by Peter Galli on April 06, 2010 12:21pm

Last summer, a new team within Microsoft, Education Labs, debuted the popular Live Services Plug-in for Moodle. Part of the charter for that team is to listen and quickly respond to educators' feedback so, when the team started to hear the positive feedback for that tool, they reached out to find out what other needs educators had with respect to Moodle, an open-source learning management system.

They quickly realized that, while educators liked the efficiency and time savings of the single sign-on that tool provided users of both Moodle and Live@edu, they also wanted other critical actions to be made simpler and faster.  For example, they wanted to save time when using Office and Moodle together. Additionally, school administrators wanted to find out how to get the robustness of the SharePoint platform to underlie Moodle.

Today, the Education Labs team responded and launched a free Office Add-in for Moodle, as well as releasing a white paper on how to integrate SharePoint with Moodle. 

Office Add-in for Moodle:  As described in this blog post, this tool is easy to install and brings saving an Office document to Moodle down from some eight steps to around four. When uploading a lot of files to one or more Moodles, that can equate to a lot of time savings. As many educators use Moodle to upload their course content at the beginning of the semester, that upload now just got easier and faster.  

You can download the tool, which is available in 6 languages, here.

In addition to saving Office documents to a Moodle, educators frequently need to update or edit those files on Moodle. Until now, if you needed to make changes to an Office document on a Moodle, you could click on it to open it, but then you had to save it to the desktop and then have to upload it again. Now, with the new Office Add-in installed, that eight step process goes to just one step: Save!

You can watch the Channel 9 video here.

White paper on integrating SharePoint as the file system for Moodle: In contrast to the Office Add-in, which is a free download of an actual piece of software, those schools already using SharePoint and Moodle have all the software they require. 

They just need to follow the instructions in the white paper to give IT pros the ability to restore files accidentally overwritten or deleted by teachers using versioning and/or the recycle bin and/or the capabilities of SharePoint. In addition, SharePoint brings file search capabilities that Moodle does not have. 

And, speaking of bulk upload, an educator can use SharePoint to add multiple files simultaneously to their Moodle. Note that even with the add-in, they will still upload a file at a time.

These initiatives all underscore how Microsoft is focused on providing compelling solutions that meet user needs, and that those solutions will continue to use open source tools like Moodle.