External Database   Enrolments         Alex Walker   City of Glasgow College
The City of Glasgow College • Colleges in Scotland merging into  regional super-colleges. • City of Glasgow College formed...
The City of Glasgow College     Bb      8.0                          m                         1.9.8                      ...
The City of Glasgow College                m                2.4.0        3,932 Courses       16,102 Active Users
The Merger• Colleges merged in Summer 2011.• We had to launch a new Moodle while every other IT system in the college was ...
Plan AStudentRecord     LDAP    MoodleSystem
Plan B• Lots of IT systems changing at the same time made it hard to get time to discuss Plan A with the IT team.• Too man...
Plan B• Pull data from student record system into ‘middle man’ database.• Use the database structure to manage enrolments....
Plan BStudent           SQLRecord             Moodle           DBSystem
Plan B• Moodle comes with several enrolment plugins.• One lets you take enrolments from an external database.
Plan B          Data gets       Exported in          exported         a format          from MIS.    Moodle understandsStu...
Database Structure• Required data exported from UNITe student record system.• Relational database structure used to manage...
Database Structure• Students belong to the class group.• Class groups get assigned to a course.• Courses may be associated...
Meta Link Mayhem• Our database structure has its own meta-link system.• Don’t do this! Use Moodle’s built-in meta-link fac...
Meta Link Mayhem• In Moodle 2, you can add users directly to metalinked courses. You couldn’t in Moodle 1.9.• We were merg...
Student Enrolments  Data export                Lecturers add                Migrated from student                 cohorts ...
Sta! Enrolments   Data came                    Migrated  from legacy                   from old    systems.               ...
Getting Data from MIS• Central College (Glasgow) developed a front-end for the Unit-e student record system, called Enquir...
Getting Data from MIS• Enquirer generates a CSV of the student usernames and their class cohorts.• This CSV is automatical...
Getting Data into Moodle• Moodle expects to read from one database table.• We used a view to pull the sta! and student lis...
Scalability• 16,000 students.• 20,000 student:cohort records.• 1,500 cohorts added to top level courses.• About 30 ‘All St...
Scalability• Entire view contains 715,604 rows.• Takes 5 seconds to generate.• Moodle generates this view every time a use...
Scalability
Scalability• Cache the contents of the view in a regular table.• Index the username column to speed up Moodle’s query.• Up...
Scalability• select * from allEnrolments where username=“awalker” 3.03 seconds• select * from cachedEnrolments where usern...
Administration• When using the SQL database, only the developer could look into issues or change enrolments.• Wrote a fron...
Finder Tool
Finder Tool
Finder Tool
Finder Tool
Finder Tool
Finder Tool
Finder Tool
Finder Tool
Finder Tool
Finder Tool
Finder Tool
Finder Tool
Finder Tool
Building Finder 2.0• Finder can’t be easily released, because it’s tightly tied to our custom enrolment database.• Work ha...
Building Finder 2.0• Renamed ‘Finder’ to ‘Inspector’.• More detailed reporting tools.• ‘Course info panels’ to show number...
Finder Tool
Finder Tool
Finder Tool
Finder Tool
Finder Tool
Finder Tool
Finder Tool
Finder Tool
Advantages• Latest enrolment data automatically pulled from MIS every night.• Lecturers can add students to their courses ...
Advantages• Non-developers have the power to check, modify and troubleshoot enrolment issues.• Learning technologists have...
Disadvantages• Lecturers and students don’t show up on list of participants until they log in for the "rst time.• Newly en...
Finder Tool
Disadvantages• ‘Yet another system’ for Learning Technologists to use.• New Learning Technologists already familiar with M...
Future Improvements• Working on Finder 2.0 (Inspector), with a greater emphasis on reports and a smoother work#ow.• Get ri...
Questions      Alex WalkerCity of Glasgow College
Enrolments using external database
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Enrolments using external database

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Enrolments using external database

  1. 1. External Database Enrolments Alex Walker City of Glasgow College
  2. 2. The City of Glasgow College • Colleges in Scotland merging into regional super-colleges. • City of Glasgow College formed in 2011, when three Glasgow city centre colleges merged.
  3. 3. The City of Glasgow College Bb 8.0 m 1.9.8 m 1.9.8469 Courses 672 Courses 609 Courses628 Sta! Accounts 363 Sta! Accounts 157 Sta! Accounts
  4. 4. The City of Glasgow College m 2.4.0 3,932 Courses 16,102 Active Users
  5. 5. The Merger• Colleges merged in Summer 2011.• We had to launch a new Moodle while every other IT system in the college was changing.• New Novell login system, new student record system.
  6. 6. Plan AStudentRecord LDAP MoodleSystem
  7. 7. Plan B• Lots of IT systems changing at the same time made it hard to get time to discuss Plan A with the IT team.• Too many ‘fringe use cases’ (e.g. students with multiple part-time courses).
  8. 8. Plan B• Pull data from student record system into ‘middle man’ database.• Use the database structure to manage enrolments.• Gave our team much more control over enrolments.
  9. 9. Plan BStudent SQLRecord Moodle DBSystem
  10. 10. Plan B• Moodle comes with several enrolment plugins.• One lets you take enrolments from an external database.
  11. 11. Plan B Data gets Exported in exported a format from MIS. Moodle understandsStudent SQLRecord Moodle DBSystem
  12. 12. Database Structure• Required data exported from UNITe student record system.• Relational database structure used to manage enrolments
  13. 13. Database Structure• Students belong to the class group.• Class groups get assigned to a course.• Courses may be associated with one or more units.
  14. 14. Meta Link Mayhem• Our database structure has its own meta-link system.• Don’t do this! Use Moodle’s built-in meta-link facility.• There were reasons we had to do this.
  15. 15. Meta Link Mayhem• In Moodle 2, you can add users directly to metalinked courses. You couldn’t in Moodle 1.9.• We were merging three Moodles, with thousands of courses and existing metalinks.• mdl_course_metalink table was removed from Moodle 2.
  16. 16. Student Enrolments Data export Lecturers add Migrated from student cohorts to from old record sys. courses systems.student › cohort cohort › course course › unit city12345 HNDPHO student city12345 HNDPHO11 student city12345 HNDPHO12 student Moodle
  17. 17. Sta! Enrolments Data came Migrated from legacy from old systems. systems.lecturer › course course › unit awalker HNDPHO lecturer awalker HNDPHO11 lecturer awalker HNDPHO12 lecturer Moodle
  18. 18. Getting Data from MIS• Central College (Glasgow) developed a front-end for the Unit-e student record system, called Enquirer.• Central College is now part of the City of Glasgow College.• We get Enquirer for free.
  19. 19. Getting Data from MIS• Enquirer generates a CSV of the student usernames and their class cohorts.• This CSV is automatically picked up at midnight by our Moodle server, which adds these records to our enrolment database.
  20. 20. Getting Data into Moodle• Moodle expects to read from one database table.• We used a view to pull the sta! and student lists into one table.
  21. 21. Scalability• 16,000 students.• 20,000 student:cohort records.• 1,500 cohorts added to top level courses.• About 30 ‘All Student’ courses x 16,000 students = 480,000 rows!
  22. 22. Scalability• Entire view contains 715,604 rows.• Takes 5 seconds to generate.• Moodle generates this view every time a user logs in.• During peak times, Moodle was slow and unreliable.
  23. 23. Scalability
  24. 24. Scalability• Cache the contents of the view in a regular table.• Index the username column to speed up Moodle’s query.• Update the cache regularly with the latest contents of the view.
  25. 25. Scalability• select * from allEnrolments where username=“awalker” 3.03 seconds• select * from cachedEnrolments where username=“awalker” 0.01 seconds
  26. 26. Administration• When using the SQL database, only the developer could look into issues or change enrolments.• Wrote a front-end, allowing the Learning Technologists to modify and troubleshoot enrolment issues.
  27. 27. Finder Tool
  28. 28. Finder Tool
  29. 29. Finder Tool
  30. 30. Finder Tool
  31. 31. Finder Tool
  32. 32. Finder Tool
  33. 33. Finder Tool
  34. 34. Finder Tool
  35. 35. Finder Tool
  36. 36. Finder Tool
  37. 37. Finder Tool
  38. 38. Finder Tool
  39. 39. Finder Tool
  40. 40. Building Finder 2.0• Finder can’t be easily released, because it’s tightly tied to our custom enrolment database.• Work has just started on Finder 2.0, which is modular and can be released for those just using Moodle.
  41. 41. Building Finder 2.0• Renamed ‘Finder’ to ‘Inspector’.• More detailed reporting tools.• ‘Course info panels’ to show number of assignments, forum posts and "les in a course.• New ‘Timeline’ feature to see what a user has done, or what’s done on a course.
  42. 42. Finder Tool
  43. 43. Finder Tool
  44. 44. Finder Tool
  45. 45. Finder Tool
  46. 46. Finder Tool
  47. 47. Finder Tool
  48. 48. Finder Tool
  49. 49. Finder Tool
  50. 50. Advantages• Latest enrolment data automatically pulled from MIS every night.• Lecturers can add students to their courses themselves, by cohort.• New students automatically see their courses when they log in for the "rst time.
  51. 51. Advantages• Non-developers have the power to check, modify and troubleshoot enrolment issues.• Learning technologists have the power to check and "x issues themselves.• No waiting for a developer to check issues.• Developer able to take holidays.
  52. 52. Disadvantages• Lecturers and students don’t show up on list of participants until they log in for the "rst time.• Newly enrolled users won’t show up until the next time they log in.• Can’t manage database enrolments through Moodle. Have to edit them at the database level.
  53. 53. Finder Tool
  54. 54. Disadvantages• ‘Yet another system’ for Learning Technologists to use.• New Learning Technologists already familiar with Moodle still have to learn Finder.• Requires a developer in-house to oversee and manage.
  55. 55. Future Improvements• Working on Finder 2.0 (Inspector), with a greater emphasis on reports and a smoother work#ow.• Get rid of meta links at the database level. Use Moodle’s meta links, or don’t use them at all.
  56. 56. Questions Alex WalkerCity of Glasgow College

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