MP3 Quickie – a new MP3 voice recorder for Moodle 1.9 and Moodle 2.x to record 20-second “quickies”

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I would like to introduce to you a “new” MP3 voice recorder for Moodle 1.9 and 2.x. Here it is, sitting pretty on my Moodle coursepage in a Moodle HTML block:

WIRIS

The interface design is “original”, but the main underlying code is not. More on that later in this post.

The voice recorder is actually based on Vimas Technology‘s Mp3 Recording Applet SDK. Here’s a screenshot of their demo product from their webpage:

Here’s my Youtube video on how to use my improved version of the MP3 Recording Applet [direct link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-CFWN3n4XQ].

So what’s it all about then?

I have created a variant of Vimas Technology’s demo voice recorder (PHP code, no MySQL database). This variant can be easily installed onto your Moodle 1.9 or Moodle 2.0 site. I designed it to fit in a Moodle block by using iframe HTML code. You can use it for your own Moodle site. Feel free to modify the code.

It is based on the MP3 recorder by Vimas Technologies. (http://www.vimas.com). The core feature remains unchanged, which is to make 20-second voice recordings and save them as MP3 files. I tidied up the original code of their 20-second demo voice recorder, improved the interface and added a few more features:

  • player button icons
  • checking of filenames for spaces and auto-removal of such spaces
  • simplification of the filenames – removed the .mp3 file
  • extensions displayed in the Saved drop-down list
  • simplified the installation process (see below)

I’ve named my contribution to the Moodle community as the MP3 Quickie. You can use this MP3 Quickie in a Moodle block, website or your own blog, to make 20-second recordings – quickies. For short recordings , my modified version will suffice. If you want to make longer recordings, you might have to use an alternative software or wait for Nanogong to mature in Moodle 2.x which is already in the works by some individuals on Moodle.org. For those who are now on Moodle 2.x, and if Nanagong voice recording for Moodle 2.x is still on the way, you can use my MP3 Quickie to do short recordings.In my MP3 Quickie, the voice recordings are stored in efficient small-sized MP3 files on your server.

I can’t tell if the quality of the recording is because of my cheap headset or if the demo applet is coded to contain background static. Perhaps if you happen to have a decent quality headset with noise-cancellation technology, you can test the MP3 Quickie on my Moodle site and judge for yourself.

You can try the live demo here:
http://scm.moodleace.com/course/view.php?id=44
Username: student
Password: moodle

I have tested the MP3 Quickie on m Moodle 1.9.7 site, and on Mozilla Firefox. Please let me know if there are any bugs, problems or browser incompatibilities (ie., IE!). I hope you have fun using this MP3 Quickie.

SUMMARY

Pros:

  • can fit nicely inside a Moodle block – very convenient
  • saved voice recordings can be displayed in a drop-down list – very convenient
  • the embed code of the mp3 file is displayed during the voice recording process for easy copy and paste

  • simplified interface;
  • simplified installation compared to the original Vimas’ instructions;
  • smaller sound files due to MP3 format compared to Nanogong’s format;
  • can be used on Moodle 2.x;
  • free unless you want to buy the full version applet from Vimas Technology.

Cons:

  • 20-second limitation on each voice recording makes for only short recording sessions;
  • default sound quality has background static noise, but according to the documentation, you can set bitrates up to 320 Kbps and sampling frequencies of up to 48,000 Hz.
  • interface can be improved further
  • an admin user is unable to delete MP3 sound recordings from the interface. However the admin can delete the files manually from the moodleFolder/voicefiles/miha subfolder.
  • no direct way of downloading the MP3 files created by the recorder

For the LATEST version of this plugin (now at version 1.4 as of 7th September 2011), more screenshots, discussion forum, information, source code and installation instructions, check out my blog.

Regards,
Frankie Kam,
Melaka, Malaysia