KB1294 - Using Moodle's Microsoft 365 repository

The Microsoft MS365 repository in Moodle makes it easier to use your OneDrive files inside VCC Moodle courses. 
VCC Instructors and Students can connect their OneDrive account to VCC's Moodle platform, to access OneDrive files via Moodle's file picker. 
Your remote OneDrive files can be uploaded directly into Moodle, or virtually "linked" from their remote location. 

Jump: Why to use Getting started | Selecting content | Uploading files | Limits and Issues

Why to use OneDrive inside Moodle

  • "Linked" OneDrive files can be edited in place.

This OneDrive connection lets you use a "linked" mode to include OneDrive files in your Moodle course without uploading them: This may help you centralize source files for multiple courses; if you edit the original OneDrive file in place, all the "linked" instances of that file in your Moodle courses will automatically reflect your current revision. This lets you update a file in its central location in OneDrive without needing to re-upload it to all your Moodle courses. You can even rename the OneDrive file in its online location. This may greatly ease content updates for programs or departments which share common content to multiple online courses.

  • You can add "linked" files that are too big to be uploaded into Moodle.

If a file is larger than Moodle's 250 Mb file upload limit, you may not be able to upload it into your Moodle course. However, creating a "linked" connection to the file in your OneDrive folder lets you include it in your Moodle course without hitting the file size limit or waiting for a big upload to complete. 

  • It's easier to add your OneDrive files into Moodle.

Using the "Microsoft 365" repository, it's easier to find and upload your OneDrive files into Moodle. (No more downloading to your computer, then re-uploading.)

  • You can upload files into OneDrive from inside Moodle.

When you're working in Moodle, it's possible to upload files into your OneDrive folders, using the "Upload New File" option in the Moodle OneDrive repository (see below).

Example uses:

Instructors can:

  • Select OneDrive files to use in course content (e.g. for Moodle resources or activities).
  • Use OneDrive as a location for common content to be used in multiple courses, using the "linked" mode of inclusion.
  • Upload files into their own OneDrive folder(s) from inside Moodle's file picker (i.e. to create an online file that can be shared using the "linked" method).

Students can:

  • Select OneDrive files to attach to Forum posts (if the forum allows file attachments).
  • Upload OneDrive files directly into course assignments. 

Getting started using OneDrive in Moodle

Connecting to OneDrive from Moodle

VCC employees and students have access to Microsoft 365 services through their VCC user accounts.
Before you can access your OneDrive files inside Moodle, you must first associate your Moodle user account with your OneDrive user account:
(Once established, this connection will persist in all the Moodle courses you're enrolled in.)

  • To allow enrollees (student or instructor) to connect to OneDrive, instructors must add the "Microsoft" block to the block drawer in the right-hand column of their courses. 
    Upon their first time seeing the Microsoft block, the user will not yet be connected to Microsoft 365 services in Moodle, and the Microsoft block will look like this:
    The Moodle Microsoft block, when the user is not connected to Microsoft 365.
  • Click on the link "Connect to Microsoft 365".
  • Next, on the "Microsoft 365 / Moodle Control Panel" page, on the right side, click on "Manage Connection".

  • On the next page that appears, scroll down and click "Link your Moodle account to a Microsoft 365 account".
  • Now, return to your Moodle course and look at the the Microsoft block again. You should now see your Moodle user profile photo, and links for "My Email" and "My OneDrive".
    • "My Email" will open your Outlook Inbox in a browser tab.
    • "My OneDrive" will open your OneDrive files in a browser tab.
    • "Microsoft 365 connection settings" will take you to the "Microsoft 365/Moodle Control Panel" page.

You have now linked your Moodle account to your OneDrive account. (This applies to all of your Moodle courses. You won't need to do this connection again.)

Selecting OneDrive content in Moodle's File Picker

  • Inside the Moodle file picker, you'll see the "Microsoft 365" repository listed on the left:

    Click on "Microsoft 365" and then click on "My OneDrive" to access your OneDrive folders and files.
    (If you cannot see your files, then double-check that you've completed the "Connecting to OneDrive" steps listed above.)
  • Clicking on "My OneDrive" will show your OneDrive folders and files:

  • Once you can see the specific file you want, click it to select it:

  • On the dialog that appears, you'll see options for how to include your selected file:
    • "Make a copy..." will do a regular upload of the file into Moodle (the default setting).
    • "Link to the file" creates a live link to the file from its OneDrive location, without actually uploading a copy into Moodle.

      Click "Select this file" to include your OneDrive file.
  • Note: When selecting files that have already been used in the same course, you may see a third option called "Link to the external file". This means that the selected file has already been added into the course once, so Moodle is offering its option to create a virtual instance of the file from the originally-uploaded file. (This can save storage and reduce redundant copies of files in the course).
  • If you want to embed an image into a Text area, a Page, or anywhere else, don't use either of the "link" options for your image file. They won't display your image properly. Instead, when embedding an image, select "Make a copy of the file." 

    (This is a known issue - see below.) 

Uploading files into OneDrive from Moodle

The Microsoft 365 repository also allows you to upload files into your OneDrive folders. This lets you turn a locally-stored file into a OneDrive file which you could then include using the "linked" option.

To upload a file, click the "Upload New File" option, which looks like a link among your OneDrive files and folders:

Limits and Known Issues

There are a number of issues and limitations with using the Microsoft 365 OneDrive integration in Moodle:

User Account & Access Issues:

  • The only OneDrive files you can select in Moodle are those that you own; files that were shared to you through OneDrive's sharing feature cannot be seen or selected from OneDrive in the Moodle file picker. 
  • Students cannot use "linked" mode at all when uploading files to assignments, database activities, forum posts, workshop activities, or quizzes. In those cases, files can only be uploaded right into Moodle. (This is per Moodle's design, to prevent OneDrive source files from being edited after submission.)
  • Students can use "linked" mode when creating hyperlinks to OneDrive files, such as when using the Moodle text editor. Instructors must be aware of this when designing activities, and may want to consider disabling "online text" as a submission method in some cases.
  • Non-VCC users who can access to Moodle as Guest users cannot open OneDrive linked files. Moodle will require them to login to VCC in order to access VCC OneDrive.
    (Guests can still access non-linked, regularly uploaded files.)
  • Manually-created Moodle user accounts won't have OneDrive access. Manual Moodle user accounts (i.e. created just for testing purposes, etc.) will not be able to access OneDrive through Moodle. Those accounts don't have a VCC user network account behind them - just a Moodle user account - so when trying to access OneDrive through Moodle's file picker, manual Moodle accounts will see this error message:

Media File Issues:

  • When including media inline, "linking" remote OneDrive media files may not work or may require extra adjustments:
    • Image Files: If selecting a remote image file in OneDrive, you will see these inclusion options:
      • "Make a copy..." will do a regular upload of the file into Moodle.
        (This will work: Use this mode.)
      • "Link to the external file" creates a Moodle-style link to the file from a Moodle server location, without actually uploading a copy into Moodle.
        (This will NOT work: Your image file won't appear.)
      • "Link to the file" creates a live link to the file from its OneDrive location, without actually uploading a copy into Moodle.
        (This will NOT work: Your image file won't appear.)
    • Audio Files: Remote "linked" audio files embedded inline in resources or activities won't play and won't trigger Moodle's media filter (e.g. an audio player will appear but will have an invalid file path and no audio will be loaded). However, adding an audio file as a File resource using the appearance method "Open" will properly display the audio clip in an onscreen audio player. It may be easier to include the media as a File resource, or to not use the "linked" method when uploading audio from OneDrive.
    • Audio Files: If your audio media isn't displaying or playing inline when added as a URL resource, change its "Appearance" setting so that the link opens in a new browser tab/window. This seems to allow Sharepoint's own media player to play the media.
    • PDF Files: Remote OneDrive PDF documents included using the "linked" option will not display if "Embed" is used as the Appearance setting. Use "Automatic", "Force download", "Open", or "Pop up" instead, which all work as expected. 
  • Don't use OneDrive to add video files to Moodle courses. Instead, upload your videos into VCC Kaltura and then publish them into your Moodle courses using Kaltura's publishing methods. Features like video loading/playback, viewer analytics, and accessibility are all improved when you use Kaltura to host your videos. Use OneDrive is good for long-term offline video file storage, whenever a large video file needs to be archived but not actively presented in a Moodle course.

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