The Quality Assurance site of Moodle at qa.moodle.net, where everyone can check out and test, is already labeled as a “Moodle 3.3 site”. At this point, the importance of this label is more symbolic than practical, but considering its scheduled launch by May, a lot of development is expected during the coming weeks.
The answers about what Moodle 3.3 will and will not bring is not straightforward. While some issues, mainly involving the new “Boost” theme, delayed Moodle 3.2 one month until December, the next launch has arguably less complex new features. Moodle 3.2 was an exception in the Moodle roadmap decision to switch to a time-based rather than a feature-based release schedule since Moodle 2. Furthermore, an official Moodle update on LinkedIn mentions that the upcoming “Learn Moodle” MOOC, scheduled for June, will be based in Moodle 3.3.
Which makes a rescheduling unlikely, but also that outcomes from the current lines of work at Moodle HQ are not guaranteed to come in Moodle 3.3. To date, they are:
- “My Course” Overview Block. It would allow an easy gaze upon a student’s course status. It could show a block with current section and contents, due dates or recent grades, without having to open the course page. A student could look at a block for each of their active courses at once. As a block, it would not be available on Moodle Mobile.
- Better Office Integrations. The page is a result of the discussion about how to best allow integration of a commercial office application suite within Moodle. While G Suite and Office 365 are the most discussed, there is no official decision on selection of one provider. Creating an entirely new integration architecture makes this possibly the most difficult area of development.
- Font Awesome Support. In comparison, this feature, which would replace most Moodle icons with typography instead of images, is all but confirmed. Many existing themes already feature Font Awesome, as it makes for a faster loading time while maintaining (if not enhancing) aesthetic appeal.
- Files API for storage modularity. This would give Moodle sites extended abilities to choose the hosting service for students to save files. It is envisioned to allow developers, or even users, to choose where the Moodle files, be they course contents of their own submissions, are stored. A Moodle site connected to your Dropbox could be a near future possibility.
- File conversion API for plugins. To enable features such as homework annotations, Moodle uses the
unoconvutility to turn them into PDFs. An old request, if enable it would allow developers to create alternative file conversion utilities, with greater or more specific capabilities. Plugins could extract raw data from files, or convert media, for example.
- Next-gen Analytics: Project Inspire. It would ship within the Moodle core a lifecycle analytics solution that includes “Description, Diagnosis, Prediction or Prescription”. At this time it is unclear if it is intended to replace of enhance the capabilities of existing analytics plugins.
Check out the latest candidate developments for Moodle 3.3 at qa.moodle.net.
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