If you login as a guest on the Sussex Moodle, Study Direct, you’ll see something very different from a standard Moodle install.
Guest users are presented with sites – by academic year – to which the creators have allowed guest access.
When Moodle became our institutional VLE a minority of staff had issues with users having to sign in to access their learning materials, in particular those member of staff with web pages who were used to distributing their course material through their web pages. These staff did not like the fact that their materials would now be behind a central password protected portal, even if they had the option to provide “guest access”.
The problem with standard guest access
In a default Moodle installation you need to find the links to the course site categories, then look for a small non-standard icon by the course which indicates it allows guest to enter. It can be a lot of clicks, and very difficult to explain to users.
In a Moodle install with as many sites as Sussex, it becomes a thankless endeavour.
We made all sites which allow guest access visible from the first page a guest comes to, so they don’t have to root around the site categories pages looking for sites which might be available to them!
The code :
$courses = get_records_select("course","guest=1 && visible=1" , $courses_sort_query);
Our $courses variable is loaded with all the visible courses, with guest access set, then sorted in the same $courses_sort_query order as our logged in users see.
By doing this, we try and give guest users the same experience as our authenticated users.