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UK Moodlemoot 2015 - Thoughts on Community and Openness

 

By Mike Churchward, Chief Product Officer

Two weeks ago, I attended the UK Moodlemoot in Dublin. This was around the twelfth Moodlemoot I have participated in, most of which I have actively presented in as well as attended. I always find the Moots’ spirit of community so energizing, and this one was no exception.

Attending a Moodlemoot gets me back in the community and its sub-communities - developers, educators, users and partners. It reminds me why I do what I do, and makes me happy to be part of the engine that makes Moodle go. A Moot is a reunion of sorts, where I connect with people who I see “virtually” every week, but only physically meet with in geographically far-off places every couple of years. And as a reunion, it makes me review my history.

I began my Moodle connection in 2003, with my first “moodle.org” post on November 27, 2003 contributing my ideas for “Moodle groups” that was being worked on for Moodle 1.1. That same discussion included three colleagues who went on to start their own Moodle Partner businesses - Sean Keogh, Bryan Williams and Tom Murdock. Eventually, Sean, Bryan and I merged our three Moodle Partner companies into one. Tom Murdock co-founded Moodlerooms, which just recently acquired our UK division. Sean and I were both there at the recent Moot.

In February 2004, I released my first module - questionnaire. Questionnaire remains one of the top plugin downloads in the Moodle plugin database, usually sitting in second or third spot.

in June of 2005, I attended my first MoodleMoot at what was then the Governor Dummer Academy near Boston. There I met Martin Dougiamas for the first time in person, as well as Michelle Moore, who I would later work with as well. Both were there at the Moot.

Over the next decade, I continued Moodle development, formed my own Moodle Partner company, attended and presented many more Moots, attended various developer conferences and hackfests, wrote a book on Moodle plugin development and I believe contributed to Moodle’s success. Some of the developers I’ve attended the developer gatherings with were there as well: Dan Poltawski, David Mudrak, Davo Smith, Bas Brands among others.

Now, arriving at Dublin for the 2015 UK Moot, I still found myself amazed by the spirit of collaboration this experiment of Martin Dougiamas has created. I was there to present our latest releases of plug-ins designed to help Office365 users integrate with Moodle, and front a workshop to help learn how to setup and use these plugins. The workshop was attended by new faces as well as known collaborators. When I ran into trouble, someone in the room was there to help me out. I received valuable feedback that will go back into the plugin development.

Likewise the various sessions demonstrated the Moodle community energy. No presenter felt alone, and I think all left with as many new ideas as they provided. You just know, more good ideas will end up available to us all as a result. I personally, have already contacted a couple of the presenters to see if I can get more involved in their projects.

And of course the impromptu meetups in the social times generated many great discussions on Moodle, learning and the industry in general. Many of these went well into the night and well into the Guinness kegs. My personal discussions involved educators, Moodle users and administrators, developers and other partners. I found all of these talks led to positive ideas of how we can improve Moodle, learning and our “product”.

My hats off to Gavin Henrick, another colleague and past co-worker, for organizing a successful Moot that so celebrated and promoted the spirit of openness the Moodle community brings. I love being a part of this community and its innovative energy. Looking forward to the next one.

Microsoft Office 365 Plugins Update

 

Remote-Learner is pleased to announce the latest updates to the Microsoft Office 365 plugins. With these updates, Office 365 subscribers can now take full advantage of the Office 365 OneNote Assignment and Repository plugins. In addition to the OneNote integration, this release also extends support into Moodle for the new Microsoft Office 365 User Groups feature. In addition to supporting these key features, the plugin updates address a number of different bugs and feature enhancements.

For additional information, please see the below product bulletin.

Release Date: May 19, 2015

New Features Summary

Office365 OneNote Integration with Moodle

Office365 User Group Integration with Moodle

BugFix Summary

  1. Moodle Permissions Checker now returns correct permissions results for Office365 permissions.

  2. OpenID Connect plugin has been updated to prevent Moodle users from self-switching to OpenID if the OpenID plugin is disabled.

  3. OneNote notebook plugin has been improved to eliminate a bug that was preventing the creation of a OneNote notebook by some users.

  4. Token Refreshing, code has been updated to eliminate issues with token refreshing.

  5. Token Expansion,  code has been updated to eliminate issues for users receiving tokens from new sources.

Office365 OneNote

Office 365 and Moodle users are now able to use all existing OneNote plugins with their Office 365 accounts. Users of the Office 365, OpenID, and OneNote assignment plugins will experience single-sign-on from Moodle into their Office 365 OneNote applications. With the activation of this release, Office 365 users will have access to the OneNote assignment submission and feedback types, the OneNote repository, and the OneNote block. An “opt-out” option is available for Office 365 users who may prefer to use their personal Microsoft accounts with OneNote.

User Groups

Unified user groups are a new feature in Office 365 that provides a way for groups of users to collaborate throughout Office 365 applications. Groups can now be created and maintained for each course in a Moodle site, giving users an easier way to share with the other people in their courses. Teachers have a simple way to share documents with their students, and those students have a simpler way to contact their peers.

Bugfix Details

  1. Permissions checker has been fixed. An update to the Office 365 permission names caused the permissions checker to return "null" when searching for missing permissions. This has been fixed, so the tool will now return the correct permissions results. It has also been enhanced to better handle this case in the future.

  2. Prevent users from switching to OpenID Connect if the plugin is not enabled. If an administrator switched to OpenID Connect authentication without enabling the plugin, it could prevent site logins. The user-facing method to switch to OpenID Connect has been updated to check whether the plugin is enabled.

  3. Fix site OneNote notebook creation. Some users were experiencing a situation in which the OneNote notebook could not be created, limiting OneNote’s functionality. The notebook creation code has been fixed and improved to prevent this situation.

  4. Fix token refreshing. Some users were experiencing problems refreshing tokens during long sessions. The token refresh code has been updated to handle this error.

  5. Fix token expansion. Some users were experiencing problems getting tokens for new resources. This has also been fixed.

Upgrade Instructions

Remote-Learner clients who currently have a Microsoft Office plugin suite installed may update their current plugins by going to the Manage Add-Ons option in the RL Update Manager.

 

If the plugin is not currently installed, your Moodle administrator may choose to install the plugin by selecting the install button.

 

 

If additional assistance is required for installation, configuration, or the use of the plugin sets, Remote-Learner provides Microsoft Office SmartStart for one-on-one assistance. Please contact your Account Manager for additional information on the Microsoft Office SmartStart.

What's New In Learning Spaces

 

By Amy Kotwitz, Training Services Manager

With 19 Course Developer courses (available for Moodle versions 2.6 and 2.7) and 14 Administration courses, Learning Spaces continues to be a comprehensive Moodle-based training solution for users across markets.  In June, the 2.8 versions of Course Developer and Administration courses will be released.  Additional Course Developer and Administration courses are always in development so there's often new material available!  Our Learning Spaces participants also strengthen their Moodle skills by attending our regularly scheduled webinars.  This month, we are tackling video content, discussing how to create material using Kaltura and the popular PoodLL plugins.  In June, we'll ensure our participants are up-to-date regarding the key features to watch for in Moodle 2.9.

What is Learning Spaces?

See Learning Spaces in Action

Remote-Learner Names Ron Olsen as CEO; Dr. Jason Cole as Chairman

 

Company COO Assumes Leadership Role and Announces Executive Moves to Strengthen Team

WAYNESBORO, VIRGINIA, May 11, 2015 -- The Board of Directors for Remote-Learner, a provider of technology-enhanced learning solutions to organizations throughout North America, has unanimously approved the promotion of Ron Olsen to the role of Chief Executive Officer. 

Mr. Olsen replaces Dr. Jason Cole as CEO and joins the company’s Board of Directors.  Dr. Cole will continue to provide his expertise by becoming Chairman of the Board of Directors; replacing in that role company founder Bryan Williams, who remains an active board member.  

"I am honored to carry on Bryan's vision to change the world through learning as Chairman. Remote-Learner is the product of his desire to make the world a better place and we will continue to live up to those ideals. I am confident we have the right people, vision and commitment to continue to make Remote-Learner a success" said Mr. Cole.

“I am grateful to the Board and our executive team for their overwhelming support” said Mr. Olsen. “Bryan did a phenomenal job starting and running the company through 2011, and Jason built upon that success during his four years as CEO. I believe that Remote-Learner is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the strong position that they created in the North American market, with an outstanding team and over 600 organizations that we are proud to call our clients.”

Prior to his role as CEO, Mr. Olsen was the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of European Operations for the company’s UK-based subsidiary, Remote-Learner UK, Ltd. until its acquisition in April.  Mr. Olsen joined the company as consulting CFO in 2011 and assumed a full-time role in 2013. Prior to Remote-Learner, Mr. Olsen was the founder of Insight Professional Services, LLC, a Denver, CO based accounting services firm and held senior management positions with Progressive Home, LLC and Inasoft, Inc. Earlier in his career, Mr. Olsen served as CFO for Miramar Venture Partners, Senior Associate for Enterprise Partners, and Audit Manager for Deloitte & Touche. Mr. Olsen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and is a Member of the Board of Directors for the nonprofit Summit54.

In addition the company announced that Mike Churchward has moved to the newly created position of Chief Product Officer from the previously held position as Chief Information Officer. Jenny Laughlin was promoted to Chief Financial Officer and Vanessa Cleary was promoted to Director of Service Platforms. Page Chen continues in her role as Chief Learning Officer and the executive team rounds out with the previously announced hiring of Ted Hopper as Chief Revenue Officer.

About Remote-Learner

Remote-Learner has been providing technology-enhanced learning solutions to business, educational and governmental organizations since 1982. Today, these services include support for best-of-breed open source programs, including the world’s most widely used open source learning management system, Moodle. Remote-Learner provides support and hosting services, custom development, workforce development training, instructional design and strategic consulting services for organizations planning online learning programs. Remote-Learner maintains corporate offices in Virginia, Kansas, Colorado and Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, serving clients throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

For more information about Remote-Learner, please visit www.remote-learner.net or contact Bryan Poss, Director of Marketing, Remote-Learner.net, Inc., at 877-299-1293.


Remote-Learner Hires Ted Hopper as Chief Revenue Officer

 

Seasoned eLearning and Software Executive Will Lead Sales, Marketing and Partnering Efforts


WAYNESBORO, VIRGINIA, May 6, 2015 -- Remote-Learner, provider of technology- enhanced learning solutions throughout North America, named Ted Hopper to the newly created position of Chief Revenue Officer.

 

Mr. Hopper, who spent the last seven years in management roles within Blackboard, Inc., is charged with managing Remote-Learner’s growing Sales,  Marketing  and partner organizations.  Mr. Hopper joins the Remote-Learner executive team  and brings additional depth to the organization as it expands its service offerings to the North American markets.

 

“I’m thrilled to join the Remote-Learner team” said Mr. Hopper.  “I believe Remote-Learner’s outstanding strategic consulting and development personnel coupled with their support of open source platforms for both the academic and corporate learning markets distinctly positions the company for considerable future growth.  Remote-Learner is one of the longest standing brands in the eLearning space and I look forward to helping them build on that strong foundation.”

 

Prior to joining Remote-Learner, Mr. Hopper was Vice President of Blackboard Business Development where he led the launch of the Blackboard Partnerships(™) program and more recently headed the development and launch of the Blackboard Store(™).  Earlier in his career, he served as Vice President of Business Affairs at ePals, Inc. (now Cricket Media), a k-12 focused global provider of platforms for collaborative classrooms, and also held management positions at AOL  Mr. Hopper brings this unique  blend of consumer software and educational-technology expertise to his new role with Remote-Learner.


Mr. Hopper has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business.  In addition, he is a member of the board of directors for the non-profit Adoptions Together where he leads the finance committee and is also on the board of directors for the SONOS Chamber Orchestra in New York City.

About Remote-Learner

 

Remote-Learner has been providing educational technology services since 1982 to its business, educational and governmental clients. Today, these services include support for best-of-breed open source programs, including the world’s most widely used open source learning management system, Moodle. Remote-Learner provides support and hosting services, custom development, workforce development training, instructional design and strategic consulting services for organizations planning online learning programs. Remote-Learner maintains corporate offices in Virginia, Kansas, Colorado and Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, serving clients throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

 

For more information about Remote-Learner, please visit www.remote-learner.net or contact Bryan Poss, Director of Marketing, Remote-Learner.net, Inc., at 877-299-1293.

Remote-Learner Sells UK Subsidiary to BlackBoard UK

 

By Jason Cole, CEO

Later today, Remote-Learner will publicly announce the sale of our UK subsidiary to Blackboard UK. While this may be a surprising move to some observers, I see this as only positive for Remote-Learner, our clients and the Moodle community.

The LMS industry is a dynamic, exciting and sometimes frustrating place. New competitors constantly emerge, new technologies promise exciting new capabilities and patterns of adoption and usage continually evolve. The continued market evolution requires laser focus and rapid adjustments of strategy. The sale of our UK subsidiary will allow us to focus on the unique requirements and market conditions in North America and provide you with improved products and services.

Blackboard’s acquisition of our UK operation will also help strengthen the Moodle project. Blackboard supports Moodle both through direct financial contributions and with development of open source plugins and code to further the capabilities of Moodle, just as Remote-Learner does. They are dedicated to expanding Moodle’s presence internationally and can use the UK acquisition as a platform to continue to grow Moodle’s impact on teaching and learning.

Remote-Learner’s commitment to the success of Moodle and to providing you the best possible support and services remains unchanged. Remote-Learner remains the leading independent provider of Moodle-based LMS solutions in North America through our US and Canadian companies. We will be making some additional announcements in the coming weeks outlining some of the changes and improvements that the sale of our UK subsidiary enables for our clients serviced by our North American teams.

Office 365 Moodle Integration Project - New and Improved

 

By Mike Churchward, CIO/President

 

Since we released the O365 integration plug-ins back in January, there has been a lot of community pick-up and feedback. We have responded with a number of improvements. This article will focus on the most noticeable surrounding the O365 single-sign-on and account connection.


The original release of the O365 plug-ins required users who wanted to use the O365 OneDrive and Outlook Calendar Moodle integrations to change their Moodle account authentication scheme to the OpenID Connect using Office 365’s AAD system. Any new Moodle account had to be created and managed from the Office 365 AAD system as well. To login, a user had to use the separate “OpenID Connect” login button on the Moodle login page.


This system worked well for new Moodle installations, where the user management system had not been established, and was therefore easy to select the OpenID Connect/AAD authentication system for their user system. But for established Moodle sites, where other user management and authentication systems were well established, this proved to be a barrier to using the O365 integrations.


Further, some Moodle sites that did want to use the OpenID Connect/AAD system for Moodle authentication, didn’t want their users to look for a separate login button on the Moodle login page, but to continue to use the standard Moodle login form.


I’ll deal with the second problem first.


As originally released, to login via O365, you had to use a separate button on the login page, like below:



However, Moodle is built such that authentication plug-ins can use the standard login form, if they choose to do so. For this case, we built in the ability for Moodle to pass the entered username and password to the OpenID Connect provider, and log the user in to both O365/AAD and Moodle at the same time, in the background. In order to facilitate this, we provided an extra configuration option:



As shown, the second radio button turns off the need to use the separate OpenID Connect login button, and allows the standard Moodle login form to function with OpenID Connect. If you select the first radio button, the login will work as it did before, and require the user to login using the external provider.


One other addition we added was the ability to select an icon for use on the login button, or upload a custom icon for the same use. This allows the OpenID Connect login button to have an icon more suited to the organization, if they choose not to show the Microsoft Office icon.


For the account connection problem, we approached it in a unique way. As the account connection mechanism existed, sites that wanted their users to take advantage of the O365 integrations required that the Moodle logins be managed from O365/AAD as well. The plug-ins provided an easy mechanism to connect existing Moodle accounts to existing O365 accounts, and then switch those users to the O365/AAD login, but that was a permanent change. And sites with many users, already have well-established user management and login systems that they use with Moodle.


To solve that problem, we provided a mechanism that allows users to either switch to using the O365 login (as before), or connect their current Moodle account to an O365 account and continue to login to Moodle as they did before. This mechanism is contained in the user profile plug-ins accessed from a user's Moodle profile page, as so:



In this shot, you can see two Office365 links:

 

  • Office365 Connection: You are not connected to Office 365. Connect to Office 365

  • Office365: You are not using Office365 to log in. Start using Office365 to log in.

 

Either of these links takes you to the new O365 management page, which provides links to each function as so:



The first function on this page, "Start using Office365 to log into Moodle", works the same as the first release. If you click that link, you will be redirected to your Office365 login page to login to O365/AAD. If you login with a valid AAD account that has not already been connected to a Moodle account, your Moodle account will then be reconfigured to use AAD as the authentication scheme. Once that has been done, you will always need to login to Moodle using the AAD account information.


The second function in this page, "Connect to Office365", is the new function. If you click that link, you will be likewise redirected to your Office365 login page. If you login with a valid AAD account that has not already been connected to a Moodle account, your Moodle account will be configured to be connected to that O365 account. What that means, is that you will continue to login to Moodle in the same way you always have, but when you access any of the O365 Moodle integrations, your O365 account will automatically be used. You won't need to login twice once the connection has been made.


This second feature was one that was most asked for. This feature allows Moodle sites that cannot change their Moodle authentication schemes to still take advantage of the full O365 integrations.


One feature that has also remained is the automatic account creation. If a user that does not exist yet in Moodle, logs into a Moodle site that has the OpenID Connect O365/AAD authentication plug-in enabled, and the account information they use is a valid AAD account, they will be logged in and a new Moodle account created for them.


We have a number of other improvements and new features coming in future releases. Look to future blog posts describing these.

New Microsoft Office 365 open source integration with Moodle transforms education technology

 

Plugins developed by Microsoft Open Technologies and Remote-Learner provide speed and efficiency for Moodle users.

LONDON — Jan. 19, 2015 — Microsoft Open Technologies Inc. (MS Open Tech), a subsidiary of Microsoft Corp., together with leading Moodle partner Remote-Learner.net Inc., on Monday announced integration between Moodle and Microsoft Office 365, bringing a more productive experience to teachers and students by harmonizing login credentials, calendar management and course content creation, in addition to other workflow improvements for education institutions and other Moodle users.

“Working closely with Remote-Learner, we’re delivering a technical solution for one of the most popular open source learning management systems that aims to provide seamless workflows for both Moodle and Office 365 users,” said Jean Paoli, president of MS Open Tech. “By working closely with the open Moodle community, MS Open Tech will continue taking feedback and maintaining, improving, and adding new features.”

The open source Office 365 and Microsoft Services plugins for Moodle include integration with OneDrive for Business, OneNote and Office 365 Outlook calendar. The integration allows students and instructors, as well as enterprise users, to sign on to Moodle with the same ID, making single sign-on easier and faster for education institutions and other Moodle users with Office 365 accounts. In addition, events created in Moodle will be stored in teachers’ and students’ personal Office 365 calendars, enabling them to easily track course events and due dates. Previously, instructors needed to update their Outlook calendars manually, or send event invitations separately to students.

Integration with OneNote enables instructors to create assignments in OneNote, students to complete the assignment in the digital note-taking application and submit their work via Moodle, and instructors to provide feedback in the same OneNote document.

Additional integration between Moodle and Office 365 allows instructors to easily embed interactive online lessons created in PowerPoint with Office Mix through an open format standard. These lessons may contain audio, video, digital ink, interactive simulations or assessments. Documents stored in OneDrive for Business can be associated automatically with Moodle courses. Updates to those documents will appear automatically in links in Moodle, streamlining version control and simplifying integration of content stored in the cloud.

“We are thrilled to be able to work with Microsoft to integrate Moodle with the Office 365 platform. With the Office 365 plugins for Moodle, Microsoft continues to demonstrate its commitment to open source software and education,” said Jason Cole, CEO, Remote-Learner. “Educators and trainers who have both Moodle and Office 365 create new learning experiences that leverage the power of both platforms. Moodle administrators can deploy these new features knowing they have the support of both Microsoft and the Moodle Partner community.”

On Jan. 21 at the BETT Show 2015, MS Open Tech will officially release version 1.0 of this project, which kicked off last September, on GitHub under GPLv3. The plugins will also be available for download from the Moodle plugins directory, via Azure-certified Virtual Machine image and VM Depot.

During the BETT Show, attendees can learn more about the integration of Moodle on Office 365 from Anthony Salcito, vice president of Worldwide Education at Microsoft, who will present a keynote at 2 p.m. GMT on Jan. 21, titled, “The Role of Technology in Transforming Education.” Following the keynote, BETT Show attendees are also invited to attend the Learn Live session, “Moodle and Microsoft: Better Together,” presented by Jason Cole, CEO at Remote-Learner, and Doug Mahugh, senior technical evangelist at MS Open Tech.

More information and updates about MS Open Tech are available by subscribing to the MS Open Tech blog. More information on Remote-Learner can be found at http://www.remote-learner.net.

About Remote-Learner

Remote-Learner has been providing educational technology services since 1982 to its business, educational and governmental clients. Today, these services include support for best-of-breed open source programs. Remote-Learner is an official Moodle Partner providing support and hosting services, custom programming, workforce development training, instructional design and strategic consulting services for organizations planning online learning programs.

Remote-Learner maintains corporate offices in Waynesboro VA, Overland Park KS, Fort Collins, CO, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada and Oxfordshire, UK, and serves clients throughout the US, Canada, Mexico. Caribbean and the UK.

About Microsoft Open Technologies

Microsoft Open Technologies Inc. (MS Open Tech) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. dedicated to advancing the company’s investment in openness including interoperability, open standards and open source. MS Open Tech is focused on providing our customers with even greater choice and opportunity to bridge Microsoft and non-Microsoft technologies together in heterogeneous environments, because we’re convinced that openness is good for our customers, good for the community and good for our business. For additional information on MS Open Tech, visit www.msopentech.com.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Moodle + Office 365: better together with new MS Open Tech open source plugins for education workflows

 

Blog entry created and owned by:

Jean Paoli, President

Josh Gavant, Senior Program Manager

Doug Mahugh, Senior Technical Evangelist

 

Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.

 

Today MS Open Tech is releasing to the public a set of open source Moodle plugins that enable tight integration between Moodle, the popular open source learning management system (LMS), and Office 365’s popular productivity software and services, to create a more productive experience for teachers and students.  The plugins will be demonstrated this week during the BETT Show, the world’s largest education technology conference.

As we mentioned when we announced our collaboration with Remote-Learner (a leading Moodle partner), this project is a great example of openness in action, taking advantage of Office 365’s open and well-documented REST APIs and Moodle’s open and well-documented plugin architecture.

These plugins make it easy to take advantage of Office’s suite of rich productivity tools while creating assignments and doing homework for courses managed in Moodle.

New Features Benefit Educational Institutions and Businesses

The features being added today are many, and it’s just the start of our collaboration. We will work with the community to add new features and languages over time.

  • Companies with Office 365 accounts can sign on to Moodle with the same ID.

  • Calendar entries created in Moodle are stored in personal Office 365 calendars for teachers and students.

  • Instructors can create assignments in OneNote.

  • Students can complete an assignment in OneNote, then submit their work to the instructor(s) via Moodle. Instructors can provide feedback via OneNote as well.

  • Office Mix content can easily be integrated into assignments, making it easier to embed interactive audio and video content in class assignments.

  • Documents stored in OneDrive for Business can be associated automatically with Moodle courses, and updates to those docs appear automatically in links in Moodle.

As an example of how education workflows are improved by this integration between Moodle and Office, consider a typical scenario where an instructor creates an assignment, then students complete the assignment and hand it in, and then the instructor grades the assignments and provides feedback. This workflow may need to take place across online and offline scenarios, and across many different devices and platforms. The integration between Moodle and OneNote simplifies these scenarios:

Another good example is calendar integration. When an instructor schedules an event in Moodle (for example, a lecture or office hours), this event is automatically copied to students’ personal calendars, where they’ll see it on their mobile devices.

For more on the benefits for instructors and students, see today’s blog post from Anthony Salcito, Microsoft’s Vice President of Worldwide Education, on Office 365 and Moodle: An Open Approach to Transforming Classrooms.

Office Mix integration is another exciting capability enabled by this project. As Anoop Gupta, Distinguished Scientist at Microsoft, said “We are delighted to partner with Remote-Learner and integrate with the Moodle learning management system.  As a free add-in to PowerPoint, Office Mix will provide a simple and familiar tool for teachers to create interactive online lessons, enabling all teachers to incorporate flipped-classroom and blended-learning models in their teaching practices to enhance student learning.”

Here’s a Mix in which Anoop Gupta demonstrates how easy it is to embed a Mix in Moodle course content:

All of this functionality and more will be available from the Moodle plugin repository as two sets of integrated Moodle plugins:

  • The Office 365 plugin provides single sign-on, OneDrive integration, Outlook calendar integration, and other features including Mix integration. Source code available on GitHub here.

  • The Microsoft Services plugin provides integration with OneNote Consumer (for use by students), as well as Mix integration, and other functionality is coming soon. Source code available on GitHub here.

We have published all of this work to the Moodle plugin repository, and it will appear there in the next few hours.

Open Source and Open Standards Bring Technologies Together

Moodle has a vibrant open source ecosystem, and we have partnered with Remote-Learner, a recognized leader in the Moodle community, to develop these plugins in “the Moodle way.” This meant early participation and feedback from the community through a beta program run by Remote-Learner, and ongoing transparency during the development process through a series of blog posts by Remote-Learner CIO/President Mike Churchward on the Remote-Learner blog.

Here at MS Open Tech, we have always seen open standards as a key driver of innovation over time, and standard-based interoperability is a notable component of this project as well. Many standards were used to deliver these plugins, including OAuth, OpenID Connect, REST and oEmbed. By enabling interoperability via open standards, we have made it possible for the Moodle community to build other integrations in the future, using open source tools that we have contributed to during the development of Office 365 integration for Moodle:

  • The OIDC plugin, which is included in the Office 365 plugin set, enables OpenID Connect authentication for Moodle. We’ve used it to provide single sign-on with Office 365 accounts, and others are free to use it to add value in other ways in the future.

  • The oEmbed plugin, which is included in both the Office 365 and Microsoft Services plugin sets, enables embedding of content from any source that supports the oEmbed standard. We’ve used it to embed Mix content, for example, and others are free to use it to embed other types of oEmbed-compatible content.

Learning More

Here are some options for trying out the plugins and learning more …

During the BETT Show this week (the world’s largest education technology conference), attendees can learn more about the integration of Moodle with Office 365 from Anthony Salcito, VP of Worldwide Education at Microsoft, who will present a keynote at 2 p.m. GMT on January 21, titled, The Role of Technology in Transforming Education. Following the keynote, BETT Show attendees are also invited to attend the Learn Live session, Moodle and Microsoft: Better Together, presented by Jason Cole, CEO of Remote-Learner, and Doug Mahugh, senior technical evangelist at MS Open Tech.

The Office 365 and Microsoft Services plugins will be available for download/installation from the Moodle plugins directory, and also via an Azure certified virtual machine image (supported by Remote-Learner) as well as a VM Depot (community supported) virtual machine image. Full source code is available on the MS Open Tech GitHub repo.

Today we’re publishing installation instructions and related content on the Moodle Docs wiki, and after this week’s BETT sessions we’ll be publishing more videos and documentation as well.

Here are a few links to related resources for education:

If you’re a student, you may be eligible for Office 365 Education for Students, which is available free to students of qualifying schools. Click here to learn more and find out whether you’re eligible.

Throughout the development of this open project, we’ve learned a lot about how technology is transforming the classroom, so it’s gratifying to see how open technologies are creating new opportunities for partnerships like ours with Remote-Learner today.

Office 365 Moodle Integration Project - Released!

 
By Mike Churchward, CIO/President

This will be a short post, just to let everyone know that our first release of the Office 365 plug-ins are now available to the community.

Earlier today, Jean Paoli, president of MS Open Tech announced the official release of the code at the BETT show in London. This announcement coincided with the opening of the Githib repositories to the public and the submissions to the Moodle Plugins database.

I have posted an announcement in the Moodle "General plugins" forum, and more discussion can happen there. There will also be tracker items set up in the Moodle tracker to get feature and improvement requests, and deal with bugs.

You can get the plugins from the Moodle plugins database as follows:
The current work for each has been gathered in one Github repository called "o365-moodle", but each plug-in has a current release repository of its own. The "readme" file in the "o365-moodle" repository has references for each release repository.
Start playing!

If you want any more information on how you can benefit from these developments, contact Remote-Learner at moodleo365@remote-learner.net.
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