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Moodle 2.8 Highlights

Moodle 2.8 On Tuesday June 30, 2015 UMass Amherst upgraded Moodle to version 2.8. 

This upgrade continues to make Moodle more usable and efficient. The Moodle team at UMass Amherst is especially excited to see that many of the modifications we previously added to our Moodle Gradebook have been incorporated into the official release of Moodle.

Here's what to watch for:

Gradebook

For details, see Moodle 2.8 Gradebook Changes.

Grade calculation changes (if you used these gradebook features, please carefully review gradebooks in courses imported from previous semesters):

  • Drop the lowest now works more intuitively for grade items in categories set to Natural weights (formerly Sum of grades).
  • For manually added grade items and for categories, Curve to is no longer available.
  • Within Categories set to the Custom Weights aggregation method, Extra credit is no longer available.

New gradebook features:

  • Natural aggregation method replaces Sum of Grades
  • More room for viewing the Grader Report when Blocks are "docked"
  • New Setup tab contains Categories and items, Course grade settings, and your Gradebook user preferences.
  • Simplified Categories & items page
  • Grade History tab provides audit trail of grade entry (when, who, where grades were changed, etc.)

Moodle “core” has adopted many additions and innovations made to the Moodle gradebook at UMass Amherst over the past year.  Some features may look a little different, but they are still there, including:

  • Grade particular students or individual activities
  • Freeze header column and student names
  • Grader report scrolls (now in entire browser window rather than a smaller panel)

User Interface and Visual Design

  • Top navigation bar (breadcrumb links) and Turn editing on button are always visible
  • New User menu (access your profile, logout, etc.)
  • When editing is on, an Edit drop-down replaces icons scattered across the page
  • Individual users can collapse, or "dock," Blocks to the side of the browser window to increase the usable area of a page—especially helpful for the Grader report
  • Progress bars are shown for time-consuming operations
  • The UMass themes are more mobile-friendly than ever.
  • Due to lack of use, the "Yeti (white)" theme has been discontinued. Courses that previously used Yeti (white), now are set to the default theme, Drakon (maroon).  If you don't want bright colors, try Wendigo (gray).

Course Management

  • The Import tool now lets you reuse an entire course, or just add selected items from a previous course
  • New interface for Restrict Access (release by date, grade, user, restriction sets)
  • Improved Group management interface for activities

New "Atto" Text Editor

  • Auto-saves drafts every minute
  • Edit box expands to fit width of browser window
  • Streamlined interface for inserting media
  • Less cluttered toolbar
  • Spellcheck suggestions with normal right-click
  • More robust equation editor (replaces DragMath and does not require users to have Java installed)
  • Option to use old "TinyMCE" Editor (in individual user Profile settings)

Forums

  • Users can subscribe (and receive email notifications) to individual topics within a forum

Assignments

  • Instructors can attach files to distribute with Assignment activities
  • Instructors can Annotate PDF submissions with comments and mark-up right inside Moodle
  • For Online text submissions, view student submissions and exchange comments in the same window
  • For Online text assignments, set word limit
  • New Grading workflow options for marking and releasing assignment grades and feedback:
    • Allocate student submissions to different graders (e.g., TAs)
    • Hide grades from students until they are set to 'Released.'
    • Notify students (individually or en masse) when grading is  complete.

Turnitin2

  • Faster, smoother performance and improved interface
  • Set most Turnitin options on the Moodle settings page without opening Turnitin
  • Improved Turnitin Rubric management
  • Activities in old courses are still there (for grade review, Incompletes)
  • If you already added Turnitin (legacy) assignments to Summer or Fall 2015 courses, please replace with Turnitin2 assignments.

Wiki Activity

  • Wiki (legacy) replaced by Wiki (enhanced)
  • Activities in old courses are still there (for grade review, Incompletes)
  • If you already added Wiki (legacy) activities to Summer or Fall 2015 courses, please replace with Wiki (enhanced) activities.

For help setting up Moodle courses, Instructors can refer to our Support Center Articles, or contact the Instructional Media Lab at (413) 545-2823, or instruct@umass.edu.