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
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
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
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!
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