E-Learn spoke with the organizing team of Moodle DACH/Moodle DevCamp 18 to find out what event-goers can expect in the upcoming second edition. The conference brings together Moodle users, administrators, teachers, developers and pedagogues working in university environments in DACH countries: Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Moodle DACH/Moodle DevCamp is a BarCamp focused on Moodle and will take place at ETH Zurich, in Switzerland, from June 18th to 20th. In a BarCamp format, participants create the program and exchange information in an open environment where they can learn from each other.
It is a free of charge, user-generated conference full of discussions, presentations and interactions among participants.“Attend, get involved, discuss, shape it! We need instructors, functional experts, developers and infrastructure experts, as well as learners, to talk to each other and learn from each other. Use those synergies and improve the digital experience with Moodle – for everyone,” says Annabell Lorenz, senior solutions engineer at Blackboard.
The Present and Future of Moodle
The trending discussions that are now shaping the field of higher education have their own impact on Moodle users and developers. Accessibility, innovative teaching practices, data privacy, learning analytics, artificial intelligence, and virtual and augmented reality are some of these popular topics.
To Thomas Korner, service owner – Moodle at ETH Zurich, individualized and competence-oriented learning, as well as group and project learning, will increasingly lead us away from today’s content focused learning. “Learning management systems with well tested pedagogical scenarios will make the difference,” says Korner.
“The main trend regarding improvement of user experience and multimedia content creation in Moodle will be the ‘immediacy’ or ‘immersiveness’ of content,” says Gergely Rakoczi, IT consulting – multimedia content creation for e-learning at Vienna University of Technology, in Austria. “For truly individual learning experiences, one thing is key: the more personal the content is, the higher the willingness of the learners to engage in learning. So I believe that virtual reality, augmented reality, or 360 content represent trends that will have a distinctive impact on our future learning. For Moodle especially, I think (open) interfaces for these and other different and innovative learning approaches are key,” Rakoczi explains.
Katarzyna Potocka, scrum master & lead software engineer at Vienna University of Technology, shares that for a couple of years, the university’s team around Moodle has been working in cooperation with other four universities when it comes to development, quality assurance, and documentation.
“The main purpose of the Academic Moodle Cooperation (AMC) is to ensure long-term operation, maintenance, advancement and support of Moodle and other related services. Our dev team, consisting mainly of developers and testers, is the heart of the cooperation. The enormous benefits that result out of it are the possibility to share know-how and have united brainstorming sessions. Especially as a developer, it is very beneficial if you have like-minded people to exchange your thoughts and reflect on your ideas,” she says.
Another institution that is a part of the AMC is the University of Vienna (Uni Wien). Hartmut Eich, AMC chairman for organization and Uni Wien’s chief software architect for solutions around study and administration, says that much more can be done through collaboration. “With the Academic Moodle Cooperation, we create synergies through collaboration and produce high quality work such as code, training materials, and documentation that can be sustainably reused and updated. And last but not least, it significantly increases user satisfaction, which is one of the main goals,” he explains.
Participate in Moodle DACH 2018. Register today.
To Annabell Lorenz, 2018 will be “dominated” by the new European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and privacy. Accessibility and Universal Design for Learning are also important requirements that Moodle can help institutions be in compliance with, according to Lorenz.
“I think Moodle helps a lot by complying with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0 AA). In Moodlerooms, we added Blackboard Ally, which is WCAG compliant, and even provides alternative formats on the fly, gives immediate feedback to instructors and also an institutional overview on the overall ‘accessibility statistics’ of all uploaded content,” Lorenz explains.
To Andreas Hruska, founder and CEO of eDaktik GmbH – Moodle Partner, Austria, Moodle is a reliable toolbox with an open plugin architecture that provides great functionality in organizational, didactical and technical context. “Flexibility is Moodle’s greatest strength, providing custom solutions in a very efficient way for students, teachers, administrators and organizations,” says Hruska.
Andreas Wittke, chief digital officer at German company oncampus, believes that with some improvements in design, plug-ins and didactical ideas like badges, the learning experience in Moodle will rise. “The combination of gamification, user experience, and didactics can raise the learning experience to new, higher levels. We successfully tested this in our own MOOC platform mooin with over 50 MOOCs and we want to share this expertise at Moodle DACH,” says Wittke.
According to him, the research continues: the next steps will be the integration of bots with artificial intelligence and the support of voice devices like Alexa or Siri.
How the Conference Works
The conference begins with an introduction to the event and to how BarCamps work.
Every attendee will have the opportunity to pitch their main interests, populate the session plan with their topics or join existing topics.
The first 1.5 days of the conference are dedicated to discussions about Moodle topics (BarCamp) and the next 1.5 days to a development camp, where coders, administrators and power users are brought together to make Moodle even better.
Thematic Priorities (other topics are also welcome)
User Experience and guided learning
eAssessment with Moodle
New EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
Topics and Trends That Will Shape Moodle DACH/Moodle DevCamp 18