Moodle

Moodle Moodle is an acronym for “Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment.” It is a free and open-source learning management system (LMS) written in PHP and distributed under the GNU General Public License. More information on Wikipedia or the official Moodle page.


Note

For this guide you should be familiar with the basic concepts of

License

All relevant legal information can be found here

Prerequisites

We’re using php in the stable version 7.2:

[isabell@stardust ~]$ uberspace tools version show php
Using 'PHP' version: '7.2'
[isabell@stardust ~]$

MySQL

You’ll need your MySQL credentials. Get them with my_print_defaults:

[isabell@stardust ~]$ my_print_defaults client
--default-character-set=utf8mb4
--user=isabell
--password=MySuperSecretPassword
[isabell@stardust ~]$

We will create a seperate database for moodle:

[isabell@stardust ~]$ mysql -e "CREATE DATABASE ${USER}_moodle"
[isabell@stardust ~]$

Your URL needs to be setup:

[isabell@stardust ~]$ uberspace web domain list
isabell.uber.space
[isabell@stardust ~]$

You can also setup your own domain. Note that you will have to create a seperate folder for your domain as described in DocumentRoot.

Moodledata

Moodle saves files and data into a folder inter alia for persistency. We have to create this folder and give its path to Moodle later on.

[isabell@stardust ~]$ mkdir ~/moodledata
[isabell@stardust ~]$

Installation

Step 1

First, we’re going to download Moodle and extract it. For this, we should first change into the html directory of your account.

Then we’re going to download the latest version (Moodle-Download page) of the tgz archive and extract it. I would advise you to select the stable version. Note that the downloadlink on the page is actually a redirect. So instead of the link behind the button, use the direct link e.g.: https://download.moodle.org/download.php/direct/....

[isabell@stardust ~]$ cd ~/html
[isabell@stardust html]$ wget -O moodle.tgz https://download.moodle.org/download.php/direct/stable38/moodle-latest-38.tgz
[isabell@stardust html]$ tar --strip-components=1 --gzip --extract --file=moodle.tgz
[isabell@stardust html]$ rm moodle.tgz
[isabell@stardust html]$

The --strip-components=1 option will unpack the contents of the moodle folder inside the archive into the current folder. You could also unpack the archive with its subdirectory if you plan to use it with your own domain:

[isabell@stardust html]$ tar --gzip --extract --file=moodle.tgz
[isabell@stardust html]$

Step 2

Now we should be able to access the initialization process of the Moodle instance. Here, we used the uberspace domain, so our address is the one mentionend here:

[isabell@stardust ~]$ uberspace web domain list
isabell.uber.space
[isabell@stardust ~]$

We visit the page in the browser of our choice.

  1. Choose any language and click Next

  2. For the Data directory, we choose the moodledata folder we created. /home/isabell/moodledata

  3. For the Database driver, we choose MariaDB (native/mariadb)

  4. For the Database Settings, we enter our information:

  1. Database name: isabell_moodle

  2. Database user: isabell

  3. Database password: MySuperSecretPassword

  4. Database port: 3306

  1. Read the Copyright notice and only accept if you truly do :)

  2. The checks should now show all OK. At the end of the page, we click on Continue.

  3. This could take a while to finish. We should shortly after be redirected to the process page. We can watch the process while installing missing plugins. After all installations have finished, at the end of the page we click on Continue

  4. After that, we should be shown the admin user creation page. We enter our information here which we later will also use to login.

  5. Enter a full and short name for your Moodle instance.

  6. Et voila, our Moodle is now installed.

Step 3

We definitely should configure a cron task for Moodle. This script is critical for several features of Moodle e.g. sending notification emails. Enter

[isabell@stardust ~]$ crontab -e
no crontab for isabell - using an empty one
[isabell@stardust ~]$

And put the following content inside crontab:

PATH=/home/isabell/bin:/usr/bin:/bin
MAILTO=""
*/5 * * * * php /home/isabell/html/admin/cli/cron.php

This configures cron to execute the script every 5 minutes. If you want details on what exactly is executed, you can change the MAILTO variable to your email address.

Check if your crontab has been saved:

[isabell@stardust ~]$ crontab -l
PATH=/home/isabell/bin:/usr/bin:/bin
MAILTO=""
*/5 * * * * php /home/isabell/html/admin/cli/cron.php
[isabell@stardust ~]$

Best practices

Documentation

Moodle has extensive documentation. Check it out under Moodle-Docs.

Moosh

Moosh exposes its functions/features via a CLI that you can use to perform several lower level tasks such as performing actions on the database. You can download Moosh from the moodle plugins page.

[isabell@stardust ~]$ cd ~/bin
[isabell@stardust bin]$ wget https://moodle.org/plugins/download.php/20823/moosh_moodle38_2019121900.zip
[isabell@stardust bin]$ unzip moosh_moodle38_2019121900.zip
...
creating: moosh/Moosh/Command/Moodle30/Category/
inflating: moosh/Moosh/Command/Moodle30/Category/CategoryDelete.php
inflating: moosh/Moosh/MoodleMetaData.php
[isabell@stardust bin]$

You can then either add the moosh folder to your $PATH or execute moosh via path. To use moosh, you have to change into your moodle installation folder, in our case ~/html. From there you can run moosh:

[isabell@stardust ~]$ cd ~/html
[isabell@stardust html]$ php ~/bin/moosh/moosh.php
...
[isabell@stardust html]$

You can do a lot of things with moosh. For more details, head over to Moosh_Documentation

Tuning

Moodle has the feature of being extended by plugins. check out the Moodle-Plugins page. Note that some plugins may have additional installation instructions.

Updates

Note

Check the update feed regularly to stay informed about the newest version.


Tested with Moodle version 3.8.2, Uberspace 7.5.1

Written by: Direnc <direnc99@gmail.com>