Athabasca Landing

Listen and Learn

Your future may be the past you didn’t learn…or so I have been told many times.

Listening to those that “have been there and done that” is useful to saving time, not repeating history, and designing a better future.

What I am learning is that the modern net student wants to consume and construct information in a very different way than the past.  This change can partly be explained by rapid adoption of mobile technologies, and present learning environs.

These changes have a profound effect on design and development of digital spaces.  This has been examined through the concept of personal learning environments (1a,b).

Key observations by those professors of post-secondary learning environs:

  • ‘Death by Powerpoint’ – the  “digital overhead simulation” pushes information slide after slide until you are bored to death
  • Q and A – questions and answers have to be next to each other
  • One click/tap away – all content upfront, with no drill down necessary to access key information

For Consideration…

  • Content authoring via tablets.
  • Simplified content presentation
  • Open integration to existing enduser digital spaces
  • Socialized integration


  • LMS’s and MOOCS are constrictive analogue simulations by design
  • CMS and frameworks are potentially less restrictive
  • Accessibility is a major focus
  • Flat structures with less drill down to expedite content exposure


(1a) Original list of PLE Publications

(1b) Anderson, Terry (2006), PLE’s versus LMS: Are PLEs ready for Prime time?, Virtual Canuck, Blog

Athabasca Landing

MOOC portable mini

MOOC – Massive Open Online Courses can be run from cloud services, servers, and local hard server (1).  The MOOC software can be complex using a mix of technologies to deliver a web interface.

Distance education via the Internet tends to have several common core data attributes:

  1. messaging
  2. files
  3. administration
  4. network port

Messaging can be synchronous or asychronous that includes: email, forums, chat, teleconference, and whiteboard.

Files are what the messages become including documents, web pages (blog, wiki, html, xhtml, php, etcetera…).  Files may arguably be considered the source of data, whereas messaging is a transient data entry stage resulting in files.

Administration is required to organize and manage the data and the users of the data. Courses, lessons, and membership are examples of organization of the data.

A network port is the software/hardware required between the human and data interface for a communication commons.  Network communications include modem communication to a server port, and Internet communications.

Attempts at addressing interoperability of content include SCORM (2) and integrators applications (3).

However, what if you wish independance, portability, and ‘near’ future proofing?

A mini MOOC is possible with the available open-source content management systems such as Drupal and WordPress.  WordPress offers free plugins that will assist in building an administrative framework.  In addition there are several commercial LMS plugins for WordPress to achieve a similar but lite version of Moodle.  Drupal offers both distributions and modules that can be developed as MOOCS.

The disadvantages to Drupal and WordPress (and Moodle) are the dependencies on other applications to function such as a database engine (i.e., MYSQL), and scripting engine (i.e., PHP).  Hence, there are many layers of programs required to achieve a course lesson.  Fortunately all the programming layers are open source and can be assembled into one virtual data file; which is important for archival sustainability (4ab).


It is possible to create a portable MOOC using a self-contained mobile server.  The challenges for developing such a package includes stability, accessibility, transparency, and goals for the MOOC.



1. Massive open online course,

2. Sharable Content Object Reference Model,

3. Tin Can API,

4a. “Google’s Vint Cerf warns of ‘digital Dark Age'”, Pallab Ghosh,

4b. “Digital Vellum and the Expansion of the Internet into the Solar System”,



Moodle MAMP not Poodle

Published December 14, 2008

I once heard my professor express an LMS as “Moodle Poodle”.  Moodle4Mac with MAMP is more like a St.Benard than a poodle.  Moodle4Mac is a self-contained and free LMS solution.  Marry this solution with a Mac Mini and then you have a light weight server that is very compact.

Unfortunately Moodle4Mac (Moodle4Mac-Intel-20A.dmg) build by Ralf Krause uses the older version of MAMP (v.1.7.1) rather than the current version 1.7.2.  Therefore, how can one use the current version of MAMP with Moodle4Mac?   One way is to merge the files in Moodle4Mac with a MAMP Pro installation.  The alternative is to install a fresh MAMP Pro and then install a generic Moodle package.

I have chosen to merge Moodle4Mac into a previously installed MAMP PRO setup.

I have found that the following folders and files have to be transferred between Moodle4Mac-Intel-20A.dmg
and MAMP 1.7.2 install folder:

copy folders:

  • MAMP\htdocs
  • MAMP\bin\php4
  • MAMP\bin\php5
  • MAMP\conf\php4
  • MAMP\conf\php5

copy files:

  • MAMP\
  • MAMP\Link to Moodle.weblock

This transfer seems to make the Moodle 2 merge successful. However, it is uncertain if there any other files and/or folders that need to be copied from Moodle4Mac-Intel-20A.dmg to MAMP folder.

In conclusion, the aforementioned merger has been a draft recipe for successfully merging Moodle4Mac-Intel-20A.dmg with MAMP 1.7.2