Moodle 2.4 is out – What’s new?

It’s been awhile..a long while! I’ve still been working with Moodle but within the past year we switched from using a paid-for service for our district web site to using Drupal. I’ve been living in the Drupal world and love it. Looking at ways to integrate the two–but that will be another post. I’m very excited to upgrade our 2.3.3 Moodle server to Moodle 2.4 I’m looking over the release notes and I wanted to jot down a few items that caught my eye.

Significant size reduction of navigation widget – this caught my eye. I wonder if this is just for admins or everything? One thing that annoys the heck out of me is that dang navigation block. It’s so long! And honestly there is only 2 links on it that are useful. And unfortunately they are useful so i can’t remove the whole block :/ . I’m crossing my fingers this improvement reduces my annoyance.

Plugin updating from within Moodle – Say whaa? Awesome! Thee may be some set up or something? I’ll have to take a look at it. Only thing to be careful about is if there is customizations within the plugin. It will overwrite them. We have a few modified plugins. But what a great new feature!

Course Format Plugins – “Moodle has always supported pluggable course formats, but now we’ve given developers even more flexibility than before. Course formats can now provide their own settings for courses and sections, and they can also have a lot more control of all the pages in a course.” – This sounds interesting. I really haven’t looked into it. I want to see who sets this up, admins or regular teachers? I need to look more into this but from it’s description it’s exciting.

New Icons – Well about time : ) We have a custom theme with custom icons but I’ll have to see if these core ones are better.

Editor improvement – “New TinyMCE editor settings allowing an admin to customise the toolbar, enable/disable icons such as insert equation and insert emoticon.” Small but nice.

Integration of external calendars – You can now integrate other calendars, like Google Calendar, and have it flow into your Moodle calendar.

Users can set the order and number of courses displayed on their My home page – YESSSS.

Last but certainly not least..

Performance – We concentrated on improving server performance in this release, and there are many small improvements all over the place.  The biggest single change is a new caching system called MUC (the Moodle Universal Cache) which allows Moodle admins to tune their servers with a variety of fast caching solutions.  We’ve only started to see the benefits of this – future Moodle releases should continue to get faster and faster as we apply MUC to more Moodle code.

I truly hope so..

Going through the release notes I’m seeing some little but awesome updates. I would recommend going through them if you’re a Moodle Admin. Happy upgrading!

And now for a totally non-Moodle related video…love this little kid : ) it’s worth a watch!

Moodle 2 Course Conversion Review

If you’re a beginner to online learning and Moodle and want to have a course up and running quickly, Moodle 2 Course Conversion, by Ian Wild,  is the book for you. This book is aimed for Moodle 2.0 Course Conversionnewbies to Moodle but I also found it useful being a Moodle 1.9 user. It stepped me through the basics of Moode, which I already knew, however it covered Moodle 2. I found it useful for myself because I’m currently getting materials and documents together to help our user’s move from 1.9 to 2.0. I documented some crucial differences between the versions that I know my users will be used to doing one way in 1.9 but may be done a different way in 2.

The author really starts from step 1 and brings you along to create a robust Moodle course. I would recommend reading the book and actually following along with your own Moodle course – you will get much more out of it. The cover does say Beginner’s guide, which is right on.

The author does not cover every single tool but all of the important ones, in my opinion. He even gives the reader real-life examples and tools to use (like a Voki and other multimedia). I noticed the book also covers some small, yet crucial tips along the way. For example, using separate enrollment keys to easily put students into groups. He hit on a few common and useful tasks in Moodle that my Moodle users use all the time.

I highly recommend this book to any new Moodle user or a Moodle user who is beginning to use Moodle 2. Sure, there are many pages you could skip but in my case it helped me tremendously to prepare documentation and help for next Fall when we transition. As always, this Packt Publishing book came with easy to understand instructions and screenshots.

Related Links

Win a free copy of the “Moodle 2.0 Course Conversion” eBook from @packtpub

Packt Pub is giving Moodlers more chances to win a copy of Ian Wild’s (@iandavidwild) book, Moodle 2.0 Course Conversion. If you haven’t already, check out to see how you can double your chances of winning!

What will you learn from this book?

  • Incorporate your existing handouts, worksheets, and other resources into Moodle courses
  • Quick methods to make your Moodle courses engaging, attractive, and fun
  • Fast ways to add multimedia to your course, or incorporate existing sounds and videos
  • and more


Two ways to win

#1. 1 thing you plan on learning and using right after you finish reading the book. Or perhaps something you hope to learn and use right away after you finish the book. Please enter before Feb. 14th.

#2. Keep an eye out for @moodlerific ..I will be tweeting a question [related to the book] in the next week or so and the first to reply with the correct answer gets the copy! I will tweet a reminder the day I ask the question so everyone knows it’s the question for the contest!

That’s it! Again, head over to to enter their contests as well.


Moodle 2.0 for Business & Moodle Javascript Cookbook @packtpub

Some exciting new titles have come to Packt Publishing.

I’m very excited to get reading these books. Along with using Moodle in a k-12 school district I’m also an admin for a small business. I’m hoping to get some tips to make that site work even better with Moodle 2.0. Hopefully by the time I’m done reading I’ll be itching to upgrade. The Javascript book looks interesting to me to see what I can learn to make our Moodle site more customized and dynamic.

I’ll be writing a review on each of the books. Hopefully I can get started soon, while I’m getting back into testing 2.0! Stay tuned.

Moodle Javascript Cookbook Moodle 2.0 for Business

Moodle 2.1 Beta is available

moodle logo

Great news, Moodle 2.1 Beta is now available on for download! I just installed and tried restoring a 1.9.9+ course – it worked!

Helen Foster 1.9 backups into Moodle 2.1 tracker item has been very busy and the status now says “closed”.

Moodle 2.1 is set to be released on July 1st. Please help out Moodle by testing 2.1 on the QA Moodle site. Learn how to help!

Second attempt at upgrading 1.9 to 2.0 (Part 2)

..continuing on with my 1.9 to 2.0 journey

As I mentioned in my previous post I was stuck on the “migrating courses” page when I tried upgrading from Moodle 1.9.11 to 2.0.2. The two errors coming up were “Incorrect pool file content” and a number of stack trace errors:


I did some Googling and found 2 tracker items regarding these issues but it didn’t seem like it was during the upgrading process. I did find one discussion thread from a few months back about this issue that helped me troubleshoot.

First, I turned on as much debugging, error reporting or messages I could in the config.php file (not sure if there are other debugging settings to turn on?):


The debugging information didn’t help too much and I couldn’t find any error logs regarding this issue, so I continued to Google and research online. I checked out the /lib/filestorage/filestorage.php file because that was the file where the apparent first two errors were happening. I’m no expert at PHP so I wasn’t quite sure how to change or echo any further information when upgrading to see if it gave me anything more to work with.

I continued to read through the discussion thread I mentioned over and over and thought maybe it was corrupt file, too big of a course or file, etc. I looked in my moodledata folder [see path below] Commentand found a file named with a random string of characters – which was the same string that was displayed in the “incorrect pool file content” error.

moodledata path

There were two other files with a long string of characters that were the same as two long strings of sarah ferguson cthru pokies characters which were being displayed in the debugging information (these strings were successful operations). The two files weren’t big, the problem hash named file however was 500 MB. Was this the problem? I didn’t dare change anything via the moodledata folder.

I figured it was a file issue in one or more courses..I went into phpMyAdmin and started deleting courses, hoping a corrupt file would be removed and fix the issue. I had 3 imported courses from our production server that I restored on the 1.9 testing server to test “real life” courses in the upgrade process.

I deleted two of the four courses, same error.  Went back and deleted another course. Tried again, boom – worked. Since I had all of the debugging and information set to display it displayed all of the database stuff. Clicked Continue. It displayed tons of new settings, clicked Continue – MOODLE 2.0!

Success! Sort of..well..half way…I was able to upgrade from a 1.9.11 to 2.0.2 but I had to delete a few courses first. I believe I had to delete the courses that I imported from our production server (v 1.9.9). Only one course made it through, which I initially created on that install.

roll back

So it looks like the course migration is the issue – something with the files (doesn’t surprise me). I’m going to roll back to 1.9 and import different courses, create a few more courses and try again. I’ll post my results after I try it out again.


Related Posts

Second attempt at upgrading 1.9 to 2.0

Today was my second attempt at upgrading Moodle 1.9 to Moodle 2.0. The first time I ran into a few problems and tried to solve them but then scrapped the install and left it for a few months. This time I upgraded from an install of Moodle 1.9.11 with the Book module installed and a few “real life” courses I imported, to see how they upgraded.

One major thing I did this time that I didn’t do last time was migrate my database from MyISAM to INNODB. I followed the directions from Miguel Guhlin (complete with Databasescreenshots). So, I really don’t know what this does but it sounds like this is necessary? However, I haven’t seen it documented in Moodle Docs (please provide a link if it’s there!).

I do know that in a fresh 2.0 install it does create the database with the “INNODB” type (you can view it in phpmyadmin, it will be in a column when viewing the database). Needless to say, I want to become more comfortable with what this is doing before I do anything on a production server. The good news is that following Miguel’s directions was easy.

Alright, here is the short run down of what I did:

1.) Exported my database via phpMyAdmin (saved on my desktop)Maps

2.) Migrated my database from MyISAM to INNODB – DIRECTIONS

3.) Made a copy of my moodledata folder (used Fire FTP Firefox add-on for steps 2-7)

4.) Copied the config.php file from my current 1.9 install

5.) Renamed my web files Moodle folder to moodle1910.backup

6.) Uploaded a fresh copy of Moodle 2.0 (named the same as the old Moodle folder in step 5)

7.) Copied the config.php file into the new Moodle folder uploaded in step 6

8.) Visited my Moodle install, Clicked on Notifications



Result after clicking on Notifications

1.) Yippee, I’m doing it! -> screenshot 1

2.) Server checks, CHECK! Yay! -> screenshot 2

3.) Plugin Checks, eh..okay..a few non-standard ones but allows me to continue -> screenshot 3 | screenshot 4

4.) Then I ran into a problem [screenshot of where I’m stuck]. A progress bar (at 0%) is displayed for 3-7 seconds and then a red-highlighted box saying “Incorrect pool file content 17f65e7276dd4895c5fc8970e2aa834622a3696b.” is displayed. I’m also given the following error:


And that’s where I stand now. A weird thing happened as I was writing this  blog post – my computer froze up on me and I restarted. When I came back and restored my tabs in Firefox, the screen I was stuck on that had a progress bar at 0% now has a progress bar at 33.3%. Weird?

I haven’t fully looked into what is causing the “incorrect pool file content” or the other errors but here are a few links I quickly found:

I plan to further investigate about the above problem, it seems like there have been some discussion about the errors so I’m confident I’ll figure it out soon.


Minor issue/curious

The other thing I am wondering about is why there are standard (I thought) modules that say they are missing. I know Book is non-standard and I think hotpot, journal, lams and loan calculator are no longer in the core install but what about admin and admin_tree? Is this causing problems?



Like I said, this is my second attempt at upgrading and I haven’t spent too much time preparing or investigating the upgrade progress so I’m not too frustrated yet. I’ve been in the mode of waiting until more and more bugs get fixed and I keep checking the Moodle Tracker.

Line ChartOriginally our district was going to upgrade in the summer after 2.1 is released but we may push that back so we can implement a solid pilot group and create quality training resources.

I was upgrading on a CentOS VPS using cPanel, Fire FTP and phpMyAdmin. I’ll update this post with any updates on the error I received. Any insight into these errors would be greatly appreciated.

March is for Moodle!

I’ve posted several times about Packt Publishing and it’s book offers along with some reviews I’ve done and now they’re offering a great deal on Moodle books for the month of March!

To celebrate the forthcoming publication of the a series of attractive discounts on all Moodle


  • Buy any Moodle print book and get 20% off
  • Buy any 4 Moodle eBooks from Packt at an unbelievable price of $60 / £38 / €45


Check out Packt Pub’s latest Moodle books now!