Turn Editing On shows blank page

There is a question that shows repeatedly after upgrading to Moodle 1.8.2 . Are one of those : "I upgraded to 1.8, working perfectly, but when i Turn Editing On, it shows only header and page stays blank"

And you know what? It happened to me to ;-). So don't panic, there is a simple solution usually.

Turn on debugging, (Administration > Server > Debugging and set Debug messages to ALL : Show all reasonable PHP debug messages.
Don't forget to check Display debug messages

Then try Turn editing on again and it will show some errors. I dare to say you will see, that some files from third party block/module you used are missing, because you just forgot, you were using something like that ;-).
So check Modules and plugins database for new version of this missing block/module, download it and install it in your new Moodle 1.8

If you wouldn't be able to locate corresponding version of block for Moodle 1.8 copy this block/module from old version, you might be lucky and it can work. If not, you need to ask block/module maintainer for new version. In worst case you will have to delete missing block/module from settings to get your new Moodle working.


Where has my Help gone?

In Moodle 1.8 is missing Help line in Administration block in the course. Solution?

Some of my teachers noticed, the Help line is missing. So i need to come for a rescue and i have found it again! (I have to add it)

If you are not interested in tech stuff and just want modified file, download it here, its for 1.8.2+

Not much stuff for techies. I just pasted there this section (see crippled a href for displaying reason):

/// show Help for teachers -dfa- START
if (has_capability('moodle/course:update', $context) && ($course->id!==SITEID))
$lang = str_replace('_utf8', '', current_language());
$this->content->items[]='< a href="http://docs.moodle.org/'.$lang.'/Teacher_documentation">'.get_string('help').'</a>';
$this->content->icons[] = '<img src="'.$CFG->wwwroot.'/mod/resource/icon.gif" class="icon" alt="'.get_string('help').'" />';
/// -dfa- END

I pasted this section right after section displaying Grades to achieve old look.
Hope this helps some confused teachers.


Teacher assign Teachers

Teachers cannot add another Teachers to their courses in new version (1.8), as they have been used. This post will provide a solution.

I have written about changes in roles system and most noticeable change ordinary users will see is in my another post. But there is a another change!

Teachers can add new teachers to their's courses whenever they wanted, without asking administrator in older versions. But this has been changed in new version by default.

So if you want to turn back to "old times, good times" way, you have to ask your administrator to change some setting.

At first, role setting for Teacher has to be changed. You (admin) can find it on Administration > Users > Permissions > Define Roles then edit Teacher role and change line moodle/role:assign to ALLOW.

But this is not enough. Administrator mustn't forget to change settings on Allow role overrides on same page. There you can check roles you want your users can assign.

We are targeting teacher role in our case and we want, that teachers can assign some roles to users in their course.(Eg. we want, teachers can give users in their course roles of Guest(by default yes), Student(by default yes), Non-editing teacher(by default yes), Teacher (we want this!!!). See next image how to achieve this.

Administrator can play with various ways of allowing roles to assign on this page. But take care not to overdo it! We do not want (usually) to teachers can add Administrator role to everybody ;-).


Eaccelerator was a bad idea...for now

I experimented with caching in 1.8.2+ Moodle, to tune my site. I selected eaccelerator in Administration > Server > Performance

But as a result i got a
Fatal error: Call to undefined function _get() in D:\xampp\htdocs\moodle\lib\eaccelerator.class.php on line 56
and been cut from my site.

So i searched my database with phpmyadmin, looked for table mdl_config, because i know that various settings are stored there.
Found row which were doing this mess, with names cachetype and rcache

I deleted value for cachetype and set rcache value to 0 and we are working correctly again!!

So it's time for another crazy idea how to mess with my installation.

If you are not sure about manipulating your database manually, you can use solution mentioned here:
Eg. insert to config.php line with $CFG->rcache = false; This should be working too.



No more Students, no more Teachers

I think the biggest difference for ordinary users, eg. teachers, when you upgrade to Moodle 1.8 (or 1.7 and higher) are new roles system. I may write more about this next time.

Right now i want to point to the most usual problem some teachers will face: "Where do I add students to my course? I can not see Students link in Administration section any more!"

In the times before 1.7 the Administration section for teachers looked something like that:

But in newer version it looks like this:

You can notice, there are missing lines Students and Teachers to enroll users to your course. These two lines are combined to line Assign roles which will lead you to this screen:

When you click on highlighted role, you will be shown a usual screen with two windows to enroll users as you were used.

I tried create small video to show you all this
in motion.

Hope this helps somebody.


I can't see, i can't see...discussions

My friend currently asked me for help. He found strange bug, that new discussions in forums aren't showing for him on 1.5.3. He didn't change anything, but suddenly it was not working anymore. I suggested him some way to track the problem, then i dugg to my test installation on localhost and suddenly found, it's not working for me too!!

It costs me some hairs pulled from my head, when i pinpointed a bug to be in function forum_get_discussions in moodle/forum/lib.php.
System told me that column usermodified doesn't exist in my database. I checked DB, it was there...So another hairs later i searched a solution here:

It showed up, it has been made by updating mysql server. I recently updated it on my localhost to 5.0.41 with installing new XAMPP and this mysql version has some issues with order of the tables.

I reordered lines in FROM section of the query and its working again.

Another lesson learned: If you have problem, search moodle.org before doing anything on your on. Maybe someone had the same problem to and found solution already.



Don't show users naked!

I just upgraded one of my moodle installations this weekend to latest 1.8.2+, lot of fun till the morning hours :(, but right now its working again correctly. I hope :).

One of the things i noticed, that the Guest can view users profiles. And i don't like it. It is like showing my users naked, therefore the title ;-). I think this was not possible with older version by default.

So after some searching, i found solution. It's forceloginforprofiles

and you can find it in
Administration -> Security -> Site policies

In this way you force Guests to login as a normal user to see the profiles with emails and others informations of user of your site.

I think i protect my users privacy little more with this settings set to on.


Welcome, taming of the beast begins

Welcome readers

I am Moodle administrator (for 2+ year) or programming freelancer sometimes and this blog it to share my thoughts, my experiences with administrating this great e-learning system Moodle.

I try to participate on forums on moodle.org and i want to write here some general advices, some helpful hints i encounter to help others who are battling or trying to "Tame the Moodle" ;-). Keep trying, its worth it.

P.S. Pardon my english, it is not my native language and still struggling with expressing my thoughts correctly.