Lancaster Moodle Plugin support (mod_aspirelist)

The Lancaster Moodle Integration for Talis Aspire Reading Lists is no longer maintained by the University of Lancaster.

This article explains how to identify if you are using the "Lancaster Moodle Integration" and what to do about it.

Background

This plugin was written by Tony Butler at The University of Lancaster and was based on a number of similar plugins that all use screen scraping to capture information about the lists.

The plugin maintainers at the University of Lancaster are no-longer able to maintain the plugin and have offered the plugin up for 'adoption' at Moodle.org.

Talis thank Tony Butler and team for their work on this plugin which has benefitted many in the Talis community.

How to tell if you are using this plugin?

The plugin's official Moodle name is mod_aspirelist. It is important not to confuse this with the plugin called mod_aspirelists which was written by Talis and uses the plural 'aspirelists' in the name.

You can look in Moodle's installed plugin list for the name of the plugin.

What does this mean?

Tony Butler has told Talis that, "the latest release of the plugin works fine in Moodle 3.3 so there are no immediate updates required". However, without a maintainer, the plugin may not work in future versions of Moodle.

Talis recognises the importance of integrations with learning systems as being the main way in which students find and access their reading lists. Talis will help diagnose any issues that may arise if you are using this plugin and suggest potential routes to a fix should code changes be required.

Future Compatibility

Talis is working on a new user experience for students viewing reading lists in Talis Aspire which fundamentally changes the layout of the list overview pages.

The Lancaster Moodle Plugin uses screen scraping of the list overview layout to get some of the data it requires. It is incompatible with the new list outline layout. Work to migrate the plugin to using new Talis Aspire APIs was started, but at the time Talis did not have all the APIs available that the plugin requires.

What to do next?

As the code for the plugin is all open source, you or your university could become the next maintainer of the plugin for the Talis community. You can adopt the plugin through the Moodle.org mechanisms for taking over maintainer-ship of the plugin.

You may wish to consider adding additional methods for embedding reading lists in your Moodle site. Talis Aspire has a Learning Tools Interoperability based tool that you may wish to explore.

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