Moodle Blog

Help! I lost my editing icon and the label’s broken my Moodle

Monday, 17. August 2009 von admin

I don’t know why, because I am not  a coder,  but sometimes you innocently put things into labels and the Moodle Gremlin takes advantage and steals your editing icons. It might  be some code, some javascript, a swf file -whatever it is, it causes panic , all the more so if it happens on your Front Page and the whole world could see you broke your Moodle. I know  – I speak from bitter experience…   There are some step by step instructions in the  Moodle docs but here is a screencast that hopefully will demonstrate how to get back editing rights and defeat the Gremlin. (And thanks to Dan P for helping me sabotage my front page!)

How to use the Activity Locking course format

Sunday, 16. August 2009 von admin

As a follow on to this post where I show how to install the Activity Locking course format for Moodle 1.9, created by Chardelle Busch, here is a short screencast where I have tried to set up 3 activities in sequence that all must be completed with certain requirements. I’ve tried to make it a bit clearer than the earlier one – it’s not perfect but it might help get people started.

Adding an activity module to Moodle

Sunday, 10. May 2009 von admin

Here’s how to add an extra (non-standard) activity module to Moodle. I finally downloaded Quizport today -the successor to the HotPot module developed by Gordon Bateson. I am looking forward to having a play/practice with it well in advance of its inclusion in Moodle 2.0. As I got it and installed it onto one of my moodles I did a screencast with some basic instructions that should fit any activity module. (In fact, they should also work for blocks as well if you upload into the blocks folder instead of the mod folder) Watch the screencast below or read the step by step.

1: Go to www.moodle.org and click on the tab downloads>modules and plugins

2: Search for the activity module you want (use the search box at the bottom) and download the correct version as a zipped folder to your computer

3: Unzip it

4: Open up your ftp client (a program you can get free or cheaply -such as smartftp/cuteftp

5: Connect to your Moodle and locate your moodle folder (what it’s called depends on your set up)

6: Find the folder/directory called mod and go inside it. You will see other activity modules such a choice/forum/assignment

7: Drag over the unzipped folder from your computer into the mod folder

8: Go to your moodle site and log in as admin

9: Click on Notifications. This will bring up a whole load of tables that should (!) give you a success message.

10: To be sure, click on modules>activities>manage activities and make sure your new module has its eye open

11: Go to the course you want to use it in – turn on the editing – click on Add an activity – and it will be there!

As for myself, I will post back when I’ve got more experience of Quizport 🙂

Student File storage in Moodle

Wednesday, 15. April 2009 von admin

file manager blockIs there an easy way my students can store their files in Moodle – a bit like an online locker? So asked my friend Sharon Betts on moodle.org  a few days ago, prompting a few suggestions which yet again made me realise sometimes the simplest ways are the best. Mahara, with all its wonderful features, was maybe a bit of an overkill in a situation where students just needed a place to keep a dozen or so word documents. The Moodle database module has been used in this way apparently but I  suggested Exabis e-portfolio, which is OK. However, I then fell immediately in love with the file manager block because of its sheer simplicity and functionality. It does what it says on the tin, as a UK commercial boasts. It is a module you install as a block and then can add to a course page – admin then decides the settings for upload size and sharing and then students can store their stuff in it for that course.  Not only that but they can choose to share items with others and the interface is extremely easy for them to use.

But it gets better! Or – I should say – simpler!  Another suggestion brought home yet again Moodle’s versatility, its customisability.  Colin Matheson uses the Advanced Uploading of Files Assignment for this very purpose – one of those Moodle workarounds I just love. A feature of this assignment type in normal circumstances is that students can send their teacher more than one item – say, if they are doing an on-going project for example. So why not simply set up the assignment for them to upload  a bunch of files – but not use it for marking? They can’t share in the same way as they can with the file manager block but maybe there is no need to share?  Maybe the students just want an area to keep their stuff? The default is a maximum of 20 uploaded files – if this isn’t enough it is possible to hack the code and increase the number. (At least – I tried doing that and it didn’t break my Moodle but I guarantee nothing!) An online locker made in Moodle? This could be it!

Moodle Moot UK 2009- a Meeting of Many Moodlers

Thursday, 09. April 2009 von Mary

This was my first Moodle Moot – I  had attended the 2007 one virtually and had been disappointed there wasn’t one in 2008. It began for me rather inauspiciously as I arrived late on campus Monday night, in the dark, couldn’t find my room, couldn’t swipe my card when I did find it,  and then failed miserably to find anywhere to eat or anyone to talk to.

The following morning, Loughborough University looked considerably  friendlier in the sunshine;  I tagged along with the beautifully named Jago to locate the breakfast block where I finally recognised some familiar faces – Drew Buddie Moodle Man and Moodle Fairyand the larger than life, equally big-hearted Julian Ridden, who commented there seems to be a whole Moodle family on twitter now – he and myself, with @moodledan @moodlegirl @moodleguy, to name but three. Martin Dougiamas gave the Keynote speech to start the proceedings, highlighting the progress of Moodle since its inception, giving us a taster of Moodle 2.0 and describing the ten steps he sees in a teacher’s progress in using Moodle.

Making Moodle Fun in Key Stage 3After that we “broke out” into various sessions – mine on “Making Moodle Fun for Key Stage 3” was one of the first, which meant I could then relax for the rest of the day. Thanks to Irene Krechowiecka for moral support and  thanks also  to Miles Berry and Russell Dyas (from the legendary Edugeek) who tweeted my talk which revolved around ways to engage younger children with Moodle and Open Web/Web 2.0 applications. I based it on the four C’s – Captivate/Create/Collaborate and – of course Chocolate and hope to make it available on the conference site eventually. We ended with some games including a  Moodle-based sword fighting game from Andrew Field‘s Content Generator products. And I only mentioned my book once!

The problem from then on was which session to attend when there were always at least two, sometimes three, I would have liked to watch. Ian Lynch of the Learning Machine/INGOTS presented on Teaching Children to Become Community Members and I then indulged myself by going to Julian Ridden’s Theming Workshop  – a very clearly presented, step by step guide to making a Moodle theme. Over lunch I finally met in person  both  fellow teacher and moodler KristianStill,  and also developer Dan Poltawski, the Force behind the CLEO Moodles. I  talked language teaching with the original moodler himself Martin Dougiamas, Mary Cooch Martin Dougiamastalked books with two other Packt authors,  Ian Wild  and Alex Buchner from Synergy and was very flattered by nice compliments from John Mannion and Antonella Veccia. Thanks to Howard Miller of Glasgow University and E-Learn Design  showing me the way to  the food and drink, Tuesday night was considerably more successful than the previous evening!

Wednesday morning was a delight with the charmingly enthusiastic Martin Langhoff explaining how Moodle links in with the One Laptop Per Child initiative.   My next choice was a fascinating insight into Second Life and Moodle – via SLOODLE, presented by Daniel Livingstone – but- I’m still unsure…. Moodleman Julian Ridden gave a whistlestop tour of Moodle plugins, several of which I have tried and wholeheartedly recommend  but  a couple, dimdim and the podcasting module I have not, and am now inspired to test out on one of my Moodles or on Julian’s own free moodle playpen.

I hadn’t know what to expect this being my first Moot –  it exceeded my expectations in terms of ambiance, networking and inspirational ideas. The  organisation of it all by Sean Keogh of Pteppic was flawless – and it is entirely understandable he would like  finally to pass it on to someone else next year! If I had to make one comment it would be that there should be more for schools – high schools – primary schools – regular secondary schools. This is a sector increasingly using Moodle – all the more so as, in the UK, they turn away from their LEA/BSF imposed commercial VLE and go with Moodle. I was pleased to receive several compliments about the relevance of my presentation to “real” teachers  – let’s hope than in #mmuk10 we at the so-called “chalk face” will be there in force!

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