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Friday, January 4, 2013

Drag And Drop Upload and Collapsed Weeks course format combo to raise the usability of your Moodle 1.9.x site.

Graphic From:
http://dequitypartners.com.au/

syn·er·gy  

/ˈsinərjē/
Noun
The interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the...: "the synergy between artist and record company"


Davo Smith's brilliant Drag and Drop Upload (DADU) block is a must-have for any Moodle 1.9 site. I have yet to meet someone, new to Moodle, who wasn't impressed with the ease of adding a file to a Moodle course page by clicking and dragging the mouse pointer.

Equally brilliant is the Collapsed Weeks course format by Gareth J. Barnard. This course format is one way of beating the Moodle Scroll Of Death, brought about by the default Weekly or Topics course format. I am using a modified version of Gareth's Collapsed Weeks course format - one that shows the week dates as well as either the week number or a description of the week's topics.

Of course, Moodle 2.2 has the DADU feature built into it. So those of you who use Moodle 2.x are probably wondering what the fuss is all about. Anyway, yesterday, one of my colleagues wanted to know how to use Moodle and I wanted to impress him with the Drag and Drop feature of Moodle 1.9. Unfortunately I forgot that the original block only worked with the default Weekly or Topics format. So I had to switch to the Weekly course format to show him the feature.

Arriving back home from work, I kept thinking how wonderful it would be if I could enable the DADU block to work with my beloved Collapsed Weeks course format. So I headed off to http://moodle.org and posted a question in the Course Formats forum. Gareth, the resident moderator and gatekeeper of the forum replied to my query. He informed me that there actually was a patch jointly written a year ago by both Davo and himself. The solution is to replace just two lines of code, as shown below.

Figure 1. Patch two lines of code of dndupload.js
of Davo Smith's Drag-and-Drop Upload block 

I then tested my course page by turning Settings to On. I then dragged two files from my PC's Desktop to Week8 area. Wola! It works.


Figure 2. The Drag and Drop Upload works in the
Collapsed Weeks course format on my Moodle 1.9.15 site.
Such synergy! This raises the usability of my site by a factor of at least 3.

So there you have it. For all half-fossilized dinosaurs running on Moodle 1.9.x (compared to Moodle 2.4 that is), you can raise the usability of your Moodle production site by several notches by combining both the DADU and Collapsed Weeks course format. I have on my site. 2+2 does equal to 5. What other examples of Moodle plugins synergy do you know of? Please share your discoveries with me. Now to impress a few more colleagues next Monday....

Keep Moodling
Frankie "Moodlesaurus" Kam




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