* Since the writing of this post, Nanogong has in fact been re released and there are several options for incorporating it into Moodle. *
The most popular audio recorder in Moodle has for a long time been the Nanogong applet. Recently however Nanogong support for Moodle has dropped behind the Moodle development curve. Since around Moodle 2.1 (we are currently at Moodle 2.2+) the Nanogong recording repository and other Nanogong Moodle plugins, no longer work.
As I finished up the PoodLL audio and video recording repository I took a little time out to see how the Nanogong repository worked. In Moodle 2.0 there was for developers the option to embed custom content in an iFrame in a repository. This was how the Nanogong recorder was inserted into the repository. For whatever reason, at some point that option was removed in later versions of Moodle.
The reason that some of the other mods that use Nanogong no longer work is that the Moodle file system changed extensively in Moodle 2. Many mods including PoodLL required major rewrites to work in Moodle 2. And some, like Paul Daniels from netcourse.org, decided that their development time would be better invested in mobile solutions.
No, not technically anyway. The same method we used to add the PoodLL recorders to the Moodle repository could be used to get the Nanogong repository working again. In fact I went as far as getting the Nanogong recorder to display in a repository in Moodle 2.2, so I am sure it is possible. I posted on several Moodle forums and in the Moodle issue tracker, to see if anyone was interested in seeing that taken to completion. But I have had only one response.
I noted earlier today that someone is working on a Nanogong TinyMCE plugin. But as far as I know the only current option to record audio directly into a Moodle repository, or to set recording questions and assignments is PoodLL.
The main difference is that Nanogong is written in Java and requires that Java is installed on the user’s computer. PoodLL on the other hand requires that Adobe Flash be installed. According to [cough] Adobe, Flash is present on 99% of browsers while Java is present on only 79%. Neither can be assumed to be present on mobile devices however. The other major difference is that PoodLL 2 records via a server in the “cloud,” and then passes that on to Moodle. Nanogong records locally, ie on the user’s computer, and then uploads it to Moodle.
The main differences are summarized in the table below.
Of course I have a bias, as the developer of PoodLL, but I genuinely believe PoodLL is the better option currently. Nanogong is not reliably supported for Moodle 2 and at the time of writing there are not any mods available to use it from in Moodle 2.2. That may change however, as shortly we will probably see some Nanogong mods come through, especially since the broken Nanogong repository could be fixed relatively easily.
Nanogong does however have the ability to record standalone, and if the user’s access to the greater internet is limited or slow, Nanogong would be a good option.
What do you think? Have you tried either or both? If so please leave a comment.