Moodle Dach/Moodle Devcamp 18: An Open, User-Generated Conference About the Most Popular Open-Source LMS

Priscila Zigunovas, Thomas Korner, Annabell Lorenz, Katarzyna Potocka, Andreas Hruska, Gergely Rakoczi, Andreas Wittke and Hartmut Eich
05/06/18
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Zurich, Switzerland

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.

“Learning management systems with well tested pedagogical scenarios will make the difference,” Thomas Korner.

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 Blackboard Open LMS, 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

 

 

Icon ● The conference begins with an introduction to the event and to how BarCamps work.

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.

Icon ● Every attendee will have the opportunity to pitch their main interests, populate the session plan with their topics or join existing topics.

Icon ● Each 45-minute session will be independently designed by the participants joining the session.

Each 45-minute session will be independently designed by the participants joining the session.

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.

Icon ● 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

Learning analytics

eAssessment with Moodle

New EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Topics and Trends That Will Shape Moodle DACH/Moodle DevCamp 18

Profile Picture Thomas Korner

“I’m looking forward especially to the four focus topics: UX, eAssessment, GDPR and learning analytics. In particular, UX will become an even more important topic for Moodle in the upcoming years. After several years of great success and even greater prevalence than any other LMS before, there are some newcomers on the horizon. I’m also looking forward to the discussions on how students and lecturers experience Moodle. The setting of this event (1.5 days for BarCamp, 1.5 days for DevCamp) makes it possible that on June 20th we can potentially share code with the community which helps to increase the UX.”

Thomas Korner, service owner – Moodle, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Profile Picture Annabell Lorenz

“With this open format we can embrace innovation in all its forms, because it allows everyone to become a ‘creator’ and thus shape the success of the conference. I am particularly interested in innovation and how AI, gamification or machine learning algorithms could be implemented in or embraced by Moodle. If we look at Educause or into the Horizon Report and the current distribution of the LMS landscape in Europe (Feldstein), Moodle (including Blackboard Open LMS) is still the absolute leader in terms of usage. But there is a lot of discussion currently on the so-called next-generation LMS. What is it supposed to be, how will it look in the future, how will it be shaped and what is going to be influencing it? Will Moodle live up with that pace? Will Moodle be transformed? Will Moodle be a next-generation-LMS?”

Annabell Lorenz, senior solutions engineer at Blackboard, Austria

Profile picture Katarzyna Potocka

“Although there are main topics planned for the conference, I am definitely looking forward to the topics and discussions that will be proposed because of the BarCamp format of this ‘un-conference’. Those are the topics that are currently in participants’ minds and therefore are also the most interesting ones. In addition, the on-the-fly session planning and the on-the-side/in-between discussions, that occur mostly during breaks or networking events and have fascinating outputs. Those three days will be a great opportunity for all participants not only to discuss current topics, but also to do some crazy and amazing stuff concerning the development and enhancement of Moodle during the Moodle DevCamp.”

Katarzyna Potocka, scrum master & lead software engineer at Vienna University of Technology, Austria

Profile picture Andreas Hruska

“As we are currently deploying Moodle mainly in medium to large organizations and mostly in the international context, I am very interested in joining discussions around the following topics: learning plans & reporting, multilanguage content, webservice integration and GDPR implementation. However, the ability to join sessions spontaneously and contribute to several topics and projects is one of the greatest benefits of this event. The conference will be a great opportunity to spend three days with some of the most experienced Moodlers worldwide, strenghening the community, improving learning solutions and extending your personal knowledge and skills. Be there!”

Andreas Hruska, founder and CEO, eDaktik GmbH – Moodle Partner, Austria

Profile picture Gergely Rakoczi

“Although we have four main topics for the conference, the most interesting ones are those that the participants bring with them. These are highly different and from various contexts, but the sum of these (little) discussions makes the Moodle DACH conference worth attending and utterly interesting. One important topic, however – at least for EU participants –, will be for sure the GDPR and Moodle’s current status on it.”

Gergely Rakoczi, IT consulting – multimedia content creation for e-learning, Vienna University of Technology, Austria

Profile picture Andreas Wittke

“At a BarCamp, there’s no agenda. The conference will be all about what you want and what you want to share. The Moodle DACH is, in my opinion, the perfect place for an EdTech Moodle community. In the DACH region, for much too long, it has always been said that ‘technology must follow didactics’ rather than thinking about how to unify both communities and how to implement an EdTech community amongst all institutions, e.g. universities. We used to think in two disciplines, but what we need is an EdTech community. We need more learning experts with technical skills, we need a dialogue of equals between learning experts and functional or technical experts. The exchange of expertise between the development, design and didactics is Moodle DACH.”

Andreas Wittke, chief digital officer, oncampus, Germany

Profile picture Hartmut Eich

“The main topics for us center around collaboration and connecting Moodle as an LMS solution with other services, like streaming media and beyond. The deeper we can embed Moodle into the existing system landscapes and the more seamless the integrations into the management systems and the SISs, the better the user experience for our end-users.”

Hartmut Eich, AMC’s chairman for organization, Uni Wien chief software architect for solutions around study and administration – University of Vienna, IT Services, Austria

Reviews

Private: Blackboard, the partner of Moodle with greater global presence

Illustrations:

Triibu Studio 

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