Offline Moodle

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Offline Moodle is a joint project between the Open University (UK) and Intel. We presented our current developments at the Moodle Moot 2007 and were able to demonstrate a working proof of concept that downloads Moodle courses from a remote server on to a mobile device which runs an Offline version of Moodle.

The Offline Moodle concept aims for simplicity in all aspects so a lot of thought has gone into ensuring it is as easy to develop and maintain as it is to use. We have a lot to say and will endeavour to add to this wiki as the project progresses. In the meantime please visit the other places that we have been using to get everyone involved and explain what we're trying to achieve.

Contents

Articles

Where can I find out more?

The project was introduced to the Moodle community in the forums at http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=71136

A Moodle course has been set up at http://hawk.aos.ecu.edu/moodle2/course/view.php?id=22 as a central place to find out about current developments and get involved in the development process.

I've just come across this fascinating article by Adobe on the current mobile environment. The environment is constantly evolving and this is quite a recent and in depth exploration of the topic. I discovered it while reading about Jolongo, another Offline Moodle being developed by a team in Latin America.

Why do we need an offline version of Moodle?

There are many opinions for and against an offline version. I put some of my thoughts into a blog article to put my thoughts in print and invite comments. http://colchambers.blogspot.com/2008/06/is-offline-moodle-really-worth-hassle.html

Assumptions of Offline Moodle

An Offline Moodle represents, among other things, significant security and privacy challenges. For this reason we have defined a set of assumptions we are using to guide our development to ensure the application and its supporting processes maintain a high level of security and privacy where appropriate.


The information from the client or the server must be verified and checked at all times before being used. Why?

  • Cross site scripting
  • Trojans, viruses
  • Machines altering data in the middle of it’s transfer
  • Ip spoofing


Information must pass through filters before being sent or used. Why?

  • Data protection: passwords, contact details
  • Copyright issues
  • Security issues


The host device must be able to run Offline Moodle with as little modification as necessary. Why?

  • Ease of use: plug and play functionality leads to convenience and simplicity
  • Ease of support: The less changes made the less there is to go wrong


The Offline Moodle files must all be contained in one place. Why? Ease of support: reinstallation becomes much easier


Offline Moodle runs in its own self contained environment. Why?

  • users can make changes to their Offline Moodle and underlying files but this is at their own risk.


It must be very easy to backup and restore the entire Offline Moodle. Why?

  • Protection of work stored in Offline Moodle
  • Makes for a simple reinstall
  • Portability of content


It must be very simple to reinstall. Why?

  • Reduces support overhead
  • Backup, reinstall, restore is simple for users to follow and fix issues themselves


It must be very simple for a helpdesk or faculty to support.

  • To reduce support headaches the recommended procedure for the majority of technical issues should be backup existing data, reinstall Offline Moodle, restored data.
  • Standard pre written Moodle documentation should be used to educate users on effective Moodle use. The need for extra documentation must be minimised.
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