One of the strengths of using cuLearn as a Learning Management System (LMS) is that it is based on Moodle, an open source software that has a large user community. This means that there are a large number of plugins available that have been developed by other institutions with similar needs to Carleton.
The basic process that we go through to determine whether a plugin is suitable for our needs is outlined below. We also give you the opportunity below to suggest a plugin that you are familiar with and would like to see at Carleton. Please note that this process can take a few months, so we generally look for plugin requests in September during the fall semester before the LMS upgrade cycle begins in January.
The basic process we follow when deciding whether to add a new plugin to the system is:
- Receive plugin request
- EDC reviews the plugin to determine whether something similar already exists within cuLearn
- Install plugin on EDC moodle development site and test internally for functionality
- If internal tests are successful, then request will be forwarded to ITS for technical assessment
- If appropriate, ITS will install on cuLearn development site for further assessment
- If appropriate, ITS will install on production cuLearn site during regularly scheduled updates
- Plugin will be made available to general Carleton population
We value your input. If you know of a Moodle plugin that you think would be beneficial for use in cuLearn or have a request for an enhancement to the existing system, please fill out the form below. For new plugins please tell us why you think it will be useful to have on our LMS and share where it can be accessed.
Based on this procedure, a sample of some plugins that have been or are in the process of being examined are highlighted below:
Newly available plugins:
SocialWiki – Developed by a team from Carleton University, this plugin would add a new kind of social wiki activity to cuLearn. In this social wiki many page versions can coexist, and users can connect (‘follow’ each other) and build off of each others contributions in a social network. There are already a number of instructors using this tool on the developers version of Moodle and the EDC and ITS are evaluating the possibility of adding this tool to cuLearn.
Enhancements and Plugins under review:
Mahara – This eportfolio tool is currently being used by several courses in a pilot project to offer students a place to upload assignments and reflect on their learning process. The cuLearn plugin which will integrate the two tools has been tested for basic functionality and it now under review by ITS for release to the larger campus. This update wouls also include plugins for Mahara Assignment Submission, allowing grading of portfolios, as well as the Mahara Assignment Feedback plugin.
Badges – Badges are a system of awarding students for completion of certain activities within a course or completion of a whole course. EDC and ITS are evaluating the implementation options and effects the use of this tool may have on the larger system as a whole.
There are some features that have been requested by instructors that are not currently available in cuLearn (Moodle core functionality) or available via a plugin. Below is a list of these requests that the LMS team will periodically review and search out solution for.
Specify Assignment Upload File Type as .zip – When creating an assignment in cuLearn have the option of requiring the submission file type to be a .zip file.