Professional alternatives to Facebook groups or Moodle Forums

You will find many different tools used for business collaboration, and new ones pop up every year.

Here are some we know of that you could use to replace your Moodle Forums and Facebook problem and be more on the “pulse”.

Google Drive

Share Documents, Spreadsheets with version control. Also a tool to have hangouts (video conference) and have group text chats. Free service.

  • Documents
  • Spreadsheets
  • Group text chat
  • Hangouts (Vid. Conference)
  • File Sharing


A repository for files, it will automatically push any saved files to all the other members with the shared DropBox. Good for saving large files and sharing with each other, less useful for versioning without an account. Free service.

  • Shared folder (you still need Office apps)


Microsoft’s offering, share documents and more. Takes setting up and costs, however it’s an industry standard.

  • Documents
  • Spreadsheets
  • Group chat
  • File Sharing
  • Versioning


You can setup a group and hold a chat on the network you’re always on. But, we doubt an organisation would handle all their business discussion here. Also, would you want to mix work and online socialising? Free service.

  • Group chat
  • File emailing (No versioning)


The technology that runs Wikipedia, gives the ability to create shared pages and thoughts and revisions. You can share, collaborate, update and see revisions. Free services available.

  • File sharing
  • Text versioning


Some services come with versioning on documents, which means you can see the updates and text changes on files. This allows users to work collaboratively and see what changes the group have made, and discuss them. Also, it stops the need to keep naming files like, “copy 1”, “copy 2”, “Final Version”, “final version 2.3” as it’s just one continues file.


Lots of companies advertise their products as “Free”, however that comes at a cost not associated with money. They effectively own your data, and probably have free reign to sell it on, use it to advertise with or if they shut down, your data goes to the highest bidder.

Other services may offer you a limited time access or file number limit before you need to pay.

Moodle Forums, are they any good or do your students prefer Facebook?

Are your students favouring Facebook groups for course discussion over using Moodle forums?

You wouldn’t be the only University with that problem. Naturally water follows the easiest path, and presently for having online discussions it’s simpler to jump on Facebook for a casual chat. It totally beats some clunky Forum software.

But, is that even a problem? Is this practice just replacing them chatting about their project down the SU over a pint?

To be honest, in a lot of the cases there’s no problem for a casual chat. But as there’s pressure to prepare students to be more work ready, I can’t think of a workplace I’ve been in where sitting on Facebook to work would be thought a good idea. Also, by the staff being removed from the equation we’re missing the chance to pick up on problems.

So in a future blog post, I’m going to list some alternative “professional” software which your University could recommend to them.

Gradebook’s 3 types of hidden…

Ah yes, not only has the Moodle Gradebook got 3 places to change the GradeBook’s settings, it also has 3 types of table minimise, maximise and “kinda show some things”.

So during editing a Gradebook I found the Module Total was wrong, and I couldn’t update it correctly. However, I found out that the table view at the top has 3 types of view. And one of them was hiding the Correct Module total column.


Changing Moodle Gradebook Report to show Students’ Overall Module total with decimal places

I’m sharing in-case anyone else comes up with the same problem. All we needed was to show the Module overall total to 2 decimal places.

However, Moodle has quite a few different places you think it might be set. It is not in the Grader > Course Grade Settings. It is not in Grader > My report preferences > Grader Report.

Turn editing on and go to the Grader Report page, at the top of the table is a title of the report, similar to this “WM102:Electrical and …”

Top of the repot

Click on the Cog / Settings icon just under it, and in there is the “Category Total > Overall decimal points”

Change module overall total to show decimal places

This then changes the Overall module total to be to 2 decimal places.

Oh Moodle.

Building a Moodle Gradebook can be painful…

…so go easy.

* When you’re testing the weightings it’s really difficult to see the workings out. Change one thing at a time and refresh lots to check it’s happened
* When you update a score in the Grader Report, sometimes it “locks” that grade in that field, or the result field, so any future updates to that group WON’T re-calculate. Click on the Settings Cog, and tick Override to make it re-calculate that fields (you’ll know it by the yellow background)

* Is it better to do loads of grouping in the Grading view? Nope, it is just more hassle. Leave it 1 flat level as much as possible, then the maths is simpler and it’s much easier to interpret and debug

flat gradebook or nested?

* “Aggregate only non-empty grades” is a pain, do not tick it unless you really know what it is doing. Use it for grouping up 1 assignment across lots of groups