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In this course, author Chris Mattia helps educators create online courses that complement classroom-based instruction and foster student interaction using the free learning management system Moodle. The course details the basics of setting up a test environment, disseminating course information, creating forums, and assessing student progress. Tutorials on building course materials with Moodle's built-in HTML editor, preparing and posting various types of media, uploading assignments, and evaluating tests automatically are also included.
Since this is Moodle Essential Training for Teachers, we are not going to go into a very deep dive into administering your Moodle server. So we are not going to go into how to upgrade Moodle or go into any of the very fine settings. There are tons of those available to you. But we just need to go through and make a few more tweaks, just to make sure that everything is up and running properly on our server. We've already been able to log out and log back in, so make sure you are logged in as the admin user. You can see that up here in the upper right. If you are logged in yourself, I'll go ahead and log out and log back in as Admin.
Then scroll on down to the left-hand side, and we need to make just a few more setting changes. Go into the Site Administration link and scroll on down until you find the Plugins section. Go ahead and hit Plugins, and now we want to go down to Activity modules, so go ahead and hit Activities, and we want to look at the Assignments configuration. Now this is the way that most of the functionality of Moodle is managed. You just simply navigate through the menu structure, you find the area that you want to administer, and most of the items have a user interface dropdown menu to be able to control them.
So in this case the maximum upload size for an assignment is by default in this installation set to 1 megabyte. Well, we have 128 megs available to us, so we will go ahead and set that up. This is a setting that's going to be set by your IT department at your institution, depending on the amount of storage space available to your Moodle server. If you find out that the size of the files that you need to upload are larger than what's available, you may need to contact your IT department to find out if they can boost up the maximum size for assignments.
So here we made a setting change, and let's go ahead and hit the Save changes to activate that change. Now let's go into one other admin feature here. Let's go again in the Activity modules section, and I want you to come down here to Forum. Go ahead and click on the Forum link, and now we want to go in and scroll down--let's see. Where'd it go? There it is, Maximum attachment size 500 kilobytes. This is really conservative. We don't need to have this set quite that low. Again, go ahead for the training videos and let's set it up to 128 megs. Depending on what your IT department has set, it may be higher or lower than that.
And the last thing that we want to go ahead and make a setting change for is the Maximum number of attachments. Right now, it's only set to 1, and that's a little bit restrictive for some users, where it's a very good idea to have students to be able to post lots of material into the discussion forums and generate a lot of discussion. We will go ahead and set that up for 9 for now, and let's go ahead and scroll all the way down to the bottom and hit Save changes. Now let's go ahead and make a few more activity module setting changes.
The next thing we want to do is go ahead and click on Manage activities here under the Activity modules section, and you want to make sure that all of your activities are turned on. Now on the Mac version all they should be turned on for you. But the way to make sure that things are turned on is you use this Show Hide column where the little eyeball is. So for instance, for Feedback if I click on that eye, you can see that the eye turns off and it's disabled this Activity module. Well, to turn it back on, all we have to do is click the little eye again and make sure that that eye is showing. So you just want to make sure that all of these are turned on, and this is the way that you turn on or off all activity modules.
The next thing that we want to do is we want to check our filters. So we are going to come back over here to the Settings section. We are still under Plugins, but now we want to scroll down a little bit until we find the Filters section. So go ahead now and click on Filters and then click on the link for Manage filters. Now this is the other way that Moodle manages some of its Setting changes. Here instead of having the eye icon, we have a dropdown menu that allows us to set a particular plugin to be Disabled; Off, but Available; or On. So you want to make sure that the following ones are turned on on your server, and depending on the platform that you are working on, they may or may not be turned on for you automatically.
So we want to make sure that Multimedia plugins is active and set to On. We want to make sure Display emoticons as images is set to On, TeX notation, or T-e-X notation is set to On, and Glossary auto-linking should also be set to On. Now the order in which these appear here is not really very important. The Apply to should still all be set to Content. Okay, that gets all of those set. Now let's go ahead and set up some user setting changes.
So we will come over here and we are going to go ahead and click on Users, and then we are going to click on Permissions. And now we want to come down to this option here, Define roles. Go ahead and click on Define roles, and this shows you all of the different roles that are currently available on the Moodle system. And the way that this works is when any user first logs into Moodle they are considered to be an authenticated user. Then once they go into a course, they can continue to gain additional roles throughout that course, their roles could change depending on the course they are in, or they could have some of these main system roles of Manager or Course creator that allow even additional permissions.
But what we want to do for this training is we want to turn on some additional functions that are currently turned off in the Authenticated users area, and so what we want to do is come over here on the right-hand side and look for the little hand with the Pencil icon and click one time on that. This brings up the Editing role for 'Authenticated user.' So go ahead and scroll down just a little bit. Don't change any of the base information up there. What you do want to do is you want to first of all click on the Show advanced button, and this is going to refresh our screen, and it's going to show a whole bunch more options when we scroll down.
So let's go ahead and scroll down a little bit, and here we can see the basic way that the permissions are set up for users. They have the Capability column and then what the permission actually is, and there is a Not set, and Allow, Prevent, and Prohibit. And then there is a little indicator over here that tells us for each of these settings what are the potential risks. This is normally something that your IT department would be managing, but since you are going to be setting up this local server for yourself, these are the permissions that we are going to have to adjust.
Now don't go in and just allow everything. That would not be the appropriate way to do this. Now you should also note that since Moodle is open source and its code is constantly changing, by the time you've downloaded a copy of Moodle and installed it, the list of the Settings options that appear here may not be exactly the same, nor in the same order in which I'm showing them to you here on screen. But just go ahead and make sure that the settings that I show you how to change are the ones that you go ahead and change. What we want to do is we want to look for some very specific setting.
So on your keyboard, you can press Command+F or Ctrl+F to bring up the Find functionality for your browser, and what we want to do is we want to simply go ahead and search for repository, so start typing Repositories. What it will do is it will start jumping down in the list to where the repositories permissions are located. The first one that it found for me is Repository: Legacy course files. That's not the one we are looking for, so we will go ahead and hit the Next button and we will jump down to there.
Keep hitting Next until you get down to where it says Repository: Alfresco repository. And what we are going to do is we are going to turn a bunch of these on. The first one that we are going to turn on is down here. It's called Repository Dropbox. Make sure that's set to Allow. Then we are going to check Allow for file system, for Flickr, for Flickr public, scrolling down a little bit Google Docs, Allow, Server files, Allow, keep scrolling down, Picasa web album, Allow, Recent files, Allow, keep on coming down here, Allow Upload a file.
This is the really important one. We've got to make sure that this is turned on. URL downloader. Private files should be On, webDAV, we can turn that On, Wikimedia, and finally YouTube videos. That's a whole bunch of different settings that we just turned on. This is not turning on all of these functions throughout the entire system. All this means is that any authenticated user, if these repositories--and we will go into what repositories are in a later movie-- if these repositories have been turned on within the Moodle server, then any authenticated user would be able to see the functionality without having to be in a specific course.
There are a lot of discussions online about whether or not students should have access to all these functionalities. That's up to your individual institution, but for the purpose of this training, we are going to go ahead and turn all these on. Now go ahead and scroll all the way down to the bottom and click the Save changes button. Now let's go up and make another setting change. Come up here to the top and click on the Allow role switch. This tab allows you to control which roles a particular type of user is allowed to see while they are working inside of Moodle.
The role that we want to adjust is the Teacher role. And if we come over to the Student column, I want to make sure that the box for Student is checked. This way, as the teacher, you will be able to see what a student sees at any point and then change your role back to yourself. Go ahead and scroll down to the bottom and click the Save changes button. When the page refreshes you can return back to the main page of your site by clicking on the Home link, then go ahead and log out by clicking the Logout button, and then log back in as yourself, and then we'll be ready to carry on with the rest of the title.
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