Details

    • Affected Branches:
      MOODLE_17_STABLE, MOODLE_18_STABLE, MOODLE_19_STABLE, MOODLE_20_STABLE, MOODLE_25_STABLE
    • Rank:
      1245

      Description

      Please add this as option for special forums, maybe when creating a forum, an option is checked, anonymus allowed

      Thanks Peter

      1. anonymous_forums_197.patch
        32 kB
        Jason Meinzer
      2. anonymous_forums_203.patch
        33 kB
        Chris Wharton
      3. anonymous_forums_203.patch
        5 kB
        Chris Wharton
      4. anonymous_forums_rev1.patch
        17 kB
        Jason Meinzer
      5. anonymous_forums_rev2.patch
        16 kB
        Jason Meinzer
      6. anonymous_forums_rev2p1.patch
        14 kB
        Hubert Chathi
      7. anonymous_forums_rev2p2.patch
        15 kB
        Hubert Chathi
      8. anonymous_forums_rev2p2.patch
        15 kB
        Hubert Chathi
      9. anonymous_forums_rev2p3.patch
        23 kB
        Hubert Chathi
      10. anonymous_forums.patch
        16 kB
        Jason Meinzer
      11. MDL-1071_restoreable.patch
        2 kB
        Chris Wharton
      12. MDL-1071.patch
        40 kB
        Chris Wharton
      13. uow-rss.patch
        0.7 kB
        Dean Stringer
      1. anonymous.png
        3 kB

        Activity

        Hide
        Martin Dougiamas added a comment -

        From Robert (rjb at robelko.com) Friday, 13 May 2005, 03:01 AM:

        A more generic solution would be to add a parameter specifying the type for each forum:

        a. normal forum

        b. anonymous forum

        c. normal forum with anonymous posts allowed

        In case c, users should be presented an extra button to post either under their name or anonymously. In case b, the submit button should probably be renamed to sth like post anonymously to forum.

        Moodle would store posts as it does now but in case b (for all posts) and c (for posts requested to be anonymous) set a flag in the database (an extra field) that marks a given post as anonymous.

        The code that displays posts would check this flag and use a different branch to display them, giving user name as anonymous and using the generic user image.

        The mail sending code would also have to have a branch to specify sender as anonymous <noreply@xxx.yyy>.

        This would eliminate extensive changes in other library functions as suggested in Timothy's hack (cf http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=22530).

        This would also eliminate a need for signing up under dummy names, thus allowing otherwise normal use of other course activities, and in extreme cases it would allow admins to track down users making inappropriate posts.

        Show
        Martin Dougiamas added a comment - From Robert (rjb at robelko.com) Friday, 13 May 2005, 03:01 AM: A more generic solution would be to add a parameter specifying the type for each forum: a. normal forum b. anonymous forum c. normal forum with anonymous posts allowed In case c, users should be presented an extra button to post either under their name or anonymously. In case b, the submit button should probably be renamed to sth like post anonymously to forum. Moodle would store posts as it does now but in case b (for all posts) and c (for posts requested to be anonymous) set a flag in the database (an extra field) that marks a given post as anonymous. The code that displays posts would check this flag and use a different branch to display them, giving user name as anonymous and using the generic user image. The mail sending code would also have to have a branch to specify sender as anonymous <noreply@xxx.yyy>. This would eliminate extensive changes in other library functions as suggested in Timothy's hack (cf http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=22530 ). This would also eliminate a need for signing up under dummy names, thus allowing otherwise normal use of other course activities, and in extreme cases it would allow admins to track down users making inappropriate posts.
        Hide
        Martin Dougiamas added a comment -

        Assigning to me temporarily because Vy-Shane no longer works for Moodle HQ.

        Show
        Martin Dougiamas added a comment - Assigning to me temporarily because Vy-Shane no longer works for Moodle HQ.
        Hide
        James Phillips added a comment - - edited

        This would be a massively useful feature in Japan and I am very keen to see this.

        I am slightly depressed to see this marked as "trivial". This is a very, very important feature in Japan, where forums basically don't work if they are not anonymous.

        Show
        James Phillips added a comment - - edited This would be a massively useful feature in Japan and I am very keen to see this. I am slightly depressed to see this marked as "trivial". This is a very, very important feature in Japan, where forums basically don't work if they are not anonymous.
        Hide
        Stuart Anderson added a comment -

        I think this would be useful in many contexts all over the world. In my University we use the forums for trying to get feedback from students for our Staff-Student committee. Without an anonymous forum, students are reluctant to express opinions which may be deemed "controversial". Also, we have a high number of Asian (particularly Chinese) students whom are less comfortable speaking out.

        I vote whole heartedly for this feature to be added to moodle.

        Thanks,

        Stuart Anderson,
        University of Manchester.

        Show
        Stuart Anderson added a comment - I think this would be useful in many contexts all over the world. In my University we use the forums for trying to get feedback from students for our Staff-Student committee. Without an anonymous forum, students are reluctant to express opinions which may be deemed "controversial". Also, we have a high number of Asian (particularly Chinese) students whom are less comfortable speaking out. I vote whole heartedly for this feature to be added to moodle. Thanks, Stuart Anderson, University of Manchester.
        Hide
        Kenneth Newquist added a comment -

        Our faculty are also interested in seeing such a feature added to forums.

        Ken Newquist
        Lafayette College

        Show
        Kenneth Newquist added a comment - Our faculty are also interested in seeing such a feature added to forums. Ken Newquist Lafayette College
        Hide
        Hans de Zwart added a comment -

        We also have a client who will be interested in having this option.

        Show
        Hans de Zwart added a comment - We also have a client who will be interested in having this option.
        Hide
        Jill R Brown, PhD added a comment -

        We have school counselors who are interested in this option. What is the status?

        Jill Brown, Director of Educational Technology

        Show
        Jill R Brown, PhD added a comment - We have school counselors who are interested in this option. What is the status? Jill Brown, Director of Educational Technology
        Hide
        Jason Meinzer added a comment -

        Attached is a patch against 1.9 that implements anonymous forums as described in the first comment. The patch is incomplete in that it lacks database migration hooks, but these should be simple for a more experienced Moodle developer to add The new columns to support this feature are:

        forum:
        anonymous int2 DEFAULT 0, – 0, 1, 2 = no, yes, optional

        forum_posts:
        anonymous int2 DEFAULT 0

        When creating a forum, you can now specify if posts should be anonymous, not anonymous, or optionally anonymous. In the latter case, users are presented with a checkbox that they can tick if they want their post to be anonymous.

        Anonymous posts get hidden from the post history on the user's profile, as well as the recent activity block and recent activity full report. When displayed and emailed, the anonymous posts are attributed to the name specified in $CFG->anonymous_name (e.g. 'Anonymous Student'), with current_theme()/pix/anonymous.png used as their picture.

        If anyone discovers or knows of other areas where anonymous forum posts would be displayed improperly please let me know.

        Show
        Jason Meinzer added a comment - Attached is a patch against 1.9 that implements anonymous forums as described in the first comment. The patch is incomplete in that it lacks database migration hooks, but these should be simple for a more experienced Moodle developer to add The new columns to support this feature are: forum: anonymous int2 DEFAULT 0, – 0, 1, 2 = no, yes, optional forum_posts: anonymous int2 DEFAULT 0 When creating a forum, you can now specify if posts should be anonymous, not anonymous, or optionally anonymous. In the latter case, users are presented with a checkbox that they can tick if they want their post to be anonymous. Anonymous posts get hidden from the post history on the user's profile, as well as the recent activity block and recent activity full report. When displayed and emailed, the anonymous posts are attributed to the name specified in $CFG->anonymous_name (e.g. 'Anonymous Student'), with current_theme()/pix/anonymous.png used as their picture. If anyone discovers or knows of other areas where anonymous forum posts would be displayed improperly please let me know.
        Hide
        Stuart Anderson added a comment -

        Well done Jason. I think this would be a highly valuable addition to the forum behaviour and strongly feel it should be patched into the moodle 2.0 development code early on. It will provide a means for our shy international students to contribute their opinions without being identified.

        Thanks again for all your work.

        Show
        Stuart Anderson added a comment - Well done Jason. I think this would be a highly valuable addition to the forum behaviour and strongly feel it should be patched into the moodle 2.0 development code early on. It will provide a means for our shy international students to contribute their opinions without being identified. Thanks again for all your work.
        Hide
        Jason Meinzer added a comment -

        Revised my first patch to fix the following issues:

        • "Last post" column was still displaying user's real name
        • Anonymous posts were hidden in recent activity, they now appear attributed to $CFG->anonymous_name
        • Anonymous posts were hidden in the recent activity full report, they now appear attributed to $CFG->anonymous_name
        Show
        Jason Meinzer added a comment - Revised my first patch to fix the following issues: "Last post" column was still displaying user's real name Anonymous posts were hidden in recent activity, they now appear attributed to $CFG->anonymous_name Anonymous posts were hidden in the recent activity full report, they now appear attributed to $CFG->anonymous_name
        Hide
        Nadav Kavalerchik added a comment -

        does this patch allow guest users to post ?

        Show
        Nadav Kavalerchik added a comment - does this patch allow guest users to post ?
        Hide
        Jason Meinzer added a comment -

        No this patch allows authenticated users to make posts which are flagged as "anonymous" if the forum settings allow it. These posts are all displayed as belonging to a fake anonymous user, but they still belong to real users. The patch implements all the behaviors described in Martin's post.

        Show
        Jason Meinzer added a comment - No this patch allows authenticated users to make posts which are flagged as "anonymous" if the forum settings allow it. These posts are all displayed as belonging to a fake anonymous user, but they still belong to real users. The patch implements all the behaviors described in Martin's post.
        Hide
        Peter Sereinigg added a comment -

        The problem will be, that we have to change the core code and updates will be more difficulty, therefore a solution would be fine, where this feature is part of the core
        Peter

        Show
        Peter Sereinigg added a comment - The problem will be, that we have to change the core code and updates will be more difficulty, therefore a solution would be fine, where this feature is part of the core Peter
        Hide
        Jason Meinzer added a comment -

        I too would like to see this patch applied to core.

        Show
        Jason Meinzer added a comment - I too would like to see this patch applied to core.
        Hide
        Hubert Chathi added a comment -

        I'm attaching a patch (anonymous_forums_rev2p1.patch) that:

        • add database migration hooks (only for Moodle 1.9 – won't work with Moodle 2.0 since 2.0 has a higher module version)
        • if you do a forum search on a user, all their anonymous posts would show up- renames $CFG->anonymous_name to $CFG->forum_anonymousname (to conform to the other forum configuration variables) and adds a configuration element to the Forum configuration
        • fixes two issues:
        • if a user starts a forum with an anonymous post, and nobody has replied yet, then their name was still revealed in the "last post" column
        • if someone does a forum search for a user, then all the user's anonymous posts would still show up

        The patch applies on top of Jason's anonymous_forums_rev2.patch.

        Show
        Hubert Chathi added a comment - I'm attaching a patch (anonymous_forums_rev2p1.patch) that: add database migration hooks (only for Moodle 1.9 – won't work with Moodle 2.0 since 2.0 has a higher module version) if you do a forum search on a user, all their anonymous posts would show up- renames $CFG->anonymous_name to $CFG->forum_anonymousname (to conform to the other forum configuration variables) and adds a configuration element to the Forum configuration fixes two issues: if a user starts a forum with an anonymous post, and nobody has replied yet, then their name was still revealed in the "last post" column if someone does a forum search for a user, then all the user's anonymous posts would still show up The patch applies on top of Jason's anonymous_forums_rev2.patch.
        Hide
        Hubert Chathi added a comment -
        • add database migration hooks (only for Moodle 1.9 – won't work with Moodle 2.0 since 2.0 has a higher module version)
        • if you do a forum search on a user, all their anonymous posts would show up- renames $CFG->anonymous_name to $CFG->forum_anonymousname (to conform to the other forum configuration variables) and adds a configuration element to the Forum configuration
        • fixes two issues:
        • if a user starts a forum with an anonymous post, and nobody has replied yet, then their name was still revealed in the "last post" column
        • if someone does a forum search for a user, then all the user's anonymous posts would still show up

        patch applies on top of anonymous_forums_rev2.patch

        Show
        Hubert Chathi added a comment - add database migration hooks (only for Moodle 1.9 – won't work with Moodle 2.0 since 2.0 has a higher module version) if you do a forum search on a user, all their anonymous posts would show up- renames $CFG->anonymous_name to $CFG->forum_anonymousname (to conform to the other forum configuration variables) and adds a configuration element to the Forum configuration fixes two issues: if a user starts a forum with an anonymous post, and nobody has replied yet, then their name was still revealed in the "last post" column if someone does a forum search for a user, then all the user's anonymous posts would still show up patch applies on top of anonymous_forums_rev2.patch
        Hide
        Hubert Chathi added a comment -

        New patch (anonymous_forums_rev2p2.patch) that also masks user names for anonymous posts in the global search. Again, it applies on top of anonymous_forums_rev2.patch (but includes my previous patch).

        Show
        Hubert Chathi added a comment - New patch (anonymous_forums_rev2p2.patch) that also masks user names for anonymous posts in the global search. Again, it applies on top of anonymous_forums_rev2.patch (but includes my previous patch).
        Hide
        Martin Dougiamas added a comment -

        Shane Elliott was working on something like this, but we'd planned it to work for everywhere in Moodle. Shane, this could be useful to look at.

        Show
        Martin Dougiamas added a comment - Shane Elliott was working on something like this, but we'd planned it to work for everywhere in Moodle. Shane, this could be useful to look at.
        Hide
        Hubert Chathi added a comment -

        Anonymity support that would apply everywhere in Moodle would be good. Some things are very hard to do just in a single module.

        Here is my patch #3 (anonymous_forums_rev2p3.patch, which applies on top of anonymous_forums_rev2.patch), which fixes the following issues:

        • anonymize RSS feeds
        • don't count anonymous posts in user's post count (can give clues about who wrote an anonymous post)
        • don't show anonymous posts in user's full report
        • don't show anonymous posts in user's recent activity
        • update anonymous post status when post is updated (in case forum setting was changed)
        • post author was still revealed in digest emails

        Remaining issues that I'm aware of:

        • if you set the anonymity setting of the forum, and later change it (e.g. from always anonymous to never anonymous), then that setting is not honoured in all places (e.g. in searches)
        • when an anonymous post is mailed, the custom mail headers are not set. This is due to $userfrom being assigned to a string, which discards $userfrom->customheaders. Without making changes to email_to_user, the only way to fix this is to, instead of assigning $userfrom to a string, do something like assign $userfrom->firstname to $CFG->forum_anonymousname, $userfrom->lastname to '', and $userfrom->email to $CFG->noreplyaddress.
        • some forum types probably don't make sense with some anonymity types. e.g. "Q and A forum" and "Each person posts one discussion" e.g.:
          • should anonymous posts count as the "one discussion topic" that each person is allowed to post? Right now, it does. It probably doesn't make sense to allow anonymous posts to start topics in these forum types, even if you want to allow other posts to be anonymous.

        Moral of the story: anonymity is very hard to do.

        Show
        Hubert Chathi added a comment - Anonymity support that would apply everywhere in Moodle would be good. Some things are very hard to do just in a single module. Here is my patch #3 (anonymous_forums_rev2p3.patch, which applies on top of anonymous_forums_rev2.patch), which fixes the following issues: anonymize RSS feeds don't count anonymous posts in user's post count (can give clues about who wrote an anonymous post) don't show anonymous posts in user's full report don't show anonymous posts in user's recent activity update anonymous post status when post is updated (in case forum setting was changed) post author was still revealed in digest emails Remaining issues that I'm aware of: if you set the anonymity setting of the forum, and later change it (e.g. from always anonymous to never anonymous), then that setting is not honoured in all places (e.g. in searches) when an anonymous post is mailed, the custom mail headers are not set. This is due to $userfrom being assigned to a string, which discards $userfrom->customheaders. Without making changes to email_to_user, the only way to fix this is to, instead of assigning $userfrom to a string, do something like assign $userfrom->firstname to $CFG->forum_anonymousname, $userfrom->lastname to '', and $userfrom->email to $CFG->noreplyaddress. some forum types probably don't make sense with some anonymity types. e.g. "Q and A forum" and "Each person posts one discussion" e.g.: should anonymous posts count as the "one discussion topic" that each person is allowed to post? Right now, it does. It probably doesn't make sense to allow anonymous posts to start topics in these forum types, even if you want to allow other posts to be anonymous. Moral of the story: anonymity is very hard to do.
        Hide
        Shane Elliott added a comment -

        Hi, finally catching up on some of my dev plans/work. Martin and I had discussed an anonymous mode in moodle that would work for all the activities. The basic idea being that "teachers" could switch an activity (forum, chat, etc) into anonymous mode. There would also be capabilities that would determine who could view the real name of users. Users could either add an anonymous name in their profile or moodle would revert to a language string eg "Anonymous"

        Many thanks for the patches and comments. At a quick glance I think there is some important work and ideas done here. I'll start some documention at the docs site as soon as I can and then post the link back here and hopefully we can get the ball rolling on this.

        Show
        Shane Elliott added a comment - Hi, finally catching up on some of my dev plans/work. Martin and I had discussed an anonymous mode in moodle that would work for all the activities. The basic idea being that "teachers" could switch an activity (forum, chat, etc) into anonymous mode. There would also be capabilities that would determine who could view the real name of users. Users could either add an anonymous name in their profile or moodle would revert to a language string eg "Anonymous" Many thanks for the patches and comments. At a quick glance I think there is some important work and ideas done here. I'll start some documention at the docs site as soon as I can and then post the link back here and hopefully we can get the ball rolling on this.
        Hide
        Paul Fynn added a comment -

        Important to my students, who don't want to appear foolish by asking the wrong questions. As a quick suggestion, would a line of least resistance be to make 'anonymous' an actual user id and replace the users id with the new anonymous ID? Just a thought.

        Show
        Paul Fynn added a comment - Important to my students, who don't want to appear foolish by asking the wrong questions. As a quick suggestion, would a line of least resistance be to make 'anonymous' an actual user id and replace the users id with the new anonymous ID? Just a thought.
        Hide
        Hubert Chathi added a comment -

        It all depends on what level of anonymity you want. If you want it to be impossible to recover the true identity, then yes, you would replace the user's ID with the anonymous user's ID in the database. However, it seems like the way Moodle wants to do things is to keep the user's ID in the database, so that the identity can be recovered, which means that a lot of obfuscation needs to be done.

        Show
        Hubert Chathi added a comment - It all depends on what level of anonymity you want. If you want it to be impossible to recover the true identity, then yes, you would replace the user's ID with the anonymous user's ID in the database. However, it seems like the way Moodle wants to do things is to keep the user's ID in the database, so that the identity can be recovered, which means that a lot of obfuscation needs to be done.
        Hide
        Wen Hao Chuang added a comment -

        I don't think this should be trivial, so I'm bumping up the priority level (if I may) to reflect the # of votes and so on. thanks!

        Show
        Wen Hao Chuang added a comment - I don't think this should be trivial, so I'm bumping up the priority level (if I may) to reflect the # of votes and so on. thanks!
        Hide
        Nadav Kavalerchik added a comment -

        teachers asked my about anonimity in the Questionnaire activity module
        (it is in the contrib section and it does not come default with fresh moodle install)
        http://cvs.moodle.org/contrib/plugins/mod/questionnaire/

        it is a great module for getting student's feedback and most of them would like to
        give that feedback anonymously (so say the teachers)

        so please consider that module in your future patches (if you can)

        Show
        Nadav Kavalerchik added a comment - teachers asked my about anonimity in the Questionnaire activity module (it is in the contrib section and it does not come default with fresh moodle install) http://cvs.moodle.org/contrib/plugins/mod/questionnaire/ it is a great module for getting student's feedback and most of them would like to give that feedback anonymously (so say the teachers) so please consider that module in your future patches (if you can)
        Hide
        Dean Stringer added a comment -

        minor patch to fix the RSS anonymous checking, need to check the forum property not the record one in the second conditional check

        Show
        Dean Stringer added a comment - minor patch to fix the RSS anonymous checking, need to check the forum property not the record one in the second conditional check
        Hide
        Anthony Borrow added a comment -

        I had a personal friend recently ask about this functionality and stumbled across this link that includes some code at Reed (http://blogs.reed.edu/moodle/2008/04/anonymous-forums.html). I did not realize this was a top 10 in popularity issue. Hopefully I will get a chance to review and play with the code. I would have no problem adding it as a forum_anonymous patch for Moodle 1.9 and advocating for it as a new feature in Moodle 2.0. Peace - Anthony

        Show
        Anthony Borrow added a comment - I had a personal friend recently ask about this functionality and stumbled across this link that includes some code at Reed ( http://blogs.reed.edu/moodle/2008/04/anonymous-forums.html ). I did not realize this was a top 10 in popularity issue. Hopefully I will get a chance to review and play with the code. I would have no problem adding it as a forum_anonymous patch for Moodle 1.9 and advocating for it as a new feature in Moodle 2.0. Peace - Anthony
        Hide
        Paul Fynn added a comment -

        Just to note that in order for the current anonymous questionnaire to be truly anonymous, the time of completion needs to be removed from the report (allows response to be linked to login time of teh respondent)

        Show
        Paul Fynn added a comment - Just to note that in order for the current anonymous questionnaire to be truly anonymous, the time of completion needs to be removed from the report (allows response to be linked to login time of teh respondent)
        Hide
        Jason Meinzer added a comment -

        This is a new patch that applies cleanly against 1.9.7. It contains all previous patches posted to this thread (thanks y'all!). It also adds a help entry and some explanatory text on the forum editing page explaining the limitations to the "anonymity".

        Show
        Jason Meinzer added a comment - This is a new patch that applies cleanly against 1.9.7. It contains all previous patches posted to this thread (thanks y'all!). It also adds a help entry and some explanatory text on the forum editing page explaining the limitations to the "anonymity".
        Hide
        Helen Foster added a comment -

        Just adding a link to Shane's documentation: http://docs.moodle.org/en/Development:Anonymous_Users

        Show
        Helen Foster added a comment - Just adding a link to Shane's documentation: http://docs.moodle.org/en/Development:Anonymous_Users
        Hide
        Anthony Borrow added a comment -

        Along the lines of Paul Flynn's comment, there is sometimes a competing interest here between anonymous activities and logging of activity. Generally speaking, I think it is good practice to log all activity. In fact, I would want an admin to specifically turn logging off for anonymous activities. I realize that what Shane proposes is to allow non-privileged users; however, I remember in working on the anonymization of feedbacks that teachers wanted to be able to see if a student had in fact completed an activity and this is important especially as we move toward Moodle 2.0 with conditional activities. Peace - Anthony

        Show
        Anthony Borrow added a comment - Along the lines of Paul Flynn's comment, there is sometimes a competing interest here between anonymous activities and logging of activity. Generally speaking, I think it is good practice to log all activity. In fact, I would want an admin to specifically turn logging off for anonymous activities. I realize that what Shane proposes is to allow non-privileged users; however, I remember in working on the anonymization of feedbacks that teachers wanted to be able to see if a student had in fact completed an activity and this is important especially as we move toward Moodle 2.0 with conditional activities. Peace - Anthony
        Hide
        Olli Savolainen added a comment -

        When there is an option to post with one's own name or anonymously, I have an educated hunch there should be a checkbox "post anonymously" instead of an extra button, for clarity - if it is an option, make it look like an option and not a command - this way, users can ignore the option that is, after all, optional - instead of being slowed down to figure out which of the buttons they should press.

        I did not take a look at the patch to see how it does it at the moment, though so this may be an useless comment. (My environment is sort of slow to fire up things just to check things like this out, should probably get that fixed.)

        Show
        Olli Savolainen added a comment - When there is an option to post with one's own name or anonymously, I have an educated hunch there should be a checkbox "post anonymously" instead of an extra button, for clarity - if it is an option, make it look like an option and not a command - this way, users can ignore the option that is, after all, optional - instead of being slowed down to figure out which of the buttons they should press. I did not take a look at the patch to see how it does it at the moment, though so this may be an useless comment. (My environment is sort of slow to fire up things just to check things like this out, should probably get that fixed.)
        Hide
        Mark Brown added a comment -

        This is a really valuable option to support online role-plays where people take on a different name and role. Strong support in the pedagogical literature for this approach and a limitation of Moodle over what WebCT and BB offer.

        Show
        Mark Brown added a comment - This is a really valuable option to support online role-plays where people take on a different name and role. Strong support in the pedagogical literature for this approach and a limitation of Moodle over what WebCT and BB offer.
        Hide
        Anthony Borrow added a comment -

        Mark - I'm just curious why a teacher could not create generic user accounts for the different role plays (for example, Superman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman, etc.) and let the students log in with those usernames and passwords? Along similar lines, you could create a user and give the students the ability to login as the role (i.e. Superman). The issue is verifying that it is in fact your students that are role playing. If I want folks to role play, at least as I conceptualize role playing from my counselor training days, I could create a forum and ask particular students to take on a particular role. Personally, I would still want to know the real identity of those students so that I can give them credit for their work. Could you provide a link to some of the relevant pedagogical literature so that I can get a better understanding of how this might really work? Peace - Anthony

        Show
        Anthony Borrow added a comment - Mark - I'm just curious why a teacher could not create generic user accounts for the different role plays (for example, Superman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman, etc.) and let the students log in with those usernames and passwords? Along similar lines, you could create a user and give the students the ability to login as the role (i.e. Superman). The issue is verifying that it is in fact your students that are role playing. If I want folks to role play, at least as I conceptualize role playing from my counselor training days, I could create a forum and ask particular students to take on a particular role. Personally, I would still want to know the real identity of those students so that I can give them credit for their work. Could you provide a link to some of the relevant pedagogical literature so that I can get a better understanding of how this might really work? Peace - Anthony
        Hide
        Jason Meinzer added a comment -

        Olli - This patch adds a checkbox as you suggest. When creating the forum, you get the option of allowing anonymity or forcing it. If anonymity is allowed but optional, the checkbox will appear when posting. If it is forced or not allowed, the checkbox does not appear. This is actually presented as three options when creating the forum: "Yes, always" "Yes, optional", and "No, never".

        Anthony - Installations which use external authentication sources such as LDAP and/or Kerberos typically do not allow end users (even teachers) to create user accounts as it complicates things for the sysadmins. I don't see creating extra usernames and passwords as a sustainable solution to this issue; as it stands now this patch preserves the identity of the users since the normal Moodle auditing trail is preserved, just hidden to most users.

        Show
        Jason Meinzer added a comment - Olli - This patch adds a checkbox as you suggest. When creating the forum, you get the option of allowing anonymity or forcing it. If anonymity is allowed but optional, the checkbox will appear when posting. If it is forced or not allowed, the checkbox does not appear. This is actually presented as three options when creating the forum: "Yes, always" "Yes, optional", and "No, never". Anthony - Installations which use external authentication sources such as LDAP and/or Kerberos typically do not allow end users (even teachers) to create user accounts as it complicates things for the sysadmins. I don't see creating extra usernames and passwords as a sustainable solution to this issue; as it stands now this patch preserves the identity of the users since the normal Moodle auditing trail is preserved, just hidden to most users.
        Hide
        Andrei Bautu added a comment -

        Maybe the anonymous user name should be a translatable string (instead of $CFG property).

        Also, the text "Anonymous posts are not truly anonymous – the instructor can reveal the authors' names at any time. Click on the "?" icon above for further details." should be translatable.

        I'm using the patch for 1.9.7. It's really nice. Thank you!

        Show
        Andrei Bautu added a comment - Maybe the anonymous user name should be a translatable string (instead of $CFG property). Also, the text "Anonymous posts are not truly anonymous – the instructor can reveal the authors' names at any time. Click on the "?" icon above for further details." should be translatable. I'm using the patch for 1.9.7. It's really nice. Thank you!
        Hide
        Dustin Chew added a comment -

        Has anyone got this patch to work on Moodle 1.9.9+ I have the option but it does not work.

        Show
        Dustin Chew added a comment - Has anyone got this patch to work on Moodle 1.9.9+ I have the option but it does not work.
        Hide
        Bayne McLaughlin added a comment -

        I have applied this to 1.9.7 and can not get it to work. The option is present in the forum settings but doesn't work. If I set it to anything other than "no, never" nothing changes and if I re-check the settings it still says "no, never" next to "Anonymize posts?"

        Show
        Bayne McLaughlin added a comment - I have applied this to 1.9.7 and can not get it to work. The option is present in the forum settings but doesn't work. If I set it to anything other than "no, never" nothing changes and if I re-check the settings it still says "no, never" next to "Anonymize posts?"
        Hide
        Jason Meinzer added a comment -

        Bayne, you need to add two columns to your database schema since the patch does not create these for you:

        The mdl_forum table needs an integer column called "anonymous"
        The mdl_forum_posts table needs an integer column called "anonymous"

        Anyone who is having problems should double-check that they have done this.

        Show
        Jason Meinzer added a comment - Bayne, you need to add two columns to your database schema since the patch does not create these for you: The mdl_forum table needs an integer column called "anonymous" The mdl_forum_posts table needs an integer column called "anonymous" Anyone who is having problems should double-check that they have done this.
        Hide
        Bayne McLaughlin added a comment -

        Works! Thank you Jason.

        Show
        Bayne McLaughlin added a comment - Works! Thank you Jason.
        Hide
        Bayne McLaughlin added a comment -

        I've got this working but when someone selects to not post anonymously this appears for a couple seconds and then the post goes through...
        Notice: Undefined property: stdClass::$anonymous in C:\wamp\www\moodle\mod\forum\lib.php on line 4053

        Show
        Bayne McLaughlin added a comment - I've got this working but when someone selects to not post anonymously this appears for a couple seconds and then the post goes through... Notice: Undefined property: stdClass::$anonymous in C:\wamp\www\moodle\mod\forum\lib.php on line 4053
        Hide
        Ewgenij Starostin added a comment -

        I’m going to do some work on this topic. I am interested in related current development or future plans, so I’ve started a forum thread (link) and I would appreciate some comments there.

        Show
        Ewgenij Starostin added a comment - I’m going to do some work on this topic. I am interested in related current development or future plans, so I’ve started a forum thread ( link ) and I would appreciate some comments there.
        Hide
        Andrew Paterson added a comment -

        Did you make any progress on this Ewgenij?

        Show
        Andrew Paterson added a comment - Did you make any progress on this Ewgenij?
        Hide
        Teresa Gibbison added a comment -

        The University of Waikato used this in 1.9 and contracted Catalyst IT to upgrade to 2.0. I'll talk with them to get a patch posted
        Cheers
        Teresa

        Show
        Teresa Gibbison added a comment - The University of Waikato used this in 1.9 and contracted Catalyst IT to upgrade to 2.0. I'll talk with them to get a patch posted Cheers Teresa
        Hide
        Jerome Charaoui added a comment -

        I just wanted to leave a note to indicate that the patch for 1.9.7 also works fine for 1.9.14. Remember to add the columns to mdl_forum and mdl_forum_posts, as detailed un Jason Meinzer's comment.

        Show
        Jerome Charaoui added a comment - I just wanted to leave a note to indicate that the patch for 1.9.7 also works fine for 1.9.14. Remember to add the columns to mdl_forum and mdl_forum_posts, as detailed un Jason Meinzer's comment.
        Hide
        Andrew Paterson added a comment -

        Was the patch from the Catalyst IT upgrade to 2.0 every posted anywhere?

        Show
        Andrew Paterson added a comment - Was the patch from the Catalyst IT upgrade to 2.0 every posted anywhere?
        Hide
        Teresa Gibbison added a comment -

        Hi Andrew
        I've asked Catalyst to share the patch and added one of them as a watcher to this tracker item so hopefully they'll share I could take a look but don't want to create a patch if it doesn't contain everything!
        Cheers
        Teresa

        Show
        Teresa Gibbison added a comment - Hi Andrew I've asked Catalyst to share the patch and added one of them as a watcher to this tracker item so hopefully they'll share I could take a look but don't want to create a patch if it doesn't contain everything! Cheers Teresa
        Hide
        Ewgenij Starostin added a comment -

        Andrew,

        yes, and sorry about being very late to reply. The result is at http://moodle.org/plugins/view.php?plugin=mod_forumanon and it works with Moodle 2.1. (It might work with 2.0 if you tweak it a little, but no promises.) This is different from the patch posted here, in terms of where user identities are saved and who can see them (I think), the details are in the README.

        Show
        Ewgenij Starostin added a comment - Andrew, yes, and sorry about being very late to reply. The result is at http://moodle.org/plugins/view.php?plugin=mod_forumanon and it works with Moodle 2.1. (It might work with 2.0 if you tweak it a little, but no promises.) This is different from the patch posted here, in terms of where user identities are saved and who can see them (I think), the details are in the README .
        Hide
        Chris Wharton added a comment - - edited

        Hi Teresa, I have attached the patch for Moodle 2 from Catalyst IT

        Show
        Chris Wharton added a comment - - edited Hi Teresa, I have attached the patch for Moodle 2 from Catalyst IT
        Hide
        Chris Wharton added a comment -

        Apologies, this is the correct patch

        Show
        Chris Wharton added a comment - Apologies, this is the correct patch
        Hide
        Mark van Hoek added a comment -

        Just a suggestion for release testing based on errors I've seen for a different implementation in 1.9:

        -Do a backup/restore with error reporting on - are there any errors?
        -Restore into a new course - are the posts still anonymous?

        Show
        Mark van Hoek added a comment - Just a suggestion for release testing based on errors I've seen for a different implementation in 1.9: -Do a backup/restore with error reporting on - are there any errors? -Restore into a new course - are the posts still anonymous?
        Hide
        Juan Leyva added a comment - - edited

        So I just uploaded one of the plugins I developed during my Christmas vacation

        It's a local plugin for allowing anonymous postings in Moodle 2 forums

        Please note that this plugin:

        • Is a standar plugin (do not change core code)
        • It's not a replacement or fork of the current forum
        • It works over the current forum
        • It is a "little bit hacky". Uses some DOM manipulation and some Moodle code tricks for not changing core code
        • A new user Anonymous user is created in your Moodle installation, uses are "logged" with this user when posting
        • Supports backup and restore

        Here you have the download link and initial documentation:
        This plugin have been tested only by me so far, I'll really appreciate your feedback before adding in the contrib database

        https://github.com/jleyva/moodle-local_anonymousposting/zipball/master

        http://docs.moodle.org/22/en/Anonymous_posting_plugin

        Show
        Juan Leyva added a comment - - edited So I just uploaded one of the plugins I developed during my Christmas vacation It's a local plugin for allowing anonymous postings in Moodle 2 forums Please note that this plugin: Is a standar plugin (do not change core code) It's not a replacement or fork of the current forum It works over the current forum It is a "little bit hacky". Uses some DOM manipulation and some Moodle code tricks for not changing core code A new user Anonymous user is created in your Moodle installation, uses are "logged" with this user when posting Supports backup and restore Here you have the download link and initial documentation: This plugin have been tested only by me so far, I'll really appreciate your feedback before adding in the contrib database https://github.com/jleyva/moodle-local_anonymousposting/zipball/master http://docs.moodle.org/22/en/Anonymous_posting_plugin
        Hide
        Hubert Chathi added a comment -

        Juan, as I understand it, your plugin will make all anonymous posts to be owned by the same anonymous user, so it is not possible at all to retrieve the original user who posted the comments. Is that correct?

        Show
        Hubert Chathi added a comment - Juan, as I understand it, your plugin will make all anonymous posts to be owned by the same anonymous user, so it is not possible at all to retrieve the original user who posted the comments. Is that correct?
        Hide
        Juan Leyva added a comment -

        Hi Hubert,

        yes, it's correct. There is no way to retrieve the original user who posted a message.

        But, since Moodle stores a lot of information in the activity log, if a user with privileges checks the course activity logs he will be able to "intuitively guess" the original user by checking the user IP or by tracking him activity.

        Regards

        Show
        Juan Leyva added a comment - Hi Hubert, yes, it's correct. There is no way to retrieve the original user who posted a message. But, since Moodle stores a lot of information in the activity log, if a user with privileges checks the course activity logs he will be able to "intuitively guess" the original user by checking the user IP or by tracking him activity. Regards
        Hide
        Chris Wharton added a comment -

        Hi, I have added a patch containing just the changes to make restore work, and a complete patch with all the changes.

        Show
        Chris Wharton added a comment - Hi, I have added a patch containing just the changes to make restore work, and a complete patch with all the changes.
        Hide
        William Mair added a comment -

        I have been asked by my lecturers to see if I can setup a forum that allows students to post anonymously and I'm surprised that 7 years after first posted that this is not included as standard.

        As far as I can see from Juan's plugin, all users use the same anonymous account rather than being able to select to post anonymously, which my lecturer would like to be able to see who posted what, but not the students. Is there any other options out there?

        I'm using Moodle 2.3, if that helps.

        Show
        William Mair added a comment - I have been asked by my lecturers to see if I can setup a forum that allows students to post anonymously and I'm surprised that 7 years after first posted that this is not included as standard. As far as I can see from Juan's plugin, all users use the same anonymous account rather than being able to select to post anonymously, which my lecturer would like to be able to see who posted what, but not the students. Is there any other options out there? I'm using Moodle 2.3, if that helps.
        Hide
        Anthony Borrow added a comment -

        William - The other option would be to make all users on the site essentially anonymous by not revealing their names but that is really not giving them an option to be anonymous or not. From a somewhat theoretical perspective, I wonder why anonymity would be helpful and if there is something about social constructionism that discourages anonymity. If there is a preference within social constructionism to use one's true identity then that may explain why Moodle which is based on a social constructionist pedagogy would not be all that interested in adding this feature. Peace - Anthony

        Show
        Anthony Borrow added a comment - William - The other option would be to make all users on the site essentially anonymous by not revealing their names but that is really not giving them an option to be anonymous or not. From a somewhat theoretical perspective, I wonder why anonymity would be helpful and if there is something about social constructionism that discourages anonymity. If there is a preference within social constructionism to use one's true identity then that may explain why Moodle which is based on a social constructionist pedagogy would not be all that interested in adding this feature. Peace - Anthony
        Hide
        Anthony Borrow added a comment -

        My other thought is that as a teacher, it is really hard to give credit to a student for work done anonymously. That said, it would not seem that hard to code an anonymous forum activity module based off of the current forums activity module and just have it not display the names of the students or provide a link to their profile. Overall though I think that not providing the name hinders both teacher and fellow students from responding to a real person with a real history and identity. In any case, those are my thoughts for what they are worth. Peace - Anthony

        p.s. - Thinking back to when I was helping to write some code to anonymize feedback submissions, you may have to make other code changes to ensure that the identity of the poster is in fact hidden.

        Show
        Anthony Borrow added a comment - My other thought is that as a teacher, it is really hard to give credit to a student for work done anonymously. That said, it would not seem that hard to code an anonymous forum activity module based off of the current forums activity module and just have it not display the names of the students or provide a link to their profile. Overall though I think that not providing the name hinders both teacher and fellow students from responding to a real person with a real history and identity. In any case, those are my thoughts for what they are worth. Peace - Anthony p.s. - Thinking back to when I was helping to write some code to anonymize feedback submissions, you may have to make other code changes to ensure that the identity of the poster is in fact hidden.
        Hide
        Minh-Tam Nguyen added a comment -

        What about if each user still owned the post, but instead of not showing names at all, replace the name displayed by a random number (eg. "User 252")
        This way it will still be possible to identify whether two posts in a conversation were written by the same anonymous person, or by two different people.

        And from an administrator's point of view, this method would allow a privileged users to track down the original author of posts, which may be important if inappropriate content were posted "anonymously".

        Show
        Minh-Tam Nguyen added a comment - What about if each user still owned the post, but instead of not showing names at all, replace the name displayed by a random number (eg. "User 252") This way it will still be possible to identify whether two posts in a conversation were written by the same anonymous person, or by two different people. And from an administrator's point of view, this method would allow a privileged users to track down the original author of posts, which may be important if inappropriate content were posted "anonymously".
        Hide
        Teresa Gibbison added a comment -

        Have you tried the latest patch in your dev site? This is the patch we use and each post DOES belong to the individual user.

        They do select a box when posting (if enabled) to post anonymously. Choosing to post anonymously changes the post to appear from the 'Anonymous User', as well as the recent activity etc.

        The posts is anonymous from other students however the teacher can still view the forum logs and match the post time with the student. Also IF the teacher changes the forum back to NOT allow anonymous the original user's name is displayed (as they 'own' the post).

        Cheers
        Teresa

        Show
        Teresa Gibbison added a comment - Have you tried the latest patch in your dev site? This is the patch we use and each post DOES belong to the individual user. They do select a box when posting (if enabled) to post anonymously. Choosing to post anonymously changes the post to appear from the 'Anonymous User', as well as the recent activity etc. The posts is anonymous from other students however the teacher can still view the forum logs and match the post time with the student. Also IF the teacher changes the forum back to NOT allow anonymous the original user's name is displayed (as they 'own' the post). Cheers Teresa
        Hide
        Minh-Tam Nguyen added a comment -

        I hadn't actually, thanks Teresa. I made an (obviously incorrect) assumption based on William's comment.

        Show
        Minh-Tam Nguyen added a comment - I hadn't actually, thanks Teresa. I made an (obviously incorrect) assumption based on William's comment.
        Hide
        Andrew Paterson added a comment -

        Most of the forums we use are not anonymous, however we want to have a particular forum in which users can choose to be anonymous or not, so that they can ask "silly" questions of the teacher without embarrassment in front of their peers. Students know under their terms of use that the identity of anonymous posts can be retrieved by an authorised person if necessary as a safeguard, however in day to day practice we want teacher and student interaction on this "questions" forum to be anonymous.

        I am very keen to see this feature integrated into the Moodle core as it is a key advantage online interaction can have over classroom interaction for drawing out quiet or sensitive students in a high school environment. It has been long and widely requested with a clear benefit to the Moodle community, yet it has been deferred year after year.

        Show
        Andrew Paterson added a comment - Most of the forums we use are not anonymous, however we want to have a particular forum in which users can choose to be anonymous or not, so that they can ask "silly" questions of the teacher without embarrassment in front of their peers. Students know under their terms of use that the identity of anonymous posts can be retrieved by an authorised person if necessary as a safeguard, however in day to day practice we want teacher and student interaction on this "questions" forum to be anonymous. I am very keen to see this feature integrated into the Moodle core as it is a key advantage online interaction can have over classroom interaction for drawing out quiet or sensitive students in a high school environment. It has been long and widely requested with a clear benefit to the Moodle community, yet it has been deferred year after year.
        Hide
        Anthony Borrow added a comment -

        Andrew - I think your situation might be handled - although perhaps not as ideally or efficiently as you would like - by having students message anonymous questions to the teacher who could then post them as a question received from an anonymous student. I think in ideally students would feel free to share whatever questions they might have but I recognize we do not live in an ideal world. There is just something about it that seems to go against the grain of the types of transparent interactions desired in a social constructionist setting. I'm not expert, I'm simply trying to provide a possible reason why it may not have been prioritized. I worked on a patch that required teacher approval before being seen publicly by others precisely because it was not a feature I saw ever getting into core but because I could see where in a business sector it made sense. Best of luck continuing to advocate for the issue. Peace - Anthony

        Show
        Anthony Borrow added a comment - Andrew - I think your situation might be handled - although perhaps not as ideally or efficiently as you would like - by having students message anonymous questions to the teacher who could then post them as a question received from an anonymous student. I think in ideally students would feel free to share whatever questions they might have but I recognize we do not live in an ideal world. There is just something about it that seems to go against the grain of the types of transparent interactions desired in a social constructionist setting. I'm not expert, I'm simply trying to provide a possible reason why it may not have been prioritized. I worked on a patch that required teacher approval before being seen publicly by others precisely because it was not a feature I saw ever getting into core but because I could see where in a business sector it made sense. Best of luck continuing to advocate for the issue. Peace - Anthony
        Hide
        Peter Ruthven-Stuart added a comment -

        Hello, I was initially against the idea of anonymous postings for the 'social constructionist' reasons mentioned by Anthony B above. I thought that people should have to own (i.e. take responsibility for) their comments and ideas. However, here in Japan (see also James P's comment way back in May 2007) such a feature would be extremely welcome. Not all the time, but in certain situations, e.g. a "silly" questions forum (see Andrew P's comments). Also, some Moodling educators in the UK have told me that an anon feature would be really helpful in certain online courses and situations.

        I have not had a chance to try the patch developed by Teresa G, but the way she describes it sounds like it fits the bill. I like the idea that the user still owns the post and that teachers can see who has posted what. Perhaps, if students are given the option to post anonymously, and they take the option an automatic warning should appear reminding them that although their post will be anonymous to peers, their teacher (or admin?) can see who has posted what should circumstances require.

        Show
        Peter Ruthven-Stuart added a comment - Hello, I was initially against the idea of anonymous postings for the 'social constructionist' reasons mentioned by Anthony B above. I thought that people should have to own (i.e. take responsibility for) their comments and ideas. However, here in Japan (see also James P's comment way back in May 2007) such a feature would be extremely welcome. Not all the time, but in certain situations, e.g. a "silly" questions forum (see Andrew P's comments). Also, some Moodling educators in the UK have told me that an anon feature would be really helpful in certain online courses and situations. I have not had a chance to try the patch developed by Teresa G, but the way she describes it sounds like it fits the bill. I like the idea that the user still owns the post and that teachers can see who has posted what. Perhaps, if students are given the option to post anonymously, and they take the option an automatic warning should appear reminding them that although their post will be anonymous to peers, their teacher (or admin?) can see who has posted what should circumstances require.
        Hide
        Shane Elliott added a comment - - edited

        It's been a while since I've commented on this issue ....

        I still think a more generic solution would be better in moodle. I had started a spec but never fully finished it, but essentially it incorporated the following:

        1. Allow users in their profile to specify an alternate display name;

        2. Using the context levels (specifically course and activity) allow teachers (based on a capability) to set an anonymous mode. One of the following:

        • a. Off - runs exactly as it does now;
        • b. Anonymous - No names are displayed or displayed as "Anonymous User" (language string)
        • c. Roles - Use the alternate name that users specify in their profile;
        • d. Optional - Allow users to choose one of the above.

        3. Everywhere the user id is stored in the db (for display purposes) there would need to be an additional flag to specify the anonymous mode;

        4. An additional capability to allow viewing of a users real name

        The fullname() function in moodle would need an overhaul and some serious testing done to ensure it worked efficiently given it's wide usage.

        Aside from the practical implementation, I think there are a wide range of possible uses for such a development:
        1. Anonymous forum posting as outlined here. Especially in circumstances where there are sensitive questions being asked;
        2. Anonymous assignment and grading - while this is part of the spec for the assignment in 2.4 I think a generic anonymous solution is preferable;
        3. Role playing - students take on roles for a particular activity or course;
        4. Games - eg playing "who am i"/"21 questions" in a chat;

        Show
        Shane Elliott added a comment - - edited It's been a while since I've commented on this issue .... I still think a more generic solution would be better in moodle. I had started a spec but never fully finished it, but essentially it incorporated the following: 1. Allow users in their profile to specify an alternate display name; 2. Using the context levels (specifically course and activity) allow teachers (based on a capability) to set an anonymous mode. One of the following: a. Off - runs exactly as it does now; b. Anonymous - No names are displayed or displayed as "Anonymous User" (language string) c. Roles - Use the alternate name that users specify in their profile; d. Optional - Allow users to choose one of the above. 3. Everywhere the user id is stored in the db (for display purposes) there would need to be an additional flag to specify the anonymous mode; 4. An additional capability to allow viewing of a users real name The fullname() function in moodle would need an overhaul and some serious testing done to ensure it worked efficiently given it's wide usage. Aside from the practical implementation, I think there are a wide range of possible uses for such a development: 1. Anonymous forum posting as outlined here. Especially in circumstances where there are sensitive questions being asked; 2. Anonymous assignment and grading - while this is part of the spec for the assignment in 2.4 I think a generic anonymous solution is preferable; 3. Role playing - students take on roles for a particular activity or course; 4. Games - eg playing "who am i"/"21 questions" in a chat;
        Hide
        Anthony Borrow added a comment -

        Thanks Peter and Shane! Having some use scenarios and detailed specs always helps to move things along. Peace - Anthony

        Show
        Anthony Borrow added a comment - Thanks Peter and Shane! Having some use scenarios and detailed specs always helps to move things along. Peace - Anthony
        Hide
        Andrew Paterson added a comment -

        Firstly, the idea of the student messaging the teacher who then posts on the student's behalf is messy and is likely to delay feedback and slow down group interaction because we allow feedback on posted questions to come from any online teacher or student. Also, the student may not want the teacher to know who is asking the question, both because of embarrassment but also possibly because of a fear that an impression created by the question may affect future grading.

        Secondly, I think the idea of a more generic solution as proposed by Shane is a good idea given the variety of situations in which this facility could be used.

        Finally, I think we need to be careful about defining social constructivist approaches too narrowly. Constructivism is a broad approach to pedagogy that in my view supports approaches to encouraging student-initiated interaction with teachers and other students, which will play a part in constructing the knowledge of all. In some situations, allowing anonymous interaction allows better, more detailed, less inhibited interaction which increases the rate of knowledge growth. We need to recognise that many things may discourage interaction when no anonymity is permitted. Consider those interacting in a second or third language, gender or ethnic minorities, complex social relationships within a class, students with special needs - all of whom many benefit in their learning by allowing anonymity at times. This is very true in a high school setting but is also true in many other settings where the status quo social power balance may need addressing in the interests of equity.

        Show
        Andrew Paterson added a comment - Firstly, the idea of the student messaging the teacher who then posts on the student's behalf is messy and is likely to delay feedback and slow down group interaction because we allow feedback on posted questions to come from any online teacher or student. Also, the student may not want the teacher to know who is asking the question, both because of embarrassment but also possibly because of a fear that an impression created by the question may affect future grading. Secondly, I think the idea of a more generic solution as proposed by Shane is a good idea given the variety of situations in which this facility could be used. Finally, I think we need to be careful about defining social constructivist approaches too narrowly. Constructivism is a broad approach to pedagogy that in my view supports approaches to encouraging student-initiated interaction with teachers and other students, which will play a part in constructing the knowledge of all. In some situations, allowing anonymous interaction allows better, more detailed, less inhibited interaction which increases the rate of knowledge growth. We need to recognise that many things may discourage interaction when no anonymity is permitted. Consider those interacting in a second or third language, gender or ethnic minorities, complex social relationships within a class, students with special needs - all of whom many benefit in their learning by allowing anonymity at times. This is very true in a high school setting but is also true in many other settings where the status quo social power balance may need addressing in the interests of equity.
        Hide
        William Mair added a comment -

        Thanks all for your feedback.

        Teresa, can you confirm which patch you mean, there are several there including 2 on the last date of 8th Feb? Also, any instructions on how to apply said patch would be helpful too (hence the reason this would be better in core).

        The reason that my lecturers want it, is because we have secondary school children who come to our college once a week and they have 2 hours to discuss course issues/homework and the lecturers want them to be able to be able and willing to post their answers on a forum without fear of ridicule/embarrassment, so that the material can be discussed properly.

        Also, as Andrew alluded to above, we also have courses setup instructing our students about equality, diversity and other sensitive topics like homophobia. Anonymity for students in those circumstances may allow for good discussions regarding these topics between students.

        Show
        William Mair added a comment - Thanks all for your feedback. Teresa, can you confirm which patch you mean, there are several there including 2 on the last date of 8th Feb? Also, any instructions on how to apply said patch would be helpful too (hence the reason this would be better in core). The reason that my lecturers want it, is because we have secondary school children who come to our college once a week and they have 2 hours to discuss course issues/homework and the lecturers want them to be able to be able and willing to post their answers on a forum without fear of ridicule/embarrassment, so that the material can be discussed properly. Also, as Andrew alluded to above, we also have courses setup instructing our students about equality, diversity and other sensitive topics like homophobia. Anonymity for students in those circumstances may allow for good discussions regarding these topics between students.
        Hide
        Teresa Gibbison added a comment -

        Hi all

        I'd first like to clarify that I didn't develop this patch Our University have used it since 2009 and worked on it a little to fix some rss display and recent activity etc so I'm just very familiar with it!

        We contracted Catalyst NZ (a Moodle partner) to help us update it recently this year for Moodle 2.x and than again to ensure the backup/restores works as per comments earlier this year.

        William : use the latest two files dated 8/Feb/12 for a 2.x Moodle site. These are the two files generated and submitted by Catalyst for us.

        Cheers
        Teresa

        Show
        Teresa Gibbison added a comment - Hi all I'd first like to clarify that I didn't develop this patch Our University have used it since 2009 and worked on it a little to fix some rss display and recent activity etc so I'm just very familiar with it! We contracted Catalyst NZ (a Moodle partner) to help us update it recently this year for Moodle 2.x and than again to ensure the backup/restores works as per comments earlier this year. William : use the latest two files dated 8/Feb/12 for a 2.x Moodle site. These are the two files generated and submitted by Catalyst for us. Cheers Teresa
        Hide
        Anthony Borrow added a comment -

        Great points Andrew! I can see where we do want to keep things moving quickly so students can participate right away. I also agree with you that we need to be careful not to have too limited of an understanding about what constitutes constructionism. Many folks working together - even if anonymous - are still constructing something. I like how you emphasize that the goal is to encourage communications where there might be other social barriers that could inhibit it. Peace - Anthony

        Show
        Anthony Borrow added a comment - Great points Andrew! I can see where we do want to keep things moving quickly so students can participate right away. I also agree with you that we need to be careful not to have too limited of an understanding about what constitutes constructionism. Many folks working together - even if anonymous - are still constructing something. I like how you emphasize that the goal is to encourage communications where there might be other social barriers that could inhibit it. Peace - Anthony
        Hide
        Steve Clay added a comment -

        In case anyone is wondering, the 2.x patches do not apply cleanly to 2.3.1. (see errors below). I'm trying a manual apply.

        $ git apply --check MDL-1071.patch 
        error: patch failed: mod/forum/db/install.xml:25
        error: mod/forum/db/install.xml: patch does not apply
        error: patch failed: mod/forum/db/upgrade.php:55
        error: mod/forum/db/upgrade.php: patch does not apply
        warning: mod/forum/lang/en/forum.php has type 100644, expected 100755
        error: patch failed: mod/forum/lang/en/forum.php:28
        error: mod/forum/lang/en/forum.php: patch does not apply
        warning: mod/forum/lib.php has type 100644, expected 100755
        error: patch failed: mod/forum/lib.php:609
        error: mod/forum/lib.php: patch does not apply
        error: patch failed: mod/forum/rsslib.php:291
        error: mod/forum/rsslib.php: patch does not apply
        error: patch failed: mod/forum/user.php:95
        error: mod/forum/user.php: patch does not apply
        error: search/documents/forum_document.php: No such file or directory
        
        Show
        Steve Clay added a comment - In case anyone is wondering, the 2.x patches do not apply cleanly to 2.3.1. (see errors below). I'm trying a manual apply. $ git apply --check MDL-1071.patch error: patch failed: mod/forum/db/install.xml:25 error: mod/forum/db/install.xml: patch does not apply error: patch failed: mod/forum/db/upgrade.php:55 error: mod/forum/db/upgrade.php: patch does not apply warning: mod/forum/lang/en/forum.php has type 100644, expected 100755 error: patch failed: mod/forum/lang/en/forum.php:28 error: mod/forum/lang/en/forum.php: patch does not apply warning: mod/forum/lib.php has type 100644, expected 100755 error: patch failed: mod/forum/lib.php:609 error: mod/forum/lib.php: patch does not apply error: patch failed: mod/forum/rsslib.php:291 error: mod/forum/rsslib.php: patch does not apply error: patch failed: mod/forum/user.php:95 error: mod/forum/user.php: patch does not apply error: search/documents/forum_document.php: No such file or directory
        Hide
        Martin Dougiamas added a comment -

        Note that the work in MDL-31776 will somewhat cover this use case as part of a larger feature.

        Show
        Martin Dougiamas added a comment - Note that the work in MDL-31776 will somewhat cover this use case as part of a larger feature.
        Hide
        Andrew Paterson added a comment -

        Hi Martin - yes I think that the plan for MDL-31776 would be a sufficient solution to an anonymous posting capability in my case. We don't need or want a solution in which the true user cannot ever be discovered by the administrators. Students know that nothing posted is ever completely private. The use of an alias which hides the user's name from other students and teachers within forums is sufficient. The ability for the student to choose their own alias is valuable. Anonymous posting of questions, discussion comments or feedback, as well as role playing games are the key for us.

        Show
        Andrew Paterson added a comment - Hi Martin - yes I think that the plan for MDL-31776 would be a sufficient solution to an anonymous posting capability in my case. We don't need or want a solution in which the true user cannot ever be discovered by the administrators. Students know that nothing posted is ever completely private. The use of an alias which hides the user's name from other students and teachers within forums is sufficient. The ability for the student to choose their own alias is valuable. Anonymous posting of questions, discussion comments or feedback, as well as role playing games are the key for us.
        Hide
        Sebastián Ponce added a comment - - edited

        Hi Everyone, is this patch available for moodle 1.9.15+? I've trying to apply patch "MDL-1071.patch" and i get always the same error:

        xxxx@xxxxx:/var/www/vtr/xxx/moodle$ patch -p1 < MDL-1071.patch
        can't find file to patch at input line 28
        Perhaps you used the wrong -p or --strip option?
        The text leading up to this was:
        --------------------------

        From 8ecaa09289773256564afc4c780f8ffe6946bf05 Mon Sep 17 00:00:00 2001
        From: Matt Clarkson <mattc@catalyst.net.nz>
        Date: Mon, 13 Jun 2011 11:17:19 +1200
        Subject: [PATCH 1/2] mod/forum: Port anonymous forum posts from MDL-1071
        lib/messagelib.php 1 +
        mod/forum/db/install.xml 10 ++--
        mod/forum/db/upgrade.php 18 +++++++
        mod/forum/lang/en/forum.php 25 +++++++++
        mod/forum/lib.php 97 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++------
        mod/forum/mod_form.php 11 ++++
        mod/forum/post.php 8 +++
        mod/forum/post_form.php 6 ++
        mod/forum/rsslib.php 12 ++++-
        mod/forum/search.php 3 +-
        mod/forum/settings.php 4 +-
        mod/forum/user.php 4 +-
        pix/u/anonymous.png Bin 0 -> 1007 bytes
        search/documents/forum_document.php 11 ++--
        14 files changed, 179 insertions, 31 deletions
        create mode 100644 pix/u/anonymous.png
        diff --git a/lib/messagelib.php b/lib/messagelib.php
        index 2749c18..af66f22 100644
        — a/lib/messagelib.php
        +++ b/lib/messagelib.php
        --------------------------
        File to patch:
        Show
        Sebastián Ponce added a comment - - edited Hi Everyone, is this patch available for moodle 1.9.15+? I've trying to apply patch " MDL-1071 .patch" and i get always the same error: xxxx@xxxxx:/var/www/vtr/xxx/moodle$ patch -p1 < MDL-1071 .patch can't find file to patch at input line 28 Perhaps you used the wrong -p or --strip option? The text leading up to this was: -------------------------- From 8ecaa09289773256564afc4c780f8ffe6946bf05 Mon Sep 17 00:00:00 2001 From: Matt Clarkson <mattc@catalyst.net.nz> Date: Mon, 13 Jun 2011 11:17:19 +1200 Subject: [PATCH 1/2] mod/forum: Port anonymous forum posts from MDL-1071 — lib/messagelib.php 1 + mod/forum/db/install.xml 10 ++-- mod/forum/db/upgrade.php 18 +++++++ mod/forum/lang/en/forum.php 25 +++++++++ mod/forum/lib.php 97 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++------ mod/forum/mod_form.php 11 ++++ mod/forum/post.php 8 +++ mod/forum/post_form.php 6 ++ mod/forum/rsslib.php 12 ++++- mod/forum/search.php 3 +- mod/forum/settings.php 4 +- mod/forum/user.php 4 +- pix/u/anonymous.png Bin 0 -> 1007 bytes search/documents/forum_document.php 11 ++-- 14 files changed, 179 insertions , 31 deletions create mode 100644 pix/u/anonymous.png diff --git a/lib/messagelib.php b/lib/messagelib.php index 2749c18..af66f22 100644 — a/lib/messagelib.php +++ b/lib/messagelib.php -------------------------- File to patch:
        Hide
        Matt Clarkson added a comment -

        Note: Anonymous posting appears to have been dropped from MDL-31776

        Show
        Matt Clarkson added a comment - Note: Anonymous posting appears to have been dropped from MDL-31776
        Hide
        Teresa Gibbison added a comment -

        I've removed MDL-31776 as helping resolve this as alternative names to cover anonymous requirements has been dropped.

        I must say I completely agree as after having a closer look at that tracker item (after Martin suggested to me at MootAu it could be a potential solution this one).
        IMO allowing students to set an alternative name is good but doesn't suit this requirement. An alternative name (which I basically relate to a nickname, display name or preferred name) will not provide anonymity as the student has set that as a name that identifies them!

        It also provides only one alternative name per user per site so once someone figures out a student's alternative name it's not anonymous! Also this would conflict with the actual purpose of MDL-31776 which is to allow Asian users to specify a phonetic or Romanised name to identify them - that's not anonymous!

        Show
        Teresa Gibbison added a comment - I've removed MDL-31776 as helping resolve this as alternative names to cover anonymous requirements has been dropped. I must say I completely agree as after having a closer look at that tracker item (after Martin suggested to me at MootAu it could be a potential solution this one). IMO allowing students to set an alternative name is good but doesn't suit this requirement. An alternative name (which I basically relate to a nickname, display name or preferred name) will not provide anonymity as the student has set that as a name that identifies them! It also provides only one alternative name per user per site so once someone figures out a student's alternative name it's not anonymous! Also this would conflict with the actual purpose of MDL-31776 which is to allow Asian users to specify a phonetic or Romanised name to identify them - that's not anonymous!
        Hide
        Joe Amatrucola added a comment -

        I found my way here in search of the same functionality that has been documented in this issue. One example of how our teachers would like to use an anonymous forum is in an online, peer tutoring environment. The teacher would like to have students in need of help post math problems with which they need help, and enable the peer tutors (quasi-teachers from a Moodle point of view) answer the questions. The teacher feels that students will be more inclined to post freely and frequently without having to identify themselves as students who need (sometimes substantial amounts of) extra help. In our scenario, I think it'd be best if the teacher could create a forum that permits but does not force anonymous posting, and when the student posts he has the opportunity to check a checkbox to make his individual post anonymous. Or, taking it one step further, maybe the teacher can choose whether or not to force anonymous posting in this forum, in the event that the teacher wants all posts to be anonymous.

        Show
        Joe Amatrucola added a comment - I found my way here in search of the same functionality that has been documented in this issue. One example of how our teachers would like to use an anonymous forum is in an online, peer tutoring environment. The teacher would like to have students in need of help post math problems with which they need help, and enable the peer tutors (quasi-teachers from a Moodle point of view) answer the questions. The teacher feels that students will be more inclined to post freely and frequently without having to identify themselves as students who need (sometimes substantial amounts of) extra help. In our scenario, I think it'd be best if the teacher could create a forum that permits but does not force anonymous posting, and when the student posts he has the opportunity to check a checkbox to make his individual post anonymous. Or, taking it one step further, maybe the teacher can choose whether or not to force anonymous posting in this forum, in the event that the teacher wants all posts to be anonymous.