Saving Office Files to Moodle

April 6, 2010

I have to admit I am not sure if this is a logical next step or a backward one….

The following link was tweeted on Twitter about an Office Add-in for Moodle.

Uploading files to Moodle has never been easier.  The Office Add-in for Moodle (OAM) is an add-in for Microsoft Office (versions 2003 and 2007) that allows teachers to open and save Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents to a Moodle website. Today, teachers who use Office and Moodle have to switch back and forth between their web browser and Office applications.  With the OAM, teachers can create, open, edit, and save Moodle documents from within the Office applications.  You no longer need to use your web browser when working with Office documents stored in Moodle.

So what do you need in order to start using the add-in?  OAM does not require anything to be installed on the Moodle server (but note we only tested against Moodle versions 1.X-1.X).  Anyone who is the teacher or owner of a Moodle course can install the add-in and access their documents.  Once installed, the add-in adds two menu items to your File menu (Office 2003) or the Office Button menu: Open from Moodle and Save to Moodle.  In order to browse course files on your Moodle you will need to first tell the add-in the address of your Moodle and the credentials you use to log in.  Once added you can view the list of courses you are enrolled in.  Naturally, students and others can access the content directly from Moodle as they normally would.

This makes it very simple for practitioners to add content to a Moodle course using tools they are familar with. They can  use Office in the usual way, open files…

…and then save those files direct to Moodle.

Now this is great for those staff who upload Office documents to their Moodle courses, now they don’t even need to use a Web Browser…

However I do wonder if this is a forward step in making it easier to use  VLE or a backward step with a focus on content and Office documents rather than open standards and engaging content.

What’s your verdict?

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Apple announce new 3G iPhone

June 10, 2008

Apple announce new 3G iPhone

Apple announced iPhone 3G yesterday in a keynote by Steve Jobs at the WWDC in San Francisco. It will be available in the UK on the 11th July.

New features include:

  • 3G-capable. 2.8 times faster than EDGE.
  • GPS built-in
  • Thinner
  • Better battery life – 300 hours of standby, 2G talk-time 10 hours (as opposed to 5), 5 hours of 3G talk-time (competition is 3 hour 3G talk time), 5 to 6 hours of high-speed browsing, 7 hours of video, 24 hours of audio.
  • Flush headphone jack

Other new features are:

  • contact searching
  • complete iWork document support
  • complete Office document support (now includes PowerPoint)
  • bulk delete and move for Mail
  • save images you receive
  • scientific calculator in landscape mode
  • parental controls
  • language

I wonder if the Keynote (iWork) and PowerPoint support also allows you to show the presentation via an AV cable in the same way you can do at the moment with video and images.

It will be interesting to see also if iWork (or even Office) support includes editing and creating support, or is it just going to be reading, I suspect the latter.

Of course there are also all the features announced when the iPhone SDK was released earlier this year which include:

  • Exchange and ActivSync support
  • Applications
  • VPN

I do like the fact that an educational institution can put apps on the iPhone (or the iPod touch) without needing to go through the Apple checking process and the iTunes App store.

Downside is that you now need to activate the phone in store, so now unlocking just became a lot more expensive as you will have to buy into a phone plan as well as the phone.


Free Online PDF Creation

December 3, 2007

Though you can create PDF files on a Mac, it is not always possible on a PC unless you have dedicated software. This is where online PDF creator sites can be very useful.

They are also useful if you for example have been sent or downloaded a Microsoft Publisher file and you have a Mac, or you don’t have Publisher on your Windows PC. They can take the Publisher .pub file and print it as a PDF.

One such site is PDF Online, which can convert a range of file formats (including Microsoft Publisher and Microsoft Office) into a PDF which is then e-mailed to you.

I would suggest that if you do use such a service that you use a disposable e-mail address, or one that can be deleted later.


How to configure Internet Explorer to open Office documents in the appropriate Office program instead of in Internet Explorer

August 26, 2007

One of the things I dislike about Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer, is when people upload and post Office documents to the web and then when I come to click on it, rather than offer me the option to open or save the Office document, Internet Explorer opens the document in the browser window.

Now for viewing documents, this generally isn’t too much of an issue, however for printing, changing and saving the document, well totally different story.

It’s one of the reasons I prefer using Firefox and Mac OS X.

However if you have “accidently” configured your system to do this, it is possible to change it back.

How to configure Internet Explorer to open Office documents in the appropriate Office program instead of in Internet Explorer