Thanks Martin! I'm continuously impressed by the flexibility of Moodle. I look forward to learning more. This is truly a collaborative environment.
I'm currently looking at setting up a moodle course which involves students going through a 10 -15 mb introductory flash movie, which includes a narration script and a combination of slideshow, smallish images and basic animation(no video).
Initially we are looking at 50 students viewing the flash file with roughly half on campus via broadband and the other half from home via dial up. Students will be logging in at roughly the same time, and we aren't quite sure what the ratio of concurrent connections will be. We're on a P4 2.4 with a Gb of RAM, however, only a 10/100 ethernet card and not the Gb ethernet card as suggested by Macromedia.
Will we need to look at Flash Communication Server for delivery of this file or should the server be able to handle this situation using "http streaming"? I am trying to talk the trainers into the option of breaking the flash file into smaller portions. Not sure if that will help to prevent overloading the server or just create more processes??
Flash Communications server looks like a great product, however, very expensive for more than 50 concurrent connections. So we don't really want to go that way, unless it is absolutely necessary.
I would appreciate anyones thought on this?
Brett, I think you does not need FlashComm unless you need something synchronous. You can use progressive download of .swf files that is accomplished by any http server. You may also want to check for preloading initial portion of the .swf file with a preloader wich calculates the bandwidth available to each student.
The problems you could encounter I think are mostly on server load and bandwidth. A very good option is to break down the 15MB flash file into smaller pieces: http server are very good on serving many small files rather than one big file. You could embed each piece of flash file in a HTML page and let student navigate among pages.
Brett and others,
While Flash Comm Server has a lot of power, it is also pricey and really only runs on Windows and Red Hat Linux. Unless you have a need for the audio/video streaming feature of Flash Comm Server, check out ElectroServer from ElectroTank (http://www.electrotank.com/ElectroServer/index.aspx). Pricing is reasonable, particularly the free version. But the better feature I found is that the server will run on any system with the Sun Java 2 Runtime Environment including Solaris, Macs and some other flavors of Linux (where I work, the systems folks are adamant about if it can't run on Solaris, don't even ask.) Also, it's Java on the server, client-side Java is not required so it should run alongside Moodle very nicely.
You can also find ElectroServer bundled in the book, Macromedia Flash MX Game Design Demystified by Jobe Makar.
Thanks Bob and Andrea for some excellent answers.
I will actually be able to sleep tonight istead of lying there multiplying imaginary bandwidth loads by concurrent streams to get!