Repositories

Multiple Dropbox Accounts

 
 
Picture of Rob Gordon
Multiple Dropbox Accounts
 

I set up dropbox on my site, but I share a site with other teachers who use dropbox too, and they want to be able to access their accounts. Is there anyway to achieve this.

 

At the moment, I am getting a message to the effect that only the app creator can access the app while it is in development stage. I don't want to actually go public with this app ... at least I don't think.

 

I know I could just make a new dropbox account, and then just share it, but that isn't as convenient.

 
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Picture of Aaron Batty
Re: Multiple Dropbox Accounts
 

That's what I was afraid of. It seemed to me as I was setting up repositories that I was setting up the entire site to use my accounts.

These repositories... What are they for? What's wrong with a course having a directory of files???

 
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Picture of Peter Ruthven-Stuart
Re: Multiple Dropbox Accounts
 

Hello Rob and Aaron,

Thanks for your comments re Dropbox. The issue of file management has stirred a lot of debate, e.g. see http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=152694

When I upgraded to Moodle 2 a few months ago I naively assumed that the new Repositories feature would make file management so much easier. Like you I have discovered that the Dropbox repository (also Google Docs) isn't really a solution, unless of course I tell all my colleague and students my username and password. It's confused and angered colleagues; they thought they'd be able to access their own Dropbox accounts but instead just get an error message on trying to log in.

This issue was reported as a bug:

MDL-26949

but has now been closed, and not because the problem is fixed ...

The Moodle Docs page on Dropbox suggests there is a solution ("Create an app, you must change app status to Production"), but this doesn't seem to be a viable solution for the average Moodle user.

"These repositories... What are they for?"

What indeed? It seems that, the shift towards external repositories primarily caters to large scale installations of Moodle administered by professional IT people, and not for smaller scale systems run my volunteer amateurs like me.

"What's wrong with a course having a directory of files???"

There do seem to be good reasons for doing away with the Course Files area, see http://docs.moodle.org/en/Course_files#Files_in_Moodle_2.0

I'm now advising colleagues to use the Private Files area as their Moodle repository.

However, this doesn't solve the issue of having to re-upload /relink every instance of a file should a change be made to that file. i.e. if a teacher uploads 10 instances of the same file to 10 different places, and then discovers she needs to make a change to that file, she will have to re-upload / link to that file 10 times.

Mark Dreschsler has made an informative Slideshere re file management in 2.0: http://www.markdrechsler.com/?p=271

 
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Picture of Aaron Batty
Re: Multiple Dropbox Accounts
 

"I'm now advising colleagues to use the Private Files area as their Moodle repository."

--But, as you say, it doesn't solve anything at all. I'm turning ours off, just to make sure I don't get support emails about it (also an amateur volunteer).

Honestly, I don't think I can read any more of these threads. No one seems to be happy with file handling in 2, and the response seems to be "No, you don't get it! It's better!" and we're saying, "No, the problem is that we do get it, and it makes our lives miserable."

The Dropbox/GoogleDocs/Flickr repository things... I just can't get over them. How could that be advertised as a feature? It would only work with one user on the system!

I just don't understand how anyone could have thought any of this was better than a directory with files in it.

 
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Drew
Re: Multiple Dropbox Accounts
 

I have not tried the Dropbox repository plugin, because we don't use Dropbox.  However, I did see you mentioned Google Docs and possibly having the same issues with it. (Having to give your username and password out because users get an error when trying to use their own).

I had a similar issue with Google Docs previously and have since found a solution.  If you are using a Google Apps Domain, you must register your Moodle URL with Google WebApps Management so it trusts the source.  The URL is https://www.google.com/accounts/ManageDomains  Now, every user will be able to use their own account.

I hope this helps on the Google Apps side.  Good luck with Dropbox.  I would agree with the suggestion that the external repositories have a way to go.

 
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Picture of Ralf Hilgenstock
Re: Multiple Dropbox Accounts
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Translators

Hi

I've damned the new file system several times, but it isn't as bad as often discussed. The main problem is that there is no proper documentation and no guidance to find a good solution for an organization.

Lets look into the details.

Moodle 1.9. File handling is limited to courses. Each file has to be uploaded to each course where it should be used. Updating of files was not possible if the file was used inseveral courses. Other options were not offered by Moodle.

I hope you all can agree to this.

Moodle 2.0. I will start with a little guidance:

First step: Store all your files you want to use in your peronal file area. Ey, you can upload them as zip and unfold them in your file area. Please don't forget to save changes after uploading. Otherwise you will lose your files after some hours.
Second step: Go to your course, add a file as ressource, add a file to a folder, attach your file into an activity. Thats it. Not so complicate up to now.

Next step: You like to share files with colleagues in a course and reuse the file later  in other courses . Create a folder in the course. All teachers can upload files. You want to download them? No problem. Zip them in the folder and download all files.

In this way you can do all the things you could do with Moodle 1.x, but you can reuse files without copying them. The main difference is: store files first in your personal file area.

Now the new features that were not offered by former versions of Moodle.

You like to offer a bundle of files that are offered by the organization. You are looking for an area where you can upload files centrally via FTP. Well create a folder called 'repository' in your Moodle-Data folder and define sensefull subfolders. Afterwards you can create a file server  area in Plugin repository and give the system user reading access and option to use the files in the  courses. Create FTP accounts for the folders and give access for the staff.
i think you can do the same with a WebDav system.

You've seen interesting pictures at an other webpage or you got an URL to a file you want to use in your course. Normally you  have to donwload the file to your local PC and to upload it again.  Now you do it in one step if you've activated the  URL downloader repository. Add the URL of the page to extract the graphic files for your course or add the URL to a file to do the same for other formats.

You want to use files from public repositories like Wikimedia, Flickr, Picasa et al. Do it with the specialized repositories.

Now its getting a little bit more complicate. You are interested to use any type of external system where you store files.  And you want to use not only a global account to all files for all teachers, but you also like to offer access for all private accounts from your staff. This is really much more complicate because an API is required for each system and the concept has to be supported by the other tool. This seams to be the point where the expectations and sometimes the phantasie is running high but Moodle can't fulfill the wishes in the moment.

Actually I only see one tool that connects Moodle user accounts directly with the user management froma repository system. This is the Alfresco  integration developed by Remote Learner as part of the ELIS suite.  Its available for 1.9 and will be offered for 2.0 in summer.

We are working with this suite and the features are great. The power of Alfresco document management system can be used if you configure the Alfresco system individually. But this is a complex project and not as easy as most people think.

Summarizing this, you can do all the things you did in Moodle 1.x, but you can do much more.

The Moodle repositories are far away for from being perfect, they have several bugs and I know half a dozen issues I didn't understand, but you can work with them.

Hope this descriptions helps to understand the system better. I'm also learning a lot while working with the system.

Main problem from my side is the missing documentation. Lets try to add the documentation asap.

 

 
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Drew
Re: Multiple Dropbox Accounts
 
The ultimate question is: Will Remote Learner release the updated Alfresco repository plugin to the community?
 
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Picture of Ralf Hilgenstock
Re: Multiple Dropbox Accounts
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Translators

Hello Drew,

this is not the ultimate question.  The ELIS-Alfresco  plugin is based on Alfresco Enterprise. This version is not for free and so the plugin can not be free.

 

Ralf

 
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Drew
Re: Multiple Dropbox Accounts
 

The fact that the plugin is developed with Alfresco Enterprise should really have no bearing on whether or not it is free.  Alfresco supports external Webscripts in both versions.  Remote Learner could offer it to the community, if these so chose.  I do understand, though, and respect the decision to make it a paid solution.

 
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Elena
Re: Multiple Dropbox Accounts
Group Testers

Hi Ralf,
Unfortunately the suggested work process (use of Private files, then copying independent duplicates into some shared Folder resource - hey, instructors need to figure out the need to create and hide it first smile), can work only in some scenarios.
As an example, all of our courses have more then one person with instructor access, either it is support, or instructional designer.
Not having just one clear course-level repository right in Moodle is simply not working sad

We will continue to use Legacy Course Files area, but I think I have just found bugs with course backup/restore. Moodle just wipes the files out of LCFs during the process in majority of cases.

 
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