[sugar] volunteer for offline Moodle
Fri Jul 11 06:04:32 EDT 2008
Tony, great comments. I myself don't know how to add a message to a
particular thread, I get all the emails from the lists in periodic
digests, and I break the thread when I reply.
From: Tony Anderson <tony_anderson at usa.net>
To: David Van Assche <dvanassche at gmail.com>, martin.langhoff at gmail.com,
bryan.berry at gmail.com
Subject: Re: volunteer for offline Moodle
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2008 11:49:10 +0200
I have joined the sugar list. I am not familiar with contributing to
these lists. In particular, I do not understand how to add a message to
a specific thread.
At the moment I feel like one of the blind men trying to describe the
elephant. However, I would like to expose my current level of
understanding so you will know how to direct me to the next steps.
To create an offline Moodle for client system with plenty of resources
(e.g. typical notebook with ubuntu), you could proceed by building a
stack consisting of apache, mySQL, PhP, Moodle, and browser (Firefox,
Opera) with the flash plugin.
In this case you would still need a way to package courses into modules
(downloadable compressed file representing a logical segment of a
course). You would also need a way to synchronize the student's offline
work with server-side Moodle. Also, you would need to extend Moodle to
allow courses to include etoys and other Sugar activities.
However, an offline Moodle for the XO must recognize the limited
resources available. The stack then might be Gears, X (a client-side
implementation of Moodle like Jolongo), and the Sugar Browser (with the
Gnash plugin). X is the program to be developed - let's call it Local
Moodle for the moment.
In this scenario, the apache services are provided by Gears localserver.
The role of mySQL is taken by SQLite. The Moodle implementation is
This scenario also requires courses to be built of downloadable modules.
Gears provides a Manifest feature to help with this. Synchronization is
also required - Gears provides some mechanisms to help with this but it
is primarily application-specific. At least LocalMoodle will need to
enable use of etoys and other activities in courses (server-side Moodle
will also have to be aware, at least, for course creation and, possibly,
1. Replacing Moodle with 'LocalMoodle' will require extra maintenance to
maintain compatibility with new Moodle releases. However, using Moodle
for the client-side Moodle involves porting the PhP capability (and,
possibly other, server-side software) to the XO.
2. Moodle and Sugar currently use MySQL while Gears uses SQLite. This
summer an implementation of Moodle based on SQLite is being developed.
However, it appears that the XO will have to support two database
implementations since mySQL is included in any case.
3. How much do students have to know about the online/offline issue. For
example, do students need to set a 'work offline' switch or should the
implementation provide two-way synchronization in the background,
transparent to the students?
4. A detail, but will there need to be a quota imposed on the amount of
nand space available to Moodle courses? Will synchronization need to
include deletion of completed course modules?
5. Another detail, but how will student login to Moodle be handled? Will
this be transparent to the student or will the student need to login? In
either case, is this using LDAP or the Moodle id capability? Naturally,
whatever means are used, does this also apply to offline access to courses?
6. I assume that teacher interaction and monitoring of students will be
based on the information available to the server-side Moodle. In other
words, the student's status will be brought up to date through the
7. I also assume that course development offline will not require
special support. The teacher would prepare course materials as
independent documents and then do course-building when he or she has
access to server-side Moodle.
I am looking forward to your advice on how to proceed with this project.
My overall goal would be to have some potentially-workable
implementation ready by mid-September so that is ready for testing when
I get to Nepal.
Between now and then, I will have full access to the internet at
intervals and will have to work offline between those opportunities.
Sometimes I will be able to get email via an internet cafe - at least
once a week. I should have full access until Monday.
David Van Assche wrote:
> Pre-empting Martin, I've now moved the thread from sugar to the XS Devel
> On Wed, Jul 9, 2008 at 5:56 PM, Martin Langhoff
> <martin.langhoff at gmail.com <mailto:martin.langhoff at gmail.com>> wrote:
> On Wed, Jul 9, 2008 at 11:47 AM, Bryan Berry <bryan.berry at gmail.com
> <mailto:bryan.berry at gmail.com>> wrote:
> > Tony Anderson has contacted me to find out where Nepal could use the
> > most help. I have informed him that offline moodle is where we
> could use
> > the most assistance. Let's get this going
> Cool. Hi Tony!
> Hello Tony
> > check out gears.google.com <http://gears.google.com> to learn
> about google gears
> > and you can join the Sugar mailing list at
> > http://lists.laptop.org/listinfo/sugar
> Yep. That's a start. To coordnate work on Moodle, let's move that part
> of the conversation to server-devel at lists.laptop.org
> <mailto:server-devel at lists.laptop.org> :-) Offline
> moodle is a bit of a deep pool, so some familiarity with moodle is a
> good starting point...
> Indeed, and the deepest part of that pool will be to fully understand
> gears and how it can recreate what moodle already does in a smaller,
> faster, and localised fashion. There is a possibility that the Jolongo
> people join in here and move from AIR to gears, since their bubble was
> burst concerning AIR not being open source. Also, their code will be the
> best place for a starting point, I think. I've mailed them again today
> to ask if they can give us that code (which they claim is open source)
> and whether they are going to seriously join the coding efforts in the
> gears camp... otherwise there will be 3 independent offline moodles
> being built (seems a bit of a waste...)
> David Van Assche
> martin.langhoff at gmail.com <mailto:martin.langhoff at gmail.com>
> martin at laptop.org <mailto:martin at laptop.org> -- School Server Architect
> - ask interesting questions
> - don't get distracted with shiny stuff - working code first
> - http://wiki.laptop.org/go/User:Martinlanghoff
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