Friday, June 22, 2012

How to change the Maximum Upload Size for a Moodle site.

Here's a very old post (2007!) by Vystavil PK on how to change the maximum upload size for a Moodle site. The default size is 2 Megabytes which is peanuts.

Anyway, the summary is that you can't do this within Moodle itself. You can only do it if you have root access to your Moodle server, especially the php.ini file. I think there's a reason why this particular post by Vystavil had so many hits.
(1) He explained the solution very clearly and lucidly.
(2) This happens all the time, especially for new Moodle installations. Usually the user has to remind the Moodle administrator to change the php.ini settings.

Anyway, Vystavil's post is a blast from the past, and it is very informative. That's one way to tame Moodle.
Note: The post was referring to Moodle 1.9 and below.

Happy Muddling, I mean Moodling.
Frankie Kam

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Enhancing Davo Smith's Realtime Quiz plugin for Moodle 1.9. More time-savings for the teacher.

Davo Smith's RealTimeQuiz plugin for Moodle 1.9/2.0 is a real gem. It simulates a Clickers-type technology that allows the teacher to gauge the level of understanding of a class on a topic or question. Minus the clicker hardware. In this post, I show you how I enhanced the already-excellent software plugin to save me time in the classroom.

"Overall I think clickers increased student satisfaction and participation in the course. It also allowed me instant feedback on student comprehension. They also seem to engage students more fully in a large lecture course. They can also stimulate discussion in a class where that does not occur often." (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee faculty member)
Now I don't use Clickers (and all this imported quality technology costs money for my humble education institution), and I think that Davo Smith's plugin meets my needs in the classroom. In this plugin, the quiz is conducted on a student's computer rather than a hand-held device. I use it in my classes when I want to test the student's understanding of a topic. It helps to break the monotony of a class lecture and the nice thing about it is that it gives instant feedback to the student.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Liven up the Participants List by changing the City field into Hobby

How would you like to have a Hobby field show up in the Participants List in Moodle 1.9? Well it can be done! Charles Kelly of has done it and in this blog post I will show you how.

Why should it be done? In my humble opinion, knowing that you come from Melaka or Kansas City is not as interesting as knowing that you have a liking for Pink Floyd, Manchester City Football Club or body building. How can we do this? Two steps. First: change the City field's display name to "Hobby / Interest / Free Time". Secondly, modify the length of City field from a measly 20 characters to a generous 100 characters.

Doug Moody's Album blockalbum.php for Moodle 2.2.

Yesterday, Doug Moody shared a php file on this discussion thread. Doug's file displays user pictures by group. It is based on the index.php script in the userpix directory. It can also display the user images pictures up to 200 pixels and display the names of each student under each image. The code is useful for creating a class album, or a picture book.
"I teach 12 classes, and wanted to put together a picture book that would break out the classes separately. It is fantastic to help students get to know each other."
Place album.php in the userpix directory in your Moodle 2.2 site. Usage is as follows:
http://[site url]/[moodle directory]/userpix/album.php?group=[group name]&size=[size in pixels]

For example:

Welcome to – a single location to demo Moodle 2.x plugins

Moodle is a rich LMS. It is made richer by the wealth of third-party plugins that extend your Moodle site’s functionality. When sourcing for plugins, where does one start?  The most obvious would be to go to’s Plugins Directory.
For those who are still using Moodle 1.9.x, I would like to recommend this French-Canadian site for a comprehensive listing of “Potentially great” Moodle 1.9 plugins.
If you’re using Moodle 2.x, then it might interest you to know that is a Moodle 2.2.3 site setup by Stuart Mealor that allows you to test many Moodle 2 plugins. Expect it to be upgraded to Moodle 2.3 soon.
See the image below? Well, I managed to create my own “Frankie Kam” self-enrolled user account and thus am able to do more than what the Guest account affords me (think forum posts and other activities).
The site allows you to try out many Moodle 2.x plugins, filters and blocks in a safe environment.
The primary purpose of this site is to have a single location that demonstrates many of the things that are possible with non-standard blocks, modules, filters and plugins in Moodle 2.
The site currently has 35 plugins, listed alphabetically. Expect more to be added as Moodle 2.x matures and develops over time.
Read more at here.
Frankie Kam

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Using OKMindMap for Educational Purposes (Part1)

Dr Ho of Kongju University has produced a series of Youtube videos that show the features of OKMindMap cloud-based service. I wrote a long blog post on his OKMindMap software many months ago. 

I  understand Dr. Ho's diction reasonably well, but I thought that I would invest some hours to transcribe ALL four videos(!) of Dr. Ho. The reason for this is because I would like Dr. Ho's videos to have a greater reach to a global audience of Moodlers and other web users who may have difficulty in understanding the spoken English that has a native South Korean accent. Personally, I enjoyed watching the videos, and I hope you will too.

Monday, June 4, 2012

'Motivating' users to change their default Moodle avatar in Moodle 1.9.

Do you use Moodle’s default user icon (avatar), or have you substituted it with an icon of your choice? In this post, I will talk about what I consider, for my site, an ideal default user icon. The purpose of this post is find a way to encourage users or students to quickly change their default Moodle user icon.
In my classes, I insist that my students change their default user icons to images (faces) of themselves.  The reason for this is because, one, I got tired of looking at so many yellow smiley faces. Two, I wanted the Moodle coursepage to be a bit more Web 2.0-like in terms of having actual user faces. So, in every introductory session on Moodle, I inform my students to change their icons. There has never been much great urgency among some students to do so, especially among those who do not have a Facebook account.
However, I believe that with my discovery of a ‘different’ default user icon, I can get more students to make the change, sooner.  Intrigued? Click here to read more!
Smiley Face Cake
 'Moodle' cake recipe

Friday, June 1, 2012

Create your own Chatbot - Great for English Classes

HTML5 Speech Recognition API with Google Chrome

Meet Nick Walker

Use with Google Chrome to access the voice-to-text Automated Speech Recognition system (ASR).
Like what you see? Want to know how to setup your own Chatbot with custom speech questions and answers?

Contact Nicholas Walker of Montreal.

Upload files faster and easier in Moodle 1.9 with less mouse clicks. What do you think?

Moodle 1.9.x is like old wine that keeps getting better. There are a 1,001 different ways to innovate and enhance the code. Here's what I managed to do, recently, with the "Link to file or website" resource.

The humble Browse button has sprouted siblings. In this case nine other Browse buttons. Why settle for just one Browse button, when you can have 10 of them! In the screenshot above, you are 11 clicks away from uploading 10 files. Still, you might argue that that's 11 clicks too many still. However, considering that there are no page refreshes between which picking of each file, this feature will be welcomed, I am sure, by teachers and site administrators.

Secondly, here's what I did to enhance the "Advanced loading of files" assignment activity. Now students can upload multiple files within a Moodle assignment. They should now have less reasons why Moodle is so "clunky". The benefit of this? Less mouse clicks, less page refreshes and more student and user satisfaction. After all, time is money.

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