There is a lot of talk and movement towards OER resources for both consuming and producing. Back in 2013 we were intrigued with the potential of a wordpress plugin called Pressbooks which allowed for collaborative authoring with the ability to export as ePub, PDF, MOBI, and other formats. What we did that was unique was utilize LTI to integrate it as a tool for Moodle.
By setting up Wordpress with the LTI plugin you can create a fully integrated book publishing tool with Moodle.
Pressbooks has come a long way since 2013. It is a much smoother and refined user experience now. I am hopeful that we will get teachers and students making short stories, lessons, worksheets, and other resources that can be shared.
What I find really exciting is the inclusion of H5P within the content. We can now generate interactive books and resources. While the H5P doesn't transfer to epub or PDF yet, there seems to be acknowledgement from Pressbooks that they should work on a way to include it somehow. By linking to the web version of the book you can get all the interactions and rich content.
Here is how we implemented it with our Moodle.
Great to hear how people are using and enthusing about the LTI tools. I have started getting into it lately and love it!
I've been playing with LTI connections between Moodle and Pressbooks like you have. The behavior that I am getting, is that when I create that LTI connection with Moodle, it creates a new pressbooks ebook for that connection everytime. What I want is to develop an ebook in pressbooks first, and then connect that ebook via LTI to a Moodle course.
Are either of the two plugins that you played with able to connect that existing pressbooks ebook, to a new LTI connection?
The use case for us is using open source textbooks, but a faculty member wants to use 90% of the original content, and maybe customize a little bit, or to pull information from multiple OER resources into one course textbook. That text will be prepared and ready far earlier than the Moodle course shell, and they want to be able to easily use that content again without having to recopy it. They want students to be able to see this content with single sign on from the LMS.
I think what you should do is have a Moodle Course in which you connect and build all your main OER books. You can control who has access to edit those books from that course. Then, once these books are developed a teacher can link to it as a URL resource from their own course.
However, if they want to make changes or customize the book they must create a new LTI ebook Activity, import the content from the original (Possibly using one of the export formats from the original ebook), and then make desired edits. With this approach it would also allow anyone in their course to have access and edit the book as well. So it might not be ideal.
Another option might be a link to the main ebook site and then the teacher creates a new ebook via LTI Activity called Supplemental materials in which they expand upon the original textbook.
I don't think it will work the way you want it to.
I'm pretty sure there is someway to make it work that way, because that is what Lumen Learning is doing with their pressbooks sites. I just haven't found the right combinations of plugins... yet!
My next option is I am going to play some more with the plugins that Lumen has open-sourced. I had installed just their LTI helper, but I didn't get it to work properly at least at first. I think I need to install more of their plugins stack because there must be dependencies in other parts.
I am also going to do a fresh install of wordpress, because since I was just playing with this, I was using a bitnami wordpress on aws to get me a little bit of a jump, and then installing the pressbooks plugins. Sometimes in those easy bake stacks they have modified or locked a file in a way that makes it hard to install plugins.
I appreciate your comments, if you see anything around I hope you think of this thread and share it back.
Just in case you are curious, I did get the Candela LTI to work the way I wanted it to.
I couldn't make it work with a Pressbooks install set for sub-domains, but once I started over and used directory setup, I got it to working (mostly). When you set up the LTI, you have to know the Site ID, so I installed this plugin too.
The only problem I have left is that the first time I use the LTI connection with each user, it shows an error message, but works correctly on the 2nd and each subsequent attempt.
I will follow your advice and write up something a little more final once I have spent some more time with it. Some tips so far:
- When you are doing your initial pressbooks install, make sure you install in directory mode and not subdomains. Subdomains seem to confuse the LTI connection.
- Lumen Learning is a for-profit company that is a champion of OER. It sells a service to colleges and faculty who want to adopt OER by providing a pressbooks site, maintained with additional plugins and analytics. Lumen has acted as good partners with the opensource community and have open sourced the plugins they developed.
- Their github repo: https://github.com/lumenlearning
- Specifically I am using their LTI helper named candela-lti. This plugin acts as a helper to the LTI plugin and both must be installed.
- Network activate the two LTI plugins. From the Network site, enable LTI consumers. This will give you one LTI address for your entire pressbooks network. http://your.pressbooks.site/api/lti/BLOGID
- When you are looking to link to a specific book, you need to replace "BLOGID" with the site ID number from Pressbooks.
- The Site ID number isn't always readily apparent, so I installed the "WP Show Site ID" plugin which adds the site id to the header of the pressbooks site.
Next steps I am taking...
There is an interesting fork of the Candela-LTI. In Indiana Universities fork, instead of creating new users first it searches to see if that user exists. For a university setting that already has a Single Sign On, it may make more sense to create all users at the network level, and allow the LTI to associate users with their books. This would have the advantage of allowing users to access their book through the Moodle LTI connection or directly, whichever they prefer. This is all hypothetical and I haven't tested it yet.
I also like the export as thin common cartridge link plugin, that makes a separate LTI connection for each chapter. Depending on your course structure and how you want students to access the book this could be interesting. Now that I have the basic LTI plugin working I am going to try this plugin from Lumen again. Both Lumen and Indiana have a fork of this plugin, and I am going to try Lumen's first, because I know Indiana is specifically developing for Canvas integration, and I believe Canvas uses LTI 1.3 while Moodle uses 1.1.
I wish pressbooks had an app marketplace like Moodle and Wordpress does with good tracking community support. Let me know what you have found useful.
I'm asking you this question both as someone who is both interested in Pressbooks and Themer.
I'm trying to use LTI to embed Pressbooks directly in Moodle. Here's a screenshot.
My issue is how short the LTI iframe window is. Would there be an easy way to make that LTI frame taller? By easy I mean, insert this custom CSS into the GUI?