General plugins

Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?

 
Picture of Jon Streeter
Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 

Hey all,

I am trying to see if it is possible to setup moodle so that if a user is registered at my moodle site - they will have access to my institutions iTunesU portal.

here is the API

http://images.apple.com/support/itunes_u/docs/iTunes_U_Admin_Chapter2.pdf

could someone familiar with the authentication system of Moodle could check out the sample code included in this doc and see if it is feasable to create a module that you could add to a course that would generate the token talked about in the pdf file and then pullup itunes correctly?

the question comes up - why do this? well in my case the only other usable option is to have my institution IT dept with control over the LDAP server enable it and they tend to be an obstacle to any new ideas or programs and i would rather handle all the authentication through our existing moodle server.

perhaps if moodle had this capability, then other institutions would have a reason to pair moodle with iTunesU.

-jon

 
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Picture of Dirk Herr-Hoyman
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 
Quite possible, do this as Block. We've done something similar
in Desire2Learn with their blocklike feature (they call it a Widget).

All you are adding in to a Block is:
* generate the iTunes U launch URL based on userid, role, and course Number
for userid, that's the username, for role it's Student or Teacher (mapped
to the iTunes U MACE roles), and then the course number that has to
match up with what you setup in iTunes U.
* add on the SHA digital signature, with a config field for the shared secret

If I were bored with 2-4 hrs on my hands, I'd whip this out smile
I'm sure someone out there will do this pretty soon, now that Apple
has released their API specs.
 
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Picture of Eduardo Hernandez
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 
Hi Jon,

We are also analyzing this option, and I would like to know if you have any development. At Apple.com there are some code examples (C, Java, Python, PERL, but no php).

If there´s any moodler working on this I would like to know opinions.. etc.

Eduardo
 
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Picture of Eduardo Hernandez
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 
Ah.. today I was told iTunes U is only available for U.S. based universities because of the bandwidth issue
 
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Picture of J Rob
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 
I put together an iTunesU launcher block for Moodle back in September but it wasn't quite "up to snuff" to release to the public.

I'm reworking it now, adding enough features and flexibility in order to be able to permanently do away with hardcoding any settings.

For anyone who has worked with BOTH iTunes U and Moodle, could you give me some feedback for how flexible you would like the following aspect: (Disclaimer: requires passing familiarity with iTunes U API and interface organization.)

I'm using the Moodle course ID to map to the iTunes U identifier. However, because of the organization of iTunes U pages/categories/courses and whatnot, I wanted to be able to add optional prefixes to the Moodle-generated credentials.

For example, [$global_prefix:][$instance_prefix:]$course_category:$course_id

However, now that my institution has two Moodle instances which are organized differently (particularly course categories), the original scheme isn't working.

I'm putting together a conceptual mapping scheme now, and want to know if I'm missing some flexibility that other people would need.

At the global level, I want the administrator to be able to able to add to the identifier aspect of credentials as follows: [$global_prefix:]$instance_identifier[:$global_postfix]

At the instance level, I want the administrator to able to:

- add to the instance identifier as follows: [$global_prefix:][$instance_prefix:]$course_category:$course_id[:$instance_postfix][:$global_postfix]

- override the instance identifier entirely: [$global_prefix:]$override_identifier[:$global_postfix]

- override the global pre/postfix options at the course level: [$instance_prefix:]$course_category:$course_id[:$instance_postfix], or
$override_identifier

So, all that said (and if it lacks clarity, I can elaborate), have I missed any probable scenarios? If you were to install a Moodle iTunes U block, what would you like to see?
 
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Picture of Mark Tyers
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 
Hi
We have just signed up to itunes u at our UK college and I am looking at creating an iTunes u activity that would work like the existing podcast activity but upload the content to iTunes U

Before I reinvent the wheel, has anyone tried this before or got any tips that might help me...

M
 
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BW and family
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 
Mark and all iTunes University users,

Within the next few days an iTunes U block will be contributed to CVS by a Moodle partner. This block was recently created for Amy Brown at Guilford Tech Community College in North Carolina USA. The block has links to resource items stored in the instructors iTunes U repository. On click by student the block will pass sign on information through (SSO) to iTunes U and take them directly to the resource. Student then simply fires up their iPod and does a sync with the podcast/vodcast they're after.

Enjoy!
 
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Picture of A. T. Wyatt
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 
Sounds exciting! Thanks for the update!

atw
 
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Picture of Ida Byrd-Hill
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 
Has anyone attempted to upload the Itunes U block. I have uploaded 4 times but it appears Moodle did not recognize the addition as I did not receive and notification in my Administration box to continue. Help Please!!!
 
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BW and family
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 
Ida,

After putting the block in your /blocks folder did you login as admin to your Moodle site and let it install? Did you read the instructions carefully in the PDF for setting your iTunes repository values? Are you running Moodle 1.9?
 
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Picture of Ida Byrd-Hill
ITUNEs CONTENT
 
Yes I uploaded the file using my goddady ftp connected to the website. However when I reloaded it using file zilla I had no problems. do have anothr question. How to I add the individal Itune content. I attempted to paste the url it does not work. The instructions state "You may setup any number of links by first typing the caption of the link. Then put a comma (,) and lastly type in the destination numbers. Hit enter to add another link. Example: My iTunes Demo Lecture,123455.1234556" I can not find information that actually workd to leading one back to the itunes store.
 
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Picture of Mike Churchward
Re: ITUNEs CONTENT
Core developersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developersPlugins guardiansTesters
Before any link will work, you need to configure the block with your iTunes U account information. This is in the 'itunesu_doc.pdf' provided in the root of the block directory.

The example that is given is fictional. It has no real data.

You need to look at the document, and follow the steps in it to link to your own actual content.

mike
 
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Picture of Steve Welch
Re: ITUNEs CONTENT
 
I have a new iTunes U site and have installed the iTunes U module to my Moodle site. But nowhere in any iTunes documentation do I have anything like the destination numbers specified in the module's documentation, "Example: My iTunes Demo Lecture,123455.1234556

Where do I find this string of digits to refer to my podcast?
 
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Picture of Ida Byrd-Hill
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 
iF SOMEONE DEVELOPS THAT CAPABILITY PLEASE LET ME KNOW. I would like for iTunes content to be available whenever someone opens my site.

Ida Byrd-Hill
 
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Picture of Mike Churchward
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
Core developersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developersPlugins guardiansTesters
Ida -

The block you are installing does just that, but you need to configure it with your iTunes U account information and then add links to the content you want to provide.

mike
 
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Picture of Rob Byrd
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 
I placed itunesu in the blocks directory and set all its file permissions to 755.Then I went to the Admin-> notifications link and saw only a while screen with "Done" in the bottom systray. For other installs, I usually get green "okay" messages with lists of the db's created etc.

The while screen with "Done" at the bottom is what I usually get when Apache needs restarted. So I restarted Apace, but still got a white screen.

Any ideas?

Thanks,




 
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Picture of Mike Churchward
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
Core developersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developersPlugins guardiansTesters
This block doesn't create any databases, so you wouldn't see any of that. If you go to the "admin / modules / blocks / manage blocks" screen, you will see the 'iTunes U' block in the list if it installed.

After that, you just need to configure it with your account information.

mike
 
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Picture of Janet Smith
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 

Hi,

Can anyone post an example of what the student and instructor credentials need to look like for the iTunes U block configuration?  The document asks for the credentials but it doesn't give an example. 

I am wondering how others have configured their credentials?  Are you pulling the user information from the user's Moodle profile?  How did you specify these fields in the credential mapping?

I am just getting iTunes U setup so I am not quite sure of the best way to approach this, but I know I need it to work with Moodle. 

Thanks! 

 
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Picture of Mike Churchward
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
Core developersParticularly helpful MoodlersPlugin developersPlugins guardiansTesters
This page shows an example around paragraphs 4-5.

For the site I set up, the instructor credentials were: Instructor@urn:mace:[oursite].edu (where [oursite] was our real domain name). We didn't use the student credentials.

mike
 
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Picture of Janet Smith
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 
Mike, thanks for the helpful response on the Administrator Credentials.

If I am using the Moodle iTunes U block to connect to iTunes U, is it necessary for me to have a transfer script written for administrator, instructor and student access? Does the Moodle block somehow call this transfer script when it goes to the iTunes U URL? Or does the Moodle block function as a transfer script of sorts?

I've got a transfer script written for my initial administrator authentication to iTunes U, but I am wondering if it is necessary to go further and create logic for students and instructors in this script or if this is already built-in to the iTunes U block? If it is not built-in to the block, do I need to structure the logic it in a certain way to work with what is being passed from the block to iTunesU?

Has anyone done this? Any good samples out there?

Thanks!
 
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Picture of Janet Smith
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 
Hi,

Sorry to be a pain but I really need to get this working. Right now I have my iTunes U block redirecting to iTunes U successfully, but it doesn't sign me automatically. I noticed in the code it says more work needs to be done on the credentials. Is this supposed to be working? Does anyone have this block working with signing you in as the same user you are signed on to Moodle? If so, how did you do it?

Thanks!
 
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Picture of Gail Ruby
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 
Mike,

Our college wants to use the iTunesU block in Moodle as our gateway to iTunesU. The block has been successfully installed by our hosting service but now we need to configure the block.

Is there an example of the code that needs to be entered into the set-up blocks (shown below)?

Thank-you for your help,
Gail Ruby
Director of Learning Technologies
Southeastern Community College
Whiteville, NC

iTunes U URL:
shared secret:
debug suffix:
Admin credentials:
Instructor credentials:
Student credentials:
 
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Me
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 
Hi Gail,

Did you get this working? We are about to implement the integration of Moodle and iTunesU so that users are simply authenticated through to our iTunesU private collection then can download digital content.

Is this what you achieved? If so, then would be very interested to chat further.

Regards,
Grant Beevers
Director of Online Learning
Endeavour College of Natural Health
Australia
 
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Picture of John Blaser
Configuring the iTunes University Block
 
Hi Everyone,
I am hoping someone can give me some help getting the block configured properly so it will work. It seems to be installed fine, but is not functioning as it should. There seem to be two problems:
  1. I can't seem to get the right iTunes U URL (as per the instructions) into Modules/Blocks/iTunes U/Settings. I think it is supposed to go to the main page of my iTunes U account, but I don't know how to get that URL in iTunes. I only seem to be able to copy the link for a URL of a specific content page in iTunes U, not my general account page.
  2. The other problem I am having is entering more than one content item in the block itself on my course site. Despite following the instructions carefully, if I put more than one content item in, the block is adding a comma and clicking on the link does not go to a content item. However, if I put only one content item in the block, it seems to work fine.
I know this may not be clear, but if anyone has any more specific instructions as to what should go in the configuration options as well as any possible solutions to my problem of multiple content items in the block itself, it would be much appreciated.
Thanks in advance,
John Blaser
 
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Picture of Nate Baxley
Re: Configuring the iTunes University Block
Plugin developers
Any luck John? We're trying to get it to work here and I think we have the URL correct, but the credentials seems wrong since it forces us to login before getting anywhere.
 
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Picture of John Blaser
Re: Configuring the iTunes University Block
 
Hi Nate,
Thanks for the contact. I am nowhere on it. You are the first one I have heard back from since I posted so I guess the developers aren't monitoring the forum. I must be "challenged," as I can't even figure out how to get the correct URL from iTunes. Can you give me any help on that? I have no clue about the other credentials.

I still have the problems with the comma getting added into the block itself when I enter more than one resource. I think the documentation assumes a certain level of expertise (beyond mine). Hopefully someone will put in simple, step-by-step instructions written for the "novice."
Let me know if you get anywhere, OK?
Thanks again,
John
 
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Picture of David Gjerdingen
Re: Configuring the iTunes University Block
 
John,
I have also been struggling with getting this block working properly for awhile now. I believe I have an answer for your first question.

The URL that I am putting in the "iTunes U URL" field for the block configuration is one that I found on the iTunes U "Edit Site Settings" page, in the "Transfer Script Information" section near the bottom of that page. (We have the "Advanced" option checked for the Site Access Control section -- I don't know whether or not that affects what displays in the Transfer Script Information section)

At any rate, the URL that I used is the one listed under Site URL in that section. It looks something like this:

https://deimos.apple.com/WebObjects/Core.woa/Browse/your.domain.here

The information for the "shared secret", "debug suffix", and "Admin credentials" fields were all in that same section, too.

Regarding your question about getting a comma added into the block itself, I don't believe that I have experienced anything like that. Here is what it looks like for me when I want to see multiple links in a single block:

Text for first link,12345678.98765432
Second Link Text,24681357
A Third Link,12345678.98765432.13572468

Each link is on a separate line in the text area. This seems to be working for me.

I hope that these answers help. I am still not able to get the credentials passing correctly. The block links take me to the correct resources in iTunes U, but they don't pass authentication credentials. So I can only access resources that are readable to the Unauthenticated or All credentials.

I think that I will try testing the PHP code for this block outside of Moodle, to see if I can debug it and figure out where the authentication process is breaking down. If I can figure it out, I will post my findings here, in case anyone else has run into this same problem.

- Dave -
 
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Picture of David Gjerdingen
Re: Configuring the iTunes University Block
 
I have not had a chance to test this, yet, but I believe I've found a problem in the code of the iTunes U block which might explain the credential-related issues that I have experienced with this block.

In the extractURLCredentials() function, the domain 'gtcc.edu' has been hardcoded. Here is the code of the function:

/**
 * Extract the credentials part from the returned URL from
 * the iTunes U server
 */
public function extractURLCredentials($url) {
$result = '';
$pos = 0;

$remainder = strstr($url, "gtcc.edu?");
$remainder = substr_replace($remainder, '', 0, 9);
$this->urlcredentials = $remainder;
}

I believe this might cause other institutions to not correctly parse the credentials being returned by the iTunes U server. I will do some testing and see if changing the domain causes the code to work for me.

- Dave -
 
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Picture of David Gjerdingen
Re: Configuring the iTunes University Block
 
This is just to follow up on my post from yesterday. Replacing "gtcc.edu" with my institution's domain and replacing the 9 on the next line with the length of my institution's domain plus 1 (to include the question mark in the string length) caused the authentication to work correctly. These were the only changes that were required to get things working.

However, the itunesu_redirect.php script is coded in such a way that all Moodle users get connected to iTunes U using whatever credential you have put in the "Admin Credentials" field of the configuration for the block.
 
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Picture of Steve Welch
Re: Configuring the iTunes University Block
 
I got the authentication to work today!

For the block to work, a student must be assigned the system role of "Student" for the Moodle page on which your iTunes block appears. If you've renamed the role, or if they're a guest, it won't work. It looks like the iTunes U block only supports Moodle system roles named "Admin", "Instructor", or "Student". It appears to me that the student's system role must match one of these names for the associated credential to be passed to iTunes.

You must configure the global iTunes U Block (Site Administration+Blocks+iTunesU), pasting in the credentials for your iTunes site specified in the "Edit Site Settings" section of iTunes (you must be logged in as administrator to access)

In the "Transfer Script Information" section, it specifies your site URL, the Debug Suffix, the Shared Secret and the administrator credential, all of which are asked for in Moodle's iTunes U Block.

Moodle's iTunes Block also asks for the Student credential. Find this in iTunes' "Edit Access" page. In the "Built-in Permissions" section, it lists Credential Definitions for standard credentials. Students should have the standard "download" credential. Copy the credential here and then paste it into Moodle's iTunes configuration block. That block should look something like this:

iTunes U URL: FROM iTUNES' "EDIT SITE SETTINGS" PAGE
shared secret:
FROM iTUNES' "EDIT SITE SETTINGS" PAGE
debug suffix:
FROM iTUNES' "EDIT SITE SETTINGS" PAGE
Admin credentials: FROM iTUNES' "EDIT SITE SETTINGS" PAGE
Instructor credentials: FROM iTUNES' "EDIT SITE SETTINGS" PAGE
Student credentials: FROM iTUNES' "EDIT SITE SETTINGS" PAGE

 
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Picture of Grant Ramsay
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 

We are doing our first trials of Moodle 2.0.x this quarter.  Has anyone been successful with this block in Moodle 2?  Or, is there any work being done to convert this block?

Thank you,

Grant

 
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Picture of Benjamin Piot
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 

Same issue. We have moodle 2.0.2 and I'd like to install the itunesu block. Is there a version for Moodle 2.x?

Thanks

 
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Picture of Benjamin Piot
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 

OK I've seen in dev doc that blocks directory in moodle 2.0 are different than in 1.9. But has anyone created a block for 2.0?

 
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Picture of John Pennington
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 

We are also looking for a solution to this issue.  I haven't been able to make headway on converting the 1.9 block to 2.0.  Anyone know of any possible implementations?

 
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Picture of John Pennington
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 

I just went through and converted the 1.9 plugin to 2.0.  It's my first attempt at block editing, so I make no guarantees, but I'm pretty confident that it's functionally the same as the original plugin.  I added a new field to sort out an issue with our timeserver matching Apple's, but that's the only real addition.  For anyone who tries it out, feel free to pass along feedback or suggestions.

(I removed the pdf documentation so that it wouldn't exceed the upload size requirements, but you can find that info and the original plugin here).

 
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Picture of Georgi Samaras
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 

Hi John,

Thank you for your work on upgrading this block!  I recently moved our test environment to 2.1 and gave your updated code a shot.  I'm able to edit our iTunesU settings but whenever I try to follow a link posted via the block I receive the following error:

PHP Deprecated: Function split() is deprecated in C:\moodle\blocks\itunesu\itunes.php on line 262

We're using PHP 5.3.8.  Any advice on a workaround for the deprecated function?

Thanks much.

 
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Picture of David Gjerdingen
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 

Georgi,
If you are looking to replace the split() function, you could use explode() if the delimiter that you wish to split on is a simple string.  If you wish to use a pattern for the delimiter, then the preg_split() function could work.

- Dave -

 
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Picture of Georgi Samaras
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 

Thank you, Dave!  explode() did the trick.

 
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Picture of daniel fitzsimmons
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 

Hi John

Great work. I'm just about to test it on our version of moodle. Thanks smile
It would be great if you could add it to the Moodle Plug In Director, so that we can get some commuinity support for ongoing development. The current listing is out of date. http://moodle.org/mod/data/view.php?d=13&rid=1582

Thanks Again John
Daniel 

 
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Picture of daniel fitzsimmons
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 

Hi John can i ask a stupid question what is the difference between

iTunes U URL and iTunes U Site domain ?

 
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Picture of Steve H.
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 

Does this work for the Moodle 2.3+?

 
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Picture of Matt Grinsell
Re: Podcasting: using Moodle as a gateway for iTunes U?
 

Any update to this?  Have you used iTunesU plug-in with Moodle 2.3/2.4?

 
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