Site-wide groups

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Explaining why we need site-wide groups for enrolment purposes (Dan Poltawski)

In my experience the need for site wide groups has not been entirely clear to developers, especially unclear is why existing enrolment plugins are not sufficient for schools (K12/primary/secondary), especially when compared to higher education. I developed the CLEO MIS Tool as a stop-gap solution to address some of the deficiencies and this has been very popular. I'm convinced of the need for 'a solution' so I will try and explain the reasons here.

Dans Example Simplified school


  • School Moodle
    • Maintained by teachers or curriculum support staff
    • Rapidly changing
    • Course design can vary across schools/ departments/ teaching staff
  • MIS (student information) System
    • Contains student details, class lists etc
    • Maintained by school administrative staff
    • Relatively static and standardised, used to generate reports, timetables etc
    • Often contains imperfect data
  • Relevant to both - don't typically have sophisticated technical support to craft data to integrate both

Existing Solutions

  • Use an enrolment plugin to generate enrolments from MIS System
    • Requires a class group from MIS to map directly to a course
    • A moodle course has to be created for every single physical class (not how it works practically- nightmare for teachers)
    • The 'course design' to be consistent across school (One teacher might create a single moodle course for all her physical classes, another might created one moodle course shared across classes and other variations).
    • 'The power' to do stuff is in the teachers hands - largely automatic rather than teacher choosing who they wish in each course
  • Manual Enrolment (This is typically how many many schools use moodle)
    • Teacher assigns every user from the complete list (1000+) of users one at a time
    • If using groups mode in the course, picks these out individually too
    • Massive time hog
  • CLEO MIS Tool
    • Good
      • Populates 'class groups' (separate db table -unrelated to core stuff) from MIS system via csv import
      • At role assignment time, teacher can select a MIS class group from list and assign all users in group at once (rather than stuednt at a time)
      • Can assign multiple class groups to one course, or any variation
      • Power is in the teachers hands how to organise
      • MIS Grouped enrolment at any role-assignment point
    • Bad
      • Intentionally dumb: simply selects the users who are present in a mis group at a specific time and enrols them, changes in MIS groups are not reflected in role assignments over time
      • Doesn't create course level groups in moodle

The Dream Solution

  • MIS System populates 'global groups' data
  • Global groups can be populated by multiple plugins (extension to existing enrolment plugins?)
  • Teacher can assign any number of global groups to a course - these can also populate course groups (for separate groups mode etc)
  • Changes in MIS data reflected in course enrolments (At least for users added)

--Dan Poltawski 06:32, 21 January 2009 (CST)