Demise of the Progress Bar block
The Progress Bar block in Moodle is a fabulous way to visually track progress through courses. Learners can see how they are progressing through the course, and teachers can see how their students are progressing. This is important, both as a motivational tool for students and a measure of engagement for teachers. The Progress Bar block has been very popular with most of our clients, so it was with dread that I read of its demise! It won’t be supported after Moodle 3.1. But never fear! There is a perfect replacement, with new and improved features – the Completion Progress block.
The Completion Progress block is maintained by Michael de Raadt – who also maintained the Progress Bar. According to the Moodle Progress Bar page, the Completion Progress block is faster, more efficient, easier to use, and more compatible with additional plugins. So this is good news!
Transition from Progress Bar to Completion Progress
As we transition between the Progress Block and Completion Progress Block, you will need to have both plugins installed for some time. First of all, you will need to install the Completion Progress block from https://moodle.org/plugins/block_completion_progress. Once it has been installed, it is recommended that you:
- go to Administration> Plugins> Blocks> Manage blocks
- find the ‘Progress Bar’
- click on the ‘Protect instances’ icon
- now you can no longer add a ‘Progress Bar’ block, nor delete any that exist
- go to your courses that use the Progress Bar, hide existing Progress Bar blocks, and create a Completion Progress block
- when all courses have a replacement Completion Progress block, you are ready to uninstall the Progress Bar block. This process is a great opportunity to do some Moodle housekeeping, such as re-evaluating courses that may be too long (should they be split in two?).
How do the Progress Bar and Completion Progress blocks compare?
It is useful to undertake a quick comparison of the two blocks, especially when at first glance they look very similar.
- Look and feel
The Progress Bar and Completion Progress blocks look very similar to the teacher as you can see below:
2. And the overview of students also looks the same:
To the student they look the same:
With both Completion Progress and Progress Bar you can select particular activities OR all activities to be included.
3. You may notice in the student view image that the Progress Bar block has an extra blue bar. This is because by default, if you choose to include all activities, the Progress Bar also includes the ‘Announcements’ as an activity by default.
4. With Completion Progress block, you can set it to include all activities that have completion set. This is a significant improvement.
5. If you add an activity to your course after you set up a Completion Progress, then it is automatically added to the Completion Progress (if you selected ‘all activities with completion settings’). A big time saver.
6. If you add an activity after you set up a Progress Bar, then it is NOT automatically added to the Progress Bar block.
A couple of extra useful tips for you:
- As with the Progress Bar, if you go to Administration> Site administration> Plugins> Blocks> Completion Progress, then you can customise some of the settings and the colours that appear on the Completion Progress block.
- When a student completes an activity, the page needs to be refreshed for the Completion Progress block to show the activity as completed (same as for Progress Bar, but easy to forget).
Change over to the Completion Progress block as soon as possible. It is a superior product, and you don’t want a last minute panic when the Progress Bar Block is no longer maintained. Let us know if you need a hand.