Moodle Mobile Notifier

Sbeity, Hassan; Fadlallah, Ahmad
May 2014
International Journal of Computer Applications;May2014, Vol. 93, p1
Academic Journal
E-learning management systems (eLMS) are increasingly used as online communication platform between students and teachers in traditional, distance and open learning educational institutions. Moodle [10] is the most used open-source e-LMS platform with around 68 million users being served worldwide [9]. This server-side application can be accessed via a web browser, on any computer or Internet-enabled hand-held device (smart phone, tablet, etc.). However, this system has three limitations: first, the lack of synchronization between client and server applications, in other words between posting (server side) and viewing (client side) the information. The second limitation is that students cannot easily differentiate between newly and previously seen information. This is because most of the Moodle posts are not tagged with dates (except news and messages). The third limitation arises specifically when the Moodle server is accessed from a hand-held device using mobile telecommunication networks where bandwidth is considered as a scarce resource (low data rates and limited download/upload quotas). This limitation is caused by the "useless" exchange of high amount of data to load all page contents even if no new information has been posted. The above listed limitations have negative impact on the tutor-student communication when eLMS platforms are used. This article proposes a system based on a three-tier architecture named Mobile Moodle Notifier (MMN) to overcome these limitations: the first tier is a mobile application (built on Google Android operating system [3]) that communicates with Moodle using low-level programming (socket programming) in order to reduce the bandwidth and download data consumption. The second tier is a server-side application that feeds the users (mobile application) with newly posted information from the third tier, which is the -extended - Moodle database. Performance tests show a 50 times faster execution time and 300 times less download data consumption on average using MMN compared to accessing Moodle via a regular web browser.


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