Here’s a cool new block that lets you create text clouds automatically within your course based on the text and words of uploaded documents, posts and html within that course. The end result is similar to programs like Wordle or Tagxedo, but right in your course. It’s called “TextCloud for Moodle” and it’s already available in the Moodle.org plugin database: http://moodle.org/mod/data/view.php?d=13&rid=4743.
Installation was easy (as it is for any block) however according to the Readme file for full functionality you’ll need to install two additional pieces of software to your own server:
- pdftotext (commonly installed by default on almost all major linux distros)
- unoconv (easily installable via repos in CentOS5/RHEL5 and Ubuntu, needs OpenOffice 3.0 installed, which will be installed by dependency)
These programs help to initialize OpenOffice and other programs which help to “decode” some file types you might have integrated into your course.
Without these the block still worked as intended (just pulling text for the block from HTML within the course) creating an ever-changing, Wordle-like, interactive TextCloud right in the course.
The block has a few quick configuration screens once installed, allowing you to see it inventory the documents and pages within your course, what words you might not want included and some various settings (like color coding the popularity of words in the cloud clicked by students). The end product that you get is pretty nice. Check out all the screen shots below to see the end result and the configuration screens.
Read more and download the Moodle add-on at http://moodletextcloud.sourceforge.net/