Bootstrap and Moodle and Buttons

Following on from the previous post about Tables Bootstrap also lets you style links as buttons which can have a nice effect.

For example:

Example Button Styling

Example Button Styling

To do this, you need 3 things

  1. The text of the link
  2. The URL where you are linking to
  3. The style of button you want


A button can be styled for:

  • Size
  • Colour

The HTML you would use looks like

<a href=”” class=”btn btn-primary btn-mini”>MY TEXT LINK <i class=”icon-white icon-play”></i></a>

It would look like this button on the page

Example Button text link

Example Button text link


The buttons can be Mini, Small, Default or Large. This is indicated by using any of the following in the class definition

  • btn-large
  • btn-small
  • btn-min
  • or nothing for default


You can specific the colour of the button with the the following options

bootstrap colours

bootstrap colours


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Bootstrap and Moodle and Tables oh my.

With so many installing or creating Bootstrap based themes – I have noticed more and more use the features in course content. You can style quite a bit, and make things look pretty!

Styling tables in Moodle with Bootstrap

There are a few nice style options for when you lay out table data.

Default Table layout

Default Table in Moodle with no styling

Default Table in Moodle with no styling

You can specify the following in the class to take advantage of nice styles.

  • table
  • table-striped
  • table-bordered
  • table-condensed


Same table using the class=”table”

Same table using the class="table"

Same table using the class=”table”

Same table using the class=”table table-striped” option

Same table using the class="table table-striped" option

Same table using the class=”table table-striped” option

Same table using the class=”table table-bordered” option

Same table using the class="table table-bordered" option

Same table using the class=”table table-bordered” option

Same table using the class=”table table-condensed” option

Same table using the class="table table-condensed" option

Same table using the class=”table table-condensed” option

Of course you can combine these too.

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Plugin Review: Ephorus Plagiarism Plugin

Three years ago when writing some articles, I used a number of plagiarism prevention tools to help check my writing for any citations or references that I had missed. Since then I reviewed one of them (Urkund) in the book, and here is a review of another such integration with Moodle.

This review is about the Ephorus integration with Moodle 2 – specifically tested with Moodle 2.6+ which most will be updating to this summer.

Background to plagiarism support in Moodle

Moodle has a built-in plagiarism plugin support. This enables the different activities in Moodle to send user submitted content to Plagiarism Prevention systems. This is currently supported by the Assignment tool but there has been some work regarding other areas which is tracked on the Moodle tracker – >

How the plagiarism integration generally works:

  • When Plagiarism tools are enabled, the admin then has to install a plagiarism plugin and configure it.
  • Once it is available, teachers can then enable it in the assignment.
  • When a student enters some content/submits a file inside the assignment the system then sends this to the Plagiarism platform.
  • Eventually the system responds and provides a report and information to the assignment through the plugin.

So this review takes on the Ephorus plugin and answers the usual questions I ask in reviews:

  • Background of Ephorus
  • What does it do?
  • Is it simple to install?
  • Is there documentation for it?
  • Is it easy for the teacher/admin to use?
  • Is it easy for the learner/student to use?
  • Does it do what it promises?


Ephorus is a tool for helping to tackle plagiarism. Founded by a teacher 10 years ago, the company now produces the software used by over 5000 institutions globally.

What does it do?

It compares a student submission that is uploaded it to a range of sources. It states that it accurately compares:

  • billions of internet sources;
  • work previously submitted at the school or university;
  • work submitted at the 5,000 other schools and universities that use Ephorus*;
  • other relevant documents: journals, reference material, etc.

Once a submission is compared, in Moodle at least (which is all I checked) it produces a report like the below with lists of sources that have similar content and a detailed view showing the lines the same. This enables the teacher to have a discussion with the student about the issues it brings up.



Is it simple to install?

The plugin is available to download from – be sure to get the correct version for you Moodle version.

It is also now available on Moodle Plugin Directory for Moodle 2.6 and 2.7.  This means that you can either download the zip from there, or you can use the Moodle interface to install directly into your Moodle site – if your server allows you. You will also get notifications as an admin from your Moodle site when there is an updated version.

It is now also publicly available on Git repository so those wanting to manage their code this way can pull the code from

Depending on your preference of re-zipping that folder and uploading through your interface, or copying the code into the Moodle code into the plagiarism folder, once you complete this step the plugin installed nicely for me.


Once completed I needed to set up my connection to the Ephorus platform.


Configuring it after the install is important to provide the details the Ephorus account manager has provided namely:

  • Hand-in code
  • Hand-in address
  • Index address

After adding these settings, I next added a simple one liner to the Student Disclosure text which is shown to students before they submit when Ephorus is enabled. After saving, it did a check to see if it was talking home okay (checking the connection to Ephorus system) – which went fine.


The processtype aspect is quite interesting.

There are three options to choose from when sending submission to Ephorus:

  • Default: The documents you send in will be checked for plagiarism and will be used as reference material in the future.
  • Reference: The document won’t be checked for plagiarism but will be used as reference material.
  • Private: Your document will be checked for plagiarism but won’t be used as reference material.

So teachers could configure an assignment which is a soft-submission, with a private setting so the submitted item will not show up in the future. I like this feature.

Is there documentation for it?

There is an installation manual and a user manual available in the download zip. The User Manual is the same manual as for 2.4 and has not been updated. The Installation Manual also has not been updated in a year, so does not mention the option for uploading via the UI of Moodle for an addon which is available now where hosts allow.

Also the installation documentation states in the introduction that it requires XSL to be installed,  I missed this until after the install – Oops _ I should really read all the documentation !. If it is not installed on your server you will need to get your sysadmin or hosting company to sort it out.

The PDF documentation overall is very clear and provides step by step guidelines for usage.

There is no Moodle docs page for the integration, nor how-to-videos which some prefer as maybe that will come in time.

Is it easy for the teacher/admin to use?

For the teacher this is really a very simple and easy to use service. To enable the Ephorus system for an assignment it requires just ticking a box in the assignment settings as below and choosing which way it is processed:

ephorus_assignment_settingsOnce a student has submitted the assignment, it is then handled by the scheduled cron and sent to Ephorus for checking and then the report information is sent back.


Clicking on the 100% in this example will load the report. There are two possible reports – a summary and detailed one.

The summary report shows the

  • link to the document,
  • lists possible sources
  • and summarises the similarities


The detailed report enables you to choose one of the sources and see the specific similarities with the document and that source.


I used a text copied from a page from Wikipedia as my test assignment. I will be repeating the test with some assignments in coming days.


Is it easy for the learner/student to use?

The student is really un-aware of the software with the exception of the message that the admin configures to let people know the Ephorus system is being used. It would be nice to have a default example text here as people may not be sure what is best to place in this box as below:


Does it do what it promises?

All in all this plugin provides a nice integration with the Ephorus plagiarism system using the existing Moodle Plagiarism API. This is important as it means that users can avail themselves of all the great features of the Moodle Assignment tool (offline grading, Rubrics and so on…) whilst still using plagiarism or similarity detection systems.

I would like to see the students getting visibility on the report, however I understand from a teaching point of view as to why this was not done.

I hope that they submit the documentation to Moodle docs as I am sure more would be interested in this slick simple integration.

(Updated 22/7/14 when plugin was available on github/moodle plugin directory)

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Moodle released 2.7.1, 2.6.4, 2.5.7 and 2.4.11 today

For those who follow the bi-monthly updates of Moodle the new updates were today. These updates cover three major versions – 2.7, 2.6, 2.5 and 2.4.

Which to upgrade to?

Most organisation I know are moving to Moodle 2.6 this summer as the upgrade project was started months ago, long before 2.7 was released. However, some have moved to 2.7 – and I imagine will be upgrading directly to 2.7.1 (205 fixes implemented in the minor release).

Whichever route you are taking this summer, it is important to consider upgrading at least to the minor releases to be sure you have the latest bug fixes and security fixes applied.

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Presentation on Moodle 2.7 – some of the improvements since moodle 2.6

With most in northern hemisphere doing upgrades this summer, I recently did a presentation of Moodle 2.7.

Here are the slides:

Among a number of changes, Moodle 2.7 is the first LTS release (Long Term Support) of Moodle where it will be supported by HQ through patches and security releases for 3 years. This LTS release is a great long term option for those who just need a stable unchanging platform and don’t need to access the new features and options that come every 6 months.

Other Popular Presentations:

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Testing your site

It is that time of year where people upgrade from one version to the latest or nearly latest version of Moodle. I have heard many ask ” Is the a list of user tests for Moodle” and recently answered one on LinkedIn that was similar, looking to get a freely downloadable list of user tests.

So I thought I would take my reply and add it here with some more context.

Each test plan that we do following upgrades or customisations / installations is different and unique to that organisation. It depends on how they use Moodle, what they have in it, what integrations they have, what they want to use it for, who they want to use it and much more.

Generic QA Tests

So it is not really possible to provide a comprehensive 1 does all test plan, except for perhaps a vanilla brand new Moodle. Each release Moodle runs a set of QA tests -> ( See for details on QA Testing) There are over 450 tests. (see ) These include tests like “A teacher can add questions to a quiz” or “A teacher can change the order in which assignment submissions are listed”.  This is great list and is a good starting point to make sure that anything you have added into Moodle site (themes, plugins, customisations/integrations has not broken some core aspect of Moodle).

However, if you are like many people using Moodle, you are not using a default Moodle install, and probably are not using all the features either. So do you need to do all the tests and what about other tests?

Your Moodle

Developing a complete profile the use of Moodle to prioritise where you should focus your testing, start there and work out to lesser used features and if some areas are never used – decide if you want to test them or not.

  • However, you need to put together a list of test scripts to test each of the code customisations that you have done that it is doing as you expect.
  • And how about those add-ons, you will should put together a list of test scripts to test each of features of the add-on that you are using to ensure it is working as expected.
  • What about your theme? You should also have a suite of tests to ensure that it is working as expected and that any custom features in it work as they should.
  • Now consider, browser variety, screensize/device variety, accessibility, again based on usage patterns you need to decide which you will use. Are your users all using IE8 or IE9? Is 20% of your access coming from iPads?
  • So developing a comprehensive test plan for after an upgrade can take a lot of time.
  • Don’t forget, make sure that you group tests per user type on system, and have those do the tests related to their tasks – having the end users involved in testing can be great to check their expectations.

In short, only you can put together a list of suitable tests for your Moodle – but do make use of what is currently available to give yourself a head start.


But there are some ways to automate testing, using stff like Jmeter, Selenium, Behat. See

For more information on all this topic, check out the excellent and informative section on Moodle Docs on Quality Assurance ->

Questions for you..

Do you run sets of user tests after you upgrade?

Are they manual? automated?

Do you add tests for your plugins?

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