Before hitting the Using Moodle link I thought I'd ask here...
I just learned about Moodle and would like to evaluate it for delivering private, proprietary, fee-based courses. Can Moodle be configured to protect my proprietary course content, e.g., by preventing printing, or selecting, copying and pasting of my material? By disabling screen prints via the PrtScr key?
Also are there features or plug ins to automate course payment along with enrollment, e.g., via Pay Pal?
Thanks for any guidance you can offer?
Great question! Moodle tens to be used as an educational tool but we use it as a commercial application for our clients in exactly the way you propose. Be warned though, it does need a number of modifications before it is suitable for the environment you are thinking of.
This includes patching the underlying code and adding a number of existing modules to allow for maximum attendance, automated reminders, etc. For example, the standard registration form does not include standard fields for title, address, state and zip on the signup form which is an issue for most commercial users.
We provide a completely patched environment that is perfect for proprietory, fee-based courses including payment for participation. We also include a complete integration with Adobe Connect Pro Meeting Rooms so you can run live webinars and training from the Moodle platform.
In answer to your question about protecting the course content, this is much tougher. It all depends on the content you post in your courses. If you upload PDFs and Word Documents or include content as HTML on your course pages, there's little you can do to prevent copying. Since the user is viewing your content in a web browser, it doesn't take much to right-click and "Save As".
Our solution does provide much more security for you because we encourage you to build most of the course content using Adobe Presenter which uses Powerpoint as the authoring tool, allowing you to add narration and video to your powerpoint slide decks. The content is then converted to Flash and delivered to your Moodle Course users in a way that precludes them from copying it. A determined hacker might be able to access the Flash but would not be able to access the content for re-use.
Having said all of the above, nothing can prevent a user in any system using the PrtScr key to grab screenshots of your content or even using a product like Camtasia or Captivate to grab an entire set of screen interactions.
At some point, you have to face these realities no matter what system you end up with, and Moodle will still be a great choice for you in the long run.
I'd be happy to show you what we have done for other clients and could do for you if you would be interested.
But screen grabbing like Camtasia or Captivate will still be able to 'photograph' or "video" your content.
I once found a "secure" browser that checked for various scren grabbing programmes and would not start up if you had any of them running but I decided it was more trouble than it was worth.
Converting powerpoint to flash is a good way of helping to secure content because flasth is a lot more difficult to copy and reuse than html or powerpoint files. OpenOffice's impresss and the new deritative Lotus Symphony Presentations converts for free (the former at least without animations). Please see this thread for a long list of conversion programs
(But note the existance of programs like "flashdig" in the same thread.)
Thanks for your information about this interesting issue.