Conclusions of InteWeb-Gescompeval

Introduction

After finishing of developing the applications of the project, I want to write some information of the development. I’m going to begin writing something about me.

About me

My name is Juan Antonio Caballero Hernández, I’m an Engineer in Computer Sciences. I’m a member of EVALfor researching group [1] too. I have been working almost four years in different places but my main experience has been in the researching group developing Web services and developments for LMS.

Technologies used

I want to enumerate some of the languages, software tools and another technologies used in the developed of my project:

  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.
  • IDE: Eclipse.
  • Front-end: Javascript, Jquery, CSS3, Bootstrap, Twig, HTML5 and HTML4.
  • Data exchange: XML and JSON.
  • APIs of Google Chart and Google Chrome extensions.
  • Back-end: PHP5, Symfony2.
  • DB: MySQL.
  • Version Control Software: Subversion.
  • Draw diagrams: DIA.
  • Browsers: Firefox and Google Chrome.
  • LMS: Moodle 2.X.

Development added

It’s important to emphasise that besides the development of Gescompeval, Gescompeval_MD and EvalChrome, I have developed two new resources of EvalCOMIX Web service: one to get subdimensios grade through the identificators of a subdimension and an assessment and another to get assessments identificators.

I developed a new folder in EvalCOMIX_MD too as a part of the development of EvalChrome, because this application needed to get some resources from Moodle and EvalCOMIX_MD. Besides a new table is included in the DB for saving evidence. This is included in a new upgrade for EvalCOMIX_MD that after offical debugging will be add to the main version.

Final conclusion and future work

At last, I’ve finished my project. I would like to continue and improve this system. The following list has some improvements and future work:

  • Gescompeval: adding more information, like courses or qualifications.
  • Gescompeval_MD: adding graphics for gruops of students or export reports.
  • EvalChrome: developing a version for Firefox and lets assess atributes from contextual menu (where the evidence of a subdimension are added).

Cheers!

References

[1] http://www.evalfor.net/

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EvalChrome: a new client for EvalCOMIX

Introduction

In last posts, I wrote about Gescompeval and Gescompeval_MD. With those applications we have a system for assess competencies and learning outcomes in Moodle. But there is another aim in my project: provide a system for adding evidence in students’ assessnents.

For example, if a teacher is assessing a wiki page of a student, he must be able to add evidence like “this section of the wiki explains why this student has X grade in a section of the tool”. So, it is necessary to create a new client for EvalCOMIX for assessign students from a Web browser and furthermore, it has to provide a system for adding evidence.

With this requirements I’ve been developed an extension for Google Chrome Browser: EvalChrome. Once the user has setted up the extension, he will be able to open it doing click over the following icon:
evalchrome

Assessing from Web browser

When a teacher wants to assess any student, firstly he must to be logged in Moodle. When he clicks over the EvalChrome icon, a new window will open on the Web page. In this new window (which can be hidden or closed, like the user wants to), a teacher will be able to select one of his courses of Moodle, its activities and finally the student who he wants to assess. Once all this parameters have been selected, an EvalCOMIX tool will be displayed to do the assessment. It’s important to note that the activity must be configured for EvalCOMIX in Moodle previously, because if it isn’t configured, only a warning message will be show.
instrumentoevalchrome
EvalChrome gets all the necessary information of Moodle connecting with EvalCOMIX_MD. Here, I’ve developed a new folder with the resources that EvalChrome will need to do all its operations.

Adding evidence

Now, the users can assess, but if they wants to add evidence, they will be able to do through the pencil’s icon, it is up on the screen. Then, when the user mouse over a HTML tag with an identificator, the text of that tag will illuminate. In that moment, if the user clicks with the right button of the mouse to open the contextual menu, a new option called “EvalChrome” will be there.

From the new option of the contextual menu, the user can select the subdimensions of the tool which has been used to assess. If he clicks on a subdimension’s name, a message will appear on the screen saying that the evidence has been saved (if it hasn’t been saved before, in that case a warning will be showed).

anotarevidencia

If a teacher wants to delete this evidence from an assessment only has to do click on the button “Remove evidence from this assessment” and confirm it.

Once the evidence has been added, how can a user see that evidence? Only must to go to the “getting reports” option from Gescompeval_MD, and when he pass the mouse over a graphic, in the tool tip information will be listed all the evidence related with the activities that develop a competency/learning outcome. This information is gotten through the relation between Course-Competency-Subdimension-Assessment-Evidence.

Conclusion

With the development of this extension for Google Chrome the project is finished. Now a system of assess competencies and learning outcomes and adding evidence is provided. URL where the code is: https://subversion.assembla.com/svn/inteweb-gescompeval/branches/evalchrome

Finally, in my next post I will write about conclusions and impressions of developing this project.

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Gescompeval_MD: a block of Moodle 2.X to get resources from Gescompeval Web service

Introduction

In the last post, I wrote about Gescompeval, a Web service to management competencies and learning outcomes. It provides an interface for users and a Restful API to get information. In this post I’m going to write about Gescompeval_MD, a Moodle 2.X extension block that uses Gescompeval’s API for showing informacion about assessments of competencies and learning outcomes.

Gescompeval_MD provides to a teacher three operations over a course: management of competencies and learning outcomes to include them in a course, management of subdimensions to connect competencies and learning outcomes with subdimensions of assessment tools and getting reports with the values of the competencies and other relevant information.bloquegescompevalThis block is going to allow to assess competencies/learning outcomes but, how will those assessments do? This was answered in the first post of the blog: with another Web service focused on assess competencies called EvalCOMIX and a block for Moodle called EvalCOMIX_MD which uses the API of EvalCOMIX. On this way, we will be able to know which mark has each student in a competency/outcome.

EvalCOMIX

EvalCOMIX is a Web Service for e-Assessment integrated into Learning Management Systems (LMS). EvalCOMIX enables you to perform two types of activities. First, the design and management of assessment tools like Rating scale, Checklists, Rubrics, etc. Secondly, integrated within an e-learning environment (Moodle, LAMS, …), it allows the tools to be used at the time of undertaking the assessment.[1]

The EvalCOMIX tools are divided in dimensions, subdimensions and attributes. Each subdimension will be connected with a competency or a learning outcome from Gescompeval_MD. Getting the students’ grades in those subdimensions, reports will be able to be showed. This is an example of an EvalCOMIX scale:

instrumentoThe connection between EvalCOMIX and Moodle is a block extension called EvalCOMIX_MD, which lets create assessment tools of EvalCOMIX (Rating scale, Checklists, Rubrics, etc.) and assess the students of the course. These assessments can be done from the “assessment screen” provided for EvalCOMIX_MD, from this screen a user can assess any student of the course for all its activities.

pantallaevaluarGescompeval_MD will use all the assessments done by the users to calculate marks for the competencies and learning outcomes included in the course by the teacher.

Management of competencies and learning outcomes

In the option the next screen will be displayed:

incluircompetenciasHere, a teacher can include the competencies and learning outcomes that will be develop by the students through course’s activities. In the right box will be list all the competencies and learning outcomes which belongs to the Gescompeval Web service but aren’t included in the course. On the other hand, In the left box will be show the included ones.

Management of subdimensions

The next step to assess competencies is connect some of the competencies added to the course before with subdimensions of EvalCOMIX assessment tools. To do that, a teacher have to click in management of subdimensions and a screen will be showed. Firstly, the teacher will be able to select from his/her EvalCOMIX tools and secondly he/she will have to select one subdimension of the selected instrument. After that, in a new screen will be listed all the competencies/learning outcomes included in the course prepared to be added to the subdimension by the teacher.

relacionarsubdimensionNow, the competencies will get the marks from the subdimensions which they are connected with and will do an average of those marks to get the final one. These marks will be shown to the user from the reports.

Getting reports

Once some assessments had been done, a teacher can get reports about the competencies and learnint outcomesog the course from gettins reports option. Here, the teacher will be able to choose two types of reports: a report of all students of the course or a report of only one student. Besides, through a check box a teacher can choose if the connections between competencies and learning outcomes must to be keep in mind.

The reports are dynamic graphics developed using Google Charts. When the user place the mouse over a graphic, some information is showed in a popup: code, name and value of the competency/outcome and tasks of the course where the competency/outcome has been developed.

graficas

Conclusion and future connection

Now, the main aim of the project is completed: competencies and learning outcomes can be assessed from a LMS using Web services. URL where the code is: https://subversion.assembla.com/svn/inteweb-gescompeval/branches/gescompeval_md

With the next aplication of the project, some evidence will be able to be selected from any Web page and connected with the subdimensions of EvalCOMIX tools. This evidence will be show to the user from the reports of Gescompeval_MD.

References

[1] http://evalcomix.uca.es

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Gescompeval: a Web service for Managing Competencies and Learnings Outcomes Introduction

Introduction

In the first post I described my final year project (InteWeb-Gescompeval) in general. In that post I commented that the project is made up of three applications: Gescompeval, Gescompeval_MD and a New Client for EvalCOMIX (still without final name). Today, I want to explain and give details about the first application of them: Gescompeval Web service.

What´s Gescompeval and what´s the point? It´s easy to answer: Gescompeval is a Rest Web service for managing competencies and learning outcomes (yes, it´s the title ;-)). The competencies and learning outcomes are in an educational context, therefore they refer to abilities and/or skills which a student have to get in a course, activity or career.

It´s important to note that depending on the paper, the words “competency” or “learning outcome” can have other similar meaning (but not exactly the same). This is an issue which I´m not going to go into because I want to center on software.

Gescompeval has two parts: the Web interface and the Web server. Like I said in the last post, the API of Gescompeval only offer resources, not post them, so a Web interface is necesssary and it´s described above. All of this has been developed with Symfony2, a PHP MVC framework [1], because the clients have their applications in PHP and they wanted this application in the same language.

Web Interface

Before enter in the Web interface of Gescompeval you have to login with your user. There are two types of user: administrators and users. Here is the main screen after login as an Administrator user:

pantallainterfazgescompeval

An Administrator user refers to the administrator in charge of create an index of competencies and learning outcomes (for instance, the administrator of the LMS used in a university). Besides, he will be able to create users for the application.

On the other hand, a normal User could be a teacher get involved in the creation of the index and he can do only the CRUD operations for the learning outcomes.

As you can see in the previous picture there are some options: “Home” to go to the main page, “Competencies” for CRUD operations of competencies, “Learning Outcomes” for CRUD operations of learning outcomes, “Users” for creating users and editing the profile and “Help” to download the manual and read information about the author (me!).

For Gescompeval I´ve created one bundle called EvalforGescompevalBundle and for the User Management, I´ve used a FOSUserBundle [2].

All of these are usual options and it´s not necessary screens or much more explanation. However, there is one that I want to explain a little: the connections between competencies and learning outcomes. In the next picture is displayed the screen for connecting a competency with leaning outcomes.

pantallarelacionargescompeval

These connections are a many to many relation, because from the option of “Learning Outcomes” you can connect some competencies to a learning outcome.

In Gescompeval these connections are not used in other options, but through the API you can get them and use them for get information. For example, an use of this could be the next: in a LMS, a teacher gives a grade G to a competency C for a student S. If the teacher wants to get the grade of a learning outcome O which is connected with the competency C, he can keep in mind the grade of the competency C through the connections to get an average mean for the grade of the learning outcome O.

API of the Web service

As a Web service, Gescompeval has some URI´s to get information of the database from another Web application. It´s important to say that all of them are in a Restfull form. These URI´s are listed and described aboved (note: ability refers a competency or a learning outcome):

  • api/competencies → Get all the competencies
  • api/results → Get all the learning outcomes
  • api/competencies/ID → Get the competency whose identificator is ID
  • api/results/ID → Get the learning outcome whose identificator is ID
  • api/ID/competencies → Get the connected competencies with an ability whose identificator is ID
  • api/ID/results → Get the connected learning outcomes with an ability whose identificator is ID
  • api/abilities → Get the abilities whose identificators are received by a XML file by POST.
  • api/connectedabilities → Get the connected abilities with the abilities whose identificators are received by a XML file by POST.

In the last post I said that there were only four URI´s, but finally other three have been created.

Conclusion and future connection with Moodle

Actually Gescompeval is finished, but I can´t give a Web page to use Gescompeval because it´s installed in a test server yet. However I can give the URL where the code is: https://subversion.assembla.com/svn/inteweb-gescompeval/branches/Gescompeval

In next posts I´ll describe the connection between Gescompeval and Moodle throught Gescompeval_MD, an extension for Moodle which gets resources of Gescompeval throught of the API.

References

[1] http://symfony.com/

[2] https://github.com/FriendsOfSymfony/FOSUserBundle

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Introduction to InteWeb-Gescompeval

Introduction

Well, at last I decided to create a blog to write about my current project: Inteweb-Gescompeval (integration of Web services to make the e-assessment easier and manage the competence of the students). This is my final year project of Engineering in Computer Sciences and it is participating in the CUSL competition.

In this blog I am going to explain what the development is like, difficulties found and choices made. However, in this first post I will only explain what involves the project and the software architecture used.

This project has three main objetives:

  1. Developing a Rest Web service for managing competencies and learning outcomes.
  2. Developing a plug-in for Moodle 2.X which will allow to create some kind of reports about competencies and learning outcomes got by students according to their assessments in the activities of a course.
  3. Developing a client for making the assessment of module activities connected to a Web service easier, like Mediawiki or WordPress.

Below a brief explanation of each objetive and how I am going to develop it.

Gescompeval

Gescompeval will be a Rest Web service for managing competencies and learning outcomes but the API will only offer resources, not post them. So, for CRUD operations an interface is needed and it will be developed too.

The idea is with Gescompeval, administrators and teachers with capabilites could create a competencies and learning outcomes index. Once they had been created, connect competencies with learning outcomes (and vice versa) is possible too.

The first (maybe will be more in the future) API resources are:

  • Get competencies.
  • Get learning outcomes.
  • Get learning outcomes connected with a competency.
  • Get competencies connected with a learning outcome.

Gescompeval_MD

Once an index of competencies and learning outcomes is created with Gescompeval, an application for using that index will be necessary. This application will be a block plug-in for Moodle 2.X called Gescompeval_MD and it will allow to create reports which will cointain information about the grade of the students of a Moodle course.

For knowing which mark has each student in a competency/outcome come into play another Web service and another Moodle block plug-in: EvalCOMIX and EvalCOMIX_MD [1], respectively.

EvalCOMIX is a Web Service for e-Assessment integrated into Learning Management Systems (LMS). EvalCOMIX enables you to perform two types of activities. First, the design and management of assessment tools like Rating scale, Checklists, Rubrics, etc. Secondly, integrated within an e-learning environment (Moodle, LAMS, …), it allows the tools to be used at the time of undertaking the assessment. This integration is called EvalCOMIX_MD.

The EvalCOMIX tools are divided in dimensions, subdimensions and attributes. Each subdimension will be connected with a competency or a learning outcome from Gescompeval_MD. Getting the students’ grades in those subdimensions, reports will be able to be showed.

New client of EvalCOMIX

With the use of the ASCETA modules activities [2], it is possible to create activities in Moodle connected with Web services like Mediawiki or WordPress, and with EvalCOMIX it is possible to assess them like another activity. However, this assessment will always be inside Moodle. So, the last objective of the project is to make this assessment easier, allowing to make it inside the relationated Web service.

For example, if a teacher wants to assess a student’s Mediawiki page, with this extension (called new client of EvalCOMIX temporally) he will be able to open an EvalCOMIX client from the browser which allows him to mark the attributes that must be assessed according to the current Mediawiki page. Besides, he will be able to add some evidence of the assessment selecting text of the Web page (in this case a Mediawiki page).

Architecture

A schema about the software architecture is displayed below. As example of ASCETA module activities, Mediawiki is included in the graphic but is isn’t connected with the new client of EvalCOMIX because it is decoupled from Mediawiki, it works for any Web page.

 

arquitectura

Gescompeval_MD is related with Gescompeval (obviously) and with EvalCOMIX_MD for getting the students’ information and the structure of the tools from EvalCOMIX.

Otherwise, the new client of EvalCOMIX must be connected with EvalCOMIX_MD to get information from EvalCOMIX and to save the made assessment.

It is important to emphasise that every module or plug-in that has to be development, it will be as decoupled as been possible.

Conclusion

I have explained the project briefly, the aspects it includes and the main objectives. In following posts I will comment more on technical details and problems that have appeared as I make progress in the project.

References

[1] http://evalcomix.uca.es

[2] http://asceta.uca.es

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