User talk:Chris collman/talk pre2009

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To do

Is today the day or this week the week?

One of my site administrators (SA) told me last week that today (17 Nov 2009), the new server will be on line for me and it will have 1.9.6 on it. I feel confident that the server is running and now if my SA's other work dust will clear just enough for Moodle to be added....stayed tuned :) This will be a shock, my first Moodle ( 1.5.3+ (2005060230)) is close to being history, or at least archived off from public access! From the back of the cave to the latest and greatest! YIKES!

The obvious todos - comments appreciated

  • Document what I do and double check it against MoodleDocs.
  • Then the practical problems of a fresh install without upgrading.
    • How to bring over the 3000 authenticated users with their site activity info, so we can eliminate those who have not used the site in the last 2 years. Not to worry about the user course data just site visits.
    • After loading the easy stuff:(courses that only hold resources) and loading the never seen new courses with lessons, I got to figure out how to deal with the old courses where backups seem to crash and not want to compile when the file size is 10 megs or something like that.
    • Check to see if Certificate and Questionnaire have been loaded and do we really need Activity Locking anymore?
    • Themes, better find the custom theme I redid in at least 1.8 or did I do it more recently in a 1.9.x localhost? Wowie, Zowie! I can dump the old and put in a new favicon.ico along with some other cool custom graphics.
    • Test, test, test.

Looks like I will be busy for a bit.--chris collman 12:15, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

Import PowerPoints

First, I want to say that I am in awe of programmers and greatly appreciate the efforts in trying to make a handy tool to assist [adjective_variable here] teachers in bringing in their powerpoints into Moodle. Just looking at the 500 lines of code in importppt.php gives me a headache and realize that what I thought should be simple, is not. Doubting readers are invited to create web pages in MS PowerPoint 2000 & 2003 and in Open Office Impress 2.x, then look at each of the files, especially in View Source Code mode. YIKES, the common ground is slim between them!

The initial goal of Import PowerPoint was to bring in text and images from a series of slides to a series of question pages in a lesson, so the teacher could edit or just go with the imported content. It is now a working part of Moodle 1.6 and a bit Horray!

I seem to be leading a one person campaign to come up with an ImportOOI option when a lesson is created. I figured rather than sit around and moan about a feature I wanted, I should be jumping off the cliffs and seeing if the sharks really would bite. Of course I am SERIOUSLY ignorant in the PHP waters and "not sinking" does qualify as "swiming". Sigh, I held my nose and JUMPED!

In my own unique way (and with the help of others) I came up with a very ugly system which brings in an OOI presentation. Essentially it places a screenshot of each presentation slide in page (branch). Importppt breaks out text and image objects. It does not deal with the masterslide. ImportOOI does not contain links or create page titles, because that is way beyond my skills. I also tweaked the image file storage system and got rid of the previous and continue buttons at the bottom of every page (reverted back to default). This forum has a zip file of my effort.

Anyway, my two bannana's worth. --chris collman 20:23, 8 May 2006 (WST) updated --chris collman 07:28, 27 June 2006 (WST)--chris collman 21:20, 17 July 2006 (WST)

Words with two or more meanings

Hi Chris, firstly thanks for your contributions to Moodle Docs :-)

When a word has two or more meanings, we may create a disambiguation page e.g. Database. Please check Category:Disambiguation for a list of all such pages. --Helen Foster 17:53, 8 May 2006 (WST)

Hi Helen, And thank you for your efforts in editing and watching over contributors. Disambigauation is a NEW WORD for me. I will check it out. Given English language, not to mention regional idioms, figured (there is one right there) that great minds had already thought about this. The link appeared to be deleted but I found . I think See Also is a simple solution. Anyone who is interested in MoodleDocs might find it.
This leads to the question, where do we direct people who want to learn a bit more about MoodleDocs-Templates? Not a big burning issue. More concerned about importppt.php. See top this page. Thanks again. --chris collman 19:28, 8 May 2006 (WST)
Thanks for the Wikipedia link. Please check the MoodleDocs Style guide for information on Moodle Docs templates. --Helen Foster 20:46, 8 May 2006 (WST)

Major changes to key pages

Hi Chris, please let's not make major changes to key pages without prior discussion, either in the corresponding talk page and/or in the Using Moodle Moodle Documentation forum. Apologies for rolling back your changes to the Teacher documentation until we have reached agreement. --Helen Foster 04:36, 5 September 2006 (CDT)

I apologize. I read this after commenting on teacher documentation page. Did that late at night and definately a major BAD, should know better. I am running out of Moodle edit time and jumped way too quick. Notice on that major page, I will used the page comment to draft. Thank you very much for the completely unnecessary apologies for doing the right thing.
Don't think I am going to be able to cross the pond to my Aunt's memorial service in October in Sussex. However, my daughter going to Italy in the Spring and I may leave NH to visit her and my English cousins. So we might meet face to face and I can buy you a draft or sherry!--chris collman 07:33, 5 September 2006 (CDT)
Your comments always make me smile - thanks! It would be nice to meet up one day. Good plan to use page comments to draft :-) --Helen Foster 06:09, 6 September 2006 (CDT)
As you know, I like puns and humor. Sometimes I am too quick and have been known to go over the top. Thanks for the words, I will not take it as encouragement but as appreciation of the status quo. --chris collman 07:28, 6 September 2006 (CDT)

Import Data to Grade Book

I am new to Moodle and I do not know where to ask this. Please excuse if I am at the wrong place (and if possible tell me where I can ask this or find its answer) . I know that I can post off-line assignment and grade it; Can I use this to import the marks that I have already awarded. I have these marks in an excel file. I know I can grade the off-line assignment one student at a time. Can I copy + paste all the data in one step? Will the grade book plus be of some help? Sanjay P. K. 02:19, 11 September 2007 (CDT)

  • Hi. First excellent question and asking where to go to find the answer can never be asked in a wrong place. I learned something in trying to help you.

I am smiling because last night I was re-editing the MoodleDoc page Answers that I created in May 2006. It is one of the few pages that I allowed my sense of humor to show in my writing in MoodleDocs. One of the more serious sections lists starting points in Moodle to find answers. We do not use assignments or gradebook, so I am as new as you when it comes to those modules. I would encourage you to figure out where in Moodle Documentation might be a good place to place the answer to your question.

  • If I wanted to learn more about how to do it I would go to:
    • Moodle Documentation on Assignment module related pages
    • Moodle Documentation on Gradebook related pages
    • Moodle Forums : I did a search of the forums, then clicked on the advanced search, put "import grades" in the exact phrase field and selected just the Assignment Forum. Here are my results. There seems to be a thread on "Import grades from Excel" in the assignment forum that took place in 2006 November. I would read and then reply in that thread, by restating the question, your Moodle version and perhaps what you tried.
    • Try your own advanced search, perhaps using import grades and search gradebook forum.
    • Try not to cross post the same question on two forums, unless a person in forum A suggests you ask the question in forum B. In which case I would say "forum A sent me here".
  • From the discussion I briefly read, it looks like you should be able to at least create a CVS file and import that into gradebook. I don't see a page Import assignment grades in MoodleDocs, if you wanted to start one with your new found knowledge. MoodleDocs is easier to read than a forum.

That should get you going on several paths to find the answer. Hope that helps. --chris collman 05:38, 11 September 2007 (CDT)

Thank you very for the reply. I visited the places you suggested and found an enhancement to import data from excel to moodle 1.6 ( my version). I have asked my admin to try it. Sanjay P. K. 22:17, 11 September 2007 (CDT)

Non-integer grades

I was searching for a way to enter non-integer grades. I found this; "It is currently not possible to use non-integer grades. Others had requested the same feature, however the answer was this:Although it would be technically possible to change to accept non-integers, the whole Moodle framework expects integers to be there. We can't tell where down the line this would cause problems, but it is very much setting it up for something bad." If you know of any later developemnts on this, please let me know; otherwise you may ignore this. Sanjay P. K. 22:50, 11 September 2007 (CDT)

Not sure about version features, I did a quick look at Scales and Grades in . Sounds like you have a conversion problem Asci to integer. If you have an excel spreadsheet you should be able to create a column with a function to convert a letter to a integer/number grade I probably would use a =vlookup or =hlookup and a table. But a nested =If function would also work (something like "if A, then 100, else if B, then 89, else if C, then 79" and so forth) . Might have to change that column to a value by a special paste and rename it for import purposes. Problem is determining what grade gets which integer in excel and then making sure that integer will average correctly with other scores that are stored as integers but displayed as letters in Moodle. Interesting problem. Hope this helps --chris collman 06:35, 12 September 2007 (CDT)
Perhaps I was a bit sloppy; what I want to know is how to enter non-integer numbers as grades; e.g: How to award 5.5 ( out of 10) marks to an off-line assignment? Suppose the overall grade a student will get after completing the course is based on the total marks this student will score in 3 assignments (say each of maximum 10 marks) and suppose I do not want to round off each assignment mark to the nearest integer. Sanjay P. K. 23:14, 12 September 2007 (CDT)


I recently posted this. Then I saw a discussion about NWIKI. Have you used this? Does it mean that if NWIKI is installed all the media wiki tags/tools will work in Moodle? I just wanted to make sure NWIKI does what I want and is stable before asking my admin to install it ( for Moodle 1.6). Sanjay P. K. 23:22, 12 September 2007 (CDT)

Sorry P.K., I think I missed your comment. I don't use NWIKI so have no opinion (unusual for me but true). --chris collman 08:30, 20 October 2007 (CDT)


Hi Chris, if you have chance, please could you take a look at the information about categories in MoodleDocs:Style guide, and let me know if it explains why Blocks (teacher) should NOT be categorized as "Teacher" ;-) If you become interested in categorizing pages, your help with [ MDLSITE-201 Improve Moodle Docs page categorization] would be much appreciated! --Helen Foster 10:13, 27 September 2007 (CDT)

Moodle Taxonomy is really difficult. If I understand this, basically most pages should only have one category index link. Using Block (teacher) as an example, The best category link would be to Category:Block. At Category:Block, there could be links to category:teacher and category:administrator.
Thus do research into existing categories before adding one to a page the first time. Select the one that is the most focused and look to see if it is linked to other categories. Check other pages that are listed in a template table, to see which category indexes they are link to. Or before adding a second or third category to a page, look on the existing category link to see if those are shown as category links to the first category.
Whew. How to explain what a new user will find by clicking on the category link will take some serious thunking time. I better toddle off, between categories, rescuing a Windows 2000 and a Linux 1.6 pair of web servers from the dust bin and having my video network crash during a class this evening, it has be another exiting day in paradise! Best --chris collman 22:24, 27 September 2007 (CDT)

Double categories subject again

Hi Helen, There are many pages that link to both block and teacher categories. This should be an exception than the rule, right? When I see multiple categories on a block page, I should delete the teacher category link, because it is already on the Block category page, right?

I would make an exception for something like site or course administration block, or the "dis" page "Blocks" which could have multiple categories.
and I will leave the Administrator categories for someone else to figure out :)--chris collman 06:00, 26 October 2007 (CDT)
Hi Chris, yes please delete the teacher category on block pages. Seems like you have a good understanding of categories :-) --Helen Foster 07:35, 26 October 2007 (CDT)
At last, good teaching job Helen :) --chris collman 09:23, 26 October 2007 (CDT)

Tyler add it below

Thanks for your contributions

Chris, thanks, as always, for your documentation contributions :-) Your talk page comments are very helpful. However, please give me chance to reply before making big changes ;-) --Helen Foster 13:07, 20 February 2008 (CST)

Message received. The only big changes I made were with Tracker (mostly formating) and I didn't think it would do any harm to work on Roles Permissions. But I am happy to move the Permission stuff over to the discussion page. The entire Roles section will take a lot of thought before serious edits begin. I have even resorted for the first time to print the pages to get my head around this subject. Opening 5 broswer windows gets confusing :)
Funny you should mention hold your horses a bit. Monday, I had just posted a new page on Wikipedia about a distant relative (one of the Edmund Quincy's), went downstairs to get a snack and when I came back 10 minutes later to start adding details it was GONE! This was the first of 3 or 4 pages I plan on doing for these men. Some quick trigger specialist told me "Had not enough information to make it special, please consider this before you add any page to Wikipedia". Well duh cowboy, some of us are a little bit slower than others. His example about making Edumund unique had me laughing. Figure he some computer gun stock image counter, with a notch for every page he has deleted :)- Best as always --chris collman 13:40, 20 February 2008 (CST)

What about mod/balding and other capabilities jargon

Hi Helen, I am confuzeled about the mod/xxx link entries. I suspect this is similar to the editingteacher subheading on the Teacher role. I always thought mod/xxx entries were appropriate on a Development: page. Perhaps is this a case of if you don't understand it, you don't belong here or there? I was wondering if we had a standard way of indicating function in simple english next to the mod/name ? Thanks --chris collman 14:04, 20 February 2008 (CST)

Hi Chris, good question about the mod/xxx pages. Each edit roles page in Moodle (via Administration > Users > Permissions > Define roles) contains a list of links to all Category:Capabilities pages. The documentation pages have not been renamed in this case, as it's easier for non-English speakers to identify the capabilities from mod/xxx. If you have any further questions, please remember that you can always post in the Moodle documentation forum. Most likely you're not the only one with a particular question ;-) --Helen Foster 05:55, 21 February 2008 (CST)
Thanks again for all your comments, they should keep me pointed down the right paths concerning roles and even templates for a while. I did take a break and watched a full eclipse last night. It was one of those cold clear nights in the mountains. Saw the event from our bed looking out the window. Today it is doing an item analysis on an old quiz for a teacher, so we can upload a new version tomorrow for the test on Saturday. --chris collman 11:16, 21 February 2008 (CST)

Pages/images for deletion

Hi Chris, thanks for pointing out images needing deleting :-) For future reference, rather than creating a new talk page, you can simply add the deletion template to the image page, as described here: MoodleDocs:Style guide ;-) --Helen Foster 10:06, 25 May 2008 (CDT)

I forgot! On the other hand, I had a lovely time with my wife, working on a couple of raised vegetable garden beds of her design, as her assistant. I was waiting for her and decided to look at special pages and saw some old pictures of mine. Then it was "lets go Chris" and out we went. While I might have done things differently, we had fun discussing which way the two 1 by 3 meter beds should lie. It was a glorious day.

Hope your corner of the world was as wonderful as mine. Best --chris collman 22:16, 25 May 2008 (CDT)

Disruptive technology

hi chris, i've added a "disruptive technology" link on my user page (a relatively new/intuitive interest) - basically it refers to a new, usually simple, low cost technology which unexpectedly takes over from a more complex, existing technology. the link gos to a wikiversity page where i've added a few more notes including some thoughts about educational wikis as disruptive technology. personally, i still feel like i'm in a 19th century classroom when using learning management systems which invariably seem to assume that the teacher shall have more tools and power than shall students, whereas the simplicity (and disruptiveness) of an educational wiki for me evaporates such unecessary and arbitrary power separations. then we can get on with trying out learning. interested in your thoughts. haven't poked much into your stuff and am a moodle newb, but am interested, so feel free to share your world and ideas. James Neill 02:53, 1 September 2008 (CDT)

Thanks for sharing. I hear you about the LMS, 19th Century and change. Now I have a better idea of the "disruptive" term. From my perspective, not all teachers are innovators. Then there are effective innovators. My long view of education goes back to my Peace Corp training at MSU where we were told about the process of change among a county full of Iowa corn growers. Or a friendly State purchasing agent who told me "Chris, understand this process is intentionally designed NOT to be easy." Alrighty then, this is what I see in higher education in the US. It does not stop innovation, it just curtails it.
Basic assumptions are always fun to observe. As you know it is not just teachers but some students who have been imprinted with "traditional" values. Watching excited teacher/mentor/student relationships in the educational process is something I enjoy. I always smile to myself when I suggest that the teacher in an interactive video classroom 60 miles away, grab the chalk and write on the board, instead of using the stylus on the touchscreen monitor which is ready to go. The chalk keeps them excited and effective education flowing. Best --chris collman 07:31, 4 September 2008 (CDT)

User subpages

Thanks for the tip about user subpages; as a result I've tidied up my profile a bit and also my user page to make it a bit more obvious that I do have some user subpages about moodle. Now that I've found moodledocs, I'm adding most of my notes here, so we might say perhaps some jabberwockysynchronicity. We just had a two day Moodle training, so that's got me going. Thanks 4 the collegiality :). James Neill 11:14, 18 September 2008 (CDT)

So you are wound up. Great! I am sort of jealous. My formal training was about 30 minutes, looking over somebody's shoulder as they created jpgs from PPTs and added them one at a time to Lesson Branch pages. "Now you are a course creator, go for it." All the rest has been either self taught by doing or playing, and utilizing and of course . Writing instructions still is a way of listening and learning. For fun, I am preparing a Bb course to supplement my face to face Genealogy workshop next month. And I told them to give me a username and password and I would figure it out. Beginning to wonder if I don't like being trained :) --chris collman 11:26, 18 September 2008 (CDT)

Moodle sync crazy idea

Hi Rainer, The only way my simple brain can handle it is the old fashion way: Backup one and restore to the other. Anything else would be way over my head. When I build courses for content providers, that is what I do.

Having said that, you could speed the process up. Use a the equal of a .bat file to clean out a folder on a local host. Use Cron and set the localhost properities backup to 1 copy. The bat file would also have a command(s) to gather specific course backups via a copy to the empty folder on the localhost. Wonder if you can FTP the contents of the localhost folder to a folder in a fake course on a web Moodle. Someone clever should be able to get them to run with something like Cron or scheduler.

Then on the web Moodle find that folder and restore the backups manually. I don't think I would trust anything automatic at this point for a live webhost. :)