Thursday, August 26, 2021

M.O.O.N. spells moon

 Let me explain the title.  Most people from my generation would recognize the title.  MOON spells moon. From the iconic tv series The Stand, a Stephen King novel, one of the characters used to say this all the time if he was asked to remember something.  He was presented as someone with lower ability than most.  A loveable character, but simple.  Who else but King could pair a character like him with another one that couldn't speak or hear, and could only communicate by writing things down.  The character I'm referring to, of course, couldn't read, and could seemingly only spell one word. M.O.O.N. spells moon.

Why tell you this?

I'm using M.O.O.D.L.E. to develop this online course.  It is an excellent free, open source piece of Learning Management software, a marvel really, developed, supported, and enhanced by members of the community that uses it.  Because it is open source, it can be modified by the user themselves, customized to match any existing framework.  Again, it is amazing.

But today, I was ready to pull my hair out.  Unfortunately, while doing some editing and course work, I inadvertently flipped a certain feature off, which made editing a real breeze.  Suddenly, it just wasn't there anymore and I didn't know how to get it back.  The MOODLE community has forums where all users can communicate with one another, and documentation up the ying yang to help you with anything.  It is so complex that there are specific individuals who moderate forums that they have played a part in developing, or have used extensively, and are willing and able to share their expertise.  The documentation is expertly created and easy to navigate.  They even have a tracker site, that lets you search to see if your problem has occurred before, and what release, if any, a solution might be a part of.  It would certainly look to most like they've thought of everything.

Except today. M.O.O.....D.L.E. spells MOODLE.  Kept saying that.  All day.  The problems with looking for a solution to a problem with MOODLE, are that 1) you have to know exactly what search criteria to enter, and that it has to be phrased exactly the same as it would be in a forum or in the documentation.  I tried so many combinations of words, but couldn't find the answer in the documentation.

So instead, I tried entering the issue in a specific forum that dealt with the particular aspect of MOODLE I was experiencing troubles with.  Only problem was, nobody has posted anything in it since 2019.  I went to bed last night, hoping I would wake up and someone would have seen my question (complete with relevant screen shots, and a clear explanation of the problem).

Well of course, my little worried head couldn't sleep so I had to get up and check the forum.  The same anticipation one has waiting to see if what they posted on Facebook or Twitter would get a like or a retweet was hanging over me as I nervously checked my computer.  I quick sign on to the forums, and...nothing.  I panicked a bit, but then reminded myself, that the answer could come from anywhere in the world, someone from a completely different time zone.

So, what to do?  Wait a few more hours to see if anyone or even a bunch of people have some sort of brilliant solution?  Try to find the answer somewhere else?  I took option 2.  I posted the same question on a "General Help" forum, the kind of forum where you're told to post stuff if you don't know where else to post it.  Within 15 minutes, I got a reply.  He came up with a bunch of possible reasons for my problem, which I immediately tried.  None of them changed a thing.  One of them even scared me!  It basically said, don't do this because if you do it's really hard to get it back.  Yikes! Did this situation apply to me? Luckily his subsequent replies to my posts, which all said, basically, "Tried that but still have the problem", were pretty swift.  It was almost like we were communicating live it was that quick.  How lucky was I to be talking to somone who regularly hung out in this forum and thought he could help me.

And then, the conversation came to an end, I think because he ran out of ideas.  As I was typing my final response, and thank you for trying post, a little light went off inside me.  What if it is this?  The answer had been right in front of me.  In other forum posts I had found, even in the documentation.  Right there in front of me.  Could this be it?  I literally clicked on one little settings icon, changed one variable and VOILA!  Everything was back the way it was supposed to be. Relief isn't even a strong enough word to describe what I felt at that moment.

In the spirit of giving back and paying it forward, I let the guy who was helping me know what I had done, and I could almost hear him smacking his virtual forehead.  Literally right in front of both of us at the same time.  

So for the first time in 24 hours, I'm back doing things the way I've been doing them all along.  All is good in MOODLE world.  

M.O.O.D.L.E. spells Moodle........

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