Sunday, April 06, 2008

Making access easier to online forums

In the absence of anything better, I used Moodle to create a web site for the Open 2020 Summit. I used the default Moodle authentication system for people who wanted to take part in online discussion. This lessens the possibility of Spam and inappropoirate comments being posted. Also I set the option to allow Google to index all the public content. But one problem was that once someone found the site with a search engine, or read the address i9n the newspaper, they were contronted with a login screen, even if they wanted to do was just browse, noit post. There is an option on the Moodle login screen for guests to enter without resistering, but this is not prominant and I suspect many people stop at this point. The ACS Moodle does not have this problem and it took me days to remember where the option was I set to let people in.

It turns out that the Moodle option for "Auto-login guests" is at: Stie Administration > Users > Permissions > User Policies". It isn't under "Security", where I would expect it to be. With that button clicked, people can go straight to pages in the site. Those who want to post to a forum will be invited to register and directed to the log in screen.

It will be interesting to see how many more people now visit the site.

There are still some problems with using Moodle for the Summit, such as people in the forums being referred to as "Students" by the system and no easy way to pretty up the format of the pages. But the simple layout has advantages, such as working reasonably well on a handheld device with text only.

1 comment:

simonfj said...

That was good Tom,

You might want to take a look at the edna domain(s). It might help to bring some remote summits together.

I'll point you at the (what I call twitter page) for the 2020 summit(s). I've pointed my playmates at your moodle, although you know how the institutional mind works - "they should come to us".

I'd like to let yu in the groups' space where I've also pointed to your suggestions about (OPEN) forums, and yu could say a few words. But yu know how it is. Academics are the worst designers.

You know where the option is to let people in (on a Moodle or anything else?) Between the ears (or not).