Posts tagged ‘labspace’

Revise this

It’s been long time coming but now the OpenLearn LabSpace allows users to edit (remix) units online – rather than the rather cumbersome method of downloading a Moodle backup file then re-uploading – or worse, trying to work with the OU XML format in notepad!

To create a new version of a unit, find the unit you’d like to edit then select the ‘make a copy for revising’ option from the ‘Versions’ block. After it’s created the new version you should see it listed (mine is v1.3 in the example image on the right).

On visiting the new unit you should see the ‘Revise this unit’ button in the top right (see highlighted area in image below).

When you click this you’ll get a warning message like the one below (as it’s wiki-like you’re able to edit other users content – they can also change yours!):

Finally you need to click the ‘Turn editing on’ button (this appears in the same place as the revise this button) and you’ll arrive at the standard Moodle unit/course editing page (as below), with all the links etc for adding and editing resources and activities.

Hopefully this new functionality will encourage more people to add their own content and edits (which has been somewhat lacking in the LabSpace so far) and also allow users to create much more interactive content (by adding Moodle activities to the units)… have fun!

In situ editing for LabSpace

Encouraging users to remix and upload content back to the LabSpace has been a bit of a problem, most likely due to the fact that downloading and editing the content on your own PC is such a pain (finding XML editing package etc etc). So we’re looking at being able to edit content in situ, which should make it far easier for users. Enabling this won’t be quite a as easy as it first seems (even though Moodle provides most of the necessary functionality) – most problems being related to tracking changes and version control.

In the meantime, Jenny gave me access to be a ‘teacher’ on a course I had uploaded, meaning that I can now edit the material in situ. Giving users permissions in this way this might be an interim option until the full in situ editing is enabled, though it could be time consuming if lots of users requested access – so will need to wait and see if the porgramme team give this the go-ahead 😉

OpenLearn remix & reuse competition

A competition has just been launched to encourage the remixing and reuse of OpenLearn LabSpace content, full details can be found at:
It’s open to all to enter and you could win yourself up to £250 worth of technology of your choice!

I’m thinking about entering in the remix category – maybe taking some of the existing content and embedding MSG into it – especially the presence mapping, so perhaps something with one of the geography and/or language courses.

Preparing for launch…

Have been pretty busy last couple of weeks (hence no postings) and had few days off work here and there too! Much of my time has just been getting MSG ready and installed on our acceptance test servers, ready for the launch of MSG Presence Maps on LabSpace and LearningSpace on 17th May. All seems to be running fine now after a bit of fiddling around.

Have now started to think what we do to get more information into MSG from users’ OpenLearn profiles and what would be the most relevant infomation to show to try and get people chatting to each other. One of the problems I think we’re having with people not using MSG that much is because it’s essentially just a list of names, there’s no way of knowing about that person & whether they’re ‘worth'(!) chatting to or not. So … my thoughts on the aspects we could include…

  1. biography info – getting the info/biography info users can enter in Moodle
  2. courses in common – using the fact that you are enrolled on the same, say, 5 courses as user X means you’re more likely to want to chat with them than someone who only has one course enrolment in common with you?
  3. forum/learning journal postings – finding the number and ratings of other users forums postings to discover their reputation, eg if their forums posting are rated highly you are more likely to want to chat to them?
  4. photos – just grab users photo (if they’ve submitted one) from Moodle to show within MSG.

Much of this is guesswork and supposition, until we give it a go we’re not really likely to know what’s going to work. These are based on what may be currently available form the OpenLearn system (rather than things we’d need to first build into Moodle). Also, still not sure whether to just focus on a subset of these or all would be needed to create a useful system.

Any thoughts/comments/suggestions welcome as to whether including and or all of these would be good (or bad!) – or if I’ve missed anything I ought to include 🙂

Maps going live…

We’ve now fixed when the maps will be available on the LabSpace site – they’re going to be ready made live for the end of April – barring any hiccups! Also the MSG block along with the other KMi tools (Knowledge Mapping & FlashMeeting) are going to be added to the LearningSpace website in the coming couple of months. This is really good news for us as it means the MSG block should get a lot more visibility and hence usage – this will include the maps developments that I’ve been doing too.

I’ve created a short video (screencast) of how to use the MSG presence maps and the functionality provided, at the momnet it’s still a large .avi file so once I’ve got it compressed to a reasonable size/quality I’ll post a link up 🙂

OpenLearn & LabSpace launched

Last night we had the official launch of the OpenLearn and LabSpace websites, they are both freely available for anyone to access at : and respectively.

The evening went really well, people seemed really interested in what we are doing, and there already been plenty of users registering for the sites. Obviously my main interest is how people get on with the tools in the in LabSpace site, especially MSG, so if you have any feedback or comments about this then please let me know – either leave comment below or email me directly 🙂

Wednesday 6 September 06

Now have my demo server updated to use the current version of the OU VLE Moodle with the LabSpace theme applied. Still getting very confused about the new roles and permissions, I’ve set up the db/access.php page as it looks like it ought to be set up – then I update the version number and run the admin page, but my new capabilities aren’t imported into the database – I can’t quite work out what’s going wrong here. few other queries I have about the new roles are permissions are:

  • docs say that the capability should start with the path to the block or mod, but then the example given is block/… which of course ought to be blocks/… if it’s the path
  • The get_context_instance() is passed an id as the second parameter, and I’ve seen a few examples which all use the instance id but I can’t work out how this should be applied to my block – which would usually be a sticky block so each block won’t have an instance id to use? The examples all seem to be something like:
$context = get_context_instance(CONTEXT_MODULE, $cm->id);
But I don’t know where $cm->id would come from in my case?
  • For user enrolments on courses – how can I figure out if a user is enrolled on a course without using mdl_user_students? I can see the mdl_role_assignments so I assume it’s something to do with this, but I’d need to know what the ‘student’ role was actually called to be able to query reliably – wouldn’t want to have the role id or role name from mdl_role hard coded into my php?

Anyway, for now I’m just going to leave my code using the old Moodle 1.6 functions/tables as I know these will still work with Moodle 1.7 (just deprecated) until I find someone who can help me sort it out!