Plugin Review: AMVONET integration with Moodle 1.9

Today’s I review another Moodle 1.9 Module. The module for today is the AMVONET integration with Moodle 1.9. I first came across AMVONET integration when doing some presentations last year, so I thought it would be good to do a review on the integration to provide some context with the other reviews on Adobe Connect, WizIQ and BigBlueButton.

Background

AMVONET is a tool quite similar to Adobe Connect or Elluminate in that it provides a wide range of features for managing live interactive classrooms online. It provides a range of features including:

  • content management system
  • surveys and quizzes
  • screen sharing with annotation options
  • file upload & sharing
  • video, audio and text interaction between participants.
  • Break out rooms
  • Session Recording and Recording Editing.

This plugin provides a level of integration between Moodle and the AMVONET system. For this review I used the 30 day free trial.

What does it do?

The Moodle activity provides a full range of features, a lot more than many of the web conferencing integrations.  The system enables:

  • Single Sign On with Moodle
  • Integration with the gradebook
  • Integration with the Calendar
  • Integration with Moodle quizzes
  • File sharing integration with Moodle course files
  • Scorm packages created from session recordings.

So, with this range of features available, how does it fare for usage?

Is it simple to install?

This module is on GitHub (and you can browse the source here), however the company hosts the download zip files and the documentation. The zip file contains a folder called amvonetroom which needs to be uploaded to moodle/mod. 

Once uploaded, the module is installed/activated by going to the Notifications page of your Moodle site as Administrator. This creates all the tables required and I had no problems installing.

Once installed it prompted for the new setting Registration keyschool_key.

This was got through the AMVONET registration process on their site using the free trial and activating the Moodle site.

Is there documentation for it?

The activity page has a feature list and a video, but also provides links to the documentation page which covers the installation and basic use of the plugin. The README.txt also provides information including links to user guides and an explanation of the features and service offerings. There is also a YouTube channel of videos on how to use the system. The combination of videos, step by step instructions and simple guides is quite thorough. It would be good to see the basic info appear within a Moodle Docs page too.

Is it easy for the teacher/admin to use?

Setting up an activity within Moodle was quite straight forward. Initially you are just asked the name, introduction text and have to nominate the Moderator. This is a drop down of all teachers.

The activity brings up a framed web page giving you access to the pre-enter wizard, the enterprise download and links back to the Moodle course.

Amvonet View Activity

The “pre-enter” wizard is a nice touch as it helps the user check that the have the correct ports open, flash installed and the microphone/camera activated. It also checks the bandwidth and can auto-detect what the download/upload speeds are through a quick test.

pre-enter wizard

The actual presentation screen is very similar to the other products in this area, but does provide much easier access to the uploaded media, test and calendar.

Presentation Window

One feature that stands out as ability to assign grades from in the presentation area. This is the first time I have seen something as slick as this.

Setting Grades for the virtual classroom from within Presentation area.

Is it easy for the learner/student to use?

This is really nice and simple for the students to use. The pre-enter wizard can tackle most of the issues they may have, and after that its just a nice flash web page interface for the presentation. The fact that the activity defaults to session recordings is also a great usability feature.

Does it do what it promises?

Definitely. The integration is very thorough and I had no issues with the installation or usage on my site. The setup of the presenter was simple and easy to use. The Grading interface was a real bonus and unexpected. Perhaps the other systems I tried had this, but I just never saw it. I will certainly look out for the Moodle 2 integration when it comes out.

Stars: 5 out of 5 stars for this block.

 

**Standard Reminder**

These reviews check out the plugin for usability not for security. If you are considering installing any module on your site you should also check that is secure and does not impact the server performance.

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