WordPress to Moodle and Back Again

I have just finished presenting my latest and favourite Fortnightly Tips – WordPress to Moodle and Back Again with RSS. I have been a WordPresser for longer than I have been a Moodler and I really do love these two pieces of software, and the wonderful communities behind them. I have been searching for a way to bring these two together on my show, and I feel that this episode has been one of my best.

Fortnightly Tips, my biweekly Moodle tips show, has been one of my favourite ways to connect with Pukunui customers. If you haven’t read about it in one of the many times I’ve mentioned it already in this blog and aren’t sure what it is, Fortnightly Tips is a free webinar that I run 3 times every second Friday. I’ve done many Moodle how-to’s in it, like how to set up a quiz, but also a few case-study type shows, like how to create an observational checklist. The sessions are recorded and anyone can go back and watch at any time a previous show. It occasionally is hard to remember that the bulk of my audience isn’t live in the chat room, but the feedback from Pukunui customers has been wonderful so far.

I hope people find value from this fortnight’s episode. I am always reluctant to categorise myself as an expert, but I am highly knowledgeable about WordPress as well as Moodle. I have been running my WordPress introductory course at The Parramatta College for some time now and I have been consistently receiving good feedback. In fact, I’m getting quite a bit of pressure to develop an advanced course, with more time spent talking about hosting, SEO, and WooCommerce. And I think it’s something you should watch out for in 2018.

WordPress to Moodle

WordPress logoIn this fortnight’s webinar, I focused on using RSS feeds to syndicate content from WordPress to Moodle, and then from Moodle back to WordPress. Moodle has a blogging engine built into it, which I can see being very helpful to get students to engage in discussion and debate. Moodle supports external blogs, like WordPress, and configuring that external WordPress blog is one of the topics I covered. I also demonstrated making use of the Remote RSS Feed block to display WordPress articles on the Moodle course page. And we all know how flexible WordPress feeds can be; you can generate a feed based on just a category or tag, which is useful if your personal blog is like mine and wide-ranging.

I can see this being extremely useful for some of the teachers and professors I know who like to publish their own blogs (with links to their professional publications), but also like to make reblog content for discussion in class. It’s something that I certainly should have set up when I was teaching Social Media at Miller College. It’d be brilliant if I could “Press This” when reading something relevant to the class and have it automagically show up in my Moodle course.

And back again

I also covered the reverse; Moodle has a built-in blogging engine, but I have my own external blog. I’m a WordPress guy, and while some things on my course blog should remain there, I’d like the option of taking my Moodle blog posts and feeding them back to WordPress.

This is easy enough to accomplish if you have a good syndication plugin. I’ve been using FeedWordPress for awhile to syndicate the posts I have authored at Pukunui. That’s just reading the RSS feed right? Why not plug in the feed from the Moodle blog for my course. This is something I demonstrated today, writing a blog post in Moodle and feeding it back to WordPress.

In fact – just to prove my point – I’m writing this current blog post in Moodle!

A Moodle screen shot
This is my current screen – I’m blogging but not in WordPress!

Yes, that’s my current screen; I’m blogging in Moodle. I wanted to drive home today’s point that using the RSS feeds to syndicate my content, I can start in one system and finish in the other. And hey, you can come join the course on learn.pukunui.com and find this blog post there.

Now, truth be told, I’m probably going to tweak it in WordPress before I publish. Moodle obviously doesn’t have Yoast because SEO is a little irrelevant in a course (most of the time). But my goal today was to write as much of this in Moodle as I could and syndicate it back to my WordPress. It can be done, and it’s not too hard.

The future?

In fact, today’s presentation got me thinking; blogging between WordPress and Moodle was pretty obvious. Blogging is certainly part of WordPress’ DNA, and blogs are core in Moodle. But what else can you do?

Comments can generate RSS feeds in WordPress, and Forums can generate RSS feeds in Moodle. Is there something there? Can a Moodle ForumbbPress hybrid be built? Hmmm, difficult I think, but perhaps there’s room to explore.

But more optimistically, I’m looking at the Database activity of Moodle. I’ve never been a huge fan of the Database activity, but in the past year, I’ve started to come around. Sarah Ashley gave a great presentation on it at Mini iMoot 2016, and since then I’ve been thinking of ways to use Database. (I’ll add a link to her presentation when Pukunui releases it on YouTube, which should be soon!)  I can envision getting students to populate the Database in a course, which is automatically building content on WordPress. I’m not sure why yet, but something to think about, and perhaps I’ll present the idea at Mini iMoot 2017.

Conclusion

So please, check out today’s webinar. It’s one I am very proud of, and I am eager to share with the world.


Disclosure

I just wanted to list the things I had to fix in WordPress from the blog post I wrote in Moodle.

  1. I had to put the post in the right category. This could have been done automatically by FeedWordPress.
  2. I had to redo the images. They just didn’t come across well.
  3. I had to fix my URLs to open them in a new tab for external sites.
  4. I had to fix my subheading sizes.
  5. The typical SEO fixes Yoast wanted me to make. I didn’t fix for readability to preserve the language of the original Moodle blog post. Yoast always gives me a thumbs-down on readability. 
  6. I added a Featured Image.
  7. It generated an Excerpt that I was not expecting. Had to edit the Excerpt for the first time ever.