Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Open Research within the LapSpace - Moodle and Tool functionality

Today I had a meeting with Alex Little who is helping to integrate MSG (a standin name) with Moodle. Essentially MSG is a chat tool that allows one to one simultaneous chat. I think it was developed by Chris Denham. The chat is also temporal in nature in that it is no longer visible after the participants have logged off.

How might it work?

A registered user of a course will have access to a list of other participants on that course. When the user is online and in the LabSpace they will be able to see if there are any other course participants on line at that particular time. They can then chat with one other participant using MSG if they so wish. Group chats might be possible at a later date but in the short term it will just be one to one.

This tool will be embedded into the Moodle structure and only be available in the LabSpace (in the short term at least). Other tools that will also be embedded include Compendium and Flash Meeting. Alex said that it was very unlikely that other tools would be included at this stage.

I am just thinking about what Patrick has said about Wikis and blogs, although there seems to be some blog capability in Moodle - this appears to be limited to journal like recording. Blogs potentially have the ability to provide a record of student or contributor experience. I think that whilst I am playing around with Moodle on my laptop I will try and copy/dublicate this work within the Moodle Blog environment

Getting Moodle to work on my laptop

Moodle is to be used as the platform for the Open Content initiative. The LabSpace part of the OCI will have as part of it a special space dedicated to researching Open Content. As far as it is currently envisioned this will be an Open Space where other Open Content researchers and Open content users can contribute, keeping within the Open Content philosophy. As part of this one of my tasks is to experiment with Moodle in terms of its functionality and consider good ways that it can be used in terms of our research and research in Open Content generally.

The first thing however....getting Moodle onto my laptop so that I could use it. V-.

The difficulty I had was I believe due to the fact that it was not easy to find clear instructions admist the vast amount of information on the Moodle site....the Moodle site also has a lot of technological jargon-like overheads for a new user. I guess this is because many of the first wave of users are also developers and programmers etc., but also in the way that it is assembled. So what would I advise if you wanted to get it onto your laptop to play around with? (Note: the version that you can play around with is not open to the world at large).

1. Know the version you should be downloading - this is likely to be the Window's version


You will need to scroll down to the bottom of the page and choose the current windows package

2. In the end the clearest guide I found to installing it on my laptop was at


You will need to scroll down the page to the heading Windows and follow on from there.

Make sure you unpack the contents into a folder in the root directory. Make a note of your password if you enter one.

3. When you have set up Moodle and you need to log in type admin in the User box and then the password that you may have assigned.

4. Ask for help if you get stuck - you can do this on the Moodle forums or ask a friend.

I would like to thank Juliette White, Alex Little and Karl Rajangam who helped me finally get it running on my laptop.

Note: You may have to set up a login account to access the above links...I'm not sure on this