New Module Proposal: Autopilot for Moodle

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AutopilotI’ve been working with a few developers to start thinking up the next community funded development project. There were a few good suggestions from developers and I think we have a solid potential project. The project is tentatively called Autopilot for Moodle and it addresses a few ideas and tickets I’ve seen in the Tracker which pertain to pre-scheduling or delayed delivery of Moodle messages.

Tracker issues:

  • MDL-19657 – Pre-schedule Multiple Messages in Moodle Messaging
  • CONTRIB-3647 – Automating Email reminders for calendar events

The idea is this, using something similar to the News Forum, teachers can pre-configure messages in their courses to be sent to students based on a few criteria options:

  1. Enrollment based: You can specify a discussion post to become visible after Enrollment + X days of the student’s enrollment.
  2. Activity Completion based: Visibility and Notification based on conditional activity completion
  3. Fixed Date: Post becomes visible to all students on a fixed date

Messages are delivered to each user individually (so it could really help with self-paced courses where students may be at different parts of the course). From an instructional design perspective this could help to build in messaging, reminders, and proactive prompts for students as they move through the course. It could be used for encouragement, to provide timely tips, to create a more interactive classroom with more messaging, or even to provide students reminders for events and the like relevant to your classroom.

Autopilot is a Moodle plugin aimed to simplify setting up self paced courses and their management. Autopilot allows you to pre-define messages and scheduled notification emails as per some rules (discussed further). These notifications are then automatically sent to each student based on the student’s own progress and set rules (not blasted to all students at once).

This would be an ambitious project but I think it would be valuable. Before we start moving forward with an official campaign though I’d like to hear your thoughts. Would you use it? Does it address a problem that you have, what other ways might you use it? Is it missing an important function? Let me know in the comments or contact me.

Here are a few screenshot mockups created that help to illustrate how the messages might be configured in your course:


4 Responses

  1. Hi Joseph,
    Thank you for this post and for pushing forward the Moodle news and information flow as well as the very interesting crowd funded additions. I regularly follow the posts here and often find that they highlight important things happening around Moodle in a clear way, encouraging thoughts about the current and future state of Moodle.

    Regarding the suggestion, you might be aware of this plugin which goes some way towards the described functionality:

    Worth noting also that Badges, now in Moodle core, can also be triggered by certain course and activity events and criteria, and are able to send individual emails with badges upon badge achievement. May be another good starting point.

    It does not include condition based mailing, and may need some feature enhancement but may serve as a good starting point.
    As for the need, I agree it would support a more self-paced, individual drive and motivation potential for learners.

    I do have one or two other ideas for crowd funded projects which I’d send you separately.


  2. Note I added the badges paragraph between the two paragraphs on the reminder plugin. Badges do include criteria based conditions. Local reminders doesn’t.

  3. Hi

    This is just the functionality that I have been looking for quite some time now.
    We offer self paced courses with participants never being at the same stage at once.
    This autopilot functionality would serve the purpose totally.
    I would love to support the functionality…


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