Thursday, June 27, 2013

Mark Ward's elegant Straw Poll block for Moodle 2.x

Figure 1. Before clicking a choice.

I stumbled upon Mark Ward's blog, Moodle Mark. "Working on ingenious plugins, themes and customisations for Moodle 2". How true. Mark is the creator of the Autohide code and concept. Thanks to Mark's ingenuity, Moodle adminstrators and teachers have an easier time editing their Moodle coursepages.
Among the many inventions of Mark, what intrigued me was the very nice looking and elegant, Straw Poll block for Moodle 2.x.

What's so elegant about Mark Ward's block? Well, if you look at Figure 1, you will notice that the survey choices are arranged neatly as blocks? That is done automatically by Mark's code! As for input, you will notice the form in Figure 3 with the input edit boxes.

The output of the block is cool and I like the look and feel of the block. Very nice indeed. Of course the text and background colours of the block can be customised in case you feel the contrasts and hues could be improved or made to match your Moodle theme.

                                                 Figure 2. After clicking a choice. The result of the poll is shown.

What I really like about Mark's Straw Poll block is that it is easy to setup, looks great, is fun to use, and lastly makes your Moodle site more social since you get to see what other coursepage participants are thinking.

                                       Figure 3. The settings form right after you add the Straw Poll block. Easy-peasy to fill in.

Installation. Just two words of caution. Firstly, I had to change the extracted folder name to "straw_poll" in order for Moodle 2.5 to diagnose and to install the block. Secondly, in order for me to install the block in Moodle 2.5, I ALSO had to edit the file edit_form.php. Apparently all the code in that file is on line 1. And there's a // comment code on line 1! So I had to manually move your code statements down to the next line until the last // commented statement was on a line on its own. Then the block worked. 

BTW, here's the corrected edit_form.php file:

Frankie Kam

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