Welcoming Moodle LMS 4.3
Moodle LMS, the popular open-source learning management system, recently released version 4.3 on October 9th, 2023. This new version includes over 470 fixes and improvements to enhance the user experience for administrators, instructors and students alike. Some of the major improvements include a redesigned gradebook with improved UI and UX, a redesign of activity cards, and other UX improvements.
Moodle 4.3 also has updated server requirements and database requirements including PHP 8.0 to 8.2 and MySQL 8.0, MariaDB 10.6.7 or PostgreSQL 13.
Some of the more notable changes in Moodle 4.3 include usability and user experience (UX) enhancements, the introducton of a comprehensive competency framework, advanced learning analytics and security improvements such as two-factor authentication. The mobile app was also updated to provide a better and more responsive learning experience. But wait, there’s more including:
- Revitalized activity cards
- Better navigation and course index
- Site-level settings for activity completion
- Enhanced search and filter options for the question bank
- A more flexible report builder
- Improvements to the recently introduced TinyMCE in both WYSIWYG and HTML source modes
- Enhancements to grading
- Integration with Matrix Messaging (and other messaging systems in the future)
- Improved course-level LTI tools
As with all recent releases, Moodle 4.3 continued to see an emphasis on digital accessibility. Moodle HQ is already planning to upgrade the platform to the all-new WCAG 2.2 standards (probably for Moodle 4.5 LTS in November 2024?). This is great news!
Digital Accessibility with the all-new WCAG 2.2
Speaking of which, the W3C also released version 2.2 of its Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) on October 5th, 2023. This is the first update in over 5 years. WCAG is a set of recommendations for making web content more accessible to people with disabilities such as blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity, and combinations of these. An increasing number of countries around the world are making conformance with accessibility guidelines a requirement for businesses. Even if it is not mandated, many businesses make it a requirement so it is a good skill to have as a web developer.
The latest version of these guidelines covers a wide range of recommendations including:
- 2.4.11 Focus Not Obscured (Minimum) (level AA)
- 2.4.12 Focus Not Obscured (Enhanced) (level AAA)
- 2.4.13 Focus Appearance (level AAA)
- 3.3.7 Redundant Entry (level A)
- 3.3.8 Accessible Authentication (Minimum) (level AA)
- 3.3.9 Accessible Authentication (Enhanced) (AAA)
In addition, success criterion 4.1.1 Parsing is now considered obsolete and has been removed.
Applying these new WCAG 2.2 success criteria to your website also makes it more usable for users in general. Digital accessibility is an inclusive practice that allows everyone to perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the online environment regardless of their needs or abilities. Whether you are just starting to implement WCAG 2.2 or thinking about upgrading from WCAG 2.0 or 2.1, the WCAG Quick Reference is a useful tool that will tell you what criteria you need to comply with this standard. Remember, although Moodle HQ is doing their part in making Moodle more accessible, you still need to ensure that your content and 3rd party plugins are accessible.
Did you know? According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 1.3 billion people experience significant disabilities worldwide – that’s about 16% of the world population. When learning materials aren’t accessible, it can be challenging for students with disabilities to learn. Prioritizing accessibility in education helps to build an inclusive learning environment that supports every student.
Moodle’s release of version 4.3 and WCAG’s release of version 2.2 are both significant milestones in improving digital accessibility. By following these guidelines and best practices for digital accessibility, we can create a more inclusive online learning environment that benefits everyone. It need not take a lot of your time either. See Moodle LMS Accessibility in 20 Minutes a Day.
Hope you found this information useful. See you next month!
- Enhancing E-Learning in Moodle LMS with an AI Chat Block and FilterCodes – 20th November 2023
- Improving Digital Accessibility: A Look at Moodle LMS 4.3 and WCAG 2.2 – 20th October 2023
- Take me Back To The Course button – 20th September 2023