Moodle tutorials video

Are you obsessed with watching Youtube videos? Have you wished that similar service existed for Moodle and you could save some time and watch video tutorial about Moodle? You can!

I recently noticed a direct result of GHOP site www.moodletutorials.org

Many young students created tutorials and upload them to this site and I expect more to come with the end of GHOP.

So if you stock some video tutorials about Moodle in your drawer, pull them out and upload them to the proper place where can be for some use.

I will try upload process and will write here steps and final result.


Lost password recovery

Do you have weak and often failing memory as I do? And what worse, have you forgotten password you are accessing your beloved Moodle with? It is catastrophe! Really?

I assume you know, that Moodle can send you new password in case you have forgotten the old one when you provide username or email you registrated.

But what to do, if you have forgotten absolute everything or your Moodle is not sending emails? (Maybe you are trying Moodle on your localhost without smtp settings etc.)

If you have access to database (phpmyadmin is most used) you are saved.

You need to run this query:

UPDATE `mdl_user` SET password = md5('newpassword') WHERE username = 'admin';

where newpassword is you new password and admin is a username of account you want to set that new password.

Or you can use this script from Shane Elliot:

  • download it
  • modify lines

$username = 'username';
$newpassword = 'newpassword';

  • copy this file to your root moodle installation directory, same location as config.php and access this script with your browser (eg. "http://yourmoodleurl/passchange.php" )
Don't forget to delete this script after usage, it can create security issue!

I hope you regained your password and you are good to go with using Moodle once again ;).


Top 12 Things I Like About Moodle [link]

Lisa wrote on her blog top 12 things she loves about Moodle. First one is for example:

1. Fewer clicks: I do not have to “drill down” (use multiple clicks) to create materials or move through the class.

And she mentioned "Intuitive layout", that I found very good, because I heard recently some complains, that Moodle looks bad, not enough 2.0, not enough blink-blink, just boring old 3 columns curse.

I am glad that for users who are using Moodle professionally is layout intuitive, I found Moodle layout ok too ;). But there can be made some improvements for sure and I hope we will see some evolution of the layout in the future.

I was thinking, what is my Top thing about Moodle. I first thing that came to my mind was "If I don't like something, I can modify it, I can customize, I can create what I need". That I call freedom :).

You can read more Lisa's Top thins here Top 12 Things I Like About Moodle


Check out the new Prestige theme!

One of my favorite sites for Moodle themes newschoollearning.com presents new 2 column theme today.

It's 900px fixed wide, left column is displayed only in editing mode. Theme seams very clean to me and you can get it in 5 colors. I like the red one most (but brown one has a really nice "classical" style ;) )

Go here for better look or to newschoollearning.com blog for more informations.

i-pod.info bot and solution

Right after Christmas of 2007, some users complained about illegal activity and mass registration of users from i-pod.info domain. How to protect your site? If you are one of the victims, please read on.

Some moodle admins have become as a Christmas gift a sudden increase of registered users from same domain ending with "i-pod.info". Reason of this unwanted activities is still unknown, but I suspect it is for spamming reasons or maybe even worse.

Spam is very big problem of today's internet. Spam is a result of "abuse of electronic messaging systems to indiscriminately send unsolicited bulk messages" (from wikipedia, check link above) and it costs you time, unneeded download traffic and make you angry, when someone tells you everyday you need to buy some stupid pills because they are SO CHEAP!!! :D. Gimme a break ;).

So what to do?

Try another authenticate method
Email self registration is one of the least safe method of authentication Moodle provides. If you have any other way you can authenticate your users (LDAP, Shiboleth) use it!

But I understand everyone cannot do that. So next steps are for you:

First of all, keep the nasty bot out! In Moodle you can ban domain of email address.

Go to Site Administration >> Server >> Email and add '%@i-pod.info' into denyemailaddresses

Now to get rid of the unwanted fake accounts you need to do:

1. You are sure the new created unconfirmed accounts (since you were hit by bot) are only from mentioned domain:
a) Let Moodle handles it, set Delete unconfirmed users after in Site Administration >> Server >> Cleanup to some low value, for example 1 hour. Cron will start cleanup service and unconfirmed accounts will be deleted after inserted time value.

This way is the easiest for unexperienced administrators or beginners who don't want to mess with database.

b) You are daredevil and you are using 1.9. Now it's your payoff time! Moodle 1.9 has mass deleting tool. You can select bogus users and delete them all at once.

Go to Site administration >> Users >> Accounts >> Bulk users action. Select there unwanted accounts and delete them.

2. You are not sure if your install doesn't have some unconfirmed accounts others from i-pod.info and you don't want to delete these accounts.

a) You have access to your moodle database with some tool (phpmyadmin is the most used) and you are able to use this tool and you are not afraid of it (you should be afraid of messing with database directly in every occasion, if you are not sure, what you are doing, it can go out of hand easily! ).

Run this query in phpmyadmin:

DELETE FROM `mdl_user` WHERE `email` LIKE '%@i-pod.info'

This query will delete all users with emails ending on @i-pod.info!!! I hope you haven't had any real users from this domain! ;)

If you suspect that some fake users already made some actions in your installation, this query is safer:

UPDATE `mdl_user` SET deleted='1' WHERE `email` LIKE '%@i-pod.info'

This query will mark spoiled users as deleted, their's accounts will stay in your database, but they will be not active. Intruders wouldn't be able to use them.

I hope you have endured this article and it was for some help to you. I am preparing post how to protect your email registration driven Moodle from bots, so please add my RSS feed to your readers or subscribe with email address.


How to change size of headings

There are many questions how to change size of block headings, how to change background color of topic section etc on moodle.org theme forum.

And because I am really lazy guy :-p I will just share a link to useful tutorial about using Web developer toolbar for modifying moodle theme from a very talented Moodle themes creator: link to tutorial on newschoollearning.com


How to install new module to Moodle

Moodle is being said to be great at modular way for adding new features. Adding a new module or block is fairly easy, follow my step by step tutorial.

You may find, that default Moodle installation cannot do something you want to. The most complete source of new and up-to-date modules and contributions is to be found here

As you will notice, there are about 280+ contributions, that's a really a lot ! :) Let's suppose, you want to send mails directly from Moodle to students of your course. You can do it with forum, you may say, but if you want to send mail only to selected users? How do you do that?

I found third party block Quickmail really useful. You can add it as a block to your course and send mail to students of this course. You can select, if only a teacher can send mails (recommended) or even the students etc. How do you install this block?

First of all, you need to download it to your computer. That's easy ;) . Just take care you are downloading right one for your current Moodle version. I will be installing it to Moodle 1.8

Next step is to unpack zipped file you downloaded. I am using Total Commander on my home computer with Windows XP installed. Unzipping with it is really easy, you will just locate downloaded file, enter it and copy files there with F5 to some temp directory.

You will find, that block Quickmail consists of directory Quickmail, there are subdirectories db, lang and some files. As may noticed when you were downloading this block from moodle.org, type of this contribution is Block (another type is Module ). This will direct you to what kind directory you should copy new contribution (in this case it's block subdirectory of your moodle installation ).

Next step is upload this unpacked files to your server, to moodle installation source data. You may use some FTP tool, or SCP software, it depends what your hosting provides. You will just copy quickmail directory to blocks subdirectory, similar as you copied moodle installation files to server, when you were installing Moodle for a first time.

Oh, I forgot. Files in lang subdirectory of Quickmail directory should be placed to language pack, your site is using. If you are using en_utf8 pack, you should upload it to your local directory in the moodledata (see previous post here Change language strings in Moodle for letting Moodle create local lang directory. It's better when you will be updating your Moodle next time.)

And we are at the end..now you have to visit Notification page in Site Administration block (You should be logged as admin to do that ). You should be rewarded with some lines that tell you the needed changes in database been carrying out. And voila, you have added your first new block :D.

Just some warnings:
Don't add any new block or module if you don't need them desperately. You will thank yourself, when you will be updating next time, you had not messed up with some old contributions that are not available for a new version of the Moodle. To avoid that case, watch a module download page carefully, if this contribution is not abandoned.

I hope I can be understood, if you have any questions, share them in the comments.


PF 2008

Sorry for lack of activity here, strange time around Christmas ;-).

I want to wish all readers happy year 2008, wish to be the best year you had :).

I started this blog as way to help with users with problems with Moodle administrating, i wrote 20+ articles in about 4 months, gained some traffic, but i have been expecting more.

So here is my new year resolution for this blog for year 2008:

  1. Write at least 2 helpful articles about Moodle a week
  2. Attract 100+ unique visitors a day
  3. Polish my English to write really helpful posts and not some kind of gibberish rumblings
  4. To have fun with creating content here :D

So once more, Happy New Year for all the readers, hope your dreams will come true.

And as always, any feedback welcomed :D.