Are your Moodle courses taking ages to load?

Jo Norbury

Jo manages a range of e-learning content services including Flexible Learning Toolboxes and the VET Commons online community. Having taught extensively within the TAFE system herself, Jo is all about making life easier for busy, budget-constrained VET professionals. This is a great Moodle tip:

What’s going on with my Moodle course?

Have you noticed that the more content and resources you add to Moodle courses the heavier they become? We have. And this results in slower page response times (time to load when you click) and much longer back-up and restore times, sometimes even timing out? Yep, for us too. Then storing those backups for auditing requirements means larger archiving loads. Urggh.

We also found it hard to use one true source, so that modules only need to be updated in one place but changes translate throughout all courses. If I added a student handbook to multiple courses, for example, when I wanted to update the handbook I needed to know where it was, upload the new version and delete the old one. If I missed one, well I would have multiple sources not just one. (Don’t get me started on how we do that every day with email attachments!)

What we did to fix it…

Moodle is one of the most popular learning platforms worldwide designed to manage digital learning.

It became very clear that we needed to manage our content better. Fortunately, Moodle 2.0 also recognised this need, so along came Alfresco. Alfresco manages the content (what it was created for) and Moodle manages the learner (what it was created for). With this combination you have a pretty neat system. Moodle’s repository API plugin seamlessly helps the two softwares, Alfresco and Moodle, speak to each other.

Alfresco is the leading open source content management platform designed to manage content.

So last year we introduced Alfresco content management into our TrainingVC – an integrated system of tools to support organisations to deliver flexible learning solutions to their clients or staff. The core of TrainingVC is Moodle, integrated with virtual classrooms, ePortfolios, reporting and of course learning content management.

What this means for teachers

The Alfresco/Moodle integration was created so that Moodle editing teachers can easily discover then add content into and out of their organisation’s Alfresco folder in the file picker, without leaving the Moodle user interface. Each organisation has its own intuitive, easy to navigate folder taxonomy, including a consistent set of metadata with as much automatic capturing as possible. All of this supports greater user uptake of content management.

Why we’re singing Alfresco’s praises

Alfresco has been so popular that clients have requested standalone Alfrescos to manage all of their organisation’s content.

With all the content now in Alfresco, we have removed the heavy load from our Moodle courses and we have one true source for our content. This means:

  • version control tracking for audits
  • simple review workflows
  • record and automate moderation and validation of assessments
  • a comfortable folder structure that can also control access by permissions.

It has been so incredibly popular with our clients that many have requested standalone Alfrescos for other areas of their businesses. An Alfresco standalone means even more integration features for your organisation, such as desktop integration, collaborative team sites and content discovery and retrieval. I think it’s pretty clear that we’re thrilled.

Not sure whether Alfresco is the answer for you? Need some questions answered? #askjnorbs on Twitter or send an email.