Moodle
  1. Moodle
  2. MDL-21538

Evaluate OU's ForumNG module for inclusion in Moodle core

    Details

    • Type: New Feature New Feature
    • Status: Open
    • Priority: Major Major
    • Resolution: Unresolved
    • Affects Version/s: 2.0, 2.4, 2.5
    • Fix Version/s: DEV backlog, FRONTEND
    • Component/s: Forum
    • Labels:
    • Affected Branches:
      MOODLE_20_STABLE, MOODLE_24_STABLE, MOODLE_25_STABLE
    • Rank:
      19115

      Description

      Per http://imoot.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=194#p602, there seems to be significant interest in the functionality offered by OU's ForumNG module (http://moodle.org/mod/data/view.php?d=13&rid=2927&filter=1) that ForumNG be considered as a replacement to the existing forum module. The improvements seems to be consistent with increased use of AJAX so I am marking this as affecting 2.0; however, I am aware that it may actually be a project for 2.1. In any case, it seems good that there be a place for users to vote whether they would like to see the ForumNG functionality added to core. Peace - Anthony

        Issue Links

          Activity

          Hide
          Derek Chirnside added a comment -

          The thread http://imoot.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=194#p602 is not open to guests or to self enrolled accounts. Can the content be re-posted here? Just curious.

          Show
          Derek Chirnside added a comment - The thread http://imoot.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=194#p602 is not open to guests or to self enrolled accounts. Can the content be re-posted here? Just curious.
          Hide
          Tim Hunt added a comment -

          I have attached a copy-and-paste of the thread as PDF.

          That forum was the discussion forum associated with the demo of ForumNG that sam did at the imoot.

          Show
          Tim Hunt added a comment - I have attached a copy-and-paste of the thread as PDF. That forum was the discussion forum associated with the demo of ForumNG that sam did at the imoot.
          Hide
          Derek Chirnside added a comment -

          Just curious. Where are we up to on this?? I noticed a comment by Martin D here: http://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDL-1626 "The big forum revamp" (8 March 2010)

          Is this revamp still on the cards??

          What kind of process needs to occur here, either to address some of the functionality requests for the forum or to look at an option of the ForumNG in core - or a replacement of the regular forum in 2.1?

          Show
          Derek Chirnside added a comment - Just curious. Where are we up to on this?? I noticed a comment by Martin D here: http://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDL-1626 "The big forum revamp" (8 March 2010) Is this revamp still on the cards?? What kind of process needs to occur here, either to address some of the functionality requests for the forum or to look at an option of the ForumNG in core - or a replacement of the regular forum in 2.1?
          Hide
          Helen Foster added a comment -

          Derek, as far as I know, ForumNG is to be considered for possible inclusion in Moodle 2.1.

          Show
          Helen Foster added a comment - Derek, as far as I know, ForumNG is to be considered for possible inclusion in Moodle 2.1.
          Hide
          Derek Chirnside added a comment -

          Hmm. Who considers this? When? How? (Still curious)

          The aspects I am interested in include subscription at the thread level, drafts, better marking options (Like if you have given a grade to a post, there is no way that this is registered on other posts by the same person), list of attached files in a forum, styling to make attached files more obvious, lock a thread with [Finished] in subject . . . Maybe a META item in tracker??

          Show
          Derek Chirnside added a comment - Hmm. Who considers this? When? How? (Still curious) The aspects I am interested in include subscription at the thread level, drafts, better marking options (Like if you have given a grade to a post, there is no way that this is registered on other posts by the same person), list of attached files in a forum, styling to make attached files more obvious, lock a thread with [Finished] in subject . . . Maybe a META item in tracker??
          Hide
          Derek Chirnside added a comment -

          Bump. Still curious. Any movement on this? Helen?? Anthony??

          Show
          Derek Chirnside added a comment - Bump. Still curious. Any movement on this? Helen?? Anthony??
          Hide
          Helen Foster added a comment -

          Apologies for sounding like a stuck record, but I can confirm that ForumNG is being considered for possible inclusion in Moodle 2.3. I will ask around...

          Show
          Helen Foster added a comment - Apologies for sounding like a stuck record, but I can confirm that ForumNG is being considered for possible inclusion in Moodle 2.3. I will ask around...
          Hide
          Mark Pearson added a comment -

          We have been operating ForumNG alongside Forum (classic) for a while. The big deal to move wholesale to ForumNG would be the addition of all the Forum(classic) types – ie Q & A forum, News forum. The Q & A workflow is particularly powerful since students can only read other posts after they have submitted their own. Teachers really like this feature.

          Show
          Mark Pearson added a comment - We have been operating ForumNG alongside Forum (classic) for a while. The big deal to move wholesale to ForumNG would be the addition of all the Forum(classic) types – ie Q & A forum, News forum. The Q & A workflow is particularly powerful since students can only read other posts after they have submitted their own. Teachers really like this feature.
          Hide
          Derek Chirnside added a comment -

          There is a discussion here: http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=195094#p851412

          Dan says "a question which we have been discussing, what are the compelling features in ForumNG which you are keen to see in core?" Contributions welcome.

          -Derek

          Show
          Derek Chirnside added a comment - There is a discussion here: http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=195094#p851412 Dan says "a question which we have been discussing, what are the compelling features in ForumNG which you are keen to see in core?" Contributions welcome. -Derek
          Hide
          Dan Poltawski added a comment -

          Hi,

          We are hoping to get forumng into core for 2.4. I'm going to start ball rolling by creating some technical subtasks of this issue rather than getting this existing issue too bogged down with the nitty gritty.

          Show
          Dan Poltawski added a comment - Hi, We are hoping to get forumng into core for 2.4. I'm going to start ball rolling by creating some technical subtasks of this issue rather than getting this existing issue too bogged down with the nitty gritty.
          Hide
          Derek Chirnside added a comment -

          @Dan. Just tracked down the subtask. Tx.
          @Everyone else here. It's worth a look. http://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDL-34144

          I guess we are trying to balance what is do-able in one dev cycle. I'm keen on a separate NG, get it working and then migrate/import legacy, like the Ass 2.3 model. My non-programmer, in-expert opinion.

          -Derek

          Show
          Derek Chirnside added a comment - @Dan. Just tracked down the subtask. Tx. @Everyone else here. It's worth a look. http://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDL-34144 I guess we are trying to balance what is do-able in one dev cycle. I'm keen on a separate NG, get it working and then migrate/import legacy, like the Ass 2.3 model. My non-programmer, in-expert opinion. -Derek
          Hide
          James Cracknell added a comment -

          Hi

          Imported old forums in 2.4 with current code and no problems. It is running fine as far as I can make out.

          The biggest issues I can see are replacing the forum on the frontpage and making sure it works in other database systems like MSSQL. (Am using Postgres)

          Any news on the progress of this...

          J.

          Show
          James Cracknell added a comment - Hi Imported old forums in 2.4 with current code and no problems. It is running fine as far as I can make out. The biggest issues I can see are replacing the forum on the frontpage and making sure it works in other database systems like MSSQL. (Am using Postgres) Any news on the progress of this... J.
          Hide
          Shane Gibney added a comment -

          Hi,
          ForumNG would great to include with Moodle. the functionality I am particularly looking for is that users be able to receive email notifications for the threads they are involved in and not for posts to every thread in the forum.
          Thanks,
          Shane

          Show
          Shane Gibney added a comment - Hi, ForumNG would great to include with Moodle. the functionality I am particularly looking for is that users be able to receive email notifications for the threads they are involved in and not for posts to every thread in the forum. Thanks, Shane
          Hide
          Patryk Szuta added a comment -

          Is this still being considered for 2.5?

          Show
          Patryk Szuta added a comment - Is this still being considered for 2.5?
          Hide
          Mark Pearson added a comment -

          +1 for this not to get delayed again.

          Show
          Mark Pearson added a comment - +1 for this not to get delayed again.
          Hide
          Derek Chirnside added a comment -

          I came here looking for a comment I made a while back, but it must have been somewhere else. I can suspect what is going on here: the change from current regular forums to classy new NG may just seem too big.
          Somewhere else I asked if it was possible to leap this chasm in two jumps, much like the assignment module process.
          1) Create ForumNG in core Moodle.
          2) Get it going
          3) Have an export function for old forums later.
          This is a programmer/process question. Is this in anyway feasible? Dan? Anthony? Anyone?

          -Derek

          Show
          Derek Chirnside added a comment - I came here looking for a comment I made a while back, but it must have been somewhere else. I can suspect what is going on here: the change from current regular forums to classy new NG may just seem too big. Somewhere else I asked if it was possible to leap this chasm in two jumps, much like the assignment module process. 1) Create ForumNG in core Moodle. 2) Get it going 3) Have an export function for old forums later. This is a programmer/process question. Is this in anyway feasible? Dan? Anthony? Anyone? -Derek
          Hide
          Mark Pearson added a comment -

          I do hope that the jump to ForumNG is not perceived as too big since the Forum is in dire need of a redesign.
          I've been doing a wee bit of research on accessibility for impaired users and came across this:
          A Model for Accessible LMS Discussion Boards which also has a demo of the model
          In any case, I would hope that we could follow up on Derek's comment from October of last year :

          "I guess we are trying to balance what is do-able in one dev cycle. I'm keen on a separate NG, get it working and then migrate/import legacy, like the Ass 2.3 model."

          Show
          Mark Pearson added a comment - I do hope that the jump to ForumNG is not perceived as too big since the Forum is in dire need of a redesign. I've been doing a wee bit of research on accessibility for impaired users and came across this: A Model for Accessible LMS Discussion Boards which also has a demo of the model In any case, I would hope that we could follow up on Derek's comment from October of last year : "I guess we are trying to balance what is do-able in one dev cycle. I'm keen on a separate NG, get it working and then migrate/import legacy, like the Ass 2.3 model."
          Hide
          Mark Pearson added a comment -

          I realise that I repeated what Derek wrote above – apologies. Also curious about the hold up. This has been on the cooker for over a year. What's the hold up? Is it all the effort with switching to Bootstrap for the theme foundation?

          Show
          Mark Pearson added a comment - I realise that I repeated what Derek wrote above – apologies. Also curious about the hold up. This has been on the cooker for over a year. What's the hold up? Is it all the effort with switching to Bootstrap for the theme foundation?
          Hide
          Martin Dougiamas added a comment -

          Note this bug is about evaluating, not yet about replacing mod/forum. The first stage is a proper gap analysis and we don't have that yet. So we don't even know how much work it is. There are rumours around that some Moodle users have been working on a report for this which would be good to see.

          And yes, there's been a lot of other important foundation work taking priority for HQ recently. I wish we didn't have to set priorities but until I can hire 100 more developers it needs to be done.

          Show
          Martin Dougiamas added a comment - Note this bug is about evaluating, not yet about replacing mod/forum. The first stage is a proper gap analysis and we don't have that yet. So we don't even know how much work it is. There are rumours around that some Moodle users have been working on a report for this which would be good to see. And yes, there's been a lot of other important foundation work taking priority for HQ recently. I wish we didn't have to set priorities but until I can hire 100 more developers it needs to be done.
          Hide
          Derek Chirnside added a comment -

          What do you mean by a gap analysis Martin? Is this a summary of what NG doesn't have that is needed? Rumours of a report? I'd be interested in seeing something like this if it existed.
          And here was me thinking the holdup was Sam's workload.
          -Derek

          Show
          Derek Chirnside added a comment - What do you mean by a gap analysis Martin? Is this a summary of what NG doesn't have that is needed? Rumours of a report? I'd be interested in seeing something like this if it existed. And here was me thinking the holdup was Sam's workload. -Derek
          Hide
          Martin Dougiamas added a comment -

          A first gap analysis will list the total tasks that need to be done to make a clean upgrade from EVERY possible configuration of /mod/forum. In short Forum NG should support all the many features and modes that Forum offers. It also needs to be accessible, to have unit tests, behat tests and basic web services.

          It also needs to have clear advantages over the current forum, and to be honest after looking at it recently I was a bit underwhelmed (both code and UI, which I found cluttered).

          Secondly, it would be good to generate a clear spec of where we want to go and also have some idea of how far we are away from that. Accessibility-wise there is research around like http://blog.bargirangin.com/2013/03/a-model-for-accessible-lms-discussion.html, as Mark noted above, which indicates that if we are going to be looking at wholesale rewrites then we might as well look at the entire design and aim for longevity.

          Show
          Martin Dougiamas added a comment - A first gap analysis will list the total tasks that need to be done to make a clean upgrade from EVERY possible configuration of /mod/forum. In short Forum NG should support all the many features and modes that Forum offers. It also needs to be accessible, to have unit tests, behat tests and basic web services. It also needs to have clear advantages over the current forum, and to be honest after looking at it recently I was a bit underwhelmed (both code and UI, which I found cluttered). Secondly, it would be good to generate a clear spec of where we want to go and also have some idea of how far we are away from that. Accessibility-wise there is research around like http://blog.bargirangin.com/2013/03/a-model-for-accessible-lms-discussion.html , as Mark noted above, which indicates that if we are going to be looking at wholesale rewrites then we might as well look at the entire design and aim for longevity.
          Hide
          Buddy Ethridge added a comment -

          Martin,

          I agree that it may be best to invest in a wholesale rewrite to incorporate all features from both of the current modules as well as any additional features from the community (we currently have two that are on hold while we watch this development topic).

          We have both Forum and ForumNG active in our instance. We have 7300+ instances of Forum and 1100+ instances of ForumNG, so the core module is more widely used by a large margin. That being said, some of that is certainly do to placement in the list and the simplistic needs (not to be disparaging) of many of our forum users.

          LSU is following this discussion with great interest.

          -Buddy

          Show
          Buddy Ethridge added a comment - Martin, I agree that it may be best to invest in a wholesale rewrite to incorporate all features from both of the current modules as well as any additional features from the community (we currently have two that are on hold while we watch this development topic). We have both Forum and ForumNG active in our instance. We have 7300+ instances of Forum and 1100+ instances of ForumNG, so the core module is more widely used by a large margin. That being said, some of that is certainly do to placement in the list and the simplistic needs (not to be disparaging) of many of our forum users. LSU is following this discussion with great interest. -Buddy
          Hide
          Elizabeth Dalton added a comment -

          One critical issue I see is that the existing Forum activity doesn't allow a user to subscribe to a single topic/discussion/thread (whatever you want to call it), which has been requested since Moodle 1.5. The last word at MDL-1626 seems to be that this functionality will likely never be added to the existing Forum, in part because it's already in ForumNG. So now we are left with having to provide guidance to our faculty/course developers about which forum type to set up based on whether or not they need the "Q&A" limitations or want to be able to allow for more specific thread subscriptions.... or we get faculty creating one forum per topic and only allowing one discussion per forum, so they can manage subscriptions that way.

          It just seems to me that perfect is being the enemy of good, here. A later iteration might well improve on ForumNG in terms of usability, accessibility, and lots of other "-ity" words, but is it necessary to wait?

          Show
          Elizabeth Dalton added a comment - One critical issue I see is that the existing Forum activity doesn't allow a user to subscribe to a single topic/discussion/thread (whatever you want to call it), which has been requested since Moodle 1.5. The last word at MDL-1626 seems to be that this functionality will likely never be added to the existing Forum, in part because it's already in ForumNG. So now we are left with having to provide guidance to our faculty/course developers about which forum type to set up based on whether or not they need the "Q&A" limitations or want to be able to allow for more specific thread subscriptions.... or we get faculty creating one forum per topic and only allowing one discussion per forum, so they can manage subscriptions that way. It just seems to me that perfect is being the enemy of good, here. A later iteration might well improve on ForumNG in terms of usability, accessibility, and lots of other "-ity" words, but is it necessary to wait?
          Hide
          Jason Hardin added a comment - - edited

          This functionality is also available in Advanced forums https://moodle.org/plugins/view.php?plugin=mod_hsuforum, which is actually based off the core forums. If advanced forums were to be included in core forums this feature should be considered as part of core forums.

          Advanced forums also adds several other features that are again all based on the current core moodle forums.

          As far as I have seen there are 2 features that Forum NG has that Advanced forums doesn't

          1. Inline editing/replying
          2. View of bookmarked forums

          Advanced forums has several features that Forum NG doesn't

          1. Manual grading, with all advanced grading methods
          2. Activity grader interface integration (this is being considered for core inclusion as well, known as Joule grader, but is not part of the public release)
          3. Multiple display views of a forum including a completely AJAX view
          4. Discussion sorting
          5. Anonymous forums, that can still be graded without revealing the student based on post statistics.

          If has been 6 months since i have reviewed Forum NG so some of the above features may have been added. An overview of advanced forums can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKTjqLrHK1o.

          Show
          Jason Hardin added a comment - - edited This functionality is also available in Advanced forums https://moodle.org/plugins/view.php?plugin=mod_hsuforum , which is actually based off the core forums. If advanced forums were to be included in core forums this feature should be considered as part of core forums. Advanced forums also adds several other features that are again all based on the current core moodle forums. As far as I have seen there are 2 features that Forum NG has that Advanced forums doesn't Inline editing/replying View of bookmarked forums Advanced forums has several features that Forum NG doesn't Manual grading, with all advanced grading methods Activity grader interface integration (this is being considered for core inclusion as well, known as Joule grader, but is not part of the public release) Multiple display views of a forum including a completely AJAX view Discussion sorting Anonymous forums, that can still be graded without revealing the student based on post statistics. If has been 6 months since i have reviewed Forum NG so some of the above features may have been added. An overview of advanced forums can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKTjqLrHK1o .
          Hide
          Robert Brenstein added a comment -

          The premise of this MDL is to replace the forum module with the forumNG module. I wonder whether it would not be smarter to have two forum modules, one providing basic functionality and another providing advanced features. Forum is probably the most used activity overall and it follows that it has a broad spectrum of uses. For many uses, the current core forum is missing some functionality but many uses a more advanced forum module can be more of a headache if none of the advanced features are needed. Another approach could be to modularize this module like it is done with the assignment module, that is having subversions of the forum within the module.

          Show
          Robert Brenstein added a comment - The premise of this MDL is to replace the forum module with the forumNG module. I wonder whether it would not be smarter to have two forum modules, one providing basic functionality and another providing advanced features. Forum is probably the most used activity overall and it follows that it has a broad spectrum of uses. For many uses, the current core forum is missing some functionality but many uses a more advanced forum module can be more of a headache if none of the advanced features are needed. Another approach could be to modularize this module like it is done with the assignment module, that is having subversions of the forum within the module.
          Hide
          Ray Lawrence added a comment -

          Sorry Robert, -1 on the two forum proposal. That just sounds like one long headache on a number of levels to me.

          Show
          Ray Lawrence added a comment - Sorry Robert, -1 on the two forum proposal. That just sounds like one long headache on a number of levels to me.
          Hide
          Derek Chirnside added a comment -

          News from Martin: https://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDLSITE-1910
          Looking at Advanced Forums from Moodlerooms.

          -Derek

          Show
          Derek Chirnside added a comment - News from Martin: https://tracker.moodle.org/browse/MDLSITE-1910 Looking at Advanced Forums from Moodlerooms. -Derek
          Hide
          Robert Brenstein added a comment -

          Okay, so no two forums. What about modularized forum that is following the example of assignment module? Moodle's forum has always had a selector of forum type AFAIR. Advanced forum could just become another type. This would also open way for people plugging in (cleanly) any specialized forums without having to cover all ground.

          Show
          Robert Brenstein added a comment - Okay, so no two forums. What about modularized forum that is following the example of assignment module? Moodle's forum has always had a selector of forum type AFAIR. Advanced forum could just become another type. This would also open way for people plugging in (cleanly) any specialized forums without having to cover all ground.
          Hide
          Elizabeth Dalton added a comment -

          @Jason, Advanced Forum might be fine IF the activity grading features can be included in Moodle Core. Otherwise, it would be a step backward for us. Our faculty are really hoping for better forum grading features. It's one of the main complaints we get about Moodle.

          Show
          Elizabeth Dalton added a comment - @Jason, Advanced Forum might be fine IF the activity grading features can be included in Moodle Core. Otherwise, it would be a step backward for us. Our faculty are really hoping for better forum grading features. It's one of the main complaints we get about Moodle.
          Hide
          Jason Hardin added a comment -

          @Elizabeth I am not understanding how advanced forums could be a step backwards since it has the exact same functionality as Moodle forums does now. It is a drop in replacement for Moodle forums. What functionality in advanced forums makes it a step backwards? It has single topic/discussion subscriptions like you mentioned needing in a pervious comment.

          I agree forum grading is a key needed feature of an LMS forum, but I would also say that activity grading interface is a key needed feature as well.

          When I reviewed Forum NG it didn't have forum grading either except through ratings.

          Show
          Jason Hardin added a comment - @Elizabeth I am not understanding how advanced forums could be a step backwards since it has the exact same functionality as Moodle forums does now. It is a drop in replacement for Moodle forums. What functionality in advanced forums makes it a step backwards? It has single topic/discussion subscriptions like you mentioned needing in a pervious comment. I agree forum grading is a key needed feature of an LMS forum, but I would also say that activity grading interface is a key needed feature as well. When I reviewed Forum NG it didn't have forum grading either except through ratings.
          Hide
          Elizabeth Dalton added a comment -

          Perhaps I'm confused, but I thought Advanced Forum didn't have ratings with automatic aggregation into the Gradebook-- does it? I know the Joule grading functionality isn't available in the public version of Advanced Forums.

          ForumNG would also be a step backwards for us, as it doesn't seem to have any grading interface at all. You could use ratings, but not roll them up into the Gradebook.

          I'd love to be wrong about either of these, however.

          Show
          Elizabeth Dalton added a comment - Perhaps I'm confused, but I thought Advanced Forum didn't have ratings with automatic aggregation into the Gradebook-- does it? I know the Joule grading functionality isn't available in the public version of Advanced Forums. ForumNG would also be a step backwards for us, as it doesn't seem to have any grading interface at all. You could use ratings, but not roll them up into the Gradebook. I'd love to be wrong about either of these, however.
          Hide
          Jason Hardin added a comment -

          Advanced forums still allows grading via ratings in the open source version in the plugins database the same as Moodle forums does. It doesn't allow a teacher to select manual grading and enter a grade based on the simple or advanced grading methods. This is what would be added once the activity grader interface as added to Moodle.

          I frankly can't imagine advanced forums without the activity grader interface. And Moodlerooms will definitely push hard to keep this part of the integration because like you a large number of our clients use advanced forums in Joule because of the grading capabilities.

          Show
          Jason Hardin added a comment - Advanced forums still allows grading via ratings in the open source version in the plugins database the same as Moodle forums does. It doesn't allow a teacher to select manual grading and enter a grade based on the simple or advanced grading methods. This is what would be added once the activity grader interface as added to Moodle. I frankly can't imagine advanced forums without the activity grader interface. And Moodlerooms will definitely push hard to keep this part of the integration because like you a large number of our clients use advanced forums in Joule because of the grading capabilities.

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              • Created:
                Updated: