Plugins And Collaboration, The Recipe For Making A Massive Moodle

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The inner IT operation at Lafayette College is large. For each new term, approximately one thousand Moodle Courses must be created, filled with content, and saved organized for the IT staff, school, and students. With the aid of the manner, users have to be enrolled in unique units of Courses in step with their non-public progress in the direction of a degree.

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Plugins And Collaboration, The Recipe For Making A Massive Moodle 1

Even as fantastic, the process isn’t always out of the normal for lots of academic institutions. Lafayette’s Charles Fulton has been collaborating with Eric Merrill from Oakland University on a couple of plugins to automate elements of this technique for their own functions. As is frequently the case with Moodle, the end result in their paintings is now to be had for the entire Moodleverse.

However, this one plugin is some distance from the best way the two have brought value to the LMS.

Below is the info of two plugins that make otherwise cumbersome seasonal duties less complicated, as well as a third manner Moodle is cashing in on the pair’s work.


It is really worth noting these aren’t the most effective two plugins Fulton and Merrill have developed, nor the most effective ones they use in their operation. Also, they may be now not the best builders solving similar troubles for the network’s benefit.

Contribution #1: Banner/Luminis Message Broker Enrolment Plugin (LMB)

This plugin connects to the Ellucian pupil statistics gadget to generate guides, customers, and Moodle enrollments. LMB is “pretty configurable,” according to Merrill. It supports real-time reaction to Ellucian Luminis notifications, theoretically establishing publications, students, and enrollments as soon as new records are up to date on Ellucian.

Contribution #2: Use Template on Course Creation Plugin

This plugin permits placing a template path as the “seed” for a based offering of courses. All it takes is having new Courses observe an easy naming convention. Administrators can create any range of Courses (manually or automatically, as with the LMB plugin) with a name structure, say ‘SCHOOL-[TERMCODE], ‘wherein the part in the brackets is validated using an ordinary expression. The plugin mechanically appends all the content material from the template Course to the new ones: Sections, Activities, Blocks, Resources. The concept is to offer a canvas geared up for teachers to fill out.

Contribution #3: The “Automated Backups Slow Down” Issue

Pushing the envelope in excessive scale automation became no longer without its hurdles. During their collaboration, Merrill and Fulton determined a malicious program in Moodle, wherein each next Course backup took longer and longer. Technically, developing publications, the LMB plugin usage is an automatic “repair,” which counts as a “backup” project. They located out that during the operation of creating masses of Courses, the primary ones took about 3 seconds to repair; however, this time stored increasing beyond 20 seconds according to a path. Over 1,000 of these restores, time can really add up. They reported the problem to the Moodle Tracker. However, they didn’t forestall there. They absolutely fixed it.

After some “programming magic,” the slowdown, calculated between 480 and 10,300% (depending on the version of PHP running), went zero after the patch. Now, an operation over 4 hours long takes underneath 45 mins.

Both Merrill and Fulton have saved their Moodle development paintings contemporary. The Use template on path introduction plugin is already well suited with Moodle 3.3, and the Moodle backup patch is coming with the brand new launch as properly.

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