You mean the Moodle backup code that's designed to back up Moodle courses from Moodle?
How do you plan to copy that code and get it to generate backups from your own course format? None of us can help you with that, since we don't know your system.
Myself and Tim Hunt recommended option 1. Not all of those XML files are required. Moodle 2.1 can import the old Moodle 1.9 course format. You'll probably find it easier to convert your courses to that, since all you need is your files and a moodle.xml file. Quizzes are slightly more complicated.
Thank you and Tim for your inputs. I am looking forward to weigh all options before I zero down to one. We do not have quiz system in my LMS, it is more of a collaborative authoring environment. The upgrade path on our LMS will have quizzes sometime soon but we propose to follow QTI as much as we can and it will be minimal in its nature as I believe.
Secondly I tried to migrate course backups to Moodle 2.1.1 from Moodle 1.9 but it required a lot of factoring.
Just to give you an idea, my course structure is similar to that of any printed book. Each course has a chapter max(8) and each chapter have 4-5 sections. We have activities listed as static resources for the users to read and follow. This will be replaced by Moodle activities during the port.
I am fairly new to moodle which is why I am requesting the Moodle gurus to bless me.
Writing my own code for conversion did not sound a good Idea considering the fact that it will require lots coding to creating the structure that matches Moodle 2.1 course restore. This led me to believe that it should the output functionality of the Moodle 2.1 backup routine to out my XML data. I will do whatever is neccesary to provide the input to make this output possible.
Thanks once again for your feedback. I appreciate your thoughts and guidance.
I've just finished moving 500 courses from Blackboard to Moodle. I know, it's not fun.
I don't think you'll be able to strip Moodle's backup code out, for a few reasons.
a) It expects a course to already be in a Moodle format and be part of Moodle.
b) It relies heavily on other parts of Moodle and other included files (lib folders, config.php and so on)
It's a lot of work, but I honestly think getting to grips with Moodle's XML format and writing an XML converter is your best bet. Trying to twist Moodle's backup scripts to read your courses sounds easy on paper, but it relies on the rest of Moodle so heavily that you'd pretty much be turning your VLE into Moodle to get it to work.
If you download a copy of Moodle 1.9, you'll find a folder called /backups/bb. This folder contains a great library by Ziba Scott that converts courses from an old version of Blackboard to Moodle. I used it as a starting point for my conversion, by looking at what his code did, looking at Blackboard's XML format, looking at Moodle's XML format, and seeing how what I had in Blackboard's XML could be transformed into what Moodle expected. It wasn't fun. I worked a lot of late nights getting his old Blackboard 5 importer to read Blackboard 8 courses.
From your description of your VLE, it sounds like all you really need is sections, labels and files. These are pretty easy to convert.
I know this is all vague advice rather than answers. Maybe someone else can come along and offer a different viewpoint.
I am just about to start the process of moving 1200 Bb8 courses to Moodle 2.1. Is there any advice you can share about altering the Bb5 convertor to read Bb8 that would reduce the number of sleepless nights I am likely to have.
I took all the Blackboard courses into Moodle 1.9, then backed up all those new 1.9 courses and imported them into 2.1. There's a free Firefox plugin called iMacros and I wrote a script for that to automatically import a folder full of courses.
All Ziba's Blackboard importer does is take the Blackboard XML data and translate it into Moodle's format. Spend time getting your head around how Blackboard's imsmanifest is laid out, how moodle.xml is laid out, and what information you want to take from Blackboard to Moodle. I won't lie: my changes to the converter were 70% strategy and 30% changing things until it worked.
One thing you will need to change: Blackboard 8 stores the URL for links in a different XML element, so you'll need to change that.
Unfortunately I can't send you my converter, as someone decided it would be a good idea to decommission the server it was on. My backups of the converter were on a different folder on the same server. There's an important lesson in there!
I thought the 'best' way was to import into 1.9 and then upgrade that installation to 2.x ?
I merged two Moodle 1.9 and one Blackboard 8 into one Moodle 2.1 site. That's why I started with a new 2.1 site.
It also meant there was no old 1.9 stuff lying around.
How disappointing as regards your converter as I am sure many people would be willing to pay to get something that worked. Thanks for the tip about iMacros. I will get on with trying to get to grips with the XML Can you expand on what changesare needed for the URL
Is it better to work with the Blackboard export or archive files or does it make no difference?
You want to archive the courses, not export. You can switch off 'Export grade centre history' as well.
As for my converter, I'll be searching through my backups to see if I still have it. It worked really well for about 98% of couses. For the other 2%, it gave a 'Could not adjust instances in course_modules' error. In the moodle.xml file, there's a lot of ID numbers that have to match up: in the actual modules present in your course, then when they appear in topics/sections.
I do have my iMacros scripts still. Since I wrote them on college time, the college technically owns those, not me. I'll see if I can get permission to release them. They work perfectly except when there are site-wide question banks in the Moodle 1.9 backups. In this case, Moodle pops up an extra confirmation screen that says 'These banks will be converted to course question banks'. My script doesn't pick up this extra screen, and moves on to the next course. It would be an easy change to make, but I've had to move on to other projects and not fix it.
We didn't convert quizzes ourselves. There were just too many places where things could go wrong, and the last thing we wanted was to import quizzes and then find they were broken. We used a tool called Respondus to bring our quizzes across. There's a 30 day trial available, and my department ended up buying it because it's quite useful.