Completion tracking: UCEM’s solution to a Moodle 3.11 update

Completion tracking

On Wednesday 26 January 2022, UCEM’s Virtual Learning Environment was updated to Moodle 3.11 and prior to this update, a change to a well-loved feature was implemented.

The feature is known as completion tracking, a simple way for students to mark activities and resources as complete, or not complete and to track progress. The update changed the tick-box to a ‘Mark as done’ button, which was not visually appealing in the default position within the study weeks. Due to the visually unappealing button size, shape and position (which contributed to a very long, clunky week view), the VLE Team removed this button from the study weeks, so it was only visible within activity pages.

Prior to the 3.11 update, if students wanted to mark an activity as complete, they needed to navigate to an activity and mark the activity as complete from within the resource. This meant at a glance, when scrolling through their module, students were unable to view the completion status of weekly activities.

The VLE Team were aware of a few students who mentioned the new completion feature was not appealing, however it was not until after the Student Consultation Panel results and the start of the Spring 2022 semester, that we realised just how strongly the students felt about it.

What did we do?

After the student feedback results, it was clear that we needed to make some changes to avoid student success and satisfaction being negatively affected. We didn’t want to place the button back in the week view in the default position, which meant we needed to create some custom CSS to move the button to a more appropriate position.

A simple, but effective piece of code was used to move the button, this is called float:right and once applied, it will move your desired item to the right. The team then built on this code, we ensured the buttons were accessible, and even changed the shape of the button to make it look consistent with the module theme.

After the Moodle 3.11 update:

Before updating the CSS, the button was positioned below the activity title.

After we updated the CSS:

We adapted the shape of the button, so that it is consistent with the theme of the module and paid attention to the positioning and function.
The ‘Done’ button also had to be adjusted, as it was not accessible.
There are also other completion requirements, for example ‘View’. This completion setting completes automatically when a student views the Assessment brief.
This is a result of viewing the Assessment.
Another completion requirement is ‘Make a submission’, which requires a student to complete the Questionnaire/Quiz for the item to be marked complete.

For those who have access to UCEM’s Virtual Learning Environment, please feel free to take a look at these changes for yourself. All you need to do is navigate to a Spring ’22 or Autumn ’21 module page, for example ECO5BEC (Economics for the Built Environment). We recommend viewing as a student.

Final thoughts

I’m confident that this implementation will help students track their progress, which will hopefully help them over the course of their study with us. The CSS code has also been communicated back to the Moodle Community with the hope that it will help other organisations who are also experiencing the same struggles that we did.

The speed that we implemented this change has proved that we can implement big changes in a speedy fashion to avoid upset or frustration among the students, whilst also working together as a team and communicating well.