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Moodle

TIP: Be sure to check General Best Practices for guidelines, recommendations and tips that apply to all course management systems (CMSs).

Comparison of Alternatives for Contributing Moodle Content to SOL*R

Overview

Moodle currently (as of May, 2007) does not have the ability to export content in a standards-compliant format that can be previewed in SOL*R and imported into other course management systems.

There are three alternatives available for uploading Moodle content to SOL*R. Each alternative has some limitations.

Three Alternatives

1. Back up content in Moodle and then upload the back-up file to SOL*R.

NOTE: This alternative is not recommended because content cannot be previewed in SOL*R and it can only be imported back into Moodle. Backing up in Moodle produces a zip file containing individual content files (without structure or sequence) in a Moodle-specific format. While content cannot be imported and used by other CMSs, some content could potentially be extracted from the individual files.

2. Upload the Moodle back-up file plus upload a URL that points to the learning resource (with guest access) on your Moodle server.

NOTE: The advantage of this alternative is that it gives users the ability to preview, from SOL*R, what is available within the Moodle learning resource. Content cannot be imported and used by other CMSs, but some content could potentially be extracted from the individual files.

3. Export/download and zip Moodle modules (quiz, book, glossary, etc.) and course files separately, and then upload the zipped files. Detailed instructions for this alternative are contained in the Workaround for Getting Moodle Content into Standards-compliant Format for Contributing to SOL*R.

NOTE: This alternative requires the most effort, but it provides Moodle content in a format that can be used by as many CMSs as possible. Content can be previewed in SOL*R to some extent, depending on how the Moodle course is built.

Workaround for Getting Moodle Content into Standards-compliant Format for Contributing to SOL*R

Contributor

Gina Bennett and Heather Jackson, Education / Technology Centre (ETC), College of the Rockies

Overview

This workaround has been developed because Moodle does not have the ability to export content in a standards-compliant format that can be previewed in SOL*R and imported into other CMSs.

The workaround is one of three alternatives available for contributing Moodle content to SOL*R. It involves exporting/downloading individual Moodle modules, course files, and other types of content separately. Modules and other content are then zipped and uploaded to SOL*R.

For a description of the other alternatives, see the Comparison of Alternatives for Contributing Moodle Content to SOL*R.

Summary of Suggested Workaround Steps

The following workaround can theoretically be used to get Moodle content into a standards-compliant format for use by other CMSs.

NOTE: This is a suggested approach. It has not been tested.

1. Export all quiz questions from Moodle quizzes.

2. Zip the exported quiz questions.

3. Export the Moodle book module(s).

4. Zip the book module .htm files together.

5. Copy assignment text into a Word document (or RTF document) and include any relevant scoring/marking criteria.

6. Export the glossary to an .xml file.

7. Zip and download the remaining course files (found within Moodle “Files”).

8. Ensure all required files are downloaded.

9. Take a screen capture of the Moodle course homepage that shows how the course is structured.

10. Upload the zipped files, assignment document, glossary and the screen capture image to SOL*R.

Detailed Workaround Steps

1. Export all quiz questions from Moodle quizzes.

  • Click Quizzes from the Activities Block and then click Edit Questions.
  • Click Export tab and then choose the Category you wish to export.
  • Choose the export File Format.
  • Change file name (only if desired – this is not required).
  • Click Export questions to file.
  • Click Download the exported category file (this will be a .txt. file).

2. Zip the exported quiz questions.

TIP: When questions are exported from Moodle (using the procedure above), they are exported by category. If there are multiple categories in the course, there will be multiple .txt files. These files could all be zipped together into a single Quiz.zip file to simplify uploading to SOL*R.

3. Export the Moodle book module(s).

NOTE: A book module contains a lot of the course resources (e.g., course notes). Book modules can’t be exported directly, but they can be saved as .htm files and then zipped together for downloading from Moodle. Images may not translate well. Some re-linking may be required.

  • Click Books from the Activities Block on course homepage.
  • Click on the Book link that you wish to download.
  • Click the Print Complete Book icon.
  • If you are a Firefox user, click File > Save page as … and then rename the file to correspond with the book name and click Save.
  • If you are an Internet Explorer 7 user, click Page > Save as and then rename the file to correspond with the book name. Change “Save as type” to Webpage, Complete and then click Save.
  • Repeat for the remaining books.

4. Zip the book module .htm files together.

5. Copy assignment text into a Word document (or RTF document) and include any relevant scoring/marking criteria.

NOTE: There is no way to easily extract assignment information from Moodle. If assignments are in Word or RTF format, the next course user can simply copy the assignment text and paste it into the new CMS. This is not elegant, but it will probably work.

6. Export the glossary to an .xml file.

  • Click from the Activities Block on the course homepage.
  • Click on the glossary name’s link.
  • Click the Export entries tab.
  • Click Export entries to file.
  • Click on the exported file name link (for Internet Explorer) or save to file (Firefox).

7. Zip and download the remaining course files (found within Moodle “Files”).

  • Click Files from the course Administration Block.
  • Select the files and folders you want to keep (see note below).
  • Click the drop-down box “With chosen files”.
  • Select Create zip archive.
  • Download the zip file.

NOTE: Generally, you don’t need to include the “backupdata” or “moddata” folders. They do not contain information that can be extracted.

8. Ensure all required files are downloaded.

NOTE: To download files in Moodle, just click on the file name. There is no actual “Download” or “Export” button for downloading files.

9. Take a screen capture of the Moodle course homepage that shows how the course is structured, as shown below.

Caption: Sample Moodle homepage showing how course is structured

10. Upload the zipped files, assignment document, glossary and the screen capture image to SOL*R.

TIP: Depending on the learning resource you are contributing to SOL*R, there may be a number of files to upload (i.e., quiz, book, assignment, glossary, course files and an image). Each file could be uploaded individually, or they could all be zipped together into one file for ease of uploading to SOL*R.