Linking Moodle to SwitchDrive

Moodle
Moodle Learner Management System
SwitchDrive
Switch Cloud Storage

We have been long looking for a way to link Moodle and SwitchDrive, which is based on OwnCloud technology.

There was for a time, a solution which was produced by Münster University, however, they withdrew their support, and users were left to either rely on a plugin produced by the NextCloud community, or the old unsupported plugin from Münster.

After some consultation, I raised a Tracker ticket with the Moodle community to request that Moodle themselves adopt the OwnCloud Münster produced plugin. There was one main reason for this: it provided for for linking rather than simply importing the file from the cloud repository. The linking concept has the huge advantage that the file remains dynamic, by which I mean that when you update it on your laptop, it will automatically be updated in Moodle, thus students will always have access to the latest version of the file.

I am glad to report that we have made huge progress, and that Moodle did take on my request, and have now finished the initial development phase meaning that the code is almost ready to be launched with the next update of the application.

I shall keep everyone advised as to how this will roll out, but the feature will be available in all Moodle platforms in due course.

E-Assessment

The FHNW has set up a Moodle application on which you should undertake ALL e-assessment where the assessment leads to a grade being used to form part of or all of a final grade for a module.

In order for you to be able to do this, you will need to know a number of things:

  1. Where the Moodle application is located. It is here: https://moodle.assessment.fhnw.ch/course/view.php?id=257
  2. How do students access the application. This should be done by advising them of the link to the assessment module in Moodle.
  3. You will need to set security accordingly, this means setting access rights, dates, times etc. separately from those you have set in your main Moodle course.
  4. The module will need to be created manually as there is as yet no way for “Evento” to create a course automatically.
  5. I, Paul Raper, am the person responsible for assisting you with this task.

As more information becomes available, I shall post it here.

New EduId Login for FHNW

From around May 11th through to May 18th, Corporate IT are planning to switch the login processes for the FHNW from AAI to EduId. This will certainly be the case for Moodle.

In order that you see how this works, and’, should you not already have an EduId, provide you with the opportunity of creating one, please go to our Test Moodle application here.

On the landing page you will see a link that will take to to the EduId setup page. “Wichtig! Evtl. müssen Sie was machen. Schauen Sie hier: http://help.fhnw.ch/eduid

If you click on the Login button, you will be asked to login using AAI, but you will then land at a page that looks like the screen shot below.

This page will provide you with all the information you need in order to be ready for when the switch takes place.

Please be prepared.

HT Moodle to become a Research Platform

Following the migration of courses back to the Corporate Moodle Application, the HT Moodle will become officially a platform where Lecturers may undertake research and development.

If you have a project that requires that you develop a Plugin, or application with live participants, then you may use the HT Moodle application.

This was specifically the case when we developed the Python application with the Mechanical Engineering department. This application required that we link a separate external application using LTI with Moodle, and we also required students to be enrolled in a course to achieve the testing.

There may be other concepts you wish to develop, and these may not be possible on the Main CIT Moodle platform.

Note! You may need to seek approval from Martin Meyer before embarking on such a project.

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How to Backup and Restore a Course in Moodle

Whether you are backing up simply as a safety precaution or in order to move your course to somewhere else, backing up is a very good policy since the FHNW CIT Moodle does not do this as part of their automatic routine.

I shall describe below the process of backing up, and I shall also suggest what you should do as a safety precaution for your courses. Then, I shall run through how to Restore from a Backup file.

To backup a course.

Go to the Actions Menu

Fig.1

Select Backup from the list

Select the options for the things you want to backup

Fig.2

The first thing to note here is that you may not want to include the users in the course.

Tip. Include the users if you are doing an intermediate backup. This may come in useful if for some reason you need to restore the course again during the semester. Another very important time may be if you are archiving the course. In the English department, because we also have exams and assignments that may form part of a student’s final grade, we archive the courses until the recourse period has lapsed. If you are doing your backup for this reason, then you may also want to include the grades and grade history.

If you are performing the backup simply as a means of creating a copy of the course, rather like a template, then you may also wish to uncheck the Calendar events option.

Now select jump to final step. The following screen should be displayed.

Fig.3

If any errors occurred during the backup process they will be displayed here. This backup completed successfully.

Click continue.

Fig.4

A list of the backed up files are displayed here.

Now, download the file that you have backed up for safe keeping.

Save the file in a safe place. It may make sense to save the backups on AD as the English department do.

Fig.5

The English Department have also set up a directory structure for files according to the courses they relate to.

Fig.6

Restoring a Previously Backed up Moodle Course.

It is essential to be in the course that you want to restore to.

Go to the actions menu and select Restore.

Fig.7

The following dialogue will appear.

Fig.8

Note.

You may notice that below this dialogue there is a list of your previously backed up course files. It can be hard over time to manage these and thus I would suggest you ignore these in favour of using your own back that you made and saved off platform. There is potentially only one reason to take a backup from the list below: The backup file size exceeds the 150Mb allowed by Corporate IT. That said, should the backup file on Moodle be Corrupt, and the file that is saved off platform is known to be intact, we can arrange for CIT to use a “Back Door” method to restore files.

It is possible to either:

  1. Drag and Drop the file to the window
  2. To choose the file picker and then navigate to the location where the files are saved.
Fig.9

Once the selected file has loaded, click on Restore.

Confirm the course settings are correct.

Fig.10

Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Next.

In the next screen course configuration setting can be adjusted. Change the: Overwrite course configuration from No to Yes to enable editing. The course name may be changed here or start date etc.

Fig.11

Scroll right down to the bottom of the page and click on Next when happy with the settings.

Now review the settings and configuration. If anything is not correct, now is the time to use the previous button at the bottom of the page and return back to the appropriate place to modify something.

Fig.12

If the settings are correct, scroll right down to the bottom of the page and click on Restore

Fig.13

The progress bar indicates how the process is getting on.

When complete, any errors will be displayed, or the back up will complete error free.

Fig.14

In this instance, there were errors here, but they are not serious. Note anything that may help trouble shoot issues later.

Click on Continue.

There is a screen cast that goes with these instructions, and it can be found here:

Happy Moodling.

How to Book a Course using Evento

To use the Evento Course ordering system click on the following Menu item:

Fig.1

You will then be taken to a screen where a list of the courses that you may order is displayed.

Fig.2

You can order an individual course by clicking on the “bestellen” button or when you order a course the system tells you which “Modulanlässe” you can combine. For example if you order on the left side of the screen a course for the “modulanlass  0-21FS.T-B-X-0ten2.SE/8KEh” – see below – you will have on the right side screen the possibility to add students from other Modulanlässe of the same Module by clicking on the button “integrieren”.

Fig.3

Combining (integrieren) of Modulanlässe will result in having different groups in you Moodle course. Once a Moodle course is created you cannot – using this system – add students from other “Modulanlässe”.

In the next step, you will have the opportunity to use one of your old Moodle courses as a template for the creation of the new course. It may be that you wish to set up a template anyway for future courses.

Tip. I suggest going to the Template course, and copying the name either into memory or to a blank Word document so that you can paste the name into the dropdown box. That way you avoid any typographical errors. I also recommend using the course short name for this purpose since this is unique, the long name is not.

Fig.4

In the penultimate step, you will find the following options allowing you to:

  1. Give the course a more meaningful name – Volständiger Kursname see Figs 5 & 6 below.
  2. Give it a more meaningful “short name”, which appears in the bread crumbs of the course – Kurzer Kursname
  3. Select the appropriate section under “Technik” where your Moodle course should be stored.

If you do not know this, or there does not seem to be an appropriate location, please contact First Level Support so that we can create a logical place for your courses to be stored.

Fig.5

The finished process should look something like the following screenshot.

Fig. 6

In the final step, you will be asked to check and confirm the settings before the course is committed.

Note. There is no data transfer from Moodle to Evento at this point in time.

Now watch a short Screen Cast on the above.

Note. There may still be some glitches with regard to the “Role” setting in Moodle. This may lead to users of the course not being able to access the course, including the teacher. Should this occur contact First Level Support who will be able to access the course and reset the “Roles”.

Fig.8

Should you need any help or support, please contact First Level Support.

Big Blue Button and Moodle

We probably all know Moodle, but how many of us have heard of Big Blue Button?

Big Blue Button is a purpose built open source on-line learning tool designed from the ground up to be an interactive classroom/video conferencing tool.

It has many of the features you might find in Adobe Connect whilst being relatively light weight.

Apart from it having the ability to be easily integrated into a Moodle course, it also has an exceptionally easy recording feature which automatically saves the recordings back to Moodle whilst at the same time providing the course administrator with statistics of who was present, who “really” took part and how long for.

Currently Big Blue Button can be accessed on the HT Moodle platform, which is linked to the BBB demonstration servers. We also have an experimental version on a server. This version is based on the very latest B code which effectively replaces Flash with HTML5.

We hope to have this version ready by the start of the new semester, but should you wish to try out this version, please let me know and I’ll give you access.

Feel free to try out Big Blue Button, and if you wish to join in any group trials, please let me know and we can see what it is possible to organise.

There are a host of resources on the Big Blue Button website, and also a complete set of instructions here – Carlton University, Canada. The developers of BBB.

Evento – Moodle Interface

It may be that you are not able to automatically setup your courses on Moodle from the Autumn semester. This is because the interface between the corporate Moodle platform and Evento is not working reliably at present.

Corporate IT are working on resolving this for the future, but it is at present unclear when the feature will be available again.