This year, we have shifted focus on the Moodle/ProMonitor project. Before synchronising the gradebook/markbook at Further Education level, we are exploring the use of data to support teaching and learning. This will complete the picture before roll out and careful planning plays an important part in any IT strategy.
There is always a temptation to get new technology out there simply because it works without exploring the full range of possibilities and then realise a bit of research and a few changes from the start could yield greater impact. Typically, it can be hard to go back to the start when processes are already in place. Hard to get the horse back in the stable after it has bolted so to speak.
This section of the project is really interesting. Carol and I are using data to analyse a whole range of metrics including submissions details, upload numbers, return of work, marking and much more with the goal of providing managers with more information to help them effectively manage with a key aim of positively impacting on student performance.
Carol will detail the suite of reports she has generated to cover the above in a future article. This article will look at the database architecture.
A vital key to this project is the Moodle/ProMonitor plugin because without this, we would not know what courses and units we are looking at in relation to College data. This is because ProMonitor is fed data from our Validation Application.
The Validation Application is a quality system, used to manage courses and units being delivered through the academic year and Carol is an integral part of the validation process. Academic teams select the units they are delivering and enter their assessment dates into the online assessment schedule on the Validation Application. Carol works with the quality team as part of the validation meetings to then assess the impact of delivery periods, playing a vital role in checking that assessments are evenly balanced through the year and feedback is returned at a steady pace to help the development of students and ensuring unit combination, credits and GLH comply to the awarding bodies specifications. After a final sign off, this data is imported into ProMonitor where Carol sets up the markbooks.
For speed, I’ve decided to hook into the Validation Application database instead of ProMonitor (please note that this is viable, tested and works) because then I do not need to wait for information to appear in ProMonitor to feed Moodle. Interestingly, my plugin does not need to work this way, an assignment in Moodle could potentially be generated inside a markbook through an import option allowing the generation of new data. I’m not exploring this option though because we have a solid solution already in place.
I can then use the assessment schedule data combined with the Moodle/ProMonitor plugin, to check that an assessment has taken place when specified, preventing the bunching of work. We can also see a huge amount of metrics connected to the submission of the work including students falling behind and in need of further support.
All students are supplied with assessment dates through a Moodle block I’ve created for Moodle courses, in order to help them plan effectively.
Back in my Head of Department days, I found this type of information vital to manage my department and through the use of technology, it’s improved the overall quality of course management and overall attainment.