Moodle 2.0’s Repository API makes content sharing a lot easier for educators and students. This is a big improvement over previous versions. Now teachers can share content – files, YouTube videos, Flickr images, Google Docs and a wide range of other content – across different courses. And of course, students can access these items easily, so they’re more likely to actually use them.
How does this work in practice for Moodle online course development? Let’s imagine a high school educator who teaches History in one semester and English literature in the second semester. In both courses, there’s a section on William Shakespeare.
The teacher is already using Moodle and puts together a short PowerPoint presentation on the life and times of Shakespeare. He decides to include some images from Flickr of Shakespeare in sculpture or his birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon to give them some flavor for that context. He includes some excerpts of performances of Shakespearean live performances recorded on YouTube. All of this material will work equally well for both courses.
The process of making these resources available is fairly straightforward. As an example, here are the instructions for linking to an external file (video, images, whatever) as a new resource. as outlined on the Moodle open source site:
1. Teacher wants to display a file in the repository
2. Teacher clicks the "Choose a resource" button
3. Teacher is presented with a simple file picker to choose a file (with a menu to switch between multiple configured repositories)
4. Teacher chooses a file in an external repository
5. Link to the file is COPIED into Moodle and stored by the resource module
6. Link is marked as owned by that user
7. Whenever someone wants to follow that link, the resource module controls access (see Development:File API )
The teacher (and students, naturally) will have access to these resources in both courses. But what if a different teacher from a third course wants to use that material, too? No problem: that teacher can use the same link that the first teacher used.
In previous versions of Moodle, resources couldn’t be shared across courses, meaning that teachers had to upload files and create links every single time they wanted to use that resource. Moodle 2.0 reduces the amount of time educators need to spend preparing and collating content. For today’s time-strapped educators balancing classroom instruction, grading, parent-teacher interviews and curriculum development (both offline and online), this can be a big stress-reducer – which is always a good thing for students and the organizations they work for.