The Moodle Email Plugin – What You Need to Know

The Moodle email plugin is able to provide an email based self-registration that requires an admin confirmation as opposed to a user confirmation. The email confirmation is sent to the email account of the primary admin for approval. Once the primary admin clicks onto the confirmation link, an email welcoming the user is sent out automatically. Should approval be attempted by way of the user admin interface will not permit an approval.

The Moodle Email Plugin – What You Need to Know

The body of the email is able to be customized from within the language file; and is based upon the email based module of self-registration default. Email messages that are sent out to users can be edited via the language file or by utilizing the language editor within Moodle.

Messages that are sent via Moodle are able to go through either a SMTP server connection or an email function PHP. There are cases in which the email function of PHP has been disabled (this is dependent upon the company hosting the server) in order to prevent emails to be sent via websites that are compromised by spammers.

In order to get around this problem, the configuration of the email can be altered for connection by way of an SMTP server. The SMTP connection is able to link an email with login credentials that will authenticate the email address of the sender. This is beneficial due to the fact that there are servers that will not allow emails that are not authenticated to pass through.

The following will assist with configuring Moodle 2.3 message for SMTP use.

Configuring Moodle SMTP Settings

1. Log into the dashboard for Moodle

2. Go to “Site Administration> Plugins>Message Outputs> Email”

a. This is found in the sections marked settings

3. By way of the page marked Email, configure the settings for SMTP. Moodle uses a PHP mail function by default to send emails. Should an administrator choose for email to a certain SMTP server (such as Yahoo or Gmail) the configuration settings are able to be adjusted to permit for a variant server that will be utilized.

Settings for the Configuration of Email Messaging

  • SMTP hosts – The server that the email address is connected to is the SMTP host. The SMTP is to look approximately as the following: secure33.inmotionhosting.com (SSL) or mail.yourdomain.com(None)
  • SMTP security – Encryption for the email data that is outgoing will occur or not. The setting for the SSL has to match the form of the connection that has been utilized for the name of the SMTP host.
  • SMTP password – This is intended to be the password for the precise address of the email that is currently being established.
  • SMTP session limit – This can prevent spam entering from the same sending/receiving session that is on a server. Limiting this to one will require a freshly derived session for the email to be properly set.
  • No-reply address – This is displayed in the email address returning a message that prevents the recipient of the email from responding to the sender.
  • Character set – This permits the set Character to be altered to UTF-8, GB18030, EUC-JP, GB2312, ISO-2022-JP or SHIFT-JIS
  • Allows user to select the user set – Users are able to alter the Character set
  • Newline characters in the mail – The character form is set that is used for characters that are Newline

Once the necessary fields have the proper information regarding the email within them, you must click on “Save changes.” Note that email message that are sent to the server for Gmail via Moodle will be sent as a user that has been authenticated.

Alterative Mail Systems for Moodle

By way of the Moodle plugin repository there are quite a few alternative systems available. The following is a listing of possibilities that can be utilized:

  • Standard Messaging System
  • Internal mail
  • Quickmail or Quickmail v2
  • Mail (activity module)
  • eMail block
  • Activity Module: Mail
  • Contact Form Block
  • Quick Comments Bock
  • Enhanced Message Block

Moodle Message Block

The permission system within Moodle has rules pertaining to what certain users are permitted to do. The message block within the plugin can be susceptible to misuse by users, therefore there is a simple trick that will allow for a new role that will be derived in order to cease certain users from using the feature. To do so, the below must be followed:

  1. By way of the admin menu within the site, go to “users-permissions-define roles”
  2. ‘Authenticated user’ is to be selected
  3. The button marked ‘duplicate role’ needs to be clicked. Once clicked, you will be asked if you are sure that you wish to continue with this option, answer, yes.
  4. The duplicate role will appear on the list, simply click the button marked edit.
  5. At this point, the role can be renamed (an example for the renaming is “banned from messaging”)
  6. Search the permissions list for items that are related to messaging. There are two, in particular that need to be found: Read all messages on site and Send messages to any user.
  7. The tick box next to the above stated items need in order for it to change to PROHIBIT and the changes need to be saved.

Once the changes have been made, as the administrator, you will be left with the ability to ban users from messaging by way of the Moodle email plugin. Prohibit is used rather than prevent due to it ceasing the banned user from messaging should they have a higher role level elsewhere on the site. To complete this action, as the administrator, the banned user must be assigned a role. In order to do so, you must, yet again, venture to “user-permissions-assign systems roles”. From there, you will be able to select the banned from messaging role and add the users that are banned to the list. Once that is done, the job will be completed.

Conclusion

The Moodle email plugin allows for groups to communicate swiftly and easing with one another. Moodle is ideal for the purpose of teaching (i.e. student-teacher relations and communication). The permission system within the plugin allow roles to be assigned in order to avoid abuse of the features and more. A primary administrator will oversee the interactions and assign roles onto users for the objective of fairness and efficiency.

The Moodle email plugin benefits all uses of this LMS so it is imperative you familiarize yourself with the features.

Nicole Lewis is the Lead Author & Editor of MyLMStips. MyLMStips is dedicated to providing the most engaging topics, information, tips and tricks surrounding Moodle®. It's a place where Moodle® users can receive guidance on how to get the most out of it and increase their productivity and progress.