Yesterday afternoon, I just suddenly thought that I should figure out a way to host a virtual conference room on my Moodle server (http://moodle.varvoo.com). So I started to search on moodle.org for downloadable modules and plugins. First I tried the keywords of “virtual conference” but I got nothing. Then I tried “rooms”, here is the list I got:
After going through all these options, looks only the “CAE Virtual Classroom” one is what I want. So I went to download it and then install it in my Moodle. Guess what? When I went to the configuration page, I found it is in Spanish. I don’t know anything about Spanish. Tried using Windows live translation service and the Google Chrome Browser translation. Both didn’t work. So I gave up this one.
Then I went back to search with the keywords of “room”. This time I am luckier:
This is the first page of my searching results:
and this is the second page:
Basically, the results on the second page are all about online reservation of face-to-face meeting. I tried the module on the bottom of the first page, which is face-to-face. Unfortunately, it is also about online booking.
Then I tried WiZiQ Live Class and Moodle-Google Apps. The first one is actually kind of a trial version, which allows you to initiate about two meetings or so, and then you need to pay for it. The second one of the Google Apps is very interesting, and can be very useful in terms of checking Gmail, using Google Documents from the user’s Moodle page. However, like most of other users on the comment page of this module, I didn’t figure out how to run it correctly on my Moodle page. So I gave up on this one too.
Until now, I have spent my whole afternoon on this.
Then I googled “virtual classroom moodle” and found people said the openmeetings is good. Here comes how I spent all my whole night stayed up until 1 am and crawling all different websites and documentations trying to figure out how to make it work:
I first downloaded the Openmeetings module from the search result page of moodle.org. Then I installed it as I did for all other modules. The Openmeetings module did appear on my administration options of my Moodle. However, I kept getting error message of like this:
wsdl error: HTTP ERROR: cURL ERROR: 7: couldn’t connect to host
wsdl error: HTTP ERROR: cURL ERROR: 7: couldn’t connect to host
Could not login User to OpenMeetings, check your OpenMeetings Module
After tried all of the following:
Backuping my current courses on my current Moodle site;
Installing a new Moodle site using Simplescript (I also installed other applications such as Guest book and Drupal on the way, which took more time from me);
Installing a new Moodle site using Fantasico De Luxe;
Trying to figure out how to import an external course to Moodle (although I figured out that is the option in the Course administration section, which called “Restore”. It was very frustrating that the Moodle site kept giving me error msg saying that I can’t import Guest Login because it caused conflict, even when I removed everything that possibly related to Guest Login.);
Trying to rename my old Moodle site and then install a new Moodle site from scratch;
Trying to recover my old Moodle site and then overwrite it using the latest version of Moodle 1.98;
Nothing can fix this.
During this process, I posted a question on the Openmeetings google group, and got the response from the author this morning, saying that there was no Openmeetings server running on the same URL where my Moodle runs… Confusing, then I went to search on the whole Openmeetings site again, and finally found something like on this link:
Finally I know what I needed to get an Openmeetings run on my Moodle server…wait! It asks for these things:
Java Version greater or equal 6
Database available (MySQL,Postgres,… MSSQL,Oracle,DB2 see full-list) It is recommended to make/use an empty database/scheme
Database MUST listen and allow TCP/IP connections! And the default character-set/scheme must be UTF8! For example a fresh MySQL does not listen on TCP/IP by default and has not utf8 as default-character-set defined. You have to change these settings and restart your database server so that changes take effect (mysql-config is in my.cnf). Postgres for example does also not listen by default on TCP/IP but uses by default UTF8 (since postgres 7 or 8). To change Postgres listening on TCP/IP check postgresql.conf and add your host to the pg_hba.conf. In Postgres you need to create a database using template1 cause template1 create automatically a scheme called public which is needed (and since postgres 8 you can use several schemes inside one database public is the default one Postgres-Docs).
OpenOffice-Service started and listening on port 8100 (see OpenOfficeConverter, this is not necessary for installation but for running later on)
Installed ImageMagick (this is not necessary for installation but for running later on), you can get more information on http://www.imagemagick.org regarding installation. The instructions for installation can be found there http://www.imagemagick.org/script/binary-releases.php, however on most linux systems you can get it via your favorite package managers (apt-get it)
Installed GhostScript (this is not necessary for installation but for running later on), you can get more information on http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~ghost/ regarding installation. The instructions for installation can be found there, however on most linux systems you can get it via your favorite package managers (apt-get it).
Installed SWFTools (this is not necessary for installation but for running later on), you can get more information on http://www.swftools.org/ regarding installation. Some of the Linux distributions already have it in there package manager see http://packages.debian.org/unstable/utils/swftools), the recommended version of SWFTools is 0.9 as prior version have a big that does lead to wrong object dimensions in the Whiteboard
Install FFMpeg (this is not necessary for installation but if you want to test the recording you have to install it). You should get FFMPEG in an up to date copy! For Windows you can download a Build for example from http://ffmpeg.arrozcru.org/builds/ Linux or OSx Users should be able to use one of the various Installation Instructions on the Web. You need to enable libmp3lame!
Install SoX (this is not necessary for installation but if you want to test the recording you have to install it). You should install SoX in a up to date copy! SoX 12.xx will NOT work!
MAC OSx / Linux Users => Get Flash Player 10 Beta!! It fixes the CPU Problem for Streaming Video => http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/flashplayer10/
and I need to work on these:
Download OpenMeetings including Red5
Unpack it (Please make sure that you use an up-to-date unzip-software) (and copy it somewhere in you system, do not start it from your Windows Desktop)
you have now a folder openmeetings_version_no_xx
Prepare Database Settings – go to openmeetings_version_no_xx/webapps/openmeetings/conf/hibernate.cfg.xml
MySQL-Database-User: Rename mysql_hibernate.cfg.xml to hibernate.cfg.xml and alter following config values in (mysql_)hibernate.cfg.xml
root jdbc:mysql://YOUR_HOSTNAME/YOUR_DATABASE If you have problems in connecting your database, a common error is that the Database does not listen to TCP/IP Connection, or you properly need to replace the jdbc-driver with the one for your database-version. Of course you must alter YOUR_HOSTNAME/YOUR_DATABASE to fit your needs for example to:jdbc:mysql://localhost/openmeetings
Postgres-Database-Users: Rename postgres_hibernate.cfg.xml to hibernate.cfg.xml and alter following config values in (postgres_)hibernate.cfg.xml
postgres jdbc:postgresql://YOUR_HOSTNAME/YOUR_DATABASE Of course you must alter YOUR_HOSTNAME/YOUR_DATABASE to fit your needs for example to:jdbc:postgresql://localhost/openmeetings
Any-Database-Users: Rename any_hibernate.cfg.xml to hibernate.cfg.xml.
Alter the following config values to fit your needs:
org.postgresql.Driver org.hibernate.dialect.PostgreSQLDialect jdbc:postgresql://localhost/openmeetings
You can see a list of available dialect’s here hibernate-SQL-dialects. You must download the driver for your database and copy it to $OPENMEETINGS-HOME/WEB-INF/lib
(Re)start Red5 (The table’s will be automatically created by hibernate if there is something wrong with your database values you will see errors in Red5 logfile
go to the Installer by accessing it via browser: http://localhost:5080/openmeetings/install and follow the instructions
After Running the Installer all basics are installed. Now login and go to the Meeting-Rooms and check all features. You possibly will have some difficulties uploading files. Check if OpenOffice is really running, swftool, ImageMagick (including GhostScript, FFMpeg) is available on your System-Path (or your customize the path in the Configuration).
Finally… I lost my ambition of running a virtual classroom on my Moodle server. I know if I have enough time, I will figure out the way of doing this, but I just don’t have that much time to spend on this right now.
Hopefully in the near future, someone will read this blog entry and will give me some updates on what is available on Moodle for a free and easy virtual classroom…