Try out the Page Hints preview now!

pagehints

Back in June last year I had the idea of developing a Moodle plugin which could be used to add information to a page allowing users to learn how to use Moodle “on the fly”. I came up with the slightly goofy name of Page Annotations and posted a new discussion over on Moodle.org receiving some quite positive feedback.

After that it all went quiet (sorry about that!), but you will be glad to hear I didn’t forget about page annotations. In actual fact I have been running an early version of the plugin on BSDC‘s Moodle site since September and have been looking for ways to improve it since then. Now called Page Hints, I have been working with the advice of Andy Nicols to improve the efficiency and compatibility of the plugin.

pagehints

Once you have the plugin installed you need to look under Site Administration > Plugins > Local Plugins for the admin panel.

 

managehints

The management screen is basically just a table showing all your instances which can be edited, cloned, disabled or deleted at any time. You can also create a new instance by clicking on the “New Hint” button in the bottom right.

edithint

 

The editing screen is a form which auto-updates a hint on the screen as you make changes. Make sure you read the help information on the last “page filters” section as this is what determines where the hint will appear.

I can see a lot of room for enhancements to this plugin; making it easier for admins to add hints to any page and making it possible for teachers to add hints to their courses are high on my priority before this is submitted to Moodle.org’s plugin repository. That said the plugin is now quite mature, running on several production servers.

If you would like to take a Page Hints for a spin on your Moodle you can get a copy from my GitHub Repository. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what I have so far as well as any suggestions for the future.

13 thoughts on “Try out the Page Hints preview now!”

  1. Hi Mark. I received this error after I clicked on the Notification link (Moodle 2.5):
    Plugin “mod_local_page_hints” is defective or outdated, can not continue, sorry.
    Debug info: Invalid plugin directory name.
    Error code: detectedbrokenplugin
    Stack trace:
    line 553 of /lib/upgradelib.php: plugin_defective_exception thrown
    line 381 of /lib/upgradelib.php: call to upgrade_plugins_modules()
    line 1586 of /lib/upgradelib.php: call to upgrade_plugins()
    line 386 of /admin/index.php: call to upgrade_noncore()

    What gives?

  2. Hi Frankie. GitHub always adds a -Branch tag to the end of the folder name so you just need to remove that. The correct folder for this plugin should be moodle/local/page_hints/. Does this work for you?

    1. As long as they are active (look for the eye symbol on the management page) they should take effect right away. It might be an idea to start with something generic to test it out, for example a hint for everyone visiting the front page?

  3. Hi Mark,
    Any update on this plugin progress?
    I was able to install it but couldn’t get any hint to appear on 2.4 or 2.6.
    The demo hint work on the hints addition page, but not on the pages I added hints to.
    I think I did enter the page and class id’s correctly.
    Would appreciate any help suggestions.

    Would be great to make it easier to add a hint via a block that let’s you choose and element on a page and then add the hint to it.
    Thanks,
    Amir

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