Microsoft Live Services for Moodle, my quickstart guide

I’ve been researching and testing this block since the early demos I saw at Reading so thought I’d share the experiences of setting up and getting everything running. Some of the links and info are a bit dispersed at the moment so hopefully this may be useful having everything in one place…

First steps…

This part is easy enough and detailed in the Getting Started guide…

  • download the block from Education Labs
  • get your App ID from Azure Services
  • configure the Live block
  • set up a test user and check authentication settings

Remember to set the auth field on the new Moodle user you’re trying to SSO with Live and also set their MSN ID field so everything matches up. If all goes well after you click the orange Sign In button and enter your Live ID. It should ask for consent and drop you into Moodle.

That’s stage 1 done… next onto Live@Edu

Registering a test domain

If like me you’re testing the service and don’t want \ can’t go out and buy a domain just for the pilot go here and grab a .co.cc domain

http://www.co.cc/

The beauty of using this site is using their DNS service (which you’ll soon need in the next step!) and of course it’s free

Timeto get enrolled with Live@Edu

Fire up your browser and load up…

http://www.microsoft.com/liveatedu/free-hosted-student-email.aspx

Again just go with the flow and fill the form in, go for the Explore option with the test domain for now

Once done you’ll get into the management side, the first thing you’ll notice is the banner stating that you need to confirm the domain… bit of a pain if you don’t have immediate access to the DNS records but luckily you can control this with .co.cc and sort everything out right now!

Hop into the .co.cc admin area and use the 2nd option then create the CNAME and MX records (I did both to be safe but you could just use the MX record), set TTL to 1H and the update should be live within an hour or so. At that point you should see the confirm domain disappear and the admin options become live.

https://eduadmin.live.com

As Live@Edu looks to be based on the Microsoft Domains service you can also check out some other admin options here…

https://domains.live.com

Similar stuff, different branding \ layout

Now get into Outlook Live and see if you can make accounts, email each other and so on to test mail flow as advised, create your new users here…

https://outlook.com/ecp/UsersGroups/Mailboxes.slab

While you’re at it, make a user called impersonation@domain.com – you’ll need this next to configure Outlook Live Services for the Moodle block

Creating the Outlook Live Impersonation Account

The next stage requires either a Vista or Server 2008 SP1 box, no Windows 7 yet (so there is still a reason to hang onto that Vista install!)

Get these packages and install from here…

Windows Powershell 2 CTP3

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=c913aeab-d7b4-4bb1-a958-ee6d7fe307bc&displaylang=en

WinRM 2.0 CTP3

https://connect.microsoft.com/WSMAN/Downloads

First of all follow the instructions here to allow Remote Execution scripts in PowerShell

http://help.outlook.com/en-us/140/cc952756.aspx

Once done use the Get-ExecutionPolicy cmdlet to check the settings went through OK

Now, connect to Outlook Live via PowerShell, just copy \ paste the commands here…

http://help.outlook.com/en-us/140/cc952755.aspx

Finally run this command to make the Impersonation Account (full info here http://help.outlook.com/en-us/140/dd207272.aspx?ref=search )
(I’ve bolded the variables below, change the Name and User as you see fit)

New-ManagementRoleAssignment -Name ImpersonationAccount -Role ApplicationImpersonation -User impersonation@domain.com

After that use this command to check that the role was assigned…

Get-ManagementRoleAssignment -User impersonation@domain.com

You should see the new role at the bottom of the list and that it is enabled.

Configure Moodle block

Now jump back into your Moodle site with your normal Moodle admin account (admin) and go to Modules > Blocks > Microsoft Live Services and enter the email address of the impersonation user, their password and the service address, for this try either…

https://outlook.com OR the specific address of your Outlook Live pod (look at the address bar when you go into Outlook Live) e.g. https://pod5001.outlook.com

Logout and try signing in with your Live Sign in test user and see if Outlook Live picks up. If you’re having issues make sure you’re running the newest version of the block from http://www.educationlabs.com/projects/moodleproduct/Pages/default.aspx

Personalising the login page

I haven’t had time to try this yet but from the documentation I can’t see why it shouldn’t work…

http://www.ditii.com/2009/03/07/windows-live-id-launches-customized-sign-in-and-registration-experience/

One issue I had with using LiveID was the generic login page, which causes problems as I can’t pass info to students about their username, support info etc as the login has to occur within the Live webpages. Luckily Microsoft already thought about this and let you personalise it, although it’s a bit clunky at the moment (I’m hoping it will land up in the Live@Edu \ Admin Center with the Outlook Live branding in the not so distant future)

Go here…

https://msm.live.com/app

Then follow these steps, the app ID should match up with the one you set up with Azure services right at the start for the Live Services sign in…

  • Click Customize Sign-in. The Customize Sign-in page appears.
  • From the Select an application drop-down list, select the site for which you want to customize the sign-in process.
  • If this is the first time you are customizing the sign-in page, click Download template. Otherwise, click Download your current configuration file.
  • Save the XML file to your local system.

Then you edit the file, save and upload back to MSM, step by step info here…

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd548487.aspx

And to figure out what all those XML codes do see here…

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd548479.aspx

Finished product

Once done you should then have a Live ID enabled SSO Moodle with collaboration and communication functions plus users gain access to all the other Live tools e.g. SkyDrive from the same login! With Office 2010 coming it could extent to Office Web Apps as well, sounds pretty good to me

If you found this useful and \ or have the Live block up and running in your live environment (no pun intended) add a comment below…

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