Monday, August 29, 2011

How to embed a website inside your Moodle webpage with iframes and Bitty browser

Bitty Browser is truly an amazing web application. It allows you to embed a website within a website. 

So you can embed an entire working website inside your blog or Moodle site. Its developer is Scott Matthews. But first, a brief comparison between a normal iframed website and a Bitty framed website.

Figure 1. is embedded inside my Moodle coursepage using normal iframe HTML code.
This is an image only.

Figure 2. is embedded inside my Moodle coursepage using Bitty iframe HTML code.
This is an image only.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What do the words arsenal and class have in common? (Word censorship in Moodle)

Profanity and word censorship. The purpose of today's post is to share with you how I enabled a Year-2008 improved Moodle censorship filter on my Moodle 1.9.7 site. I will let you know how I tweaked it to achieve the desired effect. So at the end of this post, you will know how to enable the 'new' Censorship filter that allows a good word list while censoring bad words. You will also know how to generate a list of good words that contain a swear word. Like the word mishit, or peacock, or Emily Dickinson. Okay, I think you get the picture.

Do you enable the word censorship filter of your Moodle site? I suspect that there is a high chance that you do not. There are many who consider it useless and ethically challenging. Some may have disabled it because it takes up processing time. My guess is that 99% of forum users are well-behaved and post appropriate and politically-correct text in a Moodle forums. After all, forum participants can be identified by their Moodle username. Okay, but what about the renegade 1% for whom profanity may be common-place in their vocabulary? If the technology allows that 1% to post what we would consider as profane words, should we care enough to do something?

Times, they are a-changing. What used to shock us decades ago no longer shocks society at large. Many of our modern movies, if we care to admit it, contain profanity. In the heat of the moment, in his or her excitement or just out of sheer frustration, a forum user might let loose a bomb-word in a forum post. By the time the offense is detected, the damage may have already been done. 

So do we really need to enable this feature? In its native form, I would say "no". The first time I enabled it, I set it to censor the word "ass". I then proceeded to create a forum where I used the words "Class" and "Assignment". Those two benign words, common to education, were filtered and were displayed as "Cl***" and "A**ignment". Oh no! I then disabled the filter.
However, if we could modify and improve the existing standard Moodle censorship filter, and depending on the subject that you teach, I would say that there is a case for it. By the way, the Word Censorship settings can be found at: Site Administration > Plugins > Filters.

Figure 1. Enabling the standard Moodle censorhip filter.

Create a form in a block the easy way with the Form Maker block - no HTML needed

Some of the simplest blocks on are also the most elegant and easy to use. Caio Almeida's Form Maker block for Moodle 1.9 (March 2009) on is one such example. At the end of this post, you will be able to use the Brazillian Moodler's block to create a basic form in a Moodle block. The block will allow you and non-technical teachers to easily capture input from users.

This block allows a site administrator or teacher to setup a form inside a block. Best of all, absolutely no HTML knowledge is needed and the interface is easy to use. I was able to set up a basic form on my main Moodle homepage within minutes.

Figure 1. The block in action.

The block informs me that out of a maximum of 100 submissions, 2 have already been created, leaving 98 more to go.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Making the "Web's best php shoutbox" even better for your Moodle site

In my last post, if you were observant enough, you would have noticed an interesting-looking block on the lower right-hand corner of my Moodle course page. That's the section with the red border. Today's post is about that intriguing block with the text "Whisper" inside it. At the end of this post, you will know how to install a profanity-filtered chat widget that can identify the post by it's poster's Moodle account firstname. The widget also shows who is currently online. Best of all, this chat widget is free to use! Two versions of this chat widget exist - one version that is tested and running on both Moodle 1.9.x AND Moodle 2.x; and one version (with avatars) that so far as of 1st September 2011, has only been tested on Moodle 1.9.x.

Figure 1. Check out the area shown in red border.

Friday, August 19, 2011

FreeEmbedChat - you've never seen a free PHP chat like this for your Moodle site before!

Julie slaps Frankie with a large trout.

Remember the line "...slaps... with a large trout"? in the good old days of the 1990s of the Internet when text ruled the roost and Internet connections were mainly dial-up lines, chat clients like mIRC and ICQ were all the rage. in this post, I unvei a modified version of PHPFreeChat that caters for Moodle and Web 2.0. You are cordially invited to read on!

I. Introduction

For the last 3 weeks I've been working on an embedded chat widget for my Moodle 1.9.7  site. I am sure that it can be easily modified to suit Moodle 2.x.
My improved chat is based on modified PHP code of Stephane Gully's excellent phpfreechat, Eloy Lafuente's Multimovie filter  and Simon Karpen's Voicethread filter.

I call this modified chat, "FreeEmbedChat".

        Sample screenshot1.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Two more third-party Chat widgets for your Moodle site

For the past two weeks, I've been experimenting with Chat for Moodle. I've looked at some cool tools that are Web 2.0 chat services that you can embed into a Moodle block, as well as free PHP chat programs. Why would I want to "waste" my time with this quest? Didn't Moodle already have a standard, inbuilt Chat module? The meaning behind this madness was two-fold:

  1. Moodle chat is resource-hungry and is one of the ways to bring a Moodle site to a grinding halt when many users are chatting. So I was curious to see if other chat systems could be faster;
  2. Moodle chat opens up as a separate window. I wanted a chat window within my Moodle course. Could I have a chat window open up in a block? Or be embedded as HTML code within a Moodle label or webpage?
As a result of my Chat Quest, I've since discovered PHPFreeChat of which I created a modified version that I christened "FreeEmbedChat". I have also modified the interesting ShoutPro shoutbox so that it is easier to use and more integrated with your Moodle site. I've modified that one too and christened it "Whisper".

Now I want to turn my attention to some third-party chat widgets that are easily enabled on your Moodle site by copying-and-pasting their embed code. Fasten your seatbelts, here we go!

1. Chatango

Type: Web 2.00 service.
Install method: Just copy the embedded HTML code (http:// into your Moodle HTML block.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ajax Replacement Chat - an improved chat room for your Moodle 1.9 site

I was thinking about Moodle's chat module yesterday. I thought about how my Moodle 1.9.7 site's chat module could be improved. This post is all about chatting in Moodle. Ah yes, online chatting. A major addictive time-waster in most cases. Raise your hand if you have ever wasted more than an hour chatting with others online. My right hand is up. Along with games like Tetris, Lemmings, Counterstrike (pretty old games, I know), chatting is one big time sinkhole. Despite this, some academicians do use it in a controlled and constructive manner.

In this post, I show how you can improve your standard Moodle 1.9.x chat module with Ajax Replacement Chat (ARC, May 2010). If you surfed to this post looking for a chatroom for your Moodle course, you will feel like a kid in a candy store. Sorry to keep you in suspense, but I will reveal more about ARC in a moment. First, a brief review of some more-commonly known chat methods or modules currently available for Moodle. At least one is a commercial offering, whilst the others are free.

Standard Moodle 1.9 Chat Module


 Figure 1. The standard Moodle 1.9 chat

Some tutors feel that the standard Moodle 1.9 chat is too slow and that it is a bit of a resource hog. I seldom use it because I find it slow and sluggish. In additon, it opens up as a separate window. I prefer if the chat interface were embedded within a Moodle course page itself.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Leeds City College - Moodle 2 Beachhead secured

If you have been following Lewis Carr's blog you would have known that the intrepid VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) manager and his technical team have been on a quest. To be exact, a Moodle 2 upgrade quest of epic proportions. But they've done it. By George they've done it! I'm talking about Lewis Carr, Sukhwant Lota and the VLE development team at Leeds City College.

 Great theme. Love the exciting colours. Leeds City College's Moodle 2 site as of 22nd July 2011.

How did it start?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Durians for tea

This blog is about Moodle and Durians.
So far 100% about Moodle ... until now.
For a multimedia presentation on durian fruit, go to the qwiki page on durians.

Tasty, isn't it? "Bon app├ętit." (Sid the Sloth, Ice Age)

Nothing like having durians for tea-time. All Moodle and no Durian makes Frankie a dull boy. Care for some?  My wife and I enjoying some D24 durian fruit.To order durians offline, go to or

Using the Presentation Mode in OKMindMap

Last month I featured OKMindMap on Within a month, I had over 430 pageviews of my blog post and Dr. Won's OKMindMap site experienced an influx hits. In today's post, I touch on another one of OKMindMap's features - the Advanced Presentation. Did you know that OKMindMap has this feature that allows nodes to be displayed as a slide? At the end of this post, you will know how to setup you OKMindMap to function like a PowerPoint presentation. So let's get started shall we?

The feature has two options,
"Edit Window enabled"
"Presentation enabled"

Here's how to set up the presentation.

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