ConversionThingy 2

ConversionThingy 2

ConversionThingy 2: Configuration Options

Once the program has been installed (and the license has been accepted), you'll be directed to the Configuration screen, illustrated below.

ConversionThingy 2: Configuration Options

Among the options on this screen, only three are essential--the Output Destination and the Site URL options must be given values, and you should specify what format (Moodle 1.98 or Moodle 2.x) you'd like the output to take.

Before it can be run, ConversionThingy 2 needs to know which folder the converted files should be placed into, so you'll have to specify a folder in the Output Destination area. A click on the little folder icon will raise a folder browser--just pick the folder you'd like to use (or create a new folder and select that). You may also specify the output format, chosing between Moodle 1.98 and Moodle 2.0 formats. Ideally, to keep your files from getting too too confusing, set the output files to be depostited in a location that differs from that of your input files.

If you select a Moodle 2.x format for the output, you can further specify that the conversion should generate Moodle 2.4 compatible assignment types. You'll probably want to do this if your target Moodle system is 2.4 or better.

The Site URL field also has to be given a value.  Moodle's backup file uses the source server's URL in several locations, and you may as well have a value here that reflects your campus or school affiliation.  Enter the URL of your Moodle site or your campus/school home page in the Site URL field, and then click the Validate this site URL button. ConversionThingy 2 will then quickly check for the site's existence online.  If the site can be found, you'll get a messagebox indicating you're ready to go, and the Giddyup button (the one that launches the actual conversion processes) will be enabled.

Optionally, for conversions to Moodle 2, you can you can toggle on an option that will permit you to select exactly which activities or resources from the backup file should be included in the converted file. If that option is selected, an initial parsing of the backup file during the conversion process will be followed by a prompt that allows you to de-select items you'd rather not see in the converted output.

Conversion Options for ANGEL Archives and Backups

The options for the conversion of ANGEL archives and ANGEL backup files involve little more than a checklist of items which can be included in the conversion (see the ANGEL->Moodle options in the illustration below.) You may decide that some of these elements (let's say the Wikis, for instance) simply aren't worth importing. The default settings specify that everything that can be converted should be converted.

ANGEL optionsIn most instances, you'll want to convert everything, and in those instances in which you decide not to process everthing, you should consider the effect that the omission will have on other items: if you omit Assessments or Forums or Dropboxes, you'll probably end up causing issues with the Gradebook calculations; if you omit Question Banks, you can't process Assessments. 

The All Qs to QB option (on by default) maps all ANGEL quiz questions to a course level question bank, regardless of whether they had been added to a question bank in ANGEL or not.  This has the effect of making questions usable in more than the context of the quiz in which they were created, and it eliminates the problems that can come of having more than one quiz reference a question  that is not part of the question bank (something can't rightly be done in Moodle and probably shouldn't have been done in ANGEL). Note carefully: this option, if left on, potentially exposes quiz-level questions to pool questions where the scope of the pool question takes in all course questions.  Check the question bank and pool questions carefully after conversion.

The option to clean MS Word content in the HTML prevents dangerously busy HTML code from creeping into the generated Moodle file.  Tags that get cleaned/stripped:

  • <meta...>
  • <link...>
  • <style...>
  • <span...>
  • <o:p>
  • <o:smarttagtype...>
  • <!--[if... and everything through to the nearest <!--[endif]--> or <![endif]-->
  • <st1...>
  • <!--StartFragment-->
  • <!--EndFragment-->
  • and all style=... and class=... attributes.

The cleaning of the formatting gets applied only to those objects whose HTML contains a <meta..> tag--that pretty much isolates the process to individual pages/labels/forums having pasted Word content.  The problem with the Word-generated HTML is pretty well documented in Moodle, as it leads to anything from invisible documents, when the HTML is in the page text to disappearing portions of course sites when the HTML is in a label or section summary. Cleaning seems a good option to leave on: the conversion report makes a note of all instances where cleaning was applied. If it causes more problems than it resolves--not likely--you can always turn the cleaning option off.

And, finally, there's an option to suppress issue notes regarding missing titles for question bank objects. Toggle this at will.

An option that generally can remain unchecked is the one that removes content folders and questionbank folders (with all of their respective contents), when those folders are titled with the words "Using ANGEL" (or a word/phrase of your choice).  Ideally, you'll be converting archives which already have needless content removed before you begin the conversion, but if you can't control that aspect, this mechanism provides a chance to impose some cleanup before the Moodle backup is constructed. There is probably an opportunity for failure if the folder being targetted contains an assessment that does not include the target words in its title.

The ANGEL site root URL  value is used by ConversionThingy 2 to reclaim files and images (including equation editor images) that are not included in a given backup/archive file.  The ANGEL site root is what's needed here (i.e. If this field. If this field is left blank, ConversionThingy won't try to get those images and files; if there's a legitimate path supplied, Conversionthingy will attempt to pull those files from the server for inclusion in the converted file.  (This process can, depending on your internet connection, slow the conversion down, but with some ANGEL source archives, it can make the difference between bringing 5 files across a conversion or bringing 500 files.)  The default value for this field is blank; it will not be used for processing any files if it has not been validated: to validate, click the question mark button to the right of the field. If the path cannot be validated, it won't be used. If the path validates, the question mark will change to "ok".

Options for Converting a Moodle 1.9x archive to Moodle 2.x

You have four options here.

Moodle 1.9 to Moodle 2.0 conversion optionsThe first two options allow you to specify whether you want to program to attempt a conversion of "Lesson" and "Wiki" activities.  Some convert better than others.

The third option, on by default, directs the system to purposefully sidestep any modules it does not recognize as a type it can convert.  (Remnants of unconverted SCORM, IMS, and other non-core modules might otherwise interfere with restoration: this option allows you to direct the program to aggressively prune those odds and ends.)  .

The last  option lets you use your own site URL (as entered in the "General Options" area) as the URL identifying the backup source system. The default, unchecked, currently makes all converted files appear to have originated from


And, Finally, the Wholly Frivolous Options

Every setting in this Wholly Frivolous Options area of the configuration screen is, in fact, wholly frivolous. As I found myself watching the screen one weekend while putting the program through its paces, I thought it'd be nice to have a picture to look at. These options let you change the picture and font color to something that'll make you happy (or happier) as it does its work.

What Doesn't Need Configuring

The program automatically detects which type of archive file its being presented with, and it processes it accordingly. It doesn't produce output or log entries for empty archive files (where there's no Lesson content at all); it sidesteps non-archive files that happen to be in a batch process cue, and it automatically differentiates between differing versions of ANGEL archive files.  (It'll even pull some meaningful content from ANGEL 7.2 archives if you've got those lying around--it'll probably crash splendidly on earlier files.) Quite simply, you never need to tell the program what it's getting: it will take care of figuring that out and producing its output accordingly.