Embedding Flash into Moodle (or whatever)

At the risk of giving my readers whiplash from the topic changes… I saw on twitter (who says twitter doesn’t work) that bud is looking for a flash embed into moodle solution. This is something I swore I would post just to try and save the pain and misery to the next person who came along trying to do this. A friend of mine asked for a solution for embedding video into his first year class. He wanted to see what would happen if he replaced his lectures with video and stuck to oral exams and tutorials. The response has been VERY positive. As always… the same warning… there’s probably (almost definetely) a better and easier way to do this. This is the way i sorted out.

(I would also like to formally apologize for using youtube as a common noun.)

Why exactly would i want to do this in the first place?

A professor at my university has started using flash video in his classroom moodle to replace his first year lectures… His students have the option of coming to pretty much as many small tutorials as they like, but for the lectures they get his video, which they can watch as many times as they like and which he can track. Surprisingly, many of the students are watching the video 4 and 5 times… it gives them a chance to review the content and match it against other things they have (textbooks… documents… wikipedia…) This is a very nice solution for the delivery of content, particularly when matched with online discussion forum and chat and live face to face tutorials. Thus far… a very nice solution. Looking forward to the teacher assessments. (his have been fantastically high before this little adventure)
There are alot of advantages to choosing flash as the solution for your video needs.

  • It is almost universally accessible across all browsers on all systems (assuming people have the plugin in their browser).
  • It is lightish in terms of space and loads very nicely.
  • You can have very direct control over the look, feel and size of your video display and can quite easily adjust the way it gets taken in.
  • An flv (flash video) file can very easily be sent all over the place.
  • It’s what all the cool people do (see youtube and googlevideo)
  • There are ways to do serverside conversion INTO flash so that your users can post whatever they like to your server and you can convert it to your preferred format (flash)
  • meh. i like flash.

What you need for just embedding my flash into moodle

  • Jeroen Wijering Flash FLV Player – a simply fantastic piece of coding.
  • A moodle (and as you can see on Jeroen’s page, it will work for all kinds of stuff drupal wordpress and you only need one installation of this software to work EVERYWHERE) For installation instructions see the fine work done at moodle.org.
  • A way to make an flv file.

One way to do it

  1. The first thing to do is download the FLV player.
  2. upload it to your server somewhere that is web readable… (that is, that can be accessed by http://yourdomain.com/directory_of_flv_player)
  3. Copy the code from the flvplayer.html file and paste it into a topic or something in your moodle installation and change the following variables so that they point to your directory_of_flv_player. You’ll see that there are a few ‘files’ in there… the ufo.js, and the others listed below.
  4. http://yourdomain.com/directory_of_flv_player/ufo.js

    http://yourdomain.com/directory_of_flv_player/flvplayer.swf

    http://yourdomain.com/directory_of_flv_player/playlist.xml

  5. Edit your ‘playlist.xml’ so that the link points to your flv files. This is the only thing that you need to change in order to update the content in your media player that you’ve created with camtasia, camstudio or something…

NEXT STEP Go all the way to building a youtubeUsing this drupal/youtube

And/or this phpvideo

9 thoughts on “Embedding Flash into Moodle (or whatever)

  1. As a teacher more than a techie, I’ve been in a pinch for time and been successful using Wink from DeBug Mode. Upload the swf file through Moodle files and then point to it by “linking to file” under adding a resource. In addition, if you use Audacity to create the audio for Wink, you could strip it off and distribute that alone as an audiocast.

    I would be curious if some subjects are more adaptable than others to replacing in-class lectures. To waste class time (which could be used discussion) with content delivery seems ludicrous, yet there is a considerable time investment to create a polished online lecture.

  2. Hi Steven… hee hee. I can assure you that in my current swing away from teaching and toward techie… i have not found any more time!

    Your solution is an interesting one… does wink provide the player with a scroll bar? That was one of the key needs for this project.

    I think, inevitably, some courses suit themselves better… but our feelings at the moment (subject to change given the slightest hint of wind) are that it’s more about the task at hand. Philosophy as easily as Biology has some basic building blocks that you simply MUST have in order to participate in the discussion. Those building blocks serve multi-leveled classrooms far better in a ‘re playable’ format. If you’ve never heard of postmodernism or photosynthesis you might have to listen to the intro lectures 5-10 times to get the gist of what is going on. Not so easy in a classroom.

    As for the polishedness of it all… It depends on the subject. If you are teaching ’17th century politics’ a polished lecture that you won’t need to change very often would be fine. If you teaching ‘SL Cyber-Punk fashion Faux-Pas’ you might want to lower the production value for speed of creation. I don’t personally believe that production values are super important. Basic production values yes… polished no. It’s nice, but has to be measured against the payoff

  3. Hi,

    I’ve tried using the Moodle FLV player. But the videos are not accessible/viewable when there’s a firewall. Is there a way to go around this problem if the restrictions on the firewall can’t be changed?

    I read somewhere that port 1935 needs to be opened to allow streaming of videos as JW Player doesn’t do port switching. But the IT admin doesn’t want to open this port because he said it’s vulnerable to virus.

    Please advise what to do.

    Thanks,
    JC

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