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WEBPA  November 2011

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Subject:

Proposed updates to WebPA

From:

Stephen P Vickers <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

WebPA <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 3 Nov 2011 10:27:54 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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As I hope most of you are aware, we are using WebPA as a case study in 
the JISC-funded ceLTIc project which is looking at implementations of 
the IMS Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) specification.  As part of 
the work to integrate WebPA more closely with VLEs using LTI, I am 
preparing an updated version of WebPA which incorporates the following 
changes:

1.  Assessments belong to modules and not to users, so that all tutors 
on a module can view and edit them.

2.  Users are assigned a role for each module so that they can be both 
tutors and students (though not on the same module).

3.  Tutors can have some admin rights to manage users on their modules; 
for example, adding and deleting students and tutors, and produce reports.

The main visual change will be the addition of a "Change module" option 
and the name of the currently selected module appearing in the header. 
In this way tutors (and students and admins) can change from viewing one 
module to select another.  The currently selected module will be used 
when viewing assessments, collections, and administering users.  This 
module will be remembered for when a user logs out and back in, so they 
always return to the same place.

This new version of WebPA is currently being tested (anyone interested 
in joining this activity would be very welcome to do so - just contact 
me).  One issue which I am interested in feedback on, is the feature of 
the existing WebPA which allowed groups to be created with students from 
more than one module.  This facility adds the complication of how to 
handle situations when the same student is enrolled in more than one of 
the selected modules; for example:
   - should they only be included once?
   - if only included once, which one should be used (may be important 
if marks are being reported)?
   - if only included once and they are unenrolled from one module, 
should they remain in the group based on the remaining enrolment(s)?
   - should their mark apply to all of the modules in which they are 
enrolled?
Such issues do not matter as much when WebPA is operated as a separate 
system, but if we seek to offer an option to more tightly integrate it 
with a VLE, then they become more relevant.  Support for LTI, for 
example, will allow the following functionality to be incorporated:

a.  single sign-on from the VLE which automatic creation of the user 
account and module if they do not already exist; role being assigned 
based on the role within the VLE course;

b.  tutors may update WebPA with the current list of enrolments for the 
VLE course;

c.  marks awarded to students may be pushed back into the grade book 
within the VLE;

d.  students from different courses (including courses in different 
VLEs) could be combined to work together in the same module.

(Note that b and c are made possible by extensions to Basic LTI which 
are available for many/most VLEs including Moodle, Learn 9 and WebCT. 
These are expected to be part of the formal LTI specification in future 
releases.  The addition of LTI support will not remove the ability to 
log in directly as at present.)

So the question I would appreciate feedback on is: do you use the 
facility for creating groups based on students from more than one module 
and, if so, how important is it to you?

Clearly there are workarounds if this facility was not available, such 
as creating a new module using the combined list of enrolments, or using 
LTI to enrol users from different courses into the same WebPA module. 
So to complete this work it would be very helpful to know whether this 
facility should be retained, or not.

Thanks for reading this far!

Stephen
www.celtic-project.org

-- 
The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
Scotland, with registration number SC005336.

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