Book Image

Moodle 2.5 Multimedia - Second Edition

By : Joao Pedro Soares Fernandes
Book Image

Moodle 2.5 Multimedia - Second Edition

By: Joao Pedro Soares Fernandes

Overview of this book

Multimedia is a very old human endeavor. It has taken mankind almost 30,000 years since painting on cave walls to get a combination of text, image, sound, and video all working in the same medium, that is, in motion pictures. Finally, after thousands of years of human history, we can all (not just an elite few) create multimedia easily using Moodle. Moodle was built around an idea of learning that happens when a group of people construct things for one another, collaboratively creating a small culture of shared artifacts with shared meanings. A tutorial-based guide, with clear illustrations and examples of how to create, convert and add multimedia to Moodle using a range of free e-learning software tools and web applications. This book follows the design of resources and activities for the course “Music for everyday life”. The tasks presented are quick and easy to do for teachers and trainers with busy schedules. Giving readers an insight into the creation and integration of multimedia in Moodle courses. Starting with images you will learn to create photo collages, screenshots and comic strips. Then you will discover audio and how to extract audio from CDs to create a soundtrack for a movie and a podcast. Later, you will use video to produce a trailer for a movie, photo slideshows, online TVs and screencasts. Following that, you will develop an understanding of interactive elements and web communication, such as online maps, interactive timelines or web meetings. Finally, you will look at multimedia quizzes and assessment of multimedia assignments, ending with general issues on copyright, licensing and safety. A focus of the book is to show readers that using multimedia is not just about improving instruction, but also improving the ways in which students can can now create multimedia easily, and share it without great effort.. To make this easier, many of the moodle tutorials in the book will be based on activities designed for students to create, discuss and assess each other's multimedia works.
Table of Contents (15 chapters)
Moodle 2.5 Multimedia
About the Author
About the Reviewers

About the course Music for everyday life

As explained before, this book is written around the design of an online course called Music for everyday life. The main goal of the course is to develop a basic music literacy that can be used in the daily life of teenagers and adults.

I'm not a professional musician (or a talented amateur) so I'm not expecting the course, Music for everyday life, to be the online reference in music education. Music was chosen as the main subject of the course so that it could be meaningful to as many people as possible. As it permeates all areas of life, I have tried to create a curriculum that reflected this, approaching music from a broader perspective and not just basic music theory or instrument playing.

While designing this course, I tried to combine my experience in teaching (mainly science and ICT in education), my time as a student in a Jazz school in Portugal, and all that teenage period that some of us go through when we want to be stars, live somewhere between a studio and a stage, sell CDs, and be famous. Some of my friends who accompanied me during this period are now professional musicians (one graduated in the conservatory of Amsterdam), others changed paths despite their talent and are now business men or designers. I became a science teacher; the studio times are gone, and I really like what I do now. However, music will always be a part of my life, and this course was an opportunity to remember and share it with others.

The course structure

The course Music for everyday life will be organized around 10 modules (adding one presession for preparation and one post-session for follow up), corresponding to three hours of work each, for a total of 30 hours. The course can be used either in distance education or combined with regular classes, what we call blended-learning or b-learning, and it can be used either for a small class or as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).

Each of the course's 10 modules will have a standard structure as follows:

  • One multimedia resource for content delivery

  • Two activities involving the creation of multimedia artifacts (as a group or individually, computer-based, online-based, classroom-based, or out-of-school-based) with informal peer assessment and interaction

  • One formal assessment

For each module, we will develop multimedia content such as images, audio, video, and interactive content. So in total, we will create some dozens of multimedia artifacts that are hopefully relevant, are easy-to-do, and are as little time-consuming as possible to develop for us teachers and trainers with busy schedules.

The course content

Using multimedia for content delivery and building our own teaching material can be time-consuming, and as we know being a teacher or a trainer is time-consuming just by itself, without the need for any extra workload. This book will focus on simple multimedia elements that you can create or find online without a huge effort, for your everyday life as a teacher or a trainer. Even if you are an enthusiast of digital technologies, keep this in mind: leave time and space for your students or trainees to explore the tools and create multimedia assignments. Don't put all the weight on your side. Better learning is not necessarily a consequence of instruction; so the focus of the course will be on giving the learner better opportunities to create and share multimedia artifacts, and to dialog about and reflect on these constructions with others.

Nowadays, you can find a lot of free content on the Web that can be used for educational purposes without limitations. I would like to thank the authors of this content for their contribution to this culture of sharing we live in now. The same goes for the communities of free software and the companies that provide software for free, for opening up opportunities to many people on which this book and the course are built upon. Building on their work is like standing on the shoulders of giants.

The course modules will be organized around the following themes:

  • Module 1, Music evolvesdealing with the history of music across the ages and within different genres.

  • Module 2, A world of musicapproaching the cultural diversity and music in different cultures.

  • Module 3, Music and mediahaving a critical look at the message underlying music, especially in lyrics and music videos.

  • Module 4, Music as a languageunderstanding basic music theory and learning to play an instrument.

  • Module 5, Being a musicianexploring some daily events in the life of musicians.

  • Module 6, Spaces for musiclooking at music studios and technologies that support musical creation.

  • Module 7, Music and the commonsunderstanding the business of music and alternative ways of licensing and distributing it.

  • Module 8, The science of musichaving a look at music from a science perspective, mainly sound and waves.

  • Module 9, Music, dance, and emotionexploring the links between music, dance, and emotions.

  • Module 10, What's good music? reflecting on quality criteria for music.


Some assumptions are made as the prerequisites both for this book and for the course. These have to deal with knowledge, hardware, and software that will be required to complete all of the proposed tasks.


The course was designed for students who are music beginners and who probably have an instrument, such as a piano or guitar. This is not a necessity, as there will be tasks for students to create music using a computer. Students should also have an intermediate knowledge of how to use a computer, the Web, and Moodle from a student's perspective. This means that students are expected to already know how to manage files and folders, use a digital camera, download photos and videos to a computer, how to install, uninstall, open, and close programs, and so on.

The prerequisites for you, the reader, are more or less the same (you don't need to play an instrument though!), with the only difference being to know how to use Moodle from a teacher's perspective. This means that you should know how to create and configure resources and activities in general, upload files, use Moodle's HTML editor at least for text formatting, manage users, run a simple course with forums, assignments, and basic quizzes (not, of course, for absolute novices in Moodle—there are some nice books from Packt Publishing if you need to improve your skills, such as Moodle 2.0 Course Conversion by Ian Wild and Moodle Teaching Techniques by William Rice). If you are thinking that this is too much and that technologies for multimedia creation are far too complicated for you or for your "older" students, have a look at this video from the show Øystein og jeg on Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) about a medieval helpdesk and this new technology called "book". I usually show it when the "age" argument comes up, and with it the usual assumption that older people can't learn a new technology. They can—it's just a matter of time and attitude.


If you are on a tight budget, this is not a limitation for creating multimedia. It's easy to get a digital camera that, in addition to taking photos, also records videos, or to find a cheap headset that can be used to produce some sound, and all of this for less than €100/£90/USD $120.

A low-budget equipment kit

Digital cameras are now widespread and are an interesting replacement for a regular camera. They allow us to create pictures (and most of them allow the recording of videos as well) that can be archived to a computer, USB disk, or the Web. These days, even a regular smartphone has a camera, so this can also be an option. You can also find cheap webcams and headsets.

Let's establish a basic requirement associated with this book and with the participation, as a student, in the course in Moodle:

  • A consumer digital camera that captures videos and photos with 2 megapixels or more

  • A webcam with a minimum of 640 x 480 pixels video and photo resolution

  • A headset (better than just a microphone because if you have the computer speakers on, there is the risk of feedback)

  • A computer with an Internet connection (of course)

It is also assumed that the computer that will be used to perform the tasks of the course (and this book) has a Microsoft Windows (XP or 7), Mac, or GNU/Linux operating system, and some minimum requirements, such as more than 1 GB of memory (ideally more than 2 GB), at least one USB port, headphones, a microphone, the respective ports for these, and enough free disk space to install and use the applications suggested in this book (10 GB should be enough).

For the rest of the requirements, free software will do the trick.


Throughout the course we will be using as much cross-platform, free, open source software as possible. This of course, includes Moodle. However, in a few cases, the only Microsoft-compatible software will be the single choice (around three tasks will use Windows-only software) due to the lack of adequate alternatives on other OSs, or its broader distribution (this distribution will probably also apply to the readers of this book). Either way, as we will focus on processes and tasks that are standard, I expect that these will also be useful, no matter which platform you use. Similar software for other platforms will be referred to as well.

Picking up software for multimedia production is very easy nowadays, as many options are available for every need. Another challenge for this book is to select the ones with simpler interfaces that are as multi-platform as possible, and of course, that are free. Sometimes, it will not be possible to get completely cross-platform software (software that can run in GNU/Linux, Mac OS, and Microsoft Windows), but such cases will be rare. The reason for selecting free software as far as possible is that it reduces the barriers to installation on schools' computers and students' personal computers (licenses for this kind of use are generally very open and usually free), so we can invest our money in equipment and time, instead.

As we go along building the course in the following chapters, other tools will be introduced. It's overwhelming if you get a list of more than 20 applications to install at the beginning of the book, so we will introduce new tools as they are needed. Using many tools and strategies and lots of multimedia is not necessarily good, so the proposed tools will always have a context where they make sense, and can be used not only for improved delivery but also for designing activities that are expected to motivate, engage, and create better opportunities for learning.