In early January 2013 UMass Amherst upgrades to Moodle 2.3. We are really excited about many of the new features and hope you will be too! Here's a snapshot of new features:
The Add an Activity and Add a Resource drop-down menus have been consolidated into a single dialog box.
The + Add an activity or resource link at the bottom of Sections replaces the Add an activity... and Add a Resource... drop-down menus.
Click the link to open the new dialog box.
The left panel displays a menu. Select an item from the menu to add (you may need to scroll down to view all Resources), and the right panel describes the selected item and provides links to help. Click Add (at bottom) to set up the activity or resource.
Note: If you prefer the drop-down menus from Moodle 2.2 for adding resources and activities, you can easily turn off the Activity chooser:
On your main course page, in the Settings block, click Activity chooser off. The + Add an activity or resource link will be replaced by the Add a resource... and Add an activity... drop-down menus.
(To turn the Activity chooser back on, in the Settings block, click Activity chooser on.)
The new Assignment activity consolidates the features of the previous four assignment types into a single activity. Instructors can pick and choose settings to control Submission settings.
Options for Due dates, Grades, Groups (Common module settings) and Restricted Access remain the same. There is a new option to Notify graders about late submissions.
Note: Assignments in courses from previous semesters have been converted to the new assignment type. If you edit an assignment copied from a previous semester, you will see the new consolidated interface.
For details, see Add an Assignment Activity in Moodle.
New grading interface for assignments includes the ability to enter grades by typing (including scores with decimals) instead of using a drop-down of set values.
Instead of all course content being displayed on one long course page, you have the option to show each Topic or Weekly Section on a separate page. With this layout, the main course page lists Section titles as links to new pages. The summary for each topic (if provided) is also displayed on the main course page. The General topic (top topic) shows above every page, so keep it short.
This layout option replaces the View single section icon ( ) that previously showed at the right of each section, giving instructors more control over how their course is viewed, and making it less likely for you or your students to think your course suddenly lost most of it's content.
To use the new layout, in the Settings block, click Course settings and for Course layout change the drop-down menu from Show all sections on one page to Show one section per page.
Click the new Edit title icon to rename a resource or activity without having to open the Update settings screen.
The ability to drag-and-drop files directly onto a course page (or into the File picker) is now built into Moodle. Instructors no longer need to add a block. Students can drag-and-drop files directly into the File Picker window to upload submissions.
(Works in Firefox, Chrome, and Safari 6)
For details, see Drag and Drop Upload in Moodle.
Files uploaded to the new My Private Files area can be linked to from multiple courses. Changes made to the "master" file will be reflected in each course that links to it. (If you use file "aliases" in Windows, you'll find this is similar.)
To upload files to your My Private files area, add the My Private Files block to your course for your and your students' convenience, or add the block to your My Home page (found at the top of the Navigation block).
To link to files stored in your My private files area, Add a file to your course page as usual, then in the File Picker, choose My private files, instead of Upload Files.
If you attempt to navigate away from unsaved work, for example on a Settings screen or in the Gradebook, Moodle will display an alert warning that you have unsaved changes.
Manually created Calendar events are now preserved when you reuse a course using the Import command. Make sure to update the dates for the current semester.
As always, Activity due dates from imported courses will also show in the Course Calendar. Be sure to update those dates too.
To learn more about Moodle 2.3, check out the Moodle 2.3 release notes.