Earlier today I wrote about installing Moodle on SharePoint, in order to improve the capabilities of the system, and improving the experience for your staff and students. Although I summarised some of the benefits of doing this, I thought it was worth expanding the list out (with the help of my friend and SharePoint MVP Alex Pearce in the UK) to describe some of the things your users will notice. So, when you install Moodle on top of SharePoint, here’s the kind of capabilities you add:
File editing directly in Moodle
Normally, once you have uploaded your file into Moodle the file is stored in a folder on the Moodle server. This is great but it doesn’t allow you to edit the file. By storing the file in a SharePoint document library you can easily find the file, change it and not have to worry about re-uploading the file again.
Versioning documents in Moodle
SharePoint allows you to keep versions of the document you are editing. Over the academic years you may change the file several times, add and delete content but one day you’ll want to go back and view something you deleted. SharePoint will allow you to revert back or just browse previous version. (And this also great for team working, where you can track team changes)
Search Moodle at the same time as your SharePoint
As the files are now being stored in SharePoint, SharePoint will index the files and their content automatically. Using SharePoint as your central place to search you all your academic resources is a great learning tool for the learner to find what they are looking for. And it also means that your central search index on your SharePoint is enhanced – because you can search for documents within and outside of your learning management system with a single search.
Office Web Apps in Moodle
With the Office Web Applications available for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote in SharePoint 2010 it allows documents to be opened in the browser using the web apps. Teachers or students can open documents in the browser, simply make their quick change and save it back to the site without having to upload and download again.
Check-In/Check-Out Documents in Moodle
All these are great but you wouldn’t want your students to see the changes to documents they are using in a course while you making changes. You can check the files out to make changes, make changes over a few minutes, hours, months but until you check the file back in the users will see the original file you want them to see until you are ready to release those changes. (Which means you can start creating next year’s course files without changing this year’s)
SharePoint 2010 Workspaces integrated to Moodle
SharePoint Workspaces allows you to download a document library and make changes from a machine that doesn’t have access to that SharePoint site at the time. In other words you can now make changes to your Moodle course documents offline.
Workflows in Moodle
If you have a process for releasing learning resources to students, you can take advantage of the approval process in SharePoint that will allow another colleague to check the files before you release them to all students. This is pretty important where you have sensitive projects that need some oversight or compliance processes.
Which hopefully convinces you of the value that installing Moodle on SharePoint gives you. And is your next question:
How do you install Moodle on SharePoint?
I’d recommend Alex Pearce’s work again here – he’s written a three part guide to Integrating SharePoint and Moodle, which steps through the specific steps.
- Integrating SharePoint and Moodle- Storing Moodle Docs in SharePoint- Part 1
- Integrating SharePoint and Moodle: Storing Moodle Docs in SharePoint: Part 2
- Integrating SharePoint and Moodle: Storing Moodle Docs in SharePoint: Part 3