Microsoft Education Labs recently introduced a new plug-in for Moodle, the course management system (CMS) used by educators worldwide to create online courses. The open source system runs on nearly any operating system and is free to use, which is probably why it has become so popular. According to the Moodle stats page, there are now nearly 35,000 registered sites using Moodle.
Moodle is also known for its extendible architecture which supports third-party plugins. That’s where the new Live Services plugin fits in. With the plugin, Live@Edu services like Outlook Live, Calendar, Bing, Live Alerts, and Windows Live Messenger can all be integrated right into the Moodle framework.
After working with educators to determine their needs, the Live@Edu team realized the administration of the various services needed to be easy enough for anyone to use even if they weren’t technically savvy. They also realized that their work should be made as easily available as possible so they released the plugin under the GPLv2 license.
Once installed, teachers and students can log into Moodle sites with their Windows Live IDs, so basically it’s a single sign-on solution. It also allows teachers to send alerts to their students via email, mobile phones, or both. The teachers especially liked the mobile alerts option since so many of today’s students are heavy users of their mobile phones, reports the Education Labs blog.
In conjunction with the plugin, the Live@Edu team also launched www.educationlabs.com, a community-oriented website as a home for their projects.
Any school can use the Live@Edu service, which provides students with secure 10 GB email account hosted in Exchange and accessed via Outlook Live, online file management in Office Live, Windows Live Messenger, 25 GB of cloud storage in SkyDrive, and more. For more info on Live@edu, visit my.liveatedu.com.
To see a live demo of the new Moodle plugin, check out this video on Channel 9.