Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Marginalia and Nanogong co-existing in your Moodle 1.9 forums - a match made in heaven

In this post, I will explain how YOU can fortify your  Moodle forum by getting  the non-standard mods Marginalia and Nangong to co-exist in harmony. As Hannah Montana would sing, "it's the best of both worlds!". At least on a Moodle 1.9 site.


The Nanogong voice recorder by Dr. David Rossiter and Gibson Lam of Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, is an excellent audio recorder for Moodle. As mentioned on the Nanogong website, "it provides a very simple and transparent voice support for Moodle".


Marginalia is, as Geof Glass, the author puts it, "is an open source Javascript web annotation system that allows users of web applications to highlight text and write margin notes."

Red text indicates grammar mistakes by the student. Green indicates the correct sentence or text.
Both the red and green sections appear during mouse-overs.Note: The yellow colour-coded blocks are caused by installing the Hyper Forum mod. It is an addon that improves the readability of the Moodle forums. 

In an earlier blog post, I mentioned that installing Marginalia for Moodle 1.9.x led to a major side-effect: Nanogong would record as expected, but simply would not playback the audio! This meant then that I would gain a invaluable pedagogical tool in exchange for another. This simply would not do. So I set out on a mighty quest to bring harmony back into the.. erm...I mean, my, Moodle universe.

After a flurry of emails to Geof, I succeeded in getting Nanogong to playback the audio. The trick it seems was to edit MoodleMarginalia.js and to remove the line of code:

string child.removeAttribute( 'id' );

found in Line 213 for version Moodle 1.9 and line 301 if you are using Moodle 2.0 version of Marginalia.

Well that worked, except that my Nanogong control box (you know, the one that houses the play, pause, and save buttons) appeared right at the top of my Moodle page. Like a helium balloon. LOL!

Next, I emailed Gibson Lam and he was kind enough to give me to install on my Moodle website. Did it work? Nope. Finally after some thought, he suggested that I clear my filter cache by disabling the Nanogong filter and then enabling it.


Now my Moodle forums are in a state of a total bliss. My Intensive English students can do voice recordings with Nanogong and I can correct their grammar at will by using the Marginalia annotation tool.

Here's a Youtube recording I made that shows both mods in action in a Moodle forum:

This evening, I raise a toast to the creative genius of the Marginalia and Nanogong developers. Their toil, genius and programming skills have resulted in PHP and MySQL masterpieces. By combining two masterpieces, and with their unswerving and generous help and guidance, I have managed to extend the functionality of the standard Moodle forum into a pedagogical force to be reckoned with. To Goeff, Gibson and David, I salute you all!

Until next time, have fun Moodling!

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