Intro<br />iCoper (http://www.icoper.org/) is a project which goal is to integrate technology enhanced learning (TEL) with competency-based learning. To achieve this goal different learning scenarios were created and different web environments and services were designed.<br />iPolio (http://htk.tlu.ee/icoper/) is one of the prototypes developed to make few of the iCoper scenarios available for endusers. The scenarios are:<br />
Competency based online course design (Search, retrieval and recommendation of Unit of Learning (UoL))
Submission of Learning Outcome Profiles to iCoper Content Space (OICS)
iPolio is based on Elgg e-portfolio environment (http://elgg.org/). Elgg is an open source social networking platform. The core functionalities of the Elgg are:<br />
authorization and access control (on artifact level)
user profile (widgets technology)
groups (widgets technology)
information dissemination (e-mails, forums, blogs, micro blogs)
user desktop for mashing up information flow from the different parts of Elgg
Web Service and RSS
Elgg runs on MySQL and PHP. Among other fields of use it is very useful for online or blended learning course planning and execution. Instructor has range of tools that she can use for publishing learning materials (file store) and for supporting learning activities (blogging, commenting, ...)<br />Technical information:<br />Elgg iCoper prototype is based on searching for Units of Learning (UOL) and importing those into Elgg as courses, based on the Groups plugin. iCoper Elgg plugin is extending the default Groups for them to be able to handle the additional information. Each UOL entity can have multiple Learning Outcome Definitions (LOD) assigned to it. Along with Assessment Methods and Teaching Methods. The single UOL entry holds pointers to instances of every type that are situated in according repositories of OICS portal. Prototype is able to show information for those in single entry view page along with other information. Elgg prototype prefers not to store the data inside it's own database, in most of the cases only unique identifiers are stored. Later the system fetches the information from corresponding .atom feeds on demand.<br />Following document focuses on functionalities added to Elgg during the iCoper project. It describes in details how the users can interact with the prototype and what is the technical background. We ask your help to test this prototype and evaluate the scenarios (how relevant they are and how well they are implemented).<br />Login<br />For the registration and authorization the Elgg standard functionality is used:<br />
Go to the URL http://htk.tlu.ee/icoper/
Register and login
Competency based online course design<br />User (teacher or course designer) can create new course from existing building blocs -Units of Learning – (UoL):<br />
Define what is the outcome of your course? What competences your students will have when they finish the course.
Tip: there is no place for recording this outcome but keep this goal in your mind.<br />
Search Units of Learning that enable to achieve this competence.
Tip: search is available from iPolio starting page and also from Tools menu iPolio command.
Read the description of Unit of Learning to judge is it suitable for your course.
Tip: in the list of search results click on the title of Unit of Learning.
Technical information:<br />
Learning Outcome Definition (LOD) is presented in Unit of Learning (UoL) description. This description is based on Learning Object Metadata specification (LOM). Because initial specification does not have description of Learning Outcomes Learning Outcome field extends this specification. Learning outcome field stores link to the Open Content Space (OICS) where the learning outcome descriptions are stored.
If needed read more detail description and view the content of Unit of Learning
Tip: click on link View more metadata and then have a look on Location field.
If the Unit of Learning is suitable start new course based on that
Tip: click on link Import to Elgg and select Import as a new course.
Technical information:<br />
When user is importing UoL to Ellg the data is mostly stored inside Elgg Group object ad metadata fields (specific to Elgg database structure and easy extension of metadata based on standalone metadata mapping logic). Prototypes prefers storing unique identifiers and most of the additional data retrieval is handled from the corresponding .atom feeds (prototype knows how to construct the URIs for that based on provided identifiers and the type of element). Title, description, tags, Learning Outcomes, Teaching Methods and Assessment Methods (identifiers) are stored in the database according to description provided earlier.
Continue searching and add few more units to started course
Tip: select course from the list Import to existing course. List will appear when you start importing.
Have a look on course and try to understand what is there and how it is generated?
Tip: Tools -> Groups -> Your Groups.
Tips for understanding the Course page:
Course description is from the first Unit of learning.
Tags, Learning Outcomes, Learning assessments, Teaching methods, Group files and Group bookmarks are from all imported Units. If some field is empty they were missing from Units.
If the Unit is IMS LD package then its files are extracted under Group files section.
If the Unit links to external content the link is presented in Group Bookmarks section.
Data in Recommendation section will appear when Units with similar Outcomes are imported to Elgg (to different courses).
Technical information:<br />Recommendation system is based on the identifiers of Learning Outcomes, Teaching and Assessment Methods assigned to certain Groups (courses). It is looking for courses that have the same identifiers assigned, based on that the recommendation is made. The recommendations are generated dynamically on demand.<br />
Modify course information. It is recommended that you change the group membership permissions from Closed to Open. Then students can enroll themselves to the course (this will simplify the prototype testing).
Tip: on course page click on link Edit group.
Submission of Learning Outcome Profile<br />End-users of this scenario are students. They have right to submit their Learning Outcome Profile (export learners profile from Elgg to external database). But teachers roll is to assign outcomes to the students.<br />Achievements<br />To assign learning outcomes to the students:<br />
Enroll learners to your course.
If the course is open ask somebody to join with it.
If the course is closed or you are tired for waiting until somebody will join you can enroll students by yourself. Unfortunately Elgg standard procedure enables only invite users who are your "friends". So at first you have to make some friends:
In the top right Search box enter some usernames (E.g. Aili, Lili, Pjotr, Martin, Meelis, Priit). On their profile page click on link Add friend.
When you have already some friends go back to your course page, click on link Invite friends and add them to your course.
Simulate that your course is finishing. Determine which students achieved the objectives of the course?
Tip: click on Achievements link on your course page.
Technical information:<br />Each course in Elgg is based on information from at least one UOL entry. All information is then accordingly added to Group object metadata values. Those achievements are based on the information from LODs. Only identifiers of single Learning Outcome Definitions are stored in Elgg Group object metadata. System has several helper methods that are parsing information live from OICS LOD object .atom feed.<br />
When teacher confirms learners achievements the identifiers for corresponding LODs are added to a standalone table, where all achieved outcomes are stored. Every outcome is connected to the unique user identifier generated by the system for every individual user. Every outcome has a state flag, that is showing if a student has already submitted that into the OICS profile or not.
Now the ball is on students’ hands. If you would like to test the submission of learning Outcome Profile ask some other course designer to enroll you and to appoint achievements to you.<br />Profile update<br />For Learning Outcome Profile submission:<br />
Create a user account in iCoper Content Space (OICS) - an external database for storing the profiles (this procedure should be carried out only once).
Go to the Settings section.
Click on link Configure your tools.
Fill in the Open ICOPER Content Space form and Register.
It is also recommended to click on Save button to sore your data in iPolio for later use.
Technical information:<br />When user activates profile update process, the prototype is sending still unsubmitted Learning Outcomes to the OICS. The Learning Outcome requests are sent as: application/palo+xml;type=achievement<br />The XML of the request has information: namespaces (Atom and custom PALO namespace), title (LOD title), content (LOD description), link (LOD URI). All requests are structured according to provided specifications.<br />Example:<br /><entry xmlns="
><br /><title xml:lang="
>underpinning knowledge</title><br /><content xml:lang="
>develop awareness of the underpinning knowledge relating to the key roles of social work;</content><br /><link rel="
><br /></entry><br />
You can look your profile on iPolio personal profile or Dashboard
Tip: click on link Edit page and drag iPolio profile viewer from the Widget gallery to the page. Save.
Technical information:<br />When student is using Dashboard widget for viewing profile, Elgg prototype is fetching the currently authenticated user profile information from OICS repository (icoper-user-service/users/USER_IDENTIFIER/palo.atom), USER_IDENTIFIER is stored in Elgg and is connected to a user object (the information is added during the profile registration process, users can also enter credentials for already existing profiles).<br />
Users is shown a listing of Achievements, each has title and content (description) provided earlier. In addition the title is also a link into the OICS, where user can get full information on that achievement.