let’s stop for a second and take a step back. How does the MUA and the Committee actually help Moodle?
    • In short, MUA seeks to ensure the development of Moodle is aligned with the needs of users around the world, and that the community can take full advantage of the technology.
    • To make sure these efforts are carried out successfully, we have the Committee. It’s made of a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson, a Treasurer, a Secretary and 6 Committee Members. It has always been a diverse group of people from many different sectors.
    • And as more Moodlers become MUA members, we expect the MUA and the Committee to play an increasingly larger role in the future of Moodle.
  • Finally, even though we won’t know who the new MUA leaders will be, we have some idea about the challenges and exciting opportunities they will deal with:
    • First of all, the new Committee needs to continue, if not increase, their efforts in increasing the memberships across the five continents, and encourage users to become more involved in the development of Moodle.
    • Second, it must help the development of local communities, some of which have been key to promoting Moodle in their countries. A great example is the Moodle Association of Japan, who organizes the annual MoodleMoot in the country.
    • And third, it must take advantage of its independence from Moodle HQ to prevent the “tunnel vision” that all organizations face.

This section of LWMN is sponsored by WizIQ, a ready-to-use, integrated delivery platform for instructors and institutions. Get everything you need to teach and train online at


In this section, I discuss interesting information that affects everyone in #edtech.

  • Education researchers at Michigan State University are debuting Equity Quantified in Participation, or EQUIP, a tool that seeks to show quantitative evidence of biases happening in physical classrooms.
    • We know that a learner’s demographics affect their chances of graduating from high school. The fact just is that even though graduation rates are at an all time high, certain ethnicities have lower odds in getting a diploma.
    • The motivation behind EQUIP is to give the education community better insight about what takes place in the classroom, so we can find evidence-based ways to promote inclusiveness and participation.
    • A special focus of the research for EQUIP, is whether there are implicit biases in teachers, that affects their fairness in ways they are not aware of.
  • So how do you use EQUIP in your classroom?
    • First, after installing the tool, you need to create an “environment.” For each environment, you will have to declare the variables that you want to compare for the group: things like race, gender or age.
    • Next, you define the participation parameters: How many times an individual student “raises their hand”, for how long do they speak, and so on. EQUIP has some default parameters so you don’t have to redo the work.
    • Then it’s “Observation” time. After you create a class profile, you can arrange them on a visual grid. This will allow you to click on them every time they participate.
    • Once the observation is done, you can export the data to a spreadsheet to create correlations or visualizations. You can also answer questions like what are the characteristics associated with the most and least participative students.
  • Going forward, EQUIP could become a valuable tool to promote class participation, but that is only the tip of the iceberg:
    • EQUIP could improve the Moodle dashboard to make it easier for teachers to track student participation and input. And, I think an EQUIP Moodle plugin would be a no-brainer. It would let us analyze online participation and connect to the Moodle gradebook and other activities.
    • EQUIP can also be a great data gathering tool for research purposes, to identify scenarios where biases are most damaging, as well as the best ways to promote inclusiveness.
    • And of course, more widespread use and feedback will make EQUIP a more robust tool, and allow for uses we can’t even think right now that would help us deal with systemic and personal biases in learning environment.
      Check out the tool at


In this section, I focus on a practical way to help you up your Moodle game.

  • This week, I’d like to talk to you about the Collaborative Liberal Arts Moodle Project, or CLAMP
    • CLAMP is a coalition of more than thirty liberal arts colleges across the US that promote Moodle in liberal arts communities.
    • Year round, it offers opportunities to learn, share knowledge and discuss about how Moodle and open source technologies can enhance the quality of liberal arts thinking and teaching.
    • But they also help the development of Moodle in several ways, from reporting bugs and issues, to even providing fixes and plugins.
  • Here are the most important contributions CLAMP makes to Moodle:
    • #1: The Moodle Liberal Arts Edition, or Moodle LAE. On top of the regular Moodle, it comes with a few tweaks and plugins commonly used in liberal arts settings, some of them maintained by members of CLAMP. In fact, right in line with Moodle minor releases, Moodle LAE 3.3.2 was released just last week.
    • #2: The Summer and Winter “Hackfests”. Usually over three days, collaborators gather to help with Moodle documentation, find bugs, and talk all things Moodle and Liberal Arts.
    • #3: Webinars are held throughout the year to discuss the latest Moodle updates, experiences of using Moodle in liberal arts, and important
  • If all this sounds exciting and you want to get involved, there are many ways you can!
    • If possible, go to an event! The next edition of the Winter “Hack and Doc” fest will take place on January 9th in Centre College in Danville, Kentucky.
    • If you can only contribute online? No problem! You can contribute with code, in which case check out the coding style. And of course, there is a Moodle site for CLAMP that you can check out.
    • If you are part of a liberal arts  college, why not consider joining CLAMP? Fill out the interest form to find out more at


In this section, I discuss what we’re excited about publishing this week at

  • The fall edition of our MoodleNews plugin review is here
      • This month, we feature plugins that will help you make it easier and faster to manage your classroom and courses.
      • Some of the plugins covered include Level availability, Metadata and Video feedback, and more.
      • And as always, let us know if you want us to review a plugin you’re interested in, even one you have developed.
  • Also, do you know what multitenancy is and how to set it up on Moodle?
      • If you offer Moodle services to many clients using the same server, multitenancy gives you “supermanagement” options to control all the sites while keeping them independent.
      • With multitenancy, think of your business as a hotel where every Moodle site is another room, except that each guest has it’s own lobby.
      • Even though Moodle does not offer multitenancy out of the box, we explain you how you can set it up and make the most of it as a moodlepreneur.
  • Finally, Mr Moodle answers how to keep track of student activity
    • This is the first question he received on our Twitter! Ask him your questions @moodlenews, and we’ll be sure to send them his way.
    • This week, he will answer how to keep track of student behavior in Moodle, particularly outside school hours (or just about any time frame you can think of).
    • You can always go to to check out past responses, or ask Mr. Moodle the question of your choice using our Mr. Moodle form in the page for this episode.

Ok – that’s it for this week. Thanks for listening to The Last Week in MoodleNews Podcast. If you like what you’re hearing please take just a few seconds to give us a review on iTunes or whatever podcast app you happen to be using…and, of course, join me next week for all the most important news about Moodle.

Subscribe to Last Week in MoodleNews Podcast via iTunes, RSS, Stitcher, Android, YouTube or listen to it at

LWMN is hosted and produced by Stephen Ladek, with writing, research, and editing by Cristian Duque and Joseph Thibault.

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