Thursday, September 29, 2011

Internet access to your Moodle site slow? Untangle to the rescue!

So you've tweaked your Moodle site's performance until your eyes are red from too much online reading. Your network has no bottlenecks, at least that's what your network engineers says. Your network's running on a fast broadband line. However, no matter what you do, the line is still running slow and your Moodle site's loading slowly. Your organisation doesn't have or can't afford a good hardware firewall. After a while, your network is falling prey to students' bit-torrenting and unmonitored video streaming. Your network's grinding to a halt. What's next? Well how about using Untangle?

Untangle won't improve the speed of your Moodle site - which is either on your own private server or on a Web Hosting company's server. Untangle will help you to block unnecessary website surfing and unproductive protocols like (IM, Peer-to-Peer or gaming services). So in effect, your Internet access is controlled. So when your users surf to a Moodle site, the experience is smoother and faster. The free-version is not fool proof, meaning that there are ways to circumvent the blocks, but there's always the premium package that comes at a monthly fee.

Untangle is a software appliance that manages every aspect of network control from content security to web caching, remote access to policy enforcement, all from one simple, drag & drop command center.

Figure 1: The Untangle solution - it's free unless you install some of the premium modules

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Editing a forum post after the 30 minutes deadline

Today I finally discovered how to modify the maximum allowed time to edit a forum post in Moodle.

I was conducting my Intensive English computer lab class a few days ago. In that class I introduced the class to the joys of forum posting. As the students were posting their replies to my "Introduce Yourself" discussion, I began correcting their grammar by using the Marginalia feature. It soon became apparent that many of the students, upon reading my highlighted corrections, immediately set about editing their posts. Some had already exceeded the maximum of 30 minutes time allowed by the Moodle system to edit their posts. That is the standard in Moodle.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Noodle - and your Moodle site will NEVER, EVER be the same again!

Thanks to this post by Joseph Thibault, I (only) now know about Noodle and UK's National Learning Network (NLN) which is a large repository SCORM-compliant learning objects. And there is a Moodle plugin for the NLN as well! Cool. Actually the NLN Materials GUI browser (Noodle!) was first introduced to the Moodle community in 2008!

So what exactly is Noodle?

"Noodle is a module, downloadable by your Moodle administrator, All which makes it very easy to add NLN Learning Objects to Moodle course pages. By making a streamlined version of this Web site available from within Moodle Itself, it makes adding Learning Objects to a course page as Word documents Easier than adding."
Figure 1: Noodle at work in Moodle.

So what exactly are the NLN materials?

The NLN Materials are small, flexible 'bite-sized' learning objects. They are designed to support other main topic areas. "The materials adopt a range of approaches involving some knowledge acquisition, a chance to practice and absorb, and some form of assessment to check that the learning has been understood and the learning outcome(s) achieved" (from Xtensis Ltd's website).

Funded by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), the NLN materials represent one of the most substantial and wide-ranging collections of e-learning materials in the UK.

 Figure 2: The main menu of the NLN materials as shown inside the N:N browser.
ACL stands for Adult Community Learning.

Friday, September 16, 2011

MP3 Quickie Makeover - a skinnable Version 1.8

Here's what MP3 Quickie looks like now after a Graphical User Interface makeover.
Funkier, if you asked me. It comes in two flavours.

Flavor 1: with PHP File Uploader (commercial uploader with 30-day demo)

Figure 1: With PHP File Uploader.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

MP3 Quickie - Ver1.7 now allows MP3 files downloading to AND uploading from the client computer!

Here's news on my latest work on the MP3 Quickie.

It now incorporates an upload MP3 files button and two selection lists. One selection list is unsorted to show the MP3 files stored on the server in chronological order - it functions as a MP3 playback list. The other selection list is alphabetically sorted for easy single downloading of MP3 filenames. MP3 Quickie now stands at Version 1.7 as of September 2011.


This feature was achieved with version 1.5. At the moment, you can only download MP3 files one at a time.

Figure 1: The download list allows you to download one MP3 at a time.

In earlier development phases, I was able to do multiple selections on the selection list and pass multiple filenames to the download.php file, but alas, only one file was downloaded each time. So we will have to live with single downloads until and unless I can figure out how to do multiple downloads or even download all stored MP3s as a single zipped file.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

MP3 Quickie Version 1.6 now allows you to download your saved MP3 files from the server to your client computer!

Hi there. I've just finished Version 1.6 of MP3 Quickie.

Now the recorder allows you to download your MP3 file directly off a selection drop-down box. In this version, only single downloads are allowed. So if you have 10 MP3 recordings on the server, you'll have to select each one in turn and download each one by one. Still, this is a vast improvement over Version 1.5.

Here's a screenshot:

Sunday, September 4, 2011

OKMindMap - make sibling nodes into a parent-and-child: a simple but not obvious operation

Hi there.

If you're using OKMindMap to build your mindmaps, this is something that may not be obvious to you. How to make two sibling nodes into parent and child node relationship.

I want to go from here:

Saturday, September 3, 2011

MP3 Quickie - a new MP3 voice recorder for Moodle 1.9 and Moodle 2.x to record 20-second "quickies"

I would like to introduce a new MP3 voice recorder for Moodle 1.9 and 2.x. Here it is, sitting pretty on my Moodle coursepage in a Moodle HTML block:

Figure 1. MP3 Quickie Version 1.0

The interface design is "original", but the main underlying code is not. More on that later in this post.

You can try the live demo here:
Username: student
Password: moodle

Friday, September 2, 2011

How to embed an OKMindMap inside your blog or Moodle webpage resource.

Hi. In this post, I will show you how to embed an OKMindMap in your website or Moodle webpage resource or label.

This method is different from adding an OKMindMap activity to your Moodle site as mentioned previously in this post. That was a pretty long post wasn't it? Don't worry, this article is short(er) and sweet(er). The method oulined in this article is quite straight-forward and easier to implement that the OKMindMap activity. The advantage of a Moodle activity is that it can be tracked and logged. Warning: a mindmap embedded (as shown in the sections below) in a Moodle label resource or Moodle webpage resource cannot be logged. With that in mind, let's begin!

The window below is an example of an embedded mindmap. One of my mindmaps saved on It is live.Go ahead click on it. Hold and drag your mouse. Click on the tip of any first level node to expand the child nodes.

Here's the embed code of the above window:

<iframe src="" width="600" height="600" ></iframe>

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