Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Moodle Calendar Export Issue

In my quest for delivering solutions that help students GET on track, and STAY on track (one of the biggest challenges in my own academic career, right up there with "life getting in the way," but that's another story), I have spent many hours over a number of years trying to design an elegant method for instructors to sync a calendar from a course they are teaching in Moodle to a calendar that more students tend to actually use, such as Google Calendar.

I'll boil it down here: You're taking 3 or 4 classes, each with specific due dates and times for various assignments, quizzes, forum posts, etc. That sounds pretty typical, right? What is also typical for college students - especially lots of Community College students? Life getting in the way. They want… ok they may not know they want, but they need the ability to see all of the events they need to do in the context of all of the things they want to do. If you have ever missed an important deadline because you got caught up in a fun, but less important activity, you know what I'm talking about. And with the easy mobility of cloud-based calendars on our smartphones, we really are running out of excuses. And no, the dog really didn't eat your homework, because we all use Google Docs, right?

Every time I visit this Moodle-Google Calendar project, I discover tiny bits of progress in Moodle, but no complete solution. One aspect I really wish would come about relates to the fact that the Moodle Calendar export still seems to relate only to a user account, with no option to tie to events within a Moodle course. From

"Note that this may be more or less useful. The calendar will be relative to the Moodle user. That is, if the user who generates the URL is enrolled in several courses, it is this information that will appear in the calendar. There is no way (at this time) to generate a URL that only applies to one course."

Having that option would enable instructors to create Google (or other) calendars specific to their courses, without also including other events happening in other courses in which they are enrolled.

Can we please get there, Moodle?

Friday, March 24, 2017

Importing Publisher test Questions Into Moodle

This short video covers how to import Moodle XML publisher-provided test questions into your Moodle course.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

GMAIL: How to Create a Filter for PUBLIC-LB replies

New Year's Cybersecurity Resolutions

Make your cyber life a little more safe and secure with these New Year's Cybersecurity Resolutions:

  • Delete your unused accounts
Got an old account you never use anymore -- like Yahoo, MySpace,
or AOL? Delete it to eliminate the possibility of it being hacked.

  • Change and strengthen your passwords
Many online services don't require you to change your password,
but this is no reason not to change them yourself.

  • Check your backups
You have backup copies of your important data, right? Are your
backups current and complete, or have they fallen behind?

  • Uninstall unused apps
You'll have one less app for a hacker to hack, one less password
to remember, and more space on your device.

  • Check for updates
Outdated apps (like Adobe Reader, Microsoft Office) and operating
systems (like Windows) provide hackers with easy targets, and account
for 85% of targeted attacks!

Password Security & LastPass

Password Security
On any given day, most of us are prompted for several IDs and passwords. With so many to remember, it is tempting to use one or two simple passwords. Simple passwords are easy for hackers to crack, however. For instance “1234fido” can be hacked in less than a minute!

Make your passwords more secure by following these recommendations:
  • Use a minimum password length of 12 to 14 characters if permitted.
  • Include lowercase and uppercase alphabetic characters, numbers and symbols if permitted.
  • Generate passwords randomly where feasible.
  • Avoid using the same password twice.
  • Avoid keyboard patterns, dictionary words, letter or number sequences, usernames, relative or pet names, romantic links (current or past) and biographical information (e.g., ID numbers, ancestors' names or dates).
  • Avoid using information that is or might become publicly associated with the user or the account.
  • Avoid using information that the user's colleagues and/or acquaintances might know to be associated with the user.

Several unique, complex passwords are very difficult to remember and type correctly. That is why Information Services recommends the use of LastPass -- a free password manager.  Password managers like LastPass perform the following tasks for you:

  • Remembers all your passwords
  • Suggests very lengthy, complex passwords
  • Types your ID and passwords for you, based on your preferences
  • Re-prompts you for your LastPass password, based on your preferences
  • Stores other proprietary data like credit card information, policy numbers, etc
  • Has Form Fill features that offer to fill out standard forms for you

For more information, check out these LastPass Videos.

GMAIL: How to MUTE a conversation

MUTE a conversation when your LBCC Inbox is filling with replies to a conversation you'd rather not see. Once muted, additional replies are instantly archived. Only replies specifically addressed to you will appear. HINT: if a message mysteriously goes missing,​ you may have muted it accidently with the  m  keyboard shortcut!
How to Mute/Unmute a conversation:
Option 1:   open a message, select More, then select Mute (or Unmute).

Option 2:   use *keyboard shortcut  m .
                 (*you must have keyboard shortcuts enabled in Settings, General)
How to locate muted conversations:
Type  is:muted   in the Search box.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Moodle Course Total Not Visible

When students tell you they can see grades for individual graded activities, but not a category total or the course total grade, and you have confirmed that the totals are set to be visible on the Categories and Items page, you need to check adjust the following gradebook preferences:

1. Go into the Moodle course Gradebook and click the "Setup" tab. This will take you to the Categories and items page.
2. On the Setup sub-tabs, click Course grade settings. This will take you to the Course grade settings page.
3. Under "User report," change the Hide totals if they contain hidden items drop-down menu to the appropriate setting:

4. Click the "Save changes" button.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Moodle Mobile 3.2.1

The Moodle Mobile 3.2.1 release brings with it a number of features and improvements at enhancing users experience and performance.

New features in Moodle 3.2.1 include:
  • Glossary entries: Moodle Mobile users will be able to add glossary entries with attachments, such as images, documents or videos, so that users can view them all in the one spot.
  • Messages & notifications: Users can view their unread messages and notifications count even better as they are now displayed in the app icon (for iOS) and in the app menu item.
  • Web & mobile harmonisation: As part of Moodle’s focus towards a more unified experience between the web and mobile version, the site home displays the same options as via the web – including search courses, browse categories and more. This feature will work with the Moodle Mobile additional features plugin.
  • Configure your Moodle Mobile features straight from your Moodle site administration: Turn on custom menu items and custom language strings, disable features and use the option to enable users to log out completely from the App. Please note this feature requires the latest version of the “Moodle Mobile additional features plugin” and will be included in Moodle Mobile 3.3
Read more here.

Moodle Student Orientation 2018