E-learning with Moodle

PCQ Bureau
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Moodle is an e-learning system and is also referred to as CMS (Course Management System). This software package is designed to help educators create online courses. Such e-learning systems are sometimes also called LMS (Learning Management Systems) or VLE (Virtual Learning Environments). 


Moodle is an open-source software, available free for download at

Since it's an open-source project, you can modify and distribute it (under the terms of the GNU General Public License). Moodle can be run on various OSs, which include UNIX, Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, NetWare and any other system that supports PHP. We tried this out on a Win XP as well as Win 2K3 Server machines.

As far as Moodle's data storage requirement is concerned, it requires only a single database to store its data. You can use MySQL or PostgreSQL since they are easier to use, but there are other databases too that can be used, such as Oracle, Access, Interbase and ODBC. Moodle supports 50 language packs including Thai, Turkish and German, Arabic. 

Moodle requires PHP and MySQL to be installed on your system. Incase you do not have these installed, the easier option is to go in for EasyPHP. This all-in-one software includes PHP, Apache and MySQL. After installing it you need to configure it. (You can download EasyPHP from the link: )

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Educational institutions
USP: Set up an e-learning site on a Windows machine using Moodle

Moodle requires php_gd2 extension to be enabled in PHP, else it will give an error. To enable php_gd2, right click on EasyPHP from your system tray and select configuration>Extensions PHP. This will show you the list of extensions available on PHP. Here, tick the php_gd2 checkbox and click on OK.

You need to increase the memory limit of PHP so that Moodle can be run. To do this, right click on EasyPHP icon in the system tray and select PHP.ini. This will show up a text file depicting the configuration of PHP. Here, search the memory limit and set it to 16 MB. Save the file and restart EasyPHP from the system tray.


Creating Moodle database

Once you have saved this then you have to create a database in MySQL so that Moodle can store the data in it. For this right click on EasyPHP icon from the system tray and select configuration>PhpMyAdmin. This will open a Web browser showing the page for MySQL administration. Here, in the 'create database' text box type-in the new database name, 'moodle' and click on Create. Once you have created the database then you have to create user for the MySQL database, so that Moodle can access the database. 

For this, select database 'moodle' from the database list and click on 'SQL' link from this page. You will see a text box to write SQL statements. Here give the SQL statement as given below and click on the Go button. 




Moodle installion happens through a Web browser, and is wizard driven. Usually the default settings work fine

Moodle requires PHP and MySQL to function. In

PHP, you have to enable the php_gd2 extension


Installing Mo- odle isn't very difficult. In fact not only installing, but making and maintaining your e-learning site also becomes very easy with Moodle. Its user-friendly interface makes adding a forum, changing languages, adding topics and writing news very convenient. Let's now set up Moodle. 

Once you have downloaded and extracted the Moodle folder, then copy the entire folder to your apache's 'www' folder. Now you just need to open a Web browser and type-in  ( will be replaced by the IP address of your machine). 

moodle's admin interface is quite user friendly and makes it very convenient to add news, menus, courses and change languages 

It will open a configuration interface. Moodle automatically detects the configura tion, which is necessary and will lead you through some screens to help you create a new configuration file called config.php. You don't have to worry much about the configuration as the defaults generally work fine and as it is you can come back to the configuration page later. At the end of the process Moodle will write the file into the right location. 

Once the basic config.php has been correctly created and stored, Moodle will take you to the administration page where you can take care of the rest of the configuration and add the links, pictures, news and other details. We'll talk about how to create an e-learning system using Moodle in the next part of this series.

Ankit Kawatra and Sanjay