Sunday, December 30, 2012

Journal-like feature of the Wall - ensuring privacy of students' posts

I made this one before the New Year deadline. Notch up one more feature for the ever-versatile Wonderwall on the  checklist. I have added a "Moodle Journal"-like Wall feature. This means that there is added level of privacy for students. The Teacher can also ask questions and a student responds without the benefit of seeing/viewing other students' answers/responses. Works like the Moodle 1.9 Journal mod. Sort of.

Using the parameter in the iframe code,

the student only can see messages on the wall that were posted by himself or the Course Administrator. Works pretty much the same as Moodle 1.9's venerable Journal mod. In this manner, the student enjoys a degree of privacy. His or her wall posts are hidden from other student users. Of course the Course Administatrator can view and reply to all wall posts from all students.

Check it out on:
Username: studentscm   -or-  me
Password: studentscm   -or-  me

Attached PNG screenshots hopefullly are self-explanatory.

The Wall with the parameter : &Journal=0
Everyone sees everyone's posts

Summary: now the Wall has Journal feature which hides other students' posts from any student user. The student user only sees Wall updates from himself/herself/Course Administrator/Teacher. Student now enjoys a level of privacy. The teacher can remove  the &Journal=1 parameter, or change it to &Journal=0 to revert the Wall to all-see-all content type of default wall.

What do you think of this feature?

Frankie Kam

P.S., Move your mouse cursor over the grayed-out avatar user account pic to see a nice effect.

Gamification and the Moodle Wonderwall.

I figured out the how to include sentence statistics and have added in a gamification element/dimension to the Wall. It's getting more interesting.

I. Giving feedback with word statistics for a Wall post. 
I thought that it might be useful if the number of words, sentences per post and the average words per sentences might be useful information to be shown after each Wall post.

Try this out:
Username: studentscm
Password: studentscm

My iframe embed code is:

<iframe width="90%" scrolling="auto" height="700px" frameborder="0" align="middle" name="Embedded Frame" src="" marginheight="4px" marginwidth="4px"></iframe>

The interpretation is this: the teacher has told the class that his/her expectation is that every post to the wall must meet a minimum number of 10 words, and must have a minimum number of 3 sentences. Those posts to the Wall that meet these two criteria will be rewarded with an icon each (gamification element here).

 The student is awarded this stamp  If he or she
meets the minimum words per sentence average.

The student is awarded this stamp  If he or she 
meets the minimum number of sentences in the post.

Check it out. I've done it. That's a whole new element to the Wall. Lots of possibilities to create visual cues to the teacher as to who did what and who didn't achieve what. And lots of possibilities for students to be rewarded with stamps and icons and stuff for meeting the teacher's requirements/expectations.

II. Adding a Readability Score to a Wall post.
Every heard of the Flesch-Kincard Readbility score?

I also surfed over to these sites:
and implemented the Flesch-Kincaid Readability score test on the Wall.

(The website uses the PHP code available from specifically from this download link:
So anyway, the readability scores translate as follows:

Flesch Reading Ease ScoreFlesch-Kincaid Grade LevelTypical ageStyle description
Elementary School *
Middle school *
90 to 100510-11very easy
80 to 90611-12easy
70 to 80712-13fairly easy
60 to 70813-14standard
High school *
60 to 70914-15standard
50 to 601015-16fairly difficult
50 to 601116-17fairly difficult
50 to 601217-18fairly difficult
Post-secondary education (College or University) *
30 to 401318-19difficult
30 to 401419-20difficult
30 to 401520-21difficult
30 to 401621-22difficult
Graduate education *
0 to 3022+very difficult
*) Education in the United States. 


Here's a simplified scale of the scores.
   if($n >= 90) return "Very easy";
   else if($n >= 80) return "Easy";
   else if($n >= 70) return "Fairly easy";
   else if($n >= 60) return "Standard";
   else if($n >= 50) return "Fairly difficult";
   else if($n >= 30) return "Difficult";
   else return "Very confusing";

I dumbed it down a bit, since I only have five icons (see attached gifs!), to this
slightly simplified structure:
   80-100 : Very Easy 
   70-89 : Easy  
   50-69 : Standard 
   20-49 : Difficult 
   0-19  : Very Difficult 

I programmed the PHP function from the github link into message_ajax.php of the Wall and you can take a look at the screenshot after a typical post. Mouseover your mouse cursor onto the icons and you have a nice popup text description.

So now, you have not only a numeric Readability score, you also have a set of visual colourful icons to indicate the level of readability of the student's wall post.

BTW, I tried the following speeches on the Wall, and here are the results:
Obama's speech at the memorial wake in Newtown, Connecticut = high 90s
Queen Elisabeth I's speech = low 40s
So the Flesch-Kincaid readability algorithm does seem to work fine.

The php code from the github link also allows me to program these readability scores functionality into the Wall:

          * Flesch Kincaid Reading Ease
          * Flesch Kincaid Grade Level
          * Gunning Fog Score
          * Coleman Liau Index
          * SMOG Index
          * Automated Reability Index

        The same code also can give:
          * String length
          * Letter count
          * Syllable count
          * Sentence count
          * Average words per sentence
          * Average syllables per word

Summary: I've added in visual cues to a student's post so that both the teacher and student will know if the post meets the teacher's expectations. In addition, a readability score is added to the post.

I'm sure that the Gamified Wall can be useful in language classes where feedback is important.

Frankie Kam

Friday, December 21, 2012

Send E-mail notifications with every update to your Moodle Wall

Good news. I managed to get each Wall post to send an automatic E-mail message to the E-mail account of Moodle user N. This feature is useful so that the lecturer or teacher can receive updates of Wall posts from students. Here's a sample use-case.

Step1. The user copies a section of a website and pastes it as a Wall update.

Step2. I check my E-mail account and notice that the user "Mr Student" has posted something on the Moodle Wall. Hmm...let's check it out.

Step 4. Email is opened. Guess what? The E-mail that was sent from the Wall is in HTML format. Oh, wow! Great Scott and great stuff.

I think that this feature is useful for busy lecturers and teachers. The advantage is that one need not surf to the Wall to read the messages. The messages will fly into your E-mail account. The 'drawback' is that you might experience information overload when there are many student posts to the wall.

This E-mail notification only works with message posts, not with comment posts.

Postscript: initially, my Gmail account tagged the E-mail message as spam. So I had to dig into my Gmail's spam folder to mark as "Not Spam" the message.

Happy Moodling
Frankie Kam

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Moodle WonderWall (Facebook-like Wall) with Unicode (UTF-8 Encoding)

With the help of Waldemar Fiszer, the Wall now displays text in Unicode UTF-8. What this means is that I can display other language texts on in posts to the wall. So the Wall now becomes a sort of United Nations.

For example:

UTF-8 unicode encoding is supported. Below I have posted in various languages: Japanese, Russian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Arabic, Hebrew, and here's some French:
Bienvenue ! Vous êtes nouveau ? perdu ? Lisez ceci !

Форум "Методика и стратегия дистанционного обучения" на
Phiên bản Moodle 2.4 chính thức được phát hành với một số tính năng mớ:
وايضا اذا كانت لديكم اية تجارب سابقة وتريدون تبدال الخبرات مع المطورين  يمكنكم مناقشتها في منتدى المطورين

מניסיוני יש לא מעט אתגרים בשימוש בעברית בתוכנות שונות, ומודל כמערכת מורכבת במיוחד היא לא יוצאת מהכלל.

Try it out here:

Moodle 1.9 version of the Wall
Username: studentscm
Password: studentscm

And here:

Moodle 2.3.2 version of the Wall
Just use Guest access

Go ahead, give it a try. If you are interested to setup your own "International" Wonderwall on your Moodle 1.9.x or Moodle 2.x production site, please do not hesitate to contact me at:

Until the next time, Happy Moodling!
Frankie Kam

Friday, November 30, 2012

'Upgrade' your Moodle 1.9 standard icons to Moodle 2.4 without really trying

Here's a cheeky little post.

Tired of how dated your Moodle 1.9 resource and activity icons look? Aren't those icons so 2004? Hold on a second. What year are we in? 2012! Tired of getting information overload everytime you hit that "Turn Editing On" button? Despair no more. Now you can give your Moodle 1.9's site a new 'makeover' without converting the entire site to Moodle 2.4!

In case you didn't know, Moodle 2.4 comes with a new icon set, professionally designed by Barbara Ramiro, a talented and prolific Graphic Designer. Thanks Barbara! The new look is fresher and more modern. Check out the new set in this PDF file on
Isn't that simply mouth-watering?

And then there's this site that juxtopositions Moodle 2.3 and Moodle 2.4 icons so that you can compare the old and the new:

Well, the other I was admiring the new icon set when it hit me that I could 'upgrade' my Moodle 1.9 standard icons for some of the new Moodle 2.4 offerings, all without too much effort. Here's the result.

The new editing icons are now less distracting. The new icons are fresher and have replaced the original dated icons. The result? Enhanced usability, in my humble opinion.

How did I do it? It's simple. Just go to the demo Moodle 2.4 site at and then right-click on any icon and save it to your harddrive. It'll be a svg format. Use any image editor and convert the icon into gif format. Then replace your Moodle 1.9 icon by ftp'ing the new gif file into the appropriate folder of your Moodle 1.9 activity or resource. For example, the icon for the standard forum in Moodle 1.9 is /mod/forum/icon.gif. So just drop the new icon.gif file into that directory and your site is good to go!

Here's what my Moodle coursepage looks like with Settings set to off.

So what do you think of my Moodle 1.9's user interface icons makeover? Does it improve the usability of the site? Does it enhance the user interface? If you want a copy of my gif'fed icons, just send me an E-mail request. No charge.

Until the next time amigos and senoritas. keep Moodlin'
Frankie Kam

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The WonderWall for Moodle evolves with Like and Dislike buttons.

No, I'm not talking about the FB Like icon. In this post, I'm announcing that I have added Like and Dislike buttons to the Wonderwall.

Live site:
Username:  studentscm
Password: studentscm

Now that each post comes with user interactivity, this raises the usefulness of the Wall to a whole new level. That of community interaction. Many thanks to the brilliant William Thomas of Wctdesigns for his post that saved me much time and effort. Thanks mate!

Give it a try. Available for now only for Moodle 1.9.
Frankie Kam

Sunday, November 18, 2012

WunderbarWall For Your Moodle 1.9 Site - First Look

Hi All

Here's my latest work on the WunderbarWall, erm, I mean, WonderWall for Moodle 1.9. Moodle 2.x users, please be patient. I haven't yet ported over the code. Latest version of the Wall is as shown below in these three images. Now with the Nicedit integration into the WonderWall, you can do straight copy and paste from websites and the multmedia updates can be posted directly onto the Wall.

Everyday, I'm shufflin' toggling!

I figured out to integrate Nicedit with Moodle and to toggle between Nicedit's rich editor and HTML's humble and under-rated Textarea.

Figure 1. Nicedit Rich Text editor integration.

Figure 1. Toggling  between the Nicedit Rich Text editor
and the normal standard HTML Textarea.

Figure 3. The Wall allows you to copy-and-paste media rich content from
other websites. Again, this is possible thanks to Nicedit. Not bad for
a rich text editor (2009) that is no longer in development!

So what are you waiting for? Head over to my Moodle production site for a live demo:
Username: studentscm
Password: studentscm

Grafitti Wall

Finally for today, I created a Grafitti Wall on my Moodle site. You can use the Nicedit editor to post creative updates to my Grafitti Wall. Please be gentle and be mindful to post only polite messages!

Username: studentscm
Password: studentscm

Figure 4. Check out the Grafitti Wall. 

Now that's what I call art!

Figure 5. The Rich Editor allows you to post colorful
messages onto the Wall. Go ahead, try your hand
at creative sentences and words.

Figure 6. The Wall also features special Gafitti Fonts
that you can use to spice up the Wall!

If you are interested to have a Wonder/WunderbarWall installed on your Moodle 1.9 / 2.x production site, just send me an E-mail. Code and installation charges apply.

Frankie Kam

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Nicedit your Moodle 1.9/2.x Wall for a truly WonderWall!

Hi Ya'll

I couldn't resist sharing this. I have managed to integrate the Nicedit rich text editor with the Wonderwall for Moodle 1.9 and Moodle 2.2.

What this means is, now, I can post RICH TEXT updates onto the wall. What's rich text? Imagine multi-coloured, multi-sized and multi-font updates on the wall. How does this sound to you?

I. Nicedit Wonderwall Integration - Moodle 1.9.x

I've managed to integrated a rich-text editor, NicEdit, with the WonderWall.
Username: studentscm
Password: studentscm

Messages now allow for, amongst other things,
1. Multicoloured (for creative messages)
2. Multiformatted
3. full embed code of
     a. Youtube
     b. Vimeo
     c. Google Maps
     d. Scribd
     e. Slideshare
4. Embedding of image URLs

II. Nicedit Wonderwall Integration - Moodle 2.x

Users of Moodle 2.x can also benefit from the wall as a cool, creative and innovative pedagogical tool for online classes or E-Learning. I've ported the code over to my Moodle 2.2 production site. It should also work on Moodle 2.3.

III. Icons on the Nicedit panel

I managed to also reduce the distraction of the icons on the Nicedit panel. I did this in several ways.
(1) Reduce the colour contrast of the icons - they now look more cloudy with a grayish hue.
(2) Reduced the number of icons displayed (I had to edit the nicEdit.js file to do this)
(3) Reduced the font colour of the display text of the Font Size, Family and Style drop-down selection boxes

The result is a customised Nicedit panel, that looks like the image above. I changed the textarea colour to yellow so that it would match the on-focus dark yellow border. I also wanted to focus the user on the edit box, not on the icons. The icons have been intentionally dimmed to achieve a minimalistic, low-profile and less conspicuous look. Al this whilst maintaining an almost full edit functionality.

Interested in setting up your own Wonderwall? I'm selling the copies of the Wall code, if you are interested.
Well, that's all for now. Until we meet again, have fun exploring the new textarea edit box with the NicEdit

Frankie Kam

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Having Fun With PhotoMosaic - Malaysia Moodle Boleh Facebook Fanpage

Here's an Andrea Photomosaic I created of the "Malaysia Moodle Boleh" Facebook fanpage. It's a mosaic of 500 tiles created using with just 29(!) member icons of the small but steadily-growing Facebook group dedicated to Malaysian (and expatriate) Moodlers.

For the full image, click here.
If you want to create your own Photomosaic, you can't go wrong with this free tool.

A long weekend beckons. Time to get creative.
Frankie Kam

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Before I die I want to .... (Virtual Moodle Reflection Wall)

Art imitates life. Specifically, simulating a "Before I die" physical wall with a Wonderwall. I don't think that this has ever been done before - combining a Facebook-like Wall with a forum discussion topic. Well, there's a first time for everything. I am 'dying' to see what you will say...I mean type....

You can access the Wonderwall here:
Username: studentscm
Password: studentscm

Think, reflect and type in your thoughts. You can also copy and paste a http://url that ends with a gif, jpg or png file to embed an image. Or you can also paste a http://youtubeUrl if you want to. Have fun with the wall! 

And here's another example of the use of the Wall. This time with larger fonts (as specified in the file wall.css).

You can access the Wonderwall here:
Username: studentscm
Password: studentscm

Frankie Kam


How did I do this? 

I discovered how to add a background image to the Wonderwall.
You can do it too! Here's the embed code. You can put it inside a forum discussion topic.

<h1>Reflection Wall</h1><br /><center><iframe width="200%" allowtransparency="true" name="main" style="opacity: 1; background-image: url(; " scrolling="auto" height="1000px" frameborder="0" align="left" src=" I die I want to ..." marginheight="5px" marginwidth="5px"></iframe></center>

You also have to upload the image file bricks.jpg to your /mod/forum folder. The rest is magic!

To get your own wall for Moodle 1.9 or Moodle 2.x, click here.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Wallify your Moodle 2.x Coursepage

The Wonderwall now works in Moodle 2.2!

Clicking on the Course Wall

It's written for Moodle 2.x.
More to come soon. Wait for it!

Demo site:
Username: student
Password: student

Username: me
Password: me
Username: Create your own
Password: Create your own

Live Wall


1. Embed a simple non-hyperlink text.
Hello World!

2. Embed a simple URL hyperlink
Note: for many of the embed input below, omitting the "http" part will transform the input into a hyperlink that when clicked, opens the link in a new browser tab.

3. Embed an image from a URL

4. Embed a Voicethread

5. Embed a slideshare presentation

6. Embed a Youtube video

7. Embed a Scribd document

8. Embed a Vimeo video

9. Embed a video - presentations at their best

10. Embed a TeacherTube video - education

11. Embed a Chatbotmaker interactive video URL

12. Embed a Chatbotmaker interactive MP3 session URL

13. Embed a manual checklist

14. Embed a program's source code (etc. C++ or Java) - maintains indentation and whitespace!

Is your favourite Web2.0 social media embed code missing? Let me know!

Moodle 1.9 code (zip file) for USD$49
Moodle 2.x code (zip file) for USD$49
Code comes with basic setup instructions.
After payment is made, the code will be sent to you within 48hours.
Installation fees add another USD$49.

Frankie Kam
E-mail me at:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Wonder of the Moodle PhotoMosaic

Hope you like this one.

How many faces can you recognise?

Secondly, thank you Martin for creating a wonderful LMS in Moodle!

If you want to know how I did this, the Moodle logo and Martin montages consist of 500 individual account avatars. I painstakingly downloaded all of them and then used Andrea Mosaic to create the montage. Can you find Martin's icon in the montage above?
To know more, you can send me an E-mail. I'll be glad to indulge you on the details. Or, you could always view this Slideshare:

Frankie Kam

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