One of the new features of Moodle 2.3 is the ability to reference another file with an Alias/Shortcut. This means that instead of just copying an instance of a file you can reference it instead, so that if another file has been uploaded into Moodle and you have access to it, then you can reference that file so that if it is updated your referenced entry is also updated.
There are a number of use cases for this:
I am going to start with the use case that needs shouting from the mountain tops, across the valleys and all along the watchtowers!
- Teacher A teaches History and English.
- Teacher B teachers Spanish and English.
- So they both have access to the English course.
Teacher A uploads an interesting document into the English course. Teacher B likes it and wants to use it in his course. So he add a file resource into the Spanish course. He then browses to the document in the english course and then creates and alias/shortcut to it. This way he knows that when Teacher A updates his document, that it will be updated here too.
You could also develop a shared Resources course. It is a normal Moodle course, but all the teachers who want to share resources are enrolled there. This way they can use this course as a “in Moodle” repository and store files there and update them centrally. whilst enabling each teacher to just alias them.
Some other use cases are:
The second use case which is very handy is using it with the Private files option in Moodle.
So a teacher can upload a resource into their private files area and then when adding the file to a course, they create an alias to it. They can then repeat this in other courses. However when it comes to updating it they can just update the version in the Private files and everything will use the new version.
The obvious use for this feature is for use with external repositories. This would mean that you can add a file into the repository and reference it from many courses in Moodle to make it simple to update it. But in this case the file itself stays outside of Moodle and is managed outside of Moodle (in Dropbox or Equella for example) and is just delivered by Moodle to the user so keeping the user permissions.
The fourth option is the use of the File System repository to have shared files added to.
This means that the teachers can link to those common files (terms and conditions, health and safety etc… or library guidelines and so forth..) from all courses and yet they are only created from one place and managed centrally. How files get there is a secondary issue for sys admins but this opens up some nice options but does not require browsing to another course to find the files as the File System repository shows up directly on the File Picker as an option.
Moodle 2.3 is here and file management and course management just got much easier.
So that’s all folks.!