University student interns develop new Moodle app for campus use


Photo Courtesy of Muppy

The official logo for the app Muppy, a moodle app for university students.

By Laszlo Richard Toth, Staff Writer

A new version of the Moodle mobile app, created specifically for the University of Illinois, will be released to the public early next fall. The app is being created by a group of student interns within the Applied Technology for Learning in the Arts and Sciences (ATLAS) internships.

The project began around early 2018, when ATLAS realized that the regular [email protected] app contained a lot of unnecessary features. Since Moodle is open source, the idea was created to begin improving the app and tailoring it toward University students.

“No one used (the Moodle app), and the people who did, didn’t like it,” said Lily Ho, senior in Engineering and project manager. “(The team) created surveys to get a general opinion of what people on our campus did not like about it and what they want from the application.”

The project is affectionately referred to as “Muppy”; it’s the puppy version of the “Moodle poodle.” ATLAS has released a survey in order to gauge what changes or improvements the student body would like to see made to Moodle. 

An early addition: the app will allow students to specifically color code their classes within Moodle in order to keep organized.

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    Initially, the app was being built from scratch. However, a major development was made for the project in the fall 2019 when Moodle updated its own application, allowing the team to begin building off the app itself. 

    “This app is based on the original Moodle app in the App Store,” said Joe Lian, freshman in LAS and a software developer for the iOS portion of the project. “We took the basic source code and we added a few special features to it.”

    The plan is to release Muppy for [email protected] in the fall and gauge its reception, then take that feedback and continue improving, according to Ho.

    However, simply improving Moodle is not the end goal of the project. The eventual objective is to combine the various learning management platforms used by different professors, like Moodle, Compass and possibly even Lon Capa, into a single space. 

    While other universities have consolidated learning management platforms, it’s usually done by choosing a single system and switching away from the others, according to Eva Hu, senior in LAS and a software developer for the project. This project will allow consolidation without the side effect of having to lose the other platforms.

    However, this project is still in progress. In the meantime, the survey can be found on the ATLAS website.

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