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Moodle 2.5 Highlights

On July 2nd, 2014 UMass Amherst upgraded to Moodle 2.5. This upgrade focuses on making Moodle more usable and efficient. It also includes a few new features, especially for the Moodle Gradebook. Here's what to look for:

Interface Improvements

Simplified Settings Pages

When reviewing options for your course on a Settings page, there will now be expandable/collapsible “fly-out” sections, so you will no longer need to scroll through settings you won’t use to get to the bottom of a page. Note that some setting options have been relocated on their pages.)

If you’re still learning about the options for different activity types,  simply click Expand all at the top right of any Settings page to see all of the options for that activity.

   (click to enlarge)

The Adminstration blockAdministration Block Replaces the Settings Block

The Settings block is now named Administration. It’s in the same location, and you’ll still find your Course Administration links there: Edit Settings, Users, and under Users, Groups.

Reports has moved to Course Administration in the Administration block from the Current Course sub-menu of the Navigation block.

Expand/Collapse HTML Editor

For activity descriptions and certain other text entry boxes, the HTML Editor starts out collapsed—this conserves precious space on the page.

To open the HTML Editor and access its tools to format text or insert media & links, click the Show Editing Tools tab just above the text entry box.

open the editing tools

Gradebook Improvements

Enter Grades for a Student or Activity 

Look for the new Grade button next to a Student name (at left) or Activity title (in heading row) to open a Grading page for just that student or activity. (You can also access these grading pages from the new Grade tab at the top of the Gradebook).

Grade buttons for each column and row

The new Grade pages let you override all or selected grade items. You can also exclude items from Category and Course totals, and update selected grade items with the same grade.

Grade one student
Grade a particular student (click to enlarge)

Grade a particular activity
Grade just one Activity (click to enlarge)

Grader Report

  • Overriden grades, in addition to be having a yellow background color, are marked "Overriden," and grades excluded from totals are marked "Excluded."
  • Grader report Category headings are now colored to visually group grade items in category levels (as with User reports).

Exporting Grades requires FERPA Click-through

Before you export student data from the Moodle Gradebook, you'll be asked to check a box confirming you understand FERPA Requirements for student privacy.

Assignment Activity Improvements

Settings Page

The Assignment Settings page has been reorganize to be more logical, and like other settings pages, now include fly-out section headers. You may want to click Expand all (top right) until you become familiar with new settings locations.

New: Submission Attempts       

Instructors can now handle "draft" submissions by allowing students to resubmit assignments through "Attempts."  No more need to create separate Assignment activities for drafts, or risk losing access to previous drafts by allowing students to overwrite a submission.

  • Allow new submissions manually, or let Moodle automatically allow re-submissions if a passing grade is not achieved (you can set the maximum number of attempts allowed).
  • As new submissions are added and graded, an assignment history is built for each student. This history is displayed to students in a collapsible list on the Assignment page, and to teachers on the Assignment grading page.

Word Count   

The word count for online text submissions is now shown on the Assignment grading screen.

& More ...

  • Folders are now displayed in the Google Drive repository
  • Drag and drop Blocks
  • Display Folder contents inline on your Course page
  • Drag and drop images onto your Course page
  • Provide answer templates for Quiz essay questions
  • Display word count in Forum posts
  • View and assign Groups to Course activities from a single page

Additional Improvements Under Development this Summer

We are working on a few more additions we hope to add before the start of Fall Semester

  • Optional Gradebook features: an easier method for curving grades, count extra credit in weighted categories in a weighted or unweighted manner, set a minimum number of grades required before any grades are dropped.
  • Forum Grading: Option to view and grade each students overall contributions to a Forum Activity (rather than "rating" each post to calculate a grade).
  • Letter Grades: Ability to enter and upload letter grades directly in the Moodle Gradebook.
  • Badges: Award "badges" based on a criteria you design. Moodle Badges and are fully compatible with Mozilla Open Badges.
  • Audio Recording: Ability for students to easily record and upload audio submissions directly in Moodle.