Moodle 2.1 – Google Apps Integration

I installed the fine Google integration plugins for Moodle today. We are only interested in single sign-on and repository integration, so I did not tackle the GMail block or user synchronization. The Moodle instruction page is excellent. The related Moodle discussion forum is also good. The corresponding Google Code page is out of date for Moodle 2.0.

It took me a while to navigate the git repository and download the latest packages. I learned to click “snapshot” to download actual files I wanted from a portion of the tree. Generating certificates and configuring the Moodle and Google single sign-on settings went quickly.

We are using Google Apps Directory Sync to create user accounts on Google Apps. That way, any teacher, staff member, or student with an AD account automatically gets a Google Apps account. Our Moodle installation only creates user accounts the first time that the user logs into Moodle.

We have a few small issues to resolve. Redirects do not always work, so that it is more convenient to start at Moodle and then go to Google Apps than the other way around. We need to modify the terms of service to account for student users and the “binding contract” requirement. Also, the account conflict data migration feature fails on login at the moment. That is, users who have a personal Google account with their school email address cannot automatically migrate that data into their school Google Apps account.

Here is more information about the data migration question. Will you let me know if you have encountered it before? When a user has a personal Google account using the institution’s email address, Google presents the user with options to resolve the conflict. One option is to migrate data from the personal account to the institutional account. The process fails at this step when it attempts to auth via Moodle SSO. The error is “Notice: Undefined index: RelayState in /home/web/inside/html/moodle/auth/gsaml/auth.php on line 295.” When the user returns to Google, the message appears “The required response parameter RelayState was missing.”

Next week, I will hold two trainings to orient the first batch of interested users to Google Apps. We will focus on Docs, Calendar, Maps, Sites, and YouTube. It will be exciting to enable teachers and staff to take advantage of the new collaboration features we will now have! We had considerable use of Apps last year without a domain. I anticipate a lot more use with everyone on the same system and some schoolwide communications on the topic.

One comment

  1. Peter Zingg says:

    I just did a summer “transition” for all my staff Google accounts. I think the only sane solution for conflicting accounts is to use “Option 2” and create a personal Gmail account. I am having our teachers attempt to obtain an account of the form username.temp@gmail.com so they won’t lose track of it after it’s been created.

    “Option 1” which attempts to use Google’s tools to migrate personal data into the school’s Google Apps for Education domain just doesn’t work well for a lot of the data that our teachers have created outside the domain. Luckily only 20 or so out of my 226 staff members were savvy enough to sign up for Google services outside the domain, so having them manually do “Option 2” is not so bad.