Monday, July 15, 2013

Integrating Moodle and Wordpress. A Learning Tool Interoperability (LTI) Battle Royale to setup - but well worth it!

Many THANKS to Chris Kenniburg for his hard and generous work
in showing the Moodle community how to integrate Moodle with Wordpress!

Update: This post will only work with Wordpress 3.x. It won't work with Wordpress 4.2.2. For an updated (year 2015) blog post, please go here. Cheers, Frankie Kam.

LTI. Learning Tool Interoperability. 

Remember the term. It's massive. It's here. It's now. LTI is all about integratiing Moodle with external tools and web services. In this post, I'd like to announce that I FINALLY got the Moodle-Wordpress integration to work on my Moodle 2.5 site. Yippee!!!

Now you can blog in Wordpress style, 

without ever leaving your Moodle coursepage!

What this means is that Moodle users can blog in Wordpress inside a walled garden environment (Moodle 2.5). At the same time, the Wordpress url is accessible on the Internet. If you're an English teacher who wants your students to write more, you might be interested in this integration. Imagine having all the world-class benefits of Wordpress blogging, all inside a Moodle coursepage with a shared single-sign-on!

That's awesome and way, way cool. Like totally.

The Wordpress site that I managed to setup is hereEver caught a fish after spending hours reeling it in? Well, this is one fish that almost got away. A "Battle Royale" indeed, as success for this one did not come easy. I had to do the following:
(1) Ensure that Apache's mod_rewrite was working on my webserver;
(1) Setup Wordpress on my webserver;
(2) Setup Wordpress as a Multisite;
(3) FTP the Basic LTI files and folders inside wp-content;
(4) Setup the Wordpress LTI Consumer Keys
(5) Setup my Moodle 2.5's External Tool Configuration settings to match (4);
(6) Login as Admin Moodle user and Student Moodle user. Test! Test! Test!

Why I think it didn't work earlier:

(1) Previously I used a CPanel to setup my Wordpress site. This time I setup my WordPress site manually. This involved manually downloading the WordPress wordpress-3.5.2.tar.gz file; ftp'ing it to my webserver; using the CPanel's MySQL Database Wizard to create the MySQL database, MySQL username and password.

(2) I created a folder named blogs.dir inside the wp-content folder

(3) Somewhere at the end of the process, it still wasn't showing me a single sign on. So, I cleared all caches via "Site Administration | Development | Purge all caches". Bingo! That did the trick.

It took me 2 evenings to to get this right. A titanic battle indeed. Finally!!! At least I get to feast my eyes on the screenshot below...

...and the screenshot below...

If you notice (squint if you have to), in the upper right corner of both screenshots, the Moodle username and the Wordpress account names are the SAME! This is proof that Single Sign On (SSO) and login between my Moodle coursepage and my locally installed Wordpress is working.

The username "frankie" is a Course Manager with full posting rights (edit, delete, add, etc.) whereas the username "me" is a Student account with limited posting rights (add, view). I am tempted to blog about this with full screenshots, step-by-step instructions and a video walkthrough, but that'll take like a minimum of 3 hours. 

That will have to wait for another day when other priorities do not beckon.

Frankie Kam

P.S., if you want me to help you setup Wordpress LTI on your Moodle site, you can always contact me at boonsengkam at g-m-a-i-l dot com. :-)


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