Messaging And Notifications In Moodle 3.2: To A Distributed Social Network?

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If economic history rhymes, then the recent timeline of social web technologies is a frantic beat. As soon as a Facebook reaches massive scale, its room for growth dwindles. In order to grow and remain relevant, it must find a new blue ocean, because no market proven to be profitable remains uncontested for long. Users repurpose features beyond their original intent ―something at which teachers seem to distinguish themselves― and when a new opportunity is visible, new competitors will bring clarity to the field in the form of diverging features. No matter how thoroughly the main player diversifies to please everyone, niche products will rule over niche segments.
With the expansion of the messaging and messaging options in Moodle 3.2, questions about Moodle as a social learning media site, or about why there is not a unanimous “LinkedIn of education”, start to come up again. The update of web standards resembling the social sites of today that are introduced in Moodle 3.2 could be seen as part of a strategy for Moodle to level up a learning platform that is already social by design.
From a standards point of view, the Moodle 3.2 update is compatible with the “Semantic Web“, of data shared and reused across services. Regarding Messaging, a text balloon icon next to a profile picture will open a familiar list of contacts. Clicking on them will open real-time chat windows that allow rich content, including
  • emoticons,
  • links,
  • embedded images and videos that fit to the window dimensions,
  • mathematics notations
and “many more“.
When real-time interaction is not possible, a Notifications icon opens a similar menu with details of things that happen in Moodle that could be of interest while the user was away. A final layer of personalization is a complete dashboard of preferences for notifications and reminders. Users can disable or enable them for their Moodle sessions, via email or through Moodle Mobile if they have it.
Notification preferences dashboard
Are all the ingredients in place, perhaps except the “x factor”? The Moodle 3.2 update suggests that the technology is already in place to push the envelope on social engagement within Moodle and across Moodle sites. Despite the place of seeming privilege of the Open Source LMS to spur an world-connected community of learners, and having fulfilled the items on the “social media site checklist”, there is no official word on Moodle’s plans to head into this untapped, blue, niche ocean.


Moonami LogoThis Moodle Technology related post is made possible by: Moonami a company that provides a full range of Moodle services that combine the flexibility, scalability, and power of Amazon’s world-leading cloud platform (AWS) with fanatical Moodle support. Click here to learn more.


Should Moodle allow you to interact with users from another course, site or organizations? Thoughts!

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