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ELIS - Alfresco Learning Object Repository 1.9 Manual

ELIS - Alfresco 1.9 Manual

Book: ELIS - Alfresco Learning Object Repository 1.9 Manual
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Date: Monday, 23 October 2017, 4:35 PM

ELIS Learning Object Repository

by default, ELIS uses the Open Source Enterprise Content Management System (CMS) by Alfresco.

The ELIS Alfresco integration provides for a folder for each user, where instructors, students, etc. can place files which they can access from anywhere on the site. The integration enables Moodle users to access their files via Moodle, using a desktop folder, a WebDAV client, or via an optional embedded java file manager, or by accessing Alfresco's online interface directly.

The repository can be set to enforce a maximum size on user's file directory, and administrators can set up content rules, workflows, metadata, etc. via Alfresco's online interface. Quotas and passwords are set in Moodle.

Why use the Alfresco ECM as the File System for Moodle?

With ELIS 1.8, Remote-Learner has vastly improved the ability of Clients to use Alfresco ECMS, a world class content management system, as the main file system for their Moodle sites.

So why would an institution want to use Alfresco as the file system for Moodle? There are number of great reasons; here are just a few.

  • Alfresco contains versioning capabilities that the Moodle file system does not. This means if a teacher or administrator accidentally or purposefully overwrites a file in Moodle (e.g. updates a homework assignment with new content), Alfresco retains both the original version of the file and the updated version in case the teacher or someone else would like to access the original file. Without Alfresco as the file system for Moodle, the original file in Moodle would be lost.
  • Alfresco will not actually delete files even if the teacher accidentally deleted it from Moodle. Instead, Alfresco will retain a copy of the deleted file where the site administrator can retrieve it and undelete it in Moodle.
  • Alfresco contains rich search capabilities. This enables users to search for file content across all of the various Moodle classes an institution has - they will see only the content they have permission to see. The Alfresco file permissions are automatically set by Moodle's roles system, although the site administrator can override or modify these. This means teachers working in Moodle have a straightforward and efficient way of finding and accessing content saved in Moodle by others via Alfresco. The Moodle file system does not include such file searching capabilities.
  • When used with ELIS 1.9 - our Alfresco implementation supports organizational and sub-organizational folders, where everyone in an organization has certain permissions to view and/or edit the files in the organizational folder.
  • Finally, files put into Alfresco can be linked to from any number of Moodle courses - when the file is updated in one place, the changes are instantly visible in all the courses the file has been used in.

All of this additional functionality is delivered without changing the teacher’s current user experience with Moodle*. They still navigate to the same place in Moodle that they usually do to both save and open files. They don’t need training or otherwise need to learn new software. Institutions and IT Pros can deliver the same Moodle experience their teachers are accustomed to.

*Although, as described in subsequent pages, via our Alfresco integration teachers and students can setup desktop folders, WebDAV clients, etc. to batch upload/download and manage files on Linux, Windows, MacOS, iPhoneOS, etc.

File Handling Improvements

The repository integration with ELIS 1.8 provides a number of file handling improvements along with the integration.

Default browsing location setting:

ELIS 1.8 introduces a method of setting the default browsing location for files. The site admin can set the default folder for users. To edit, go to the Site Administration block on the home page and select File System > Repositories > Alfresco. The setting is near the bottom of the page.

Default browsing location setting

When a user opens up the file browser, the first folder they open is this default setting. For example, in the figure below, the administrator has set "Repository user files" as the default file browsing location. Now when a user opens up the "Insert Image" or "Insert Link" window, the default location is their own file folder in the repository.

Insert image screen for an assignment

File browser memory:

Another new feature Remote-Learner has added to ELIS 1.8 is the ability for the file browser to remember your last location when you open the file browser. Thus, if a user has uploaded a batch of images or files to a folder in the repository, the repository remembers that they were working in that folder, and each time they open the file browser it returns the user to the last folder they were in. This makes it much easier to compose learning materials that involve several images or other files being loaded on the same page, in the same quiz, etc.

Repository Block

The repository block can be added to both site and course home pages. The Alfresco Repository will need to be enabled for the site for this block to work. User can access the repository in a couple different ways from this block, depending on the Alfresco Repository block configuration.

To add the standard configuration, turn editing on for the site, select the Add Block drop down menu, then choose Alfresco Repository. The next image is showing the standard configuration.

Users can access the repository from this block by selecting "this link" at the end of the first sentence in the block.

Alfresco link

After selecting "this link" from the image above a user will be presented with the following screen. Users login with their Moodle username and password.

Alfresco login

To configure the repository block go to Site Administration block and select Modules > Blocks > Alfresco Repository. The following image is showing the screen that will appear. This screen is used to add a link to an embedded WebDav client and/or a link to help documents.

Repository block configuration

The following image is showing an example repository block configuration with the embedded WebDav client link.

Repository block

Selecting "this link" for the embedded WebDav client in the image above will present users with the following image of the Secure FTP Applet screen. Secure FTP Applet is designed to allow users to exchange files securely through an FTP server. Use Secure FTP Applet to transfer files, delete/rename files, etc.

Connect to WebDav server

Select the Connect button to connect to Secure FTP Applet. The following image showing the connection screen appears. Enter the username and password (the same username and password used in Moodle), then select the Connect button.

Connect to WebDav link

Once connected the user can exchange files from their local system with the remote system by selecting the file to transfer, then selecting the >> button shown in the next image. Use the icons below the Local System and Remote System windows to manage the files in these windows.

Exchange files via WebDav link

Setting up a desktop Integration

In ELIS 1.8 with the Repository plug-in, each Moodle user has a corresponding user account and set of folders in the Alfresco repository. An administrator can enable their users to access their folders in Alfresco via WebDAV- this is supported natively in both Windows and Macintosh operating systems. This support enables users to set up folders on their computers which they can drag files into, and have those files be uploaded to their folder in the repository.

Steps to set up a WebDAV share on Windows

1. Provide your users with the WebDAV path for your repository. An example of this path is:

2. A user enters this path in the "Add Network Place" wizard in Windows:
Add network place

3. Enter Moodle username and password:
webdav login

Finally, Windows will ask the user to give the network share a name. Now it is available to the user on their machine via the "My Network Places" link on their start menu. They can drag and drop files and folders to this network place, and the files will be available to them in Moodle.

For teacher level users (users with the ability to edit course files) - once Repository course files has been accessed in a Moodle course, the teacher can now see this course in their WebDAV/moodle/course directory, listed by the course's shortname, and they can batch upload files to the course's repository directory as well as their own user directory.

Alfresco admins can create additional shared folders and give users access to those folders. These will also show up to the users who have access to the shared folders via WebDAV.

If users exceed there quota while uploading files via WebDav, a blank file will be uploaded to their folder.

Steps to set up a WebDAV share on MacOS

1. From the finder select Go > Connect to Server.
MacOS finder

2. Enter the URL.
Connect to server
To add the server address to your list of favorite servers select the plus symbol button located to the right of the server address. Once the server address is entered or selected, select connect.

3. When prompted by Alfresco enter your Moodle username and password.
WebDAV login

Once logged in student users will see their user folder plus any additional folders they have permission to view. The following image is showing a student users folder. The folder name is the user's id number.

Users can drag and drop files/folders from their desktop into this folder, or drag and drop files/folders from this folder to their desktop. When you drag and drop the files/folders, they will be copied to the new location.

User folder

Using an Embedded Client

Using an Embedded WebClient for WebDAV:

ELIS users can reduce support costs incurred in explaining to their users the various ways to access the ELIS repository via WebDAV by setting up embedded web client. This is a java applet that lets users access their repository via WebDAV online', and using the same tool and interface from any computer they use (Windows, MacOS, Linux). Remote-Learner can help you configure a web client and you can then provide instructions and a link for your users via the Repository block.

An example of using an embedded Web Client to access Alfresco:

When the WebClient has been configured, a user can just click the "Connect" link in the Repository block to open the embedded web client.


On the next screen, the user enters their Moodle username and password:
login to webdav client

When they are logged in, they can access their files directory in Alfresco, and click (or drag and drop) to upload one or more files to their Repository user files.

Linking to files

The embedded Web Client provides a consistent user interface for users to batch upload files, folders, etc. to Moodle. Desktop WebDAV clients can also be used to connect to Alfresco via the WebDAV standard.

User Spaces in the Repository

User spaces in the repository can be automatically created when a user logs on to the Moodle site for the first time. This feature will be enabled when Alfresco is installed.

To disable the setting go to the Site Administration block > Users > Authentication > Manage Authentication > Alfresco SSO. Use the eye icon to disable the setting. If disabled, new users will not have Alfresco accounts created when they login to Moodle for the first time.

Users repository spaces will have the same name as their Moodle username. Users can login to the repository by selecting the repository link from the Alfresco Repository block, then enter their Moodle username and password on the Alfresco login screen.

The user spaces are located on the Alfresco Company Home screen, shown in the image. Select the space name to see the contents of that space. A typical student user might only have the User Homes space available on the Company Home screen, and within the User Homes space, they might only have access to their user space. Users can upload files directly to their user space in Alfresco or via the Moodle Interface.

Alfresco company home page

To see all the user spaces in Alfresco, you must be logged in as the Alfresco Administrative user. The username and password for the Alfresco Admin user are located on the Alfresco configuration page. Go to the Site Administration block > File system > Repositories > Alfresco.

Alfresco admin password

  1. Go to the Alfresco link in the File system folder of your Moodle Administration menu.
  2. Unmask the password to see your administrator password for Alfresco

User Profile and Settings

Each user has a user profile screen in the repository. The following image shows the link for that screen. Users can use the user profile screen to change their password, check repository usage, manage deleted items in their trash bin, etc.

Alfresco user profile link

The Moodle Interface to the Repository

From within Moodle, users have access to the repository in a number of ways as described below.

1. Each user has a "My Files" tab in their user profile*. The My Files tab shows users how many MB of free space they have in their repository folder.

MY Files tab

By clicking this tab the user can see all of the files they have uploaded to their folder in the repository. Users can access these files from anywhere in Moodle where they can link to or embed a file via the HTML editor.

Repository user files

2. In ELIS 1.8, users can also access the Alfresco web interface directly via the Repository block:

Alfresco repository block

Selecting "this link" will open up the Alfresco login screen - where the user can login with their Moodle username and password.

Alfresco login screen

When they login, they can view their folder in Alfresco:

Alfresco user home page

Within Alfresco they can use the functionality that their user role has been granted.

Repository Quotas

ELIS 1.8 enables administrators to set a file size quota in the Repository administration interface. To access this from the site home page go to the Site Administration block > File System > Repositories > Alfresco > User storage quota. Select the Save Changes button at the bottom of the screen to save any changes made.

User storage quota setting

If a user fills up their storage space to the limit of their quota, ELIS provides them with an error message.

Users can find there repository quota by going to their user profile screen. The MY Files tab displays the users repository quota.

User profile screen:
My files tab

The user profile screen in Alfresco will also show the user storage quota. To access follow the steps in the images. Go to the Repository block and select "this link".

Alfresco repository block

Login to Alfresco with your Moodle username and password.

Alfresco login screen

Select the User Profile icon.

User profile icon

User Profile and Settings:
Alfresco profile with quota and usage details

At the bottom of the image in the Management section, the usage and quota information is given.

If a user file is deleted from the repository by a user other than the owner of the file, the user's repository space usage will not be updated to reflect that file being deleted. The file space will still be counted as being used, and the user will not see the file or have access to it. To prevent this only the owner of the space should delete files from a space.

Recovering Files in Alfresco Recycle Bin

Repository user files that are deleted from the Alfresco interface are placed in the user's Alfresco recycle bin. Files in a user's recycle bin can be recovered by that user. If repository files are deleted from the Moodle Interface then the files will not be placed in the Alfresco recycle bin and can't be recovered.

To demonstrate how to recover files from the Alfresco recycle bin we will:
  1. Login to Alfresco as a user with content in their personal space
  2. Delete the content so it goes to their Alfresco recycle bin
  3. Go to their Alfresco recycle bin and recover the deleted item.

Go to the Alfresco Repository block and select "this link".
Alfresco block

Login to Alfresco using your Alfresco username shown in the block with your Moodle password.
Alfresco login screen

Go to the My Home screen and delete content.
Alfresco My Home screen

Select the User Profile link in the menu bar at the top of the page to access the recycle bin.
Alfresco user profile link

Select the Manage Deleted Items link at the bottom of the page.
Alfresco manage deleted items link

Select the recover icon next to the content that is being recovered.
Manage deleted items page

Confirm file recovery from Alfresco recycle bin and the file will be placed in the location it was deleted from, unless a new location is selected.
Confirm file recovery from Alfresco recycle bin

Course Spaces in the Repository

When a user accesses the repository course files for a Moodle course, a course space is automatically created in the Alfresco Repository for that course. The course space will be named the Moodle course short name.

The course spaces are located in the "moodle" folder on the Company Home screen, shown in the image. Select the space name to see the contents of that space.

Alfresco company home screen moodle folder

Once the moodle folder is open the course folder needs to be open to view course spaces.

Alfresco course folder

The course spaces can also be accessed via Moodle. Go to the Moodle course, Administration block, and select the Files link. Then select Repository course files as shown in the next image.

Moodle course files linked to repository course files

Auto Creating Organization Spaces in the Repository

Organization spaces in the repository are automatically created when
  1. A cluster is assigned a cluster classification that has the "Automatically create an Alfresco shared organization folder" feature enabled and
  2. A user is assigned to the cluster.

To setup a cluster classification go to the Program Administration block > Admin > Cluster classification. Enable the "Automatically create an Alfresco shared organization folder" setting.

Cluster classification

Create a cluster and assign the new cluster classification to it.
Creating cluster with repository space

Assign a user to the cluster.
Users tab of cluster

Once the cluster has been created and a user has been assigned to the cluster, the shared organization space will be created in the repository. The space name will be the name of the cluster.

Sub-clusters can also be setup with cluster classifications that will create spaces in the repository. Sub-cluster will create their own spaces that will be located in the same folder as the organization spaces in the repository, not as a sub-folder of the organization space.

Locating Organizational/Cluster Spaces

Navigate to the Repository site files screen in Moodle. For this example I'm using a site admin account to access the repository. If you are accessing the repository with a user that doesn't have site admin permissions then the user will need to be assigned a role with repository permissions. The next section has an example use case.

Select the name link in the upper right hand corner of the home page.
User profile link

Select the My Files tab.
User's profile page

In the Browse files from menu select (1)Repository site files. Then open the (2)moodle folder.
Repository site files

Open the "organization" folder.
Repository moodle folder

The organizational spaces are displayed in the next image. The space created in the example above is listed last, ACME Furniture. The spaces can be for organizations, clusters, and sub-clusters. Sub-clusters of clusters will be displayed at the same level, e.g., "Auto-enroll" is a sub-cluster of "Cluster 189" in the image below.
Repository organization folder

Accessing Organizational/Cluster Spaces

Users other than the site admin will need to be assigned a cluster role with repository permissions in order to access the cluster space. To demonstrate how this works we will:
  1. Create a role that allows repository permissions for a cluster
  2. Assign a user the role in the test cluster ACME Furniture
  3. Login as the user and access the repository space.
To create a new role go to the Site Administration block > Users > Permissions > Define roles and select the Add a new role button at the bottom of the page. Allow the following permissions in the Alfresco Repository section:
  • Create shared organization content - block/repository:createorganizationcontent
  • View shared organization content - block/repository:vieworganizationcontent
  • View personal content - block/repository:viewowncontent (This permission enables the My Files tab to be visible on a user's profile page. On the My Files tab a user can access all sections of the repository they have permission to.)
On the the Roles tab of the cluster with repository space assign a new user to the new role, Sandy Smith in this example.

Login as the user. The repository files can be accessed in two ways, the Moodle interface or Alfresco interface. First will cover how to access the files via Moodle. Select the name link in the upper right hand corner of the home page.
Link to user's profile page

On the profile page select the My Files tab to access the repository.
My Files tab

This will open a screen where the repository files can be accessed. This user just has permission to view personal files and create/view shared organization content for the ACME Furniture cluster. In the following image the user has opened the ACME Furniture space.
Organization space

This user could also navigate to these spaces in Alfresco directly. To do so the user goes to the Alfresco Repository block and selects "this link".
Alfresco Repository block

Enter the Alfresco username and Moodle password to login to Alfresco.
Alfresco login screen

In Alfresco you can navigate to the shared organization/cluster space by selecting the Company Home link > moodle folder > organization folder and then the cluster folder. The user's space/folder can be accessed from the My Home link or Company Home > User Homes folder.

Alfresco Company Home page

Creating Categories

Alfresco: Creating and Assigning Categories

An Alfresco category can be thought of as a tag for classifying content and making that content searchable in the future. To create a category the user must have the role of Administrator. However, users with the role of admin, editor, collaborator, or coordinator role for the content can add categories to content. Follow these steps to create a category and assign a category to content.

Administrator console icon

Navigate to any space and click on the Administration Console icon in the top tool bar.

Category Management link

Click on the Category Management link in the Administration Console.

Add category link

In the Category Management window, click the Add Category icon.
  1. Add the name of the Category (and description if desired).
  2. Click the New Category button.
New category screen

Assigning Categories to Content

Go to the content that will be categorized and select the View Details link.
View content details link

Go to the Category section and select the Allow Categorization link.

Allow categorization link

Select the Change Category icon on the right side of the category section to add/edit a category link.

Change category link

The next section will require 3 selections to choose the category.
  1. Choose the Select button
  2. Choose the Click here to select a Category link
  3. Choose the + symbol next to the category that should be added
Selected category

Once the category has been selected, choose the Add to List button.

Add to list button

Select the OK button on the right hand side of the page when the categories have been added.

New category assignment

Searching Categories

Content can be searched for by category when using an Advanced Search. The search section can be found in the upper right hand corner of the screen in Alfresco. The following image demonstrates how to access the advanced search feature.
  1. Select the search Options icon or the arrow next it to open a menu of choices
  2. Select the Advanced Search link from the bottom of the list
Advanced search link

The category section is located on the bottom left hand corner of the screen, select the Click here to choose a Category link.

Category seacrh

  1. Select the + symbol to the right of categories that should be added
  2. Select the Add to List button
Add category to list

Select the Search button to complete the search.

Resetting Categories

Categories will need to be reset from the Moodle Interface when categories have been added or deleted in Alfresco. If the categories are not reset, the Moodle Interface won't reflect the changes made in Alfresco.

To reset the categories go to the Site Administration block > File system > Repositories > Alfresco and then select the Configure category filter button.

Configure category filter button

A pop-up window will open, select the Reset categories button to update all the categories from the repository.

Reset categories button

Adding Repository Spaces

This page demonstrates how users can create spaces in Alfresco. Admin users will have these permissions on the Company Home page, student users will have these permissions within their space only. The following examples will be showing the company home page viewed by an admin user.

Company home screen

Creating Spaces

This space will be created so teachers can share documents with other teachers. The teachers must be added to the space so they have access to the documents within it.

The Create drop down menu, shown in the first image, has the link to create spaces. Enter a name for the space, the title and description are optional entries.

Create a space screen

Once the space is created, files can be uploaded to the space or files can be moved to it from another space.

Moving Content to Spaces

There are two ways to move content, cut or copy. Cut will remove the item from one space and then it can be added to the another space. I want to remove this item from the content section so I'm selecting cut.

Cut a content item

Next I select the space I want to move this content item to, in this case it will be the new Teacher Documents space. Go to the More Actions drop down menu and select Paste All.

Pasting cut content

Advanced Spaces

Advanced Spaces are created from the 'Create' drop down menu on the company home screen (shown on the first image of this page). The advanced space wizard has a 4 step process, shown in the left hand column of the image below.

Creating advanced spaces wizard

Managing Users for Repository Spaces

Users can be assigned to course spaces and other user's spaces in the repository. When adding users to the spaces, the users roles are assigned for that space.

This page shows an example of a repository space for teacher documents. We will add a user to this space. Managing users for a user space is done in the same way, except we would be starting from a User space instead of the Teacher Document space.

The following image shows the space Teacher Documents. Next we'll go to the More Actions menu, scroll down the list, and select Manage Space Users as shown in the next image. The View Details link from the same drop down menu will have a list of actions available also.

Manage space users link

A new screen opens, Manage Space Users 'Teacher Documents'. To the right of this is the Invite link marked by the red arrow in the following image. Select the Invite link to manage users in the space.

Space invite link

The Invite link opens up a 3 step manage users wizard.

Step 1:
Manage users wizard step 1
A (1)search will have to be performed to find a user/users to invite to the space. Once the user/users are (2)selected, choose the (3)role to be assigned to the user/users. Multiple users can be selected at once here. Select the (4)Add to list button to finish assigning the user to the role for the space. The user is added to the (5)selected users area. Select the (6)Next button on the right hand side of the screen to go to the next step.

Step 2:
Manage users wizard step 2
Choose (1)yes or no for email notification. Editing the (2)email message is optional. Select the (3)Next button to continue to the next step.

Step 3:
Manage users wizard step 3
Step 3 provides a summary of the users added along with their roles in the space. Select the Finish button to complete the role assignment.

The following image is showing the updated view of the users for this space.

Listed users of a repository space

The users added to this space will be able to access this folder when they login to the repository. This folder will not be displayed in user's space, but users can search for the space or locate it on the Company Home screen in this instance.

The search window is located in the upper right hand corner of the screen. Use the drop down menu to narrow the items searched or to perform an advanced search.

Adding Content in the Repository

This page is demonstrating a student user uploading a file to their repository user space.

Select the Add Content link to upload content.

Add content link

A standard upload screen will appear.

Uploading content

Once you have uploaded the file, two more screens will appear with some general file properties that can be edited.

Add content settings screen

The uploaded item will be in the contents section of the space it was added to, in this case, the test user's space.

Added content

If a user file is deleted from the repository by a user other than the owner of the space, the user's repository space usage will not be updated to reflect that file being deleted. The file space will still be counted as being used, and the user will not see the file or have access to it. To prevent this only the owner of the space should delete files from a space.

Creating Content

Select the Create Content link to create content, shown in the following image.

Create content link

A wizard will walk you through the steps to create content. HTML, Plain Text, and XML files can be created here.

Create content wizard

Managing Repository Files with Moodle Interface


There are four repository areas:
  1. Site files - Files are available for the entire site.
  2. Course files - Files are available within the course.
  3. Shared files - Files are available in all courses. There is one shared files area per Moodle site. Files stored here can be linked to multiple courses.
  4. User files - Each user has a folder in the repository and can access it from within any course. Repository User Files enables the same file to be linked to multiple courses.
To access the repository files use the repository files drop down menu located in the upper right hand corner of the course files and site files screens. The image below shows a course files screen.

Repository course files

If you link to the repository from the site files, there will be a different option in the drop down menu. There will be a Repository site files link instead of a Repository course files link. The Repository shared and user file links are the same whether accessed through the site files or course files.

Files added to the repository are assigned a file id number. Files in the repository can be moved anywhere in the repository and that id number will stay the same. Which means all links using that files url will remain the same. In Moodle, the file uses the folder location for the url. So if files are moved to a different folder, the links using that files url would have to be changed.

If you are uploading a duplicate file or a file with the same name to the repository, you will receive a warning message - "Error: A file with that name already exist in this directory: name of file".


Each user has a "My Files" tab in their user profile*. The My Files tab shows users how many MB are free in their repository space.

My files tab

By selecting this tab the user can see all of the files they have uploaded to their folder in the repository.

Repository user files in Moodle interface

Moving files between Moodle and the Repository

To demonstrate moving files between Moodle and the ELIS Repository we'll move course files to repository course files. Let's start by going to the Administration block of a course and selecting the Files link as demonstrated in the first image.

Course files link

This image is showing a course files screen. Check the files that are being moved to the repository, go to the With chosen files drop down menu, and select Move to another folder.

Course files screen

Now we choose where to move the files. These files are going to the Repository course files. Go to the drop down menu at the top right hand side of the screen, Browse files from, and select Repository course files.

Move files to repository

The next image shows the Repository course files, to complete the file transfer we select the Move files to here button.

Move file to here button

To move files around within the repository or back to the Moodle course, follow the same steps.

Repository course files

Files uploaded or moved to the repository are assigned an id number. This number does not change. So you can move files anywhere in the repository and the file url will not change.

Duplicate files or files with the same name can not be added to the repository. A warning message will be displayed in this case - Error: A file with that name already exist in this directory: name of file.

There may be issues when moving large files, 100MB or more, from the course files to the repository. To avoid this large files can be downloaded and then uploaded to the repository via WebDav. To skip to the page in this book with instructions for setting up a WebDav share, select this link.

Using the 'Download Locally' Link

The download locally link allows you to download files from the repository to the course files.

Download locally link

After selecting the link from the image above, a pop-up window appears as shown in the following image. Select the 'Download in this directory' link to complete the download to the course files location.

Download to course files directory

In ELIS 1.8.5 the "Download locally" link has changed to "Copy to Moodle". The function is still the same, files are copied to the Moodle course files when selecting the Copy to Moodle link.

Copy to Moodle link

Student Backpack Feature

The student backpack feature of ELIS enables students to put their files in their own section of the repository and access those files from anywhere on the site. Wheras previously in Moodle students had very limited ability to upload and share files, in ELIS they can upload and share files anywhere the Moodle HTML editor is used. All of a student's files are located in the My Files tab of their user profile. The tab also shows how much space the user has left in their section of the repository. From the MY Files tab users can manage their files:

User My Files tab

Students can make folders, upload and download files, and search their personal files.

manage files

Any place the student can use the Moodle HTML editor, they can add multiple files from their repository folder. In the example below, the student is going to add an image and a powerpoint to their discussion post:

adding discussion post

To add the Powerpoint they'll use the insert link icon in the editor - this will open up the link browser, and from here they can click the browse button to add files.

adding a powerpoint
Clicking the Powerpoint above will add it to the discussion post - this links to the Powerpoint, so the file is only uploaded once to the student's repository. Once uploaded students can link to the Powerpoint over and over again without having to upload it again or using extra space on your server.

Using the insert image link, the same student can also add an image or multiple images from their repository. Again, the images are added only once to the repository.

adding an image too

In ELIS 1.7, instructors can also add a new assignment type - the Backpack activity. This activity provides an option for students to add files from their repository to the assignment (files are copied from the repository to the assignment so that students can change them after they submit them for grading).

To create a backpack activity turn editing on for a course, go to one of the Add an activity drop down menus and select the Backpack activity link as shown in the next image. Fill in the name, description and adjust the other settings for the activity. Don't forget to assign the activity an ID Number if it will be used for grading purposes.

Backpack activity link

When the student views the backpack assignment, they see one button to add a file from their Alfresco repository (they can also add files from their local file system as usual).

backpack adding files
In the screen below the student has added files from their repository to the backpack assignment.

activity files
The instructor can now view the files, and grade them.

instructor view

Tuning the Repository

The Cache files setting in the Repository can be used to improve repository performance.

Cache settings

By default, repository files are not cached in the user's browser due as this may prevent users from seeing the most recent version of the file. However, this can cause performance issues as users must download the file each time they view it. The repository also must check each time the user downloads a file to be sure they still have access to that file. These two features of the repository can slow down the delivery of files to the viewers.

To alleviate this situation, we have implemented a file caching setting. This enables you to specify a period of time that the files will be cached in the user's browser. When the user views a file that they have cached, the file loads much faster as it loads from their computer rather than being delivered the Internet.

For sites where files that are stored in the repository are frequently changed or updated (every few minutes), it is best to use a low setting or leave caching off, this will mean it will take longer for viewers to load files from the repository, however it will also ensure that they always see a recent version of the file.

For most sites, repository content changes with a lower frequency, and a larger caching setting can be used, for instance 30 minutes. Remember that if a viewer views file A, then file A is changed, a 30 minute cache time means that the viewer who has already viewed file A in less than 30 minutes since it has changed, will see the old version until the caching time is up.

If users complain that they don't see the latest version of a file, you can set your repository cache file to a lower number, or just inform them to clear their cache and refresh their browser page if they are unsure of the recency of the file.

Using Video in the Repository

To use video that is placed in the ELIS repository, first turn on the repository filter in Administration/ Modules/ Filters/ Multimedia Plugin.

Alfresco multimedia filters

Check the boxes next to the multimedia file types you would like to use in the repository.

To use a video file in in the repository:
  1. Activate the filter for the video file type(s) you will be using in the screen above.
  2. Place video files in the repository.
  3. Link to the video file type from Moodle.
  4. Moodle will automatically embed the video and write the proper code to display it in your course.
  5. By default, the video will be shown at 320x240. To set a custom display size, type &d=widthxheight in the URL.
  6. For example: type &d=400x300 to set the video to display at 400x300.

Alfresco Help Topics

The My Alfresco link will take you to a screen with Alfresco help topics. Select the 'Online Help' link as shown in step 2 of the image below for a menu of topics to choose from.

Alfresco help

Alfresco help menu

More Information

CMS Integration on the deskop:

Flex client development:

Repository Role Permissions

There are eight role permissions that will determine access to the repository. The image shows the permissions as they appear when adding or editing a role.

Alfresco role permissions
  1. Create shared organization content: If this is set to Allow, this permissions allows a user to create content for an organization space in the repository.
  2. Create personal content:  If this is set to Allow, this allows users to create personal content in their repository space, for example, uploading a new file.
  3. Create shared content:  If this is set to Allow, this permission allows users to create/upload new content to the repository shared folder for the site.
  4. Create site level content:  If this is set to Allow, this permission allows site level content to be created.
  5. View shared organization content:  If this is set to Allow, this allows access to site level organization content, but no new content can be added with this permission.
  6. View personal content:  If this is set to Allow, this allows a user to access personal repository content from their repository space, but no new content can be added with this permission.
  7. View shared content:  If this is set to Allow, this allows a user to access repository shared files.
  8. View site level content:  If this is set to Allow, his allows a user access to the repository site-level content.
Remember that Moodle's permissions change as a user's role changes in different contexts, for example, if the Authenticated User role does not have Create personal content set to Allow, but the Student role does have Create personal content set to allow, users will be able to access their personal file space in courses where they are students, but not in other areas (such as the site level) where they are not students.

To demonstrate how the repository permissions work we will use a teacher role and then change repository permissions to see how the teachers access to the repository changes.

The first example is showing the view of a user that has been assigned the teacher role in a Moodle course, none of the repository permissions are allowed for this role.

When the teacher goes to the course and selects the course files link

Course files link

they have access to the Course files and Repository course files with the menu of choices in the upper right hand corner of the screen.

Repository course files link

If the permissions are allowed for creating and viewing shared content in the repository, there would be a link to the Repository shared files as well. The repository shared files are for the site in this example, to limit a user to just an organization's shared space use the permissions to create/view shared organization files.

Repository shared files link

If the permissions are allowed for creating and viewing personal content in the repository, there would be another link to access Repository user files, where this user could manage content in their personal repository space.

Repository user files link