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Wednesday April 23rd 2014
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Poodle for Moodle: a desktop Moodle install for offline testing, learning and course construction

I stumbled upon “Poodle” yesterday and had to try it.  It installs a Moodle and all the underlying software needed to your compuer so that you can work on Moodle locally (away from prying eyes or testers).

Why use Poodle?

In a sense, Poodle provides an “offline” testing and development environment for those that are constructing or editing existing courses.  Since it’s a full Moodle installation you can easily restore courses to your Poodle, make edits, back them up and then restore them to an existing web-based Moodle site.  If you have materials that need to make it into a Moodle classroom but don’t have internet on holiday or on a trip (in an airplane, etc.) then boot up your computer, startup Poodle and you can configure your classroom resources there.  Note that this is not, in anyway, linked to an existing Moodle site on the web, so any work you do on your computer through Poodle would have to be manually backed up and restored to a Moodle later.

What to use it for?

I’ve been waiting for a program like this so that I can get my hands dirty customizing themes and playing with plug-ins.  With Poodle I can navigate to the Moodle directory (just like you would via FTP or by command line) and drop in and customize themes, blocks, plug-ins and other extensions.  It’s not a perfect live environment, but I’ve already been able to install MoodleDan‘s “Pretty Simple” Moodle theme just to make sure it works. And it does work swimmingly.

Get Poodle at http://www.maflt.org/products/poodle.

According to the site Poodle is actually designed to allow offline access to course materials (but I think it’s a huge benefit for testing),

One expected benefit of the Poodle software project is that educational institutes can expand their training to offline students in a format they are familiar with. Learners no longer need to find a computer with an internet connection, but only a computer.

Poodle was created through MAF Learning Technologies which originated as a non-secular training and educational technologies organization.  I used it on a Windows 7 desktop and it installed after downloading the .zip file, unpacking it and running the auto start.  It runs through a program called “PortableApps” (www.portableapps.com) and comes with several other programs that would allow it to work through a thumb/flash drive.

The screen shot below is of my personal Poodle with the Pretty Simple theme installed.

What would you use it for?

How to Moodle

Reader Feedback

14 Responses to “Poodle for Moodle: a desktop Moodle install for offline testing, learning and course construction”

  1. Mary Cooch says:

    HI there :) I only heard this word “Poodle” the other day so it’s great to have a post about it – but – I am a bit confused: how is this different from the all-in-one Windows Installer package you get off Moodle.org? I downloaded that to my laptop and I have a moodle to play with -what is the advantage of Poodle over that? (should I get a Poodle, in other words?!)

  2. Joseph Thibault says:

    That’s an excellent question for which I do not (yet) know the answer to. Let me get back to you.

  3. Joseph Thibault says:

    I think the difference is ease of use. The portableapps set up that they’ve provided in Poodle is really plug and play. I didn’t have any configuration in order to access Moodle in a browser (once you click to start the process and allow the startup, the Moodle opens in Firefox–included–right away). With the Windows installer the process is simple (as per the Readme docs) but not being as tech savvy I wasn’t able to get it up and running just by pointing my browser to localhost.

    So when all is said and done, Poodle worked with a quick download and double click. I’m still working with the Windows installer (but I’m sure it’s a simple configuration on my end to get it working just the same).

  4. Mary Cooch says:

    Thanks for the clarification- I’ll give it a go :)

  5. Joseph Thibault says:

    Do you know what I might be doing wrong with the Windows installer from Moodle.org? in the Readme file it said something like “point your browser at http://localhost/” which I did but couldn’t get it to work. I didn’t find additional information to help as a guide (so it probably works great and quite easily–I just couldn’t figure it out)

    :(

  6. David Sturrock says:

    Skype can intefere with running the xampp apache webserver server. I find I need to exit skype completely before the “start Moodle” option works and visiting localhost brings up Moodle. So if Poodle just works as a portable app while skype is running that’s definitely an advantage.

  7. Joseph Thibault says:

    I’ve definitely had both running at the same time, but i cannot speak (yet) to the ability to make skype calls while using Poodle. Note that you also cannot open another Firefox window while Poodle is initialized. But I’ve run other programs in parallel and had no trouble.

  8. [...] Poodle for Moodle: a desktop Moodle install for offline testing, learning and course construction: 118 Views [...]

  9. Hi, I also use Poodle as an offline testing environment and for students. It’s fantastic in terms of ease of use and transferability to other computers.
    What I would like to do though is browse to the local site on my LAN from another computer. I know the local computer’s IP address on the LAN, but it won’t see the moodle site (http://192.168.0.5/moodle). I’ve tried changing the .htaccess file as I think that Poodle is set up to only allow access from localhost, but I’ve not been successful.
    Any suggestions?

  10. Joseph Thibault says:

    I do not have an answer for this (but I’ll search for one!).

  11. [...] Poodle for Moodle: a desktop Moodle install for offline testing, learning and course construction  … [...]

  12. Ewart Newton says:

    Hi Joseph…. do you have any further experience of Poodle since 2010? Do you know if it is being maintained? Are you aware of any other offline Moodle products?

    Thanks!

  13. [...] can download Poodle right here: http://www.moodlenews.com/2010/poodle-for-moodle-a-desktop-moodle-install-for-offline-testing-learni…. It’s absolutely free and runs great with Moodle. Enjoy! This entry was posted in Using Moodle. [...]

  14. You could always install VirtualBox and install a server in a virtual machine with the full version on whatever OS you want. Not exactly offline, but it would allow you to work with your host OS accessing it just like you would if you were on a network, but through the host adapter feature.

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