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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.
To get started using Moodle, you're going to need a couple of things. First of all, you're going to need a web browser, and you're going to need an Apache web server, you're going to need a MySQL database, and a current copy of Moodle. Now that may sound like a lot stuff, but it's really pretty easy. The first one to tackle though is your web browser, and for this I would really suggest using Firefox. There are a variety of different browsers out there. The open standards browsers such as Firefox, Safari, and Chrome all work quite well within Moodle.
Internet Explorer, on the other hand, your experience may vary, depending on what you click on, which version of Internet Explorer that you have. So for the purposes of this training video I really suggest you have a copy of Firefox and if you don't have a copy of it, you can simply go to www.firefox.com and download a current copy and install it on your machine. The next thing you're going to need is you're going to need all of those servers and everything else, and that's quite easy as well. All you need to do is go to moodle.org in your browser, and this'll take you to the Moodle project homepage, and this is where all the information about Moodle is.
You'll find forums. You'll find all of the help documents. You'll find everything you need to know about Moodle within this site. So in order to get your copy of Moodle, you can come on down here to the lower right-hand corner and there is a link to Downloads. Go ahead and can click on that link and this is where all of the Moodle distribution packages are located. This page is split up so that the top part has all of the standard Moodle packages. Now this is primarily used for servers that are going to be running as your institutional Moodle installations.
We're not going to be using the standard Moodle install packages. If you scroll down a little bit further, you'll see that there are Moodle install packages for Mac OS X and for Windows. So in the next couple of movies we'll step through the individual installations and setup for both Windows and Mac OS X. If we scroll down a little bit further on this page, you'll notes that there are few other options here on the Download section. There's the Modules and plugins section and these are extensions that have been written by third-party developers or members of the Moodle community and they've made these plug-ins and modules available to you.
There are some really great tools in here. I suggest you go in and spend some time looking around at all of the various different pools that are really available to you that the Moodle community has produced. The next section here is Themes. Now themes are the user interface, or the skins of Moodle, that make Moodle look various different ways. There are a variety of different themes that have been included with all of the standard Moodle packages that we're going to install, and we'll even explore a few of those themes in a later movie and show you how you can do a little bit of customization. But more than likely at your institution your institution will have created or designed or adopted their own theme to be able to use.
So we're going to use one standard theme for this training to keep everybody together. The final section down here are the Language packs, and if you need to have Moodle support a particular language, you may want to come in here and check out and see if a language pack is available for your target language. I'm going to go ahead and scroll back up here, so we can see our two distributions: Mac OS X and Windows. I did mention that there were two other things that you're going to need. You're going to need an Apache web server and you're going to need a MySQL database. Well, the folks at Moodle have done a fantastic job of creating these install packages, the one for Mac OS X and the one for Windows, because they've included a full Apache web server and a full MySQL database, and they have most of the configuration already done and set up.
So installation is very easy. Everything you need is going to be within just a couple of clicks. Now there is one other option for you if you don't want to go through the process of installing your own Moodle installation, if you are at an institution that already has Moodle running as your learning management system. You can contact your IT department and simply ask them to set up a test course for you and go ahead and use that test course. Now more than likely your interface is going to look different than what it is that I'm showing you in the training videos simply because your institution probably has their own custom theme, but you will be able to follow along provided they're running the current version of Moodle 2.1 or later.
In the next two movies, I'm going to show you how to install and configure Moodle for Mac OS X and then in the following two movies will be for Windows, and then we'll all meet back together and continue our configuration.
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