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Moodle is an online tool that allows educators to interact with students outside the classroom and manage a course from anywhere. In Moodle Essential Training for Teachers, Chris Mattia shows how this program works for teachers on three levels: disseminating information, creating a forum where ideas are exchanged, and assessing the progress of students. Chris shows how to build course materials with Moodle's HTML editor, post assignments, and save time by using Moodle's grade book to evaluate tests automatically and organize scores. Exercise files accompany the course.
To install a Moodle server on Mac OS X, we are already at moodle.org/downloads in our Firefox browser and we are going to simply find the Moodle for Mac OS X section on this page and we are going to click on the link, Moodle for Mac OS X. When you get to this page, there is some general information about the package installers for Mac OS X at the top and then if you scroll down to the section on Mac OS X Moodle Distributions, you will see that there is a lot of different choices you have.
Moodle is constantly being updated and improved and every week there is a new build that is created that has all the new source code added to it. The version that we are going to be using for this training title is Version 1.9.4+ and it's the most current version available of Moodle learning management system. Over on the right-hand side, you want to make sure that you are getting the Moodle for Mac OS X 1.9 with MAMP 1.7.1. Now this is only going to work for Mac OS 10.4 and 10.5. If you are using an older version of Mac OS X, there is another version down here that will work for those operating systems. But we are using the current version; we are using Leopard Mac OS 10.5 and we are using an Intel based Mac. So we are going to go ahead and click on the link for Download. Now if you are using a PowerPC, go ahead and click on the Download link for PowerPC. This is going to download the disk image file for Moodle. So go ahead and make sure it's set to Save File and click OK and the file should go ahead and download to your Desktop.
Once the file finishes downloading, go ahead and close the Downloads link and we can go ahead and close our browser window. Now on our Desktop, we should have a file Moodle4Mac-Intel-19A.dmg, go ahead and double-click that file and it should open up the disk image for Moodle. Now to install MAMP, it's really easy. Simply grab the MAMP folder that's inside of this disk image file and drag it on to the Applications folder. When you drop it in there, MAMP is going to get copied. Now what is MAMP? MAMP is Mac, Apache, MySQL, and PHP; all in one, all of those different servers and services are all installed and configured for you.
There is also a fully installed and configured Moodle installation inside of this folder as well. So we simply have to wait for the file to copy then double-click on the Applications folder. Go ahead and close that back window and now we are going to scroll down on our list of applications until we find the folder called MAMP. Once we find the MAMP folder, there is two files that we are going want to use all the time. So we'll go ahead and add those to our dock right now. The first file is the MAMP applications, we'll grab that, drag it down to our dock and we'll go ahead and insert that into our dock. And we are also going to add the Link to Moodle down to our dock, so that we don't have to worry about finding that again. Now the Link to Moodle is in actual document. So that's going to go to the right side of our little bar here.
Let's go ahead and close this Finder window and we'll launch MAMP by clicking on it now in our dock. We get a pop- up that's telling us that MAMP is an application that we have downloaded from the Internet. Yes, we are well aware of that so we are going to go ahead and say Open. And MAMP will automatically launch its Control Panel and then launch an Apache web server, a MySQL database server and a full instance of PHP. Once all of this is up and running, and you see the screen. That means your installation went successful and all of your services are running properly. We can go ahead and close this window.
So in your MAMP Control Panel, if you need to stop the MAMP server, you can simply do so by clicking the Stop Servers button. After the servers stop, if you need to restart them, you can always launch the MAMP application again or click the Start Servers button. Stop Servers will become Start Servers again. And come back down to our dock and now click on the Link to Moodle. We are presented with the full Moodle learning management system up and running and fully configured. Now you could stop right here but the default installation for Mac OS X has a lot of extra customization that is not needed throughout the rest of this training series. So what we are going to do is go in and tweak the settings for the Mac OS X Install so that it looks like what every other operating system would see if you were to sit down at any other system after a clean install of the Moodle learning management system.
So to begin configuring Moodle so that you will be able to follow along easily for the rest of this title, let's go ahead and log in. In the upper right-hand corner, you will see the login space. It's already added the username of admin and we can see on screen that that admin password has been set to 12345. So we'll type that in and we click the Login button. We are now logged in as the administrator. So the first thing we are going to want to do is we are going to want to set the default theme to be formal white.
To do that, move over to the lower- left corner, under the block for Site Administration and find the Appearance folder. Click on the link for Appearance then click on the link for Themes. Next, click on the link for Theme Selector. You are presented with a lot of different themes. The theme that we are going to use for this training title is called formal_white. So scroll down until you find formal_white and simply click the Choose button. You will see that the overall look and feel of Moodle looks ever so slightly different. Click the Continue button to fully activate the theme.
Next, we are going to adjust the front page settings so that it shows all of the courses that we are going to be creating right on the front page. To do that, come back down to your Site Administration in the lower left-hand corner and click on the link for Front Page. Next click on the link for Front Page settings. Here we are going to go ahead and we are going to rename the Full site name. You can call this whatever you'd like. For this training title, we are going to be using a Full site name of Lynda University. The short name for our site is going to be just simply lyndaU. Under the Front Page Description, we'll go ahead and select all the text that's inside of this box and we are just going to type in, Welcome to Lynda University! We'll scroll down a little bit, in the blank for Front Page, we'll click the dropdown menu and choose List of courses. For Front Page items while logged in, we are also going to set the top item to List of courses. Go ahead and scroll down to the very bottom of the page and click the Save Changes button.
Now when you go back to the upper-left corner, and you click on the link for lyndaU, we are taken back to the homepage and we can see that all of our available courses are listed right here on the front page. We have two more quick steps. The next one is to get rid of this large image here and to do that, we are going to come up to the upper-right corner and click Turn editing on. We are going to scroll down to just below this big image and there is a small icon of a hand holding a pencil. Go ahead and click that link and now just select everything inside of this HTML editor, hit the Delete key on your keyboard and click the Save Changes button.
Now when we go back, we don't have that large image taking up all the space so we can clearly see all the information that we have. The final step is to go ahead and move this Course/Site Description over here to the upper right-hand corner, so to look like a default installation of Moodle. To do that, use the right-hand arrow to click and it will move that block to the lower right. Then we'll just simply use the Up arrow on that block to move it several times up to the top of the right-hand column. We'll click on the Turn editing off option, and now our Moodle installation has been completely set up and configured to look like a default installation of any different operating system.
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