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Activities: Etherpad and Moodle Integration

Maintained by Picture of Chris Kenniburg Chris Kenniburg
Etherpad and Moodle as a course activity. Allows the teacher to add an Etherpad activity directly from the moodle course.
Moodle 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5

We are pleased to announce a Moodle module that makes collaborative writing possible in Moodle. Real time editing inside of Moodle brings even more functionality to the worlds most popular Educationally focused Learning Platform. If you want to try it out before you install you can use our sandbox Etherpad deployment at   If you require any assistance deploying Etherpad Lite or help installing new plugins or features then please get in touch.

Please note that in order to use this plugin you will need to have access to an Etherpad setup.  You can download and install Etherpad on your own server or you can use PrimaryPad.

PrimaryPad offers a hosted Etherpad Lite instance too that can be leveraged so you don’t need to host your own, this service comes with an uptime guarantee and SLA that should provide your school with the piece of mind and simplicity of deployment.

Watch a video guide for how to get started.

Further reading ODT PDF DOC

This plugin was developed in collaboration with the Etherpad Foundation, Primarypad, and Dearborn Public Schools (Dearborn,Michigan).  

This will only work with ETHERPAD - LITE.  It will not work with the older Etherpad.



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Picture of Chris Kenniburg
Chris Kenniburg (Lead maintainer)
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  • Picture of Shawarma Consumer
    Mon, Feb 3, 2014, 10:57 PM
    I am doing some stuff with Moodle. I set up one Moodle 2.5.2 on a CentOS server, and an Etherpad on a Ubuntu server. When I try to add an Etherpad activity, I get this error : "Exception : JSON response could not be decoded". We tried the same on another Moodle (2.5 too), and it worked perfectly. So, it should come from my CentOS configuration, but I haven't got any idea. I can just add that "php -i | grep -i json" ran on my CentOS web server gives me "json support => enabled" and "json version=> 1.2.1".

    Thanks in advance for your answer and sorry if it is not the best place to ask.
  • Martin Dougiamas
    Sun, Apr 6, 2014, 7:14 PM
    I've had a quick look at this because it's promising but the module appears to have a few problems preventing it from working. Is anyone willing to take up the maintenance of ths module and have the source code on github so people can contribute?
  • Picture of Si Wooler
    Tue, Apr 29, 2014, 8:43 AM
    Thank you for building this. It is a great plugin and a really useful resource for us. This might be a naive question, but is there a way to increase the height of the pad in moodle?

    Thank you
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Tue, Apr 29, 2014, 8:10 PM
    JS folder > etherpad.js file is where the settings are for building the etherpad display.
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Tue, Apr 29, 2014, 8:12 PM
    Martin, I think the errors you are getting might be related to JQuery. It has it's own package included with this plugin.
  • Hi Chris,
    I just want to inform you that we also developed an etherpad-lite module for moodle right at the same time as you did, but we didn't upload it to yet.
    Now, that it is established at our university, we are submitting it to and are waiting for approval right now.

    The module's github page is:

    The additional features we decided we need include:
    - The user is only be able to access the pad, when he has access to the course.
    - It is possible to configure the etherpad server, so that only pads, which are created via moodle are allowed
    (Otherwise anyone who knows the url of the server could create and modify pads).
    - Backup the module via moodle's internal backup routine

    We invite anybody who's interested to comment and contribute.

    Best Regards
    Timo Welde
    (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Thu, May 15, 2014, 12:14 AM
    Timo, That is great news. This plugin is old and hasn't been modified in quite some time. We initially paid to have this developed to get the ball rolling and it was our intent that someone in the community could take this and more fully develop it or create a completely new plugin that is more robust. I think this plugin worked for the time and look forward to checking out your plugin.
  • Oam
    Fri, Jul 18, 2014, 7:37 PM
    Hello !

    In debug mode, I've got some errors easy to fix : (Moodle 2.5)

    Invalid get_string() identifier: 'etherpad:debugger' or component 'mod_etherpad'. Perhaps you are missing $string['etherpad:debugger'] = ''; in mod/etherpad/lang/en/etherpad.php?

    Invalid get_string() identifier: 'etherpad:student' or component 'mod_etherpad'. Perhaps you are missing $string['etherpad:student'] = ''; in mod/etherpad/lang/en/etherpad.php?

    Invalid get_string() identifier: 'etherpad:teacher' or component 'mod_etherpad'. Perhaps you are missing $string['etherpad:teacher'] = ''; in mod/etherpad/lang/en/etherpad.php?

    Can you add the missing lines in lang/en.php ?

    Thanks !
  • Matt Bury
    Thu, Aug 21, 2014, 6:39 AM
    Hi, thanks for everyone's contributions to this project. I think this could be a great module. It installs OK on Moodle 2.7 but returns a JSON error if you try to create an instance. I created a free pad ( and tried some variations of the URL and API key but still got JSON errors.

    Would love to see some progress on this smile
  • Picture of Jesse H
    Tue, Oct 7, 2014, 12:08 PM
    This seems like a great plugin but I cant get it to work.

    1. Unclear where to find the API key when using a hosted service.
    2. The hosted seemed very slow and unresponsibe
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Tue, Oct 7, 2014, 7:42 PM
    Jesse H,
    1. The host would need to provide this to you.
    2. I do not operate primarypad.
    This plugin is designed to work with Etherpad installed on a server. You need to run it yourself. Then this plugin allows you to connect and use Moodle with Etherpad.
  • Anthony Borrow
    Fri, Feb 20, 2015, 3:49 AM
    Chris - Would it be possible to get the source code and tracker URLs properly setup and updated? Peace - Anthony
  • Picture of Chris Kenniburg
    Fri, Feb 20, 2015, 3:53 AM
    We don't have source code other than the project download. It is not on github.
  • Picture of Eugene Matusov
    Sun, Feb 21, 2016, 2:59 AM
    I installed Etherpad Lite on my Windows 2012R IIS8.5 server and then this great Moodle plugin on my Moodle 3.0.2 (PHP 7.0.3 64-bit, MySQL 5.7 64-bit). It works great -- no problems! I run Etherpad as Windows service (I installed it using nssm.exe that I downloaded and placed in the c:/Windows/System32 folder).

    My only problem was how to hide the Etherpad from a public access, while making it available for my Moodle users, without requiring them to enter an Etherpad user account. I got around this problem by adding an Etherpad user account into the Moodle Etherpad Lite plugin setting: Server URL pointing at my Etherpadlite server. I put "http://Etherpadusername: Etherpadpassword@myserveretherpad.mydomain.local/" Adding the user account to the URL is considered not good, not secure, but I think it is OK since I'm using the same physical server for Moodle and Etherpad. Of course, I do NOT use Etherpad admin account. Also, I set requireAuthentication to true, while requireAuthorization to false in the Etherpad settings.json file. It works like a charm!

    My next challenge is how to set a particualr Moodle Etherpad for groups of students. I have flexible, unstable groups of students in classes (mine and my colleagues) and want my students being able to form a group around a Moodle Etherpad module in a session. Currently a Moodle Etherpad is open for the entire class. In Google Docs, a student can invite other students to work on a Google Doc. I wonder if there is a similar possibility can be developed in Moodle Etherpad. Any ideas? I want to search for Etherpad plugins for a solution....

    My big thanks for the designers of the Etherpad Lite and Moodle Etherpad Lite plugin! Eugene
  • Picture of Eugene Matusov
    Sun, Feb 21, 2016, 5:01 AM
    To Shawarma Consumer. When I was installing the Moodle Etherpad plugin, I had also initially got the error, "Exception : JSON response could not be decoded". I found that the error was caused by my wrong URL address in the Moodle plugin pointing at the URL of the Etherpad Lite server. My mistake was that I included the instance in the address. It seems that the Etherpad Lite server address should be the same as in the Etherpad settings.json. I hope this help.... Eugene
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