Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Find out which activities are popular on your Moodle site with the Recommender Block for Moodle 2.3 and above

I love any Moodle plugin that makes the Moodle site more social, more fun, more human-friendly. So, when I stumbled across the Recommender Block, I knew I had to try it out.

The Recommender block was created by Lancaster University Network Services Limited. it allows you to look at the most recent activity by other users of this website. You can view the most popular resources and activities that have been viewed and, if appropriate, participated in within the website.

If you click on the ‘Popular activities and resources’ link below you will see the top three results (you can click on these titles to take you directly to the resource or activity listed) and a ‘more’ link where you can access a page where all the results for this website will be listed. You will be able to filter the results by date range, item type, and by the number of views and participation. Source: Help option on the Recommender Block

In other words, you can now find out at a glance, which Moodle activities or resources are popular on your site. Here's what it looks like on my site.
Here's what the block looks like

Clicking on the "More popular items" gives you a page with more drop down options.

You can configure how the  "More popular items" are processed and displayed by using three dropdown boxes.
You can search for popular
activities over periods of time

You can search by type of items

You can search by viewership or by
contributions in ascending or
descending sort orders

The results of your query are shown on screen.

So there you have it. I recommend the Recommender Block to anyone with a Moodle 2.x site. I find it a very creative block that taps into the greatest resource of all on an LMS - human beings and their curiosity to know more. A teacher can also use it to find out which activities are hot and which are not. If you have any other uses for this block, please do share with me. I'm all ears.

In summary,
  • this Block offers four different recommendation services
    • Popular activities on this course
    • Popular courses on this site
    • Open educational resources
    • Shared bookmarks
    Each of these can be enabled and configured separately.
    Certainly a useful Block for more open or socially orientated Moodle sites.

Frankie Kam

Other resources
Recommender Block on Github

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