Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Managing Users in Moodle

This week I was able to overcome what I thought would be one of the most difficult hurdles in a Moodle implementation. I was having nightmares about setting up and maintaining over 1000 user accounts. I knew that Moodle had some options to make this easier but didn't realize just how easy it would be.

Moodle provides a couple of different options for managing users in bulk (at least I am only aware of 2). You can connect to an existing database which is ideal in most circumstances but takes a little more knowledge of databases then I currently have. Or you can take the less tech savvy approach and upload users in bulk using a text file. The downside to this is that you still need to list out each user on the text file. I didn't want to deal with having to create this text file so I went to a friend who is a software developer for help. He was able to whip up a report that listed out all the information I needed in the text file for each Moodle user. Then I was able to simply copy and paste the report into a text file, upload it to Moodle and Bam, every user profile is setup. Something else great about this is if I need to update existing user profiles I can just upload an updated text file and it will make all of the changes. What would have taken days ended up taking a few minutes with the help of my handy Crystal report.

Problem solved for now but after talking with my software developer friend it sounds like it might not be too difficult to connect Moodle to an existing database for an HR program with all of the needed user information. This way Moodle would automatically be updated when information is updated in the HR program. For now I will be sticking with maintaining user profiles via text file but will move towards the database options once the dust settles from the initial implementation.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions for methods of maintaing users in Moodle.

3 comments:

Steven Brent said...

I'm hoping there's a way to use the Salesforce API to pull in / create Moodle users based on CRM data. Reduce data redundancy and all that sort of thing. Plus a big time and energy saver if it's possible...

Joe Deegan said...

Hi Steven,
I don't know much about the Salesforce API but there is quite a few authentication options in moodle. If you have Moodle installed you can login as admin then go to users>authentication>external database. You might be able to figure it out from looking at the options. If you don't have Moodle installed you can take a look at http://demo.moodle.org to take a look at the options although I'm not sure if it will give you access to all of the authentication methods. Good luck!

Steven Brent said...

Hi, Joe -- Thanks for the response. I have actually gotten it working already with LDAP so no problem there...

The cool thing will be integrating it with our CRM database, which I'm determined to do whether or not it's possible :-)