Single Sign On useful hint for #moodle

For better or worse we have Single Sign On on our Moodle 2.5 install, and most of the time it is positive simplifying  and speeding up use for most people.  However, the first major issue arrived when LRC staff using a generic LRC log on couldn’t get in to the system.  Then we found ourselves having to alternate between manager and admin accounts (see this post for why) and other staff were using generic accounts in classrooms to ease access.

After a little while it became clear that just getting people to set up browser bookmarks wouldn’t really help, so we just set up an HTML block with a basic button linking to  To clean things up properly we also added permissions so that only ‘guests’ had access to it.

Posted in Moodle, Utilities | 1 Comment

Great Custom #CSS3 Radio Button Generator

We’re doing quite a lot of quizzes at the moment, and by a lot I mean some students doing several hundred as part of test preparation.  So that’s far too many to add custom images to each one purely for interest, but so many that anything to make them easier on the eye would be a good thing, especially when you consider the very basic style of the basic Moodle quiz.

I’m going to add some nice CSS3 styles and transitions to the quiz, but I’m also possibly going to use these custom radio buttons I made on CSS Checkbox Generator for free.

Download the CSS, HTML and IMAGE files here CssCheckboxKit
Posted in Images, Moodle | Leave a comment

Use #CSS nth-child to Customise #Moodle and other CMS systems #edtech

I love Moodle and WordPress, but with WordPress particularly it is so easy to run the updates, and essential for security, that it makes tweaking the source code problematic.  With Moodle the update problem can be less of an issue, but finding the code that creates that annoying bit of html can be much, much harder.

One of our tutors who systematically uses quizzes wanted to remove student access to the full list of questions and answers when they had finished the test.  Being able to see that let the students cheat his ‘system’ by learning the answers off by heart to succeed, rather than learning the content properly.  He asked me to get rid of the link.  I had a look into the php code, but after a short while gave up as it wasn’t a priority for me. Then as part of something else I came across and remembered CSS nth child which I could use to target a specific element without an ID.  So this is the CSS I came up with to achieve the desired effect.

#mod_quiz_navblock .othernav a:nth-child(1){display: none;}

The same technique can be used for many CMS systems where you can easily update the css on the theme, but probably don’t want to mess with the php if you can help it.

Posted in Code, edtech, Moodle | Leave a comment

Padlet, a really useful, multipurpose tool for teachers #edtech

For years now at our large college we’ve been trying to encourage teachers to use more of the collaborative aspects of Moodle, with little success.  Chat rooms become venues for random chatter and forums remain stubbornly unused.  We have also promoted all manner of Web 2.0 services, including subscribing to the old classic voicethread, but with limited success.

Recently though a few teachers have used Padlet for getting quick feedback on simple questions.  The main advantage being the accessibility of use and the fact that once you have the Pad set up users need no login to participate. Here’s an example from @eleniZazani

Posted in edtech, Rapid eLearning, Web 2.0 | 2 Comments

Make #Moodle Global Calendar Events Stand Out

Recently decided to start using the calendar for promoting global events on our Moodle installation.  The problem was that the default calendar colours don’t really grab your attention, especially as I was trying to promote equality and diversity information.  I decided to use css3 gradients to make them stand out more clearly.  So this is the result.

We use ‘Formal white’ as our theme which has the Custom CSS option allowing you to add CCS through the Moodle admin interface, without having to have access to the server files.  This is the CSS I added.

background: -moz-linear-gradient(top,  rgb(206,106,255) 0%, rgb(201,97,252) 0%, rgb(95,255,255) 34%, rgb(102,249,98) 65%, rgb(255,96,96) 100%, rgb(255,105,106) 100%); /* FF3.6+ */
background: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, color-stop(0%,rgb(206,106,255)), color-stop(0%,rgb(201,97,252)), color-stop(34%,rgb(95,255,255)), color-stop(65%,rgb(102,249,98)), color-stop(100%,rgb(255,96,96)), color-stop(100%,rgb(255,105,106))); /* Chrome,Safari4+ */
background: -webkit-linear-gradient(top,  rgb(206,106,255) 0%,rgb(201,97,252) 0%,rgb(95,255,255) 34%,rgb(102,249,98) 65%,rgb(255,96,96) 100%,rgb(255,105,106) 100%); /* Chrome10+,Safari5.1+ */
background: -o-linear-gradient(top,  rgb(206,106,255) 0%,rgb(201,97,252) 0%,rgb(95,255,255) 34%,rgb(102,249,98) 65%,rgb(255,96,96) 100%,rgb(255,105,106) 100%); /* Opera 11.10+ */
background: -ms-linear-gradient(top,  rgb(206,106,255) 0%,rgb(201,97,252) 0%,rgb(95,255,255) 34%,rgb(102,249,98) 65%,rgb(255,96,96) 100%,rgb(255,105,106) 100%); /* IE10+ */
background: linear-gradient(top,  rgb(206,106,255) 0%,rgb(201,97,252) 0%,rgb(95,255,255) 34%,rgb(102,249,98) 65%,rgb(255,96,96) 100%,rgb(255,105,106) 100%); /* W3C */
font-weight: bold;
text-shadow:1px 1px #DDDDDD;

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Better than a twitter feed on your VLE course page #edtech

If you post much on Twitter you have probably come across as it randomly picks up hash-tagged tweets and automatically spins them into a themed newspaper.  I have no idea how well it works as a marketing tool, as that appears its primary purpose when used through Twitter.  However, for a hard-pushed teacher on many subject based courses it can bring content from blogs, news feeds, twitter experts and hashtags into a frequently refreshed and attractive ‘magazine’.

This is one I ‘made’ for a Music Technology course.

This Youtube video shows how to do it

Posted in edtech, Utilities, Web 2.0 | Leave a comment

Coggle, a really Simple Online Mindmap #edtech

There have been a few online Mindmappers that I have liked over the years. is nice because you can easily make a mindmap without logging in, and it lets you export it as an image. is one of the most fully featured services that has almost the same control as a desktop program, and has done since before 2008 when I first used it.

My current favourite is because it is so simple for students to use (although you do now have to log in to use it).  There are few bells or whistles, just clean lines and text that is really simple to edit, even on an ipad.  I just have this little example here

This shows it being used on an iPad

Posted in edtech, Utilities, Web 2.0 | 3 Comments

Are gimmicks OK if they work? #edtech

In the UK there has been quite a lot of publicity and investigation of Aurasma, one of the first easily accessible ‘augmented reality’ apps, in FE and HE.

Thankfully earlier limited versions of the system are now more flexible with the possibility of building your own ‘channel’ of trigger images and associated links or media without having to go to the trouble and expense of getting a bespoke Aurasma app onto the app store.

Some of the videos of use look really nice, but it does seem that most people end up using it as a jazzed up QR code reader.  You have trigger images on the posters (eg, a picture of a frog next to the vivarium with said frog) that may link to a video or basic text details with more info, but the main difference is that the trigger image looks nicer than a QR code.  There’s a case study from South Staffordshire College here,

What do you think?  Is the extra time and effort of creating trigger images for Aurasma worth the effort if students like the novelty?

Posted in edtech, Mobile Learning, Pedagogy | Leave a comment

Case Studies for Twitter in HE #edtech #edchat

Possible ideas for using Twitter for learning

This is a nice, short set of 4 case studies.  I like case study 2 the most, using it to give everyone a voice in large lecture theatres.

Continue reading

Posted in edtech, Mobile Learning, Web 2.0 | Leave a comment

Slow #Moodle 2+ Administrator Account? What can you do? #edtech

Are you an administrator on a Moodle 2 or above server? Have you suffered from very slow page loads?

When we first set up our college Moodle 2.5 we were doing a lot of course creation and other fairly low end management tasks.  It was so slow we wondered how on earth teaching staff and students would cope with the waits.  It was only then that we read that the full admin role is much slower than any of the other roles.  We used developer tools and found that on a particularly slow page the admin account was an 18 second wait, manager 5 seconds and teacher or student just one second.  I thought that I could probably carry out most day-to-day tasks with the ‘manager’ role.  I set up my SSO user account as a manager and then created a new manual administrator for when I needed to install plugins, adjust themes etc.  It was a small change, but over the last 8 months it has saved me time and frustration.

Posted in edtech, Moodle, Utilities | Tagged , | 1 Comment