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Moodle LMS Gets Boost from Google Summer of Code

With the end of the latest Google "Summer of Code," the open source learning management system Moodle has added several new plugins and feature enhancements thanks to student coders.

Begun in 2005, the Summer of Code program pays stipends to student developers 18 or older to write code for open source software projects. The students are teamed up with mentors from the participating projects in order to give them exposure to the nitty-gritty of real-world software development and potential opportunities for future employment. This year about 1,200 students participated over the course of three to four months.

Moodle became involved as one of the open source participants with a list of potential projects seven years ago and has been part of the initiative since then. Currently, there are 177 "mentoring organizations." In 2013 Moodle was matched up with seven students, six of whom completed their projects.

Moodle Development Manager Michael de Raadt, based in Australia, announced the final outcome last week. The projects include four plugins, one function, and a rewrite. All are works in progress.

Self-assessment activity using the question bank, a plugin by Jayesh Anandani, lets students test their understanding of a topic in practice sessions and allows teachers to add and update questions in the question bank and create new practice sessions.

Course search, a plugin by Shashikant Vaishnav, adds advanced features that go beyond the basic core search. It's intended to be fast and flexible and able to sort results by relevance. It's also meant to work on different database engines and with different content languages.

BioAuth, a plugin by Vinnie Monaco, provides a mechanism for verifying a user's identity based on "behavioral biometrics," useful for determining who actually took a given quiz. The program captures keystrokes from a user and matches those against a known template for that user. The initial release was intended to support biometric authentication for essay-type questions.

Evernote Portfolio, a plugin by Vishal Raheja, allows users to sync Moodle and cloud service Evernote activities more efficiently by allow them to upload content to their Evernote accounts.

SCORM player rewrite, a project by Mayank Gupta, revises the current implementation. Sharable Content Object Reference Model, or SCORM, is a set of standards for digital curriculum that enables it to be used across learning management systems and other applications. A SCORM player delivers that content using the Yahoo user interface library (UIL). This effort updated the SCORM player to the latest edition of the UIL and added a new HTML5 player for delivering SCORM content.

Global search, a function by Prateek Sachan, enables search for keywords across the entire Moodle site while still maintaining security.

The next student application process will open in the spring.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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