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MODULE 2 : Introduction to Moodle

2.0 MOODLE

2.1 The Early History


At the beginning of the open source concept, lots of parties produced applications such as
Apache server, MySQL and Postgress databases, PHP (preprocessor hypertext) scripting
language and so on.
Linux was emerged during the risen of the open source concept. Most of developers built
their product such as web browser, server, database and server side scripting for internet
application based on Linux technology.
Few years later, the open source application softwares for Windows and Mac were built.
Before this, the operating system such as Windows uses ASP and IIS as server while
Win98 uses PWS. But later, EasyPHP was built to facilitate the application on the
internet. EasyPHP contains php as server side scripting language, MySQL as database
application and Apache server.
Now, most of the developers are using LAMP : Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP or
WAMP : Windows, Apache, MySQL and PHP for the production of any applications.

2.2 Xampp
Xampp is an application that contains Apache, mySQL and phpMyAdmin. Xampp also
can be enhance with other application such as PERL. Xampp can be downloaded from
http://www.apachefriends.org/en/index.html

2.3 Moodle
Moodle is a software package for producing internet-based courses and web sites. It's an
ongoing development project designed to support a social constructionist framework of
education.
The word Moodle was originally an acronym for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic
Learning Environment, which is mostly useful to programmers and education theorists.
It's also a verb that describes the process of lazily meandering through something, doing
things as it occurs to you to do them, an enjoyable tinkering that often leads to insight and
creativity. As such it applies both to the way Moodle was developed, and to the way a
student or teacher might approach studying or teaching an online course. Anyone who
uses Moodle is a Moodler.

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MODULE 2 : Introduction to Moodle

Moodle is provided freely as Open Source software (under the GNU Public License).
Basically this means Moodle is copyrighted, but that you have additional freedoms. You
are allowed to copy, use and modify Moodle provided that you agree to: provide the
source to others; not modify or remove the original license and copyrights, and apply this
same license to any derivative work.
Moodle can be installed on any computer that can run PHP, and can support a SQL type
database (e.g. MySQL). It can be run on Windows and Mac operating systems and many
flavors of linux (e.g. Red Hat or Debian GNU). There are many knowledgeable Moodle
Partners to assist you, even host your Moodle site.

Background
Moodle is an active and evolving work in progress. Development was started by Martin
Dougiamas who continues to lead the project. A number of early prototypes were
produced and discarded before he released version 1.0 upon a largely unsuspecting world
on August 20, 2002. This version was targeted towards smaller, more intimate classes at
University level, and was the subject of research case studies that closely analysed the
nature of collaboration and reflection that occurred among these small groups of adult
participants. Since then there has been steady series of new releases adding new features,
better scalability and improved performance.
As Moodle has spread and the community has grown, more input is being drawn from a
wider variety of people in different teaching situations. For example, Moodle is now used
not only in Universities, but in high schools, primary schools, non-profit organisations,
private companies, by independent teachers and even homeschooling parents. A growing
number of people from around the world are contributing to Moodle in different ways.

Philosophy
The design and development of Moodle is guided by a particular philosophy of learning,
a way of thinking that you may see referred to in shorthand as a "social constructionist
pedagogy". It try to explain in simple terms what that phrase means by unpacking four
main concepts behind it as explained below:

Constructivism
This point of view maintains that people actively construct new knowledge as they
interact with their environment.
Everything you read, see, hear, feel, and touch is tested against your prior knowledge and
if it is viable within your mental world, may form new knowledge you carry with you.
Knowledge is strengthened if you can use it successfully in your wider environment. You
are not just a memory bank passively absorbing information, nor can knowledge be
"transmitted" to you just by reading something or listening to someone.

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This is not to say you can't learn anything from reading a web page or watching a lecture,
obviously you can, it's just pointing out that there is more interpretation going on than a
transfer of information from one brain to another.

Constructionism
Constructionism asserts that learning is particularly effective when constructing
something for others to experience. This can be anything from a spoken sentence or an
internet posting, to more complex artifacts like a painting, a house or a software package.
For example, you might read this page several times and still forget it by tomorrow - but
if you were to try and explain these ideas to someone else in your own words, or produce
a slideshow that explained these concepts, then I can guarantee you'd have a better
understanding that is more integrated into your own ideas. This is why people take notes
during lectures, even if they never read the notes again.

Social Constructivism
This extends the above ideas into a social group constructing things for one another,
collaboratively creating a small culture of shared artifacts with shared meanings. When
one is immersed within a culture like this, one is learning all the time about how to be a
part of that culture, on many levels.
A very simple example is an object like a cup. The object can be used for many things,
but its shape does suggest some "knowledge" about carrying liquids. A more complex
example is an online course - not only do the "shapes" of the software tools indicate
certain things about the way online courses should work, but the activities and texts
produced within the group as a whole will help shape how each person behaves within
that group.

Connected and Separate


This idea looks deeper into the motivations of individuals within a discussion. Separate
behaviour is when someone tries to remain 'objective' and 'factual', and tends to defend
their own ideas using logic to find holes in their opponent's ideas. Connected behaviour is
a more empathic approach that accepts subjectivity, trying to listen and ask questions in
an effort to understand the other point of view. Constructed behaviour is when a person is
sensitive to both of these approaches and is able to choose either of them as appropriate
to the current situation.
In general, a healthy amount of connected behaviour within a learning community is a
very powerful stimulant for learning, not only bringing people closer together but
promoting deeper reflection and re-examination of their existing beliefs.
Once you are thinking about all these issues, it helps you to focus on the experiences that
would be best for learning from the learner's point of view, rather than just publishing
and assessing the information you think they need to know. It can also help you realise
how each participant in a course can be a teacher as well as a learner. Your job as a

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MODULE 2 : Introduction to Moodle

'teacher' can change from being 'the source of knowledge' to being an influencer and role
model of class culture, connecting with students in a personal way that addresses their
own learning needs, and moderating discussions and activities in a way that collectively
leads students towards the learning goals of the class.

Features
Moodle is an active and evolving product. Listed below are just some of the many
features it contains:

1. Overall design

• Promotes a social constructionist pedagogy (collaboration, activities, critical


reflection, etc)

• Suitable for 100% online classes as well as supplementing face-to-face learning

• Simple, lightweight, efficient, compatible, low-tech browser interface

• Easy to install on almost any platform that supports PHP. Requires only one
database (and can share it).

• Full database abstraction supports all major brands of database (except for initial
table definition)

• Course listing shows descriptions for every course on the server, including
accessibility to guests.

• Courses can be categorised and searched - one Moodle site can support thousands
of courses

• Emphasis on strong security throughout. Forms are all checked, data validated,
cookies encrypted etc

• Most text entry areas (resources, forum postings etc) can be edited using an
embedded WYSIWYG HTML editor.

2. Site management

• Site is managed by an admin user, defined during setup

• Plug-in "themes" allow the administrator to customize the site colors, fonts,
layout etc to suit local needs

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• Plug-in activity modules can be added to existing Moodle installations

• Plug-in language packs allow full localisation to any language. These can be
edited using a built-in web-based editor. Currently there are language packs for
over 70 languages.

• The code is clearly-written PHP under a GPL license - easy to modify to suit your
needs

3. User management
Overview

• Goals are to reduce admin involvement to a minimum, while retaining high


security

• Supports a range of authentication mechanisms through plug-in authentication


modules, allowing easy integration with existing systems.

• Standard email method: students can create their own login accounts. Email
addresses are verified by confirmation.

• LDAP method: account logins can be checked against an LDAP server. Admin
can specify which fields to use.

• IMAP, POP3, NNTP: account logins are checked against a mail or news server.
SSL, certificates and TLS are supported.

• Students are encouraged to build an online profile including photos, description.


Email addresses can be protected from display if required.

• Every user can specify their own timezone, and every date in Moodle is translated
to that timezone (e.g. posting dates, assignment due dates etc)

• Every user can choose the language used for the Moodle interface (English,
French, German, Spanish, Portuguese etc)

Enrolment

• Teachers can add an "enrolment key" to their courses to keep out non-students.
They can give out this key face-to-face or via personal email etc

• Teachers can enrol students manually if desired

• Teachers can unenrol students manually if desired, otherwise they are


automatically unenrolled after a certain period of inactivity (set by the admin)

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• External database: any database containing at least two fields can be used as an
external authentication source.

• Each person requires only one account for the whole server - each account can
have different access

• Meta courses can group related courses so participants can interact with each
other

Roles

• Roles for specific participants can be defined for each course

• An admin account controls the creation of courses and creates teachers by


assigning users to courses

• Course creators can create courses, teach in them, and assign others to teacher
roles.

• Teachers are a role in a specific course.

• Non-editing teacher roles are available for adjuncts, and part-time tutors.

4. Course management
Overview

• A full teacher has full control over all settings for a course, including restricting
other teachers

• Choice of course formats such as by week, by topic or a discussion-focussed


social format

• Course Themes. A course can have its own theme of colors and layout.

• Flexible array of course activities - Forums, Quizzes, Glossaries, Resources,


Choices, Surveys, Assignments, Chats, Workshops

• Groups - teacher(s) and students can be placed in one or more groups

• Recent changes to the course since the last login can be displayed on the course
home page - helps give sense of community

• Most text entry areas (resources, forum postings etc) can be edited using an
embedded WYSIWYG HTML editor

• All grades for Forums, Quizzes and Assignments can be viewed on one page (and
downloaded as a spreadsheet file)

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MODULE 2 : Introduction to Moodle

• Full user logging and tracking - activity reports for each student are available with
graphs and details about each module (last access, number of times read) as well
as a detailed "story" of each students involvement including postings etc on one
page.

• Mail integration - copies of forum posts, teacher feedback etc can be mailed in
HTML or plain text.

• Custom scales - teachers can define their own scales to be used for grading
forums and assignments

• Courses can be packaged as a single zip file using the Backup function. These can
be restored on any Moodle server.

Assignment Module

• Assignments can be specified with a due date and a maximum grade.

• Students can upload their assignments (any file format) to the server - they are
date-stamped.

• Late assignments are allowed, but the amount of lateness is shown clearly to the
teacher

• For each particular assignment, the whole class can be assessed (grade and
comment) on one page in one form.

• Teacher feedback is appended to the assignment page for each student, and
notification is mailed out.

• The teacher can choose to allow resubmission of assignments after grading (for
regrading)

Chat Module

• Allows smooth, synchronous text interaction

• Includes profile pictures in the chat window

• Supports URLs, smilies, embedded HTML, images etc

• All sessions are logged for later viewing, and these can also be made available to
students

• Choice Module

• Like a poll. Can either be used to vote on something, or to get feedback from
every student (eg research consent)

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• Teacher sees intuitive table view of who chose what

• Students can optionally be allowed to see an up-to-date graph of results

Forum Module

• Different types of forums are available, such as teacher-only, course news, open-
to-all, and one-thread-per-user.

• All postings have the authors photo attached.

• Discussions can be viewed nested, flat or threaded, oldest or newest first.

• Individual forums can be subscribed to by each person so that copies are


forwarded via email, or the teacher can force subscription for all

• The teacher can choose not to allow replies (eg for an announcements-only
forum)

• Discussion threads can be easily moved between forums by the teacher

• Attached images are shown inline

• If forum ratings are being used, these can be restricted to a range of dates

Glossary Module
Lesson Module

• A lesson is a series of pages which can be presented in a linear fashion, like a


slide show, or in a non-linear, branching manner, or a combination of the two.

• Pages can allow students choices through teacher directed questions or branches

• Offers different scoring and grading potentials

• Navigation through the lesson can be straight forward or complex, logical or


random.

• Lessons can build upon each other through conditional dependencies upon one
another

• Question pages include multiple choice, T/F, numeric, short answer and essay.

• Pages can be imported either as questions in a variety of formats or from


PowerPoints

• Student attempts, time limits, minimum score and retakes can be set.

• Page content is HTML compatible, with a full set of edit tools for the teacher

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• Students may see progress bars, running score, reinforcement to student questions

• Password protected

Quiz Module

• Teachers can define a database of questions for re-use in different quizzes

• Questions can be stored in categories for easy access, and these categories can be
"published" to make them accessible from any course on the site.

• Quizzes are automatically graded, and can be re-graded if questions are modified

• Quizzes can have a limited time window outside of which they are not available

• At the teacher's option, quizzes can be attempted multiple times, and can show
feedback and/or correct answers.

• Quiz questions and quiz answers can be shuffled (randomized) to reduce cheating

• Questions allow HTML and images

• Questions can be imported from external text files

• Quizzes can be attempted multiple times, if desired

• Attempts can be cumulative, if desired, and finished over several sessions

• Multiple-choice questions supporting single or multiple answers

• Short Answer questions (words or phrases)

• True-False questions

• Matching questions

• Random questions

• Numerical questions (with allowable ranges)

• Embedded-answer questions (cloze style) with answers within passages of text

• Embedded descriptive text and graphics

Resource Module

• Supports display of any electronic content, Word, Power Point, Flash, Video,
Sounds etc. that are stored locally, or remotely

• Files can be uploaded and managed (zipped, unzipped, renamed, moved, etc..) on
the server

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• Folders can be created and managed on the server and linked to

• Internal web pages (html formatted) can be created with WYSIWYG editor and
linked to

• Internal text pages (no formatting) can be created and linked to

• External content on the web can be linked to or seamlessly included within the
course interface.

• External web applications can be linked to with data passed to them

• Linked MP3 audio files will display with elegant flash player

Survey Module

• Built-in surveys (COLLES, ATTLS) have been proven as instruments for


analysing online classes

• Online survey reports always available, including many graphs. Data is


downloadable as an Excel spreadsheet or CSV text file.

• Survey interface prevents partly-finished surveys.

• Feedback is provided to the student of their results compared to the class averages

Wiki Module
Workshop Module

• Allows peer assessment of documents, and the teacher can manage and grade the
assessment.

• Supports a wide range of possible grading scales

• Teacher can provide sample documents for students to practice grading

• Very flexible with many options.

2.4 Moodle Installation


Complete install packages for Moodle are available from Moodle Downloads, located on
a tab for each of the operating systems. The packages are designed for new installations
on a server or standalone computer.

System Requirements
+ 256 MB RAM (minimum), 512 MB RAM (recommended)

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+ 160 MB free Fixed Disk (more space will be needed depending on user uploads)
+ Windows 98/ME (minimum)
+ Windows NT/2000/XP (recommended)

2.4.1 Installation of Complete Package Instruction


First, install Apache, MySQL, phpMyAdmin via Xampp
Step 1: Download the packed-zip file from Moodle and Xampp from
http://www.apachefriends.org/en/index.html

Step 2: Install Xampp. Select prefered language. Click OK button.

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Step 3 : Select destination folder. Eg.: C:\xampp

Step 4 : Tick all the services section : Apache server, MySQL database and Filezilla
(FTP). Click Install button.

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Step 5 : When installation is done, click Finish button.

Step 6 : If any errors occur, just ignore and click OK towards the end. This problem
caused by security purposes. To correct the problem, we can start the selected service
later.

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Step 7 : When installation is successfull, click Yes button.

Step 8 : Click Start button for Apache service to overcome previous error. No need to
tick the first Svc box. **No need to do anything if Apache, MySQL and FileZilla are successful
running.

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Step 9 : To check your Xampp either it is successful running or not, start a browser. Type
http://localhost or http://127.0.0.1. Select your language.

Step 10 : This is the webpage to configure the system. Set the security perimeter here by
clicking security hyperlink.

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Step 11 : Scrolldown the webpage and click http://localhost/security/xamppsecurity.php

Step 12 : Configure your password here. Leave it blank if you want to discard the existed
password. Click password changging button. **You can skip this part if you don`t plan to set any
password. Please memorize this password.

Step 13 : If you want to built a website, all the documents should be put in
c:\xampp\htdocs folder properly and well organised. If you want to access your website,
just type http://localhost/<mainpageofyourwebsite>

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Step 14 : Before installing moodle, you have to create a database. The database can be
setup and configured by using phpMyAdmin. phpMyAdmin lets user configures database
in the server through the website. To go to phpMyAdmin, just type
http://localhost/phpmyadmin

Step 15 : Create your database name, for example “moddledb”. **Memorize this name and
click Create button. If you are lost, just click the HOME button on the left side menu.

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Step 16 : Your database is created! Next, install moodle.

Step 17 : Copy moodle *.zip file into your computer. **Up to you where do you want to copy
the folder.

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Step 18 : Extract the file into c:/xampp/htdocs

Step 19 : Open a browser and go to http://localhost/moodle . Select your language and


click Next button.

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Step 20 : Make sure everything is PASS and click Next button towards the end.

Step 21 : Confirm the location of the moodle installation. Normally the location is in
http://localhost/moodle. Give a name to your data directory (example :
c:\xampp/datasaya). **WARNING : Don`t put your data directory in the htdocs folder to avoid
unauthorised data access through the website.

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Step 22 : Insert your database type (MySQL), host server (localhost), database (similar
like the name that you used during database configuration before), user id (root) and
password (if any). Leave the table prefix as mdl_.
If you are just going to use it for local testing, then use 'localhost'. If you are going to test
the new installation on a LAN, and will be accessing it from other machines on that LAN,
then put the private IP address or network name of the serving machine, followed by a
forward slash and moodle: Host Server - 192.168.1.1/moodle. If you are going to test the
installation on the internet, then you will need to put the public ip address followed by a
forward slash and moodle: your_ip_address/moodle or you can put your domain name
here instead.
In the next fields, we enter the database settings. The fields are populated with some
suggested values.
We strongly recommend you place a user name and password in this screen. (Don't
forget them).
**THE USAGE OF “ROOT” USER WITHOUT A PASSWORD FOR PRODUCTION INSTALLATIONS
COULD CREATES A SECURITY VULNERABILITY

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Step 23 : Check the server. Green means OK and Yellow means CHECK. RED means
corrupt and you have to find where the corrupt part is. Click Next button.

Step 24 : Click Next button to download language pack for your Moodle.

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Step 25 : Configuration now is completed. Click Continue button.

Step 26 : Read the terms and conditions of the usage. Click Yes button.

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Step 27 : Leave the Unattended operation box untick. Click Continue button.

Step 28 : The system is doing the configuration for the moodle module automatically.
Just click the Continue button towards the end.

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Step 29 : Fill in the administrator account. Click Update Profile button.

Step 30 : Set your Moodle frontpage display here. Click Save Change button.

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Step 31 : Your moodle is done! Click the Turn Editing On button to edit your Moodle
interface.

2.5 Security Matters


As mentioned before, Xampp is not meant for production use but only for developers in a
development environment. The way Xampp is configured is to be open as possible and
allowing the developer anything he/she wants. For development environments this is
great but in a production environment it could be fatal. Here a list of missing security in
XAMPP.
The MySQL administrator (root) has no password. The MySQL daemon is accessible via
network. phpMyAdmin is accessible via network. Examples are accessible via network.
To fix most of the security weaknesses simply call the following URL:
http://localhost/security/
The root password for MySQL + phpMyAdmin and also a Xampp directory protection
can be established here.

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