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PoodLL repository

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This repository allows you to record audio or video directly into your Moodle HTML areas. It also allows students to draw pictures or take webcam "snaps." The widget repository allow students to add "PoodLL widgets" such as stopwatches and flashcards to Moodle activities.

The PoodLL repository uses custom audio/video recorders for recordings. Users with tablets and mobile devices will be presented with a different screen allowing them take videos/photos from their device and upload them. Both Flash and HTML5 versions are available for all of the non recording widgets, e.g flashcards and stopwatch.

Audio recording is done using a standalone MP3 recorder. Video recordings are done via the PoodLL Red5 server hosted at Amazon's EC2 facility which is set up to handle even firewalled connections. It is also possible to do audio recordings in this way.

The PoodLL filter must also be installed to run this repository

Installing PoodLL

PoodLL needs to be installed mod by mod. Though there are 9 mods in total, in practice you only need to install the mods you plan to use. In all cases however you will need to install the PoodLL filter, because this contains the core functionality that all the other mods require.

NB. Previously we did supply a bundle containing all the mods. But it has been discontinued. If you really prefer that way, and you are a system admin type, you can use a script to automate the installation and update of the plugins. See Git PoodLL.

There are three main ways to install PoodLL plugins(or any plugin).

  • Auto install via
  • Upload plugin files to your site
  • Use git from the command line to "pull" the plugin into your site

Auto install via

Since Moodle 2.5 it has been possible to auto install plugins. This is the simplest way to install the plugins, but it does assume that your Moodle server has been set up to support this. Basically your Moodle server will need to have internet access and the directories into which the plugins will be copied, must be writeable by the web server. Moodle will pretty soon complain if either of those is not the case. So the simplest way to check is just to try it.

Basically from your Moodle site, you launch the plugins page. Then you search for the plugin you want. After clicking the "install" button on that page, you will be returned to your site and the installation will begin. See Installing add-ons for more information.

Upload the plugin files to your site

First you will need to download the plugin zip file either from or The urls for each plugin are listed on the downloads section on this site. It is probably easier to use the zip file from because you won't need to rename the plugin's folder name, and the download link is easier to see. Then either

  • Unzip the plugin and upload the files into the correct folder on your Moodle server via ftp
  • OR
  • drag and drop the zip file to the auto installer on your Moodle site.

Be sure to read the "readme" file before you install. It will tell you the location of the installation folder for that particular PoodLL plugin.

Use git from the command line to "pull" the plugin into your site

First of all you will need command line access to your Moodle server. If you don't have that, or you don't know what that means, this is not the best method for you. (Even shared hosts line Blue Host and Hostmonster will provide you with command line access via SSH. You just need to apply for it.) For more information on this see: Git PoodLL.

PoodLL Configuration

Now you need to do a little configuration. Immediately after installing a plugin Moodle should guide you through an installation wizard. If this doesn't occur then make sure you are logged in as adminstrator, and click “notifications” in the site administration block. The final page of the installation wizard is a page which shows all the settings of the newly installed/updated plugins. If the installed plugin has no settings, you will not see a settings page. For the most part the default settings for the PoodLL plugins will be sufficient. But it is worth familiarizing yourself with each plugin's settings. These are laid out in the documentation for each plugin.

Following installation however, some plugins need to be enabled. This is not part of the installation wizard. So you will need to do it manually. The plugins that require enabling are the PoodLL Filter, the PoodLL Repository, and PoodLL Anywhere.

Troubleshooting PoodLL

We have made PoodLL as easy to set up as we could. But there is no hiding the fact that recording audio and video to some extent means complexity. Some of the problems users encounter are:

On Google Chrome my webcam and microphone don't work. I just get nothing.

Google Chrome is implementing webrtc, a way of capturing audio/video without Flash. So they have added their own webcam/mic permissions popup. The problem is that it is so hard to see that most people don't notice it. When you load a page with a recorder, check for a little bar beneath the address bar of your Google Chrome browser that asks you for permission to use the webcam/microphone..

Suddenly my audio/video player disappear when I click them, and I get an error message about a missing file.

Moodle also uses the flowplayer, but a different version. I think sometimes the different flowplayer javascript helper files clash. Set the flowplayer embed type to "swfobject" on the PoodLL filter settings page. That is the default and much more reliable.

I record audio, but when I play it back it is garbled /chipmunked/ squeaky/strange.

This sometimes occurs, noticeably on Chrome on Mac. Try setting the "rate" on the settings page for the audio recorder to "44." If that solves it, make that the default on the PoodLL filter settings page.

I upgraded Moodle 2.3 (2.4) and now my PoodLL Recording questions show blank screens.

Moodle sneaked in an API change in Jan/Feb 2013. If you upgrade PoodLL to the latest version, it will solve it.

I am trying PoodLL Pairwork, but it keeps thinking I am someone else. Sometimes we all appear as the same user.

In Moodle 2.4 this is more noticeable. It is a problem with filter caching. The solution is to turn off filter caching. Go to: Site Administration -> Plugins -> Filters ->Common Filter Settings There set "Text Cache Lifetime" to "no."

The same audio/video player sometimes fails to load, or doesn't respond to a click.

In Moodle 2.4 this is more noticeable. It is a problem with filter caching. The solution is to turn off filter caching. Go to: Site Administration -> Plugins -> Filters ->Common Filter Settings There set "Text Cache Lifetime" to "no."

After recording audio, I see 2 audio players instead of one.

This can happen as a result of "double filtering." If the PoodLL filter and Moodle's Multimedia Plugins filter both filter the same text you get two players. This should be fixed if you make sure the the PoodLL filter is higher in the list of filters (Site Administration->Plugins->Filters->Manage filters ). You should purge the cache after doing this. If the problem continues you can tell the Multimedia filter not to handle MP3/FLV/MP4 etc at Site administration->Appearance->Media embedding . Alternatively you can tell PoodLL not to handle those files on the PoodLL filter settings page.

Some of my PoodLL widgets and players don't show. Instead I get a funny looking line of text.

Make sure your PoodLL filter is enabled in the Moodle filter settings. Also check it is higher than the Moodle Multimedia filter in the list. Also be aware that if the "Activity names auto-linking" filter is enabled, and you have a page on your site called "PoodLL" it might try and turn the PoodLL filter string into a link. That would mess up the filter parsing. In that case just keep PoodLL higher in the filter list, or don't name pages/activities after simple PoodLL words like "PoodLL," or "Stopwatch."

I record audio in a recording question or assignment, but it won't play back. (Simple problem, quick solution)

If you are "Auto Converting to MP3" (see PoodLL Filter Settings page), or using the "PoodLL MP3 Recorder" be sure to set the default A/V player on the PoodLL Filter Settings page to Flowplayer. The "PoodLL player" doesn't play back MP3.

I record audio, but it won't play back. If I record video, the audio is fine. (Not so simple problem, several solutions)

There is a bug in some recent flash player versions, that prevents playback of audio only recordings. We have confirmed this on flash players,,11.2.233 and 11.2.235 . The best solution is to upgrade your Flash version to the latest. The bug was fixed in Flash Player 11.3 If that is not an option, other possible solutions are:

  • On PoodLL Filter Settings page, set the PoodLL Server RTMP port to 1935 (your firewall may block this however).
  • Check "Autoconvert to MP3" on the PoodLL Filter Settings page. After you save your recording, it will be converted, and will play back.

I upgraded from Moodle 1.9 and now new recordings don't play back.

There is a setting on the PoodLL filter settings page "use course id." Make sure that is unchecked, and try again.

I can't seem to record any audio. Even when I record video, there is no audio.

Right click on the PoodLL audio or video recorder and from the flash options that appear choose "settings." In the microphone tab, do you see your microphone? Is the volume meter showing anything? If it is not you will need to check your microphone settings. Possible problems include:

  • having two devices, and the wrong one being selected.
  • the volume for the device being too low
  • the "silence level" setting is too high. See the audio/video callibration screencast or the poodll filter settings documentation
  • the device not being plugged in
  • the flash microphone capture permissions being set to "deny" Right click the recorder and set them to "allow."

When I record video/audio and save it, I get a strange video/audio saying "no file found."

Your recording connection(RTMP or RTMPT) is probably not working properly. Check the PoodLL filter settings page, and note the PoodLL Server Port RTMP setting. If you are using the server it should be set to 80 by default. If you are not blocked by a firewall, you can also use port 1935 here. Port 1935 is always a better option, if it is not blocked by a firewall. It is also possible that your connection to the internet is poor. If the green lamp is not showing on the recorder (ie it is yellow or red) then you do not have a connection at all. Later versions of PoodLL will try different ports automatically until a good connection is made. To enable this, make sure "try diff. ports if can't connect" is checked.

I record audio/video but when I save it, I get a strange video saying "file contains no data."

Check that your microphone and camera are set up properly and capturing data. (Check the audio troubleshooting advice above.) Also check that your connection is ok, as in the previous answer.

I record video but when I save it, I get a strange text error inside the player and the video is black.

This happens when your moodle server could not connect to the recording server to pick up the video. Possibly your PoodLL Server Port Number (HTTP) is incorrect. It should be 443. It is the third property on the PoodLL filter settings page. If there is no such property, you should install the latest version of PoodLL. If your PoodLL filter settings are correct, possibly your Moodle server is behind a proxy server. This is common in university and high schools. If you are behind a proxy server you will need to set the proxy server information in Moodle, just as you would for your browser. This can be done under: Site Administration -> Server -> HTTP

I record audio/video but when I save it, all I see as a result is text link. There is no player at all.

Check that you have enabled the multimedia plugins filter (Site Administration -> plugins -> filters -> manage filters). This should swap out those text links for players. You can alternatively have the PoodLL filter do this job for you by selecting any or all of "handle flv files", "handle mp3 files" or "handle mp4 files" or "handle mov files" on the PoodLL filter settings page (Site Administration -> plugins -> filters -> PoodLL filter).

The recorders look weird, all the buttons and everything are squashed up.

If you have no camera or microphone installed, the recorders can take it pretty badly. Once you plug the devices in again, it will be ok.

MP3 Audio recordings, or recordings from iPads, of 10 seconds or so work, but longer ones fail.

There are several settings that could cause this. PoodLL "post"s the files to the server, but if the posted video/audio exceeds the maximum file size, the recording will be truncated. The max post size can be set in the course settings. This is limited by the site wide setting at : Site Administration -> Security -> Site Policies This is in turn limited by PHP settings. If the values to be selected from are too small, e.g 2M, then you may have to raise the limits for post_max_size and upload_max_filesize in php.ini. You will need to restart your web server after making these changes.

In addition some web servers have a security addition to PHP called Suhosin enabled. When PoodLL sends the audio file to the web server, Suhosin may not approve of the long length of the data posted. Try disabling Suhosin or setting the length of the property in php.ini to a very high number (More info)

I record from iPad but the video is always on its side.

There is no way to fix this, after recording. Make sure that when you record that you hold the iPad/iPhone in landscape(on its side) and that the home button is on the right. Then the picture will appear the right way when played back.

Recorded audio is choppy and the picture is jerky and blurry.

The default recording settings are not always great for different devices or networks. You can set them individually on each recorder as you record. Or you can set system wide defaults on the PoodLL Filter Settings page. See the audio/video callibration screencast for more information. Poor internet access can also cause these problems. If you can test with a stronger connection the recording may be better.

The audio plays back on some pages, but not on others. e.g grading pages

Set the default audio player to "Flowplayer" on the PoodLL filter settings page. That is more reliable. The standard PoodLL player doesn't handle MP3 and will auto replace itself with the Flowplayer if it detects an MP3. But sometimes it can't detect the MP3 extension. Flowplayer is the best audio player option currently.

I try to create PoodLL repository instances but I just get a blank screen.

This is most likely caused if you install PoodLL for Moodle 2.1/2.2 on Moodle 2.3. In Moodle 2.3 the repository API changed, and we had to create separate versions for different versions of Moodle. Go to the PoodLL downloads page and get the correct version of PoodLL and overwrite the one that you installed. Then it should all work again.

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Git PoodLL

Since April 2014, the source code for the PoodLL plugins has been kept on . It is many times easier to keep your Moodle code up to date by automating git pulls, than by searching for and installing zip files.

If you don't know how to use Git, this may seem a bit confusing. But it is worth learning how to use it. All I want to do here though is to show how to clone PoodLL into your own server. Once that is done, a simple "git pull" from each of the directories is all that is necessary to stay up to date.

To use Git for PoodLL, you have to install each mod separately. The Git repositories are broken out by mod. These commands assume you DON'T already have the mod installed. If you do, please remove it first.

cd [MOODLE FOLDER]/filter
git clone poodll
cd [MOODLE FOLDER]/mod/assign/submission
git clone onlinepoodll
cd [MOODLE FOLDER]/mod/assign/feedback
git clone poodll
cd [MOODLE FOLDER]/mod/data/field
git clone poodll
cd [MOODLE FOLDER]/question/type
git clone poodllrecording
cd [MOODLE FOLDER]/repository
git clone poodll
cd [MOODLE FOLDER]/lib/editor/atto/plugins
git clone poodll
cd [MOODLE FOLDER]/lib/editor/tinymce/plugins
git clone poodll
POODLL ASSIGNMENT TYPE (old Moodle assignment)
cd [MOODLE FOLDER]/mod/assignment/type
git clone poodllonline

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