December 2012 sees the release of the highly anticipated Moodle 2.4. This update will offer several new, important functions.
So what advantages will we gain over previous versions of Moodle? For a start we’ll see much improved performance for larger sites due to a Moodle Universal Cache, which will speed up the systems for users and admins.
Another advantage is the addition of completely new default icons. This means that there will be standardised icons for specific actions, courses and tools.
Furthermore Moodle 2.4 will be able to import ical streams into the Moodle calendar allowing for an integrated system for teachers or students who use other calendar tools.
Moodle 2.4 will also facilitate the use of assignment extensions. This will allow teachers to grant students extra time to hand in their work if they have past the assignment deadline. So in the case of a deadline passing, the student will contact their teacher who will then decide whether or not to provide an extension through Moodle. This is beneficial both to the teacher and student, as it allows work to still be uploaded and then subsequently marked in the knowledge that the student still handed the work in late.
‘Blind marking’ is another new Moodle 2.4 tool which will allow, if the procedure is followed correctly, a teacher to mark a student’s piece of work without knowing their identity. This will prevent teachers being unconsciously biased, in a positive or negative way towards students when it comes to marking their work, whether it’s an assignment or an exam.
Finally, another new feature is the use of group assignments. This tool will provide the ability for a group of students to work on and submit a piece of work that they have done together. A teacher can then see who has submitted work and then provide a mark and comments for each individual or as a whole.
Moodle has moved onto a fixed release cycle where minor versions with security fixes are released every two months and major releases, every six months. These releases tend to include new features. Full information can be found on the Development releases page.