Picture of Bob Palmer
Installing Modules
by Bob Palmer - Sunday, 25 March 2007, 08:45 PM
 
I would also like to thank all the presenters for a very stimulating and informative Moodle workshop last Thursday. What made this workshop especially valuable, I thought, was the extended session on how various teachers are actually using Moodle in their classes. This is extremely helpful to both inexperienced and experienced users, giving the former a place to start and providing new ideas and possibilities to the latter.

During the workshop, several presenters introduced us to modules and plugins for enhancing the functionality of Moodle. If I recall correctly, the list included Book, Feedback, and Project. I wonder if we could ask a presenter, via this forum, to walk us through the process of downloading and installing these modules, with special attention to when and where the modules should be unzipped, and which of the bundled files need to be distributed to which folders on the server. A flash movie would be very instructive in this regard, if someone has the time to prepare one.

--Bob P.
Picture of Don Hinkelman
Re: Installing Non-standard Modules
by Don Hinkelman - Monday, 26 March 2007, 09:23 AM
 
Good suggestion, Bob.  As many of you know, Moodle is flexible enough to allow any person to make their own module and "plug" it into Moodle.  These are called "non-standard" modules--such as the Book module, Project module, and Feedback module.

Let me start out by listing directions for installing the Project Module version 1.6 on your server.  For other versions, it is basically the same, but you will find a Readme.txt file in every zip package to guide you.  If my directions below are incorrect or confusing anywhere, I would love to get your comments or corrections (and cPanel instructions would be helpful, too).

================================
How to Install Project Module ver.1.6
 (need administrator rights for your moodle site)
================================
  1. Go to the Project Module folder at:  http://englishforum.sgu.ac.jp/downloads/
  2. Download the ProjectModule16beta5 package
  3. Unzip it on your desktop.  Look at the Readme.txt file.
  4. Using an FTP software package, move the pieces below into several locations in your Moodle folder on your server.
    • Place the folder "project" into the /moodle/mod folder of Moodle 1.6
    • Place the help/project folder into the  /moodle/lang/en_utf8/help folder
    • Place the project.php file into the /moodle/lang/en_utf8 folder
  5. Go to the admin page of your moodle site.  The new database tables for the Project Module will be automatically generated.
  6. Add a project to a course by clicking on "Turn Editing On" and click on "Add an activity...". You will see the module, "project", in list of modules in the drop down menu.
Good luck, and I will be happy to answer any questions you have.  Cheers, Don smile

Picture of Peter Ruthven-Stuart
Re: Installing Modules
by Peter Ruthven-Stuart - Monday, 26 March 2007, 04:15 PM
 
Hello Bob,

As Don suggests, the instructions he gives for the Project module are basically the same for any other non-standard, or third-party module. However, it should be pointed out that you need to have Admin access rights, and access to your moodle server (via ftp, cPanel, or direct access to the server-computer), in order to be able to install modules.

Many non-standard modules can be downloaded from the 'Modules and Plugins' database, which is part of the moodle.org site.

Assuming the developer of the non-standard module has correctly packaged all the components, the structure of an unpacked module should look something like this:

non-standard_moduleImagine that you have downloaded a non-standard module called 'cool'. When you unzip it, the contents will look something like this. Within the top-level directory (cool module) there are 2 directories (lang & mod), and one file called README.txt. This should be the same for any module. Sometimes, there will be a third directory called 'block'.
  1. You need to put the file cool module/lang/en_utf8/cool.php into the same location in your moodle directory, i.e. into /moodle/lang/en_utf8/
  2. Then put the directory cool module/lang/en_utf8/help/cool/ into /moodle/lang/en_utf8/lang/help/
  3. If there are any other language files and directories that you want to use, put them into /moodledata/lang/, etc.
  4. Next, put the cool module/mod/cool/ directory into /moodle/mod/
  5. Finally, access your moodle system via a browser as an Admin, and all being well, the new module will be installed.
If you have access to your moodle directory via cPanel, then use the File Manager to upload the packaged module (i.e. the zip file), and then unpack the zip file on your server via the file manager. Then distribute the various components as explained above.

For more information about non-standard modules have a look at moodle docs. Last of all, if you are concerned that you may damage your production moodle site by incorrectly installing a module, how about setting up a experimental moodle on your own computer using one of the Windows or Mac packages - great for trying out new blocks, modules and hacks, before committing them to a production site.
Picture of Bob Palmer
Re: Installing Modules
by Bob Palmer - Monday, 26 March 2007, 09:07 PM
 
Hi Peter and Don,

Thank you both for responding to my request. Following your instructions, I successfully installed the project module using an FTP client, and have downloaded a few more modules for future installation.

I like the idea of test-installing modules on an experimental site first to avoid possibly corrupting one's live, or "production" moodle site, as Peter calls it. Also, I wasn't aware that packages were available to install moodle on one's own computer without the drudgery of first installing full-blown versions of Apache server, MySQL, and PHP. A program in the downloadable Mac and PC packages called XAMPP apparently takes care of these details. Am anxious to give it a try.

Thanks again for the elaborate and very helpful instructions.

Picture of Peter Ruthven-Stuart
Re: Installing Modules
by Peter Ruthven-Stuart - Monday, 26 March 2007, 10:40 PM
 
Bob,

you wrote:

I wasn't aware that packages were available to install moodle on one's own computer without the drudgery of first installing full-blown versions of Apache server, MySQL, and PHP. A program in the downloadable Mac and PC packages called XAMPP apparently takes care of these details. Am anxious to give it a try.

these are very useful packages with which to experiment and practice, but readers should beware that these easy-to-install packages should not be used for production (live) moodle sites because of security issues sad. i.e. you'll have to install the full-blown components (MySQL, PHP etc.) if you want to go live with your own moodle site.