Indicators code update

For the last couple of months we have been re-writing the Indicators backend code. It is hoped that this will allow other institutions to implement the Indicators dashboard and reproduce the charts and graphs we have produced to date for their own institutions. If they are using Moodle 1.9x then it should be a very simple exercise involving some changes to a configuration file. Institutions with other LMS will require changes to the extraction SQL that extracts the data into the Indicators database. The classes beginning with MOODLE in the following class list will have to be modified to suit their own LMS.

While our strategy is not ideal in that it is not fully embedded into the LMS it is a reasonable compromise between what the IT folk will allow and functionality for the teaching staff. This systems performs alongside a simple Moodle block that displays a student effort tracker and links to the Indicators application. It may be worthwhile investigating an XML-RPC relationship with Moodle so that at least authentication is shared.

There are too many todo list items to display at the moment but hopefully you will get a sense of where we are at.

The following PHP classes have been implemented so far:

  • AUTH. This class has methods to do with system and institution (LDAP) authentication as well as session tracking.
  • CHART. An object with methods associated with the data gathering and displaying of the charts and graphs
  • COURSE. An object with methods associated with the Indicators course table.
  • DATABASE. Database creation and caching object.
  • FACTORY. A wrapper class that contains all the classes and a range of configuration variables from a config file.
  • LOG. A simple object associated with the log table for tracking of user activity,  database rollback identifiers and update tracking.
  • MOODLEACCUMULATOR. A class with methods to facilitate the extraction of daily activity records for each student.
  • MOODLECOURSE. Contains methods for the extraction of data for the course table.
  • MOODLESTUDENT. Methods associated with the extraction of data for the student table.
  • STUDENT. An object with methods associated with the Indicators student table.
  • TERM. Methods associated with date and times for term calculations.

This is the login page for the Indicators site.

Once authenticated users will be take to a landing page which presents a range of different reports and applications available to that user along with a list of courses that the user has coordinated.

 

The charting engine we look like using is Fusion charts. The following is a screen grab showing the hits versus results for a single course.

The feedback area at the bottom requires more thought but we are considering an area where the staff member can comment on their interpretation of what is happening on the chart and even submit this chart to a discussion are when the chart can be commented on by other users of the system. From a research standpoint it will make life a little easier as the methods in the various classes will allow much quicker querying of the Moodle database.

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