Integrating Inspirations outputs into Moodle – to manage files

One of the main criticisms of VLEs is that most people use them as file storage grounds, and even good users of VLEs will find that the nature of them forces them into arranging learning content in linear lists.

I previously blogged about the ability to upload an Inspiration output to Blackboard, and a similar thing can be achieved with Moodle.

For those that aren’t familiar, Inspirations is a piece of Mind Mapping software, that is used in many schools and colleges. What a tutor can do, is arrange their learning material for a lesson into a mind map, with links to any resources in the mind map. They can then ‘package’ the whole thing up, upload it to Moodle, and when the learner accesses it, rather than being presented with the materials in a simple linear list, they will be able to view it in a more meaningful visual map, and clicking on any of the branches that has resources attached will open those resources. Another advantage for a tutor, is if they have lots of files that they want to upload to Moodle, this will actually be a lot quicker as well.

Instructions on how to achieve this

These instructions may seem complicated, but if you try and follow them through it isn’t as bad as it sounds, and like any of these things, once you have done this a few thousand times it becomes a lot easier.

  1. First create your map in Inspirations, hyperlinking branches to any resources that you want to use (these could be files such as PowerPoint, Word or Excel, or web links)
  2. Then go to File, Export
  3. Choose the 3rd tab – headed ‘web pages’
  4. Choose the second radio button (diagram or mind map page)
  5. Click on Save
  6. It will ask you where you want to save it – choose somewhere appropriate, then make a new folder and save it into there – this will package up the output including any files that you have linked to, regardless of where they are stored. This should put an HTM file and a folder of other files into this folder.
  7. Find the folder that you have just saved this output to, and zip it (right click on the folder, and choose ‘send to compressed folder’.
  8. In Moodle go to the files section, and choose upload – locate the zip folder you have just created, and upload it.
  9. In Moodle unzip this folder.
  10. Then in Moodle go to the area where you want to put your resources, and choose to ‘Link to a file or website’ option
  11. Browse for the HTM file that will be somewhere in your ‘files’ section and link to this, give it a name and save.
  12. What you should now see is a link appearing in your Moodle page, which if clicked on takes you to your visual map.

If in the future you want to amend any of the resources, you either have to go through the process above, or if it is just one file, as long as you keep the filename the same, you can just put this into the ‘files’ area on Moodle over-riding the previous file.

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