Moodle Database and upcoming Assignments etc.

Kate one of our Technology Enhanced Learning Advisors (TERA) asked if I could provide her with details of how many staff in her faculty are using quizzes, Moodle and Turnitin assignments in this academic year. We do not have any reports to hand I do have access to a copy of the Moodle database. Of course, where there is a MySQL server and a Moodle database I should be able to provide Kate with the details she needs to support her academic colleagues.

Thanks to the work of Prof Mark Stubbs and the EQAL team modelling how units and courses are represented in the University, and ensuring a consistent naming structure; our Moodle Short name contains all the information I need to be able to construct SQL select statements.

Our Moodle shortname has the following structure


So for example, a unit code may be 399Z9999_1415_9Z3F and as our unit codes are mapped to the faculty by the first letter of the unit code (in most instances, we do have one department that has moved Faculties and it breaks this simple rule)
Using our example shortname we can construct a select statement using like to return only those shortnames that belong to the faculty in question and for the year 1415

The example below returns Moodle assignments ordered by the date the assignment is due
Database. Is used below as the name of the Moodle database

SELECT database_course.shortname, database_course.fullname, database_assign.course, database_assign.intro, from_unixtime(database_assign.duedate) as datedue,
FROM database_assign, database_course
where database_course.shortname like ‘%1415%’ and
order by datedue limit 0,10000;

The select statement is almost identical for quizzes

SELECT database_course.shortname, database_course.fullname ,database_quiz.course, database_quiz.intro, from_unixtime(database_quiz.timeopen) as quiztime,
FROM database_quiz, database_course where database_course.shortname like ‘3%1415%’ and
order by quiztime limit 0, 5000;

Turnitin is more of an issue , Turnitin assignments can have one or more parts, to allow for this as well as having the turnitintool table there is a turnitintool_parts table. Each assignment part may have their own due date which may be different from the due date in the main turnitintool table. If there is only one part the SQL is very familiar with the addition of checking of the number of parts.

SELECT database_course.shortname, database_course.fullname ,database_turnitintool.course,, from_unixtime(database_turnitintool.defaultdtdue) as duedate ,
FROM mmu01moodle.database_turnitintool, database_course where database_course.shortname like ‘3%1415%’ and and numparts=1
order by duedate limit 0, 5000;

A Day at MMU Usability Labs

A first look at LRT’s experience of using the services of to analyse how students use My MMU and Moodle.

I was most impressed with the lab and team from the School of Computing; they did everything they could to make the best possible use of the time available and offered constant support in our attempts to understand the behaviour of the student volunteers navigating the web sites.
I should emphasise that is just my subjective view on how students used My MMU and Moodle and in the next few weeks as we analyse the data collected from the eye tracking software, the video and the post task evaluation questionnaires a more objective model of behaviour will be built up.

The first notable finding was the sample of 10 students split into two groups, one at home with My MMU and a second smaller group who encountered a number of difficulties navigating the two systems. It will be interesting to look at the post task questionnaires and see if there is a relationship between the use of the portal and the ease of navigation. This will raise many questions on design style including do you design for the first time user, the experienced user or can you design so that it works for both?
The group who were more at ease with the My MMU and Moodle as you would expect did not have a uniform way of navigating the two sites but did so in a manner that made sense to them.

Common traits.
Strong use of the Left hand navigation, all the students made use of it, but one worrying point was their use of the right hand block in Moodle was less prominent.

A number of the students made no use of the Top Tab navigation within My MMU from a subjective viewpoint it was if they did not see the links at all, the heat map produced by the software used in the lab will be able to confirm this.

One of the tasks we asked the students to perform was to check on the status of the book loans from the library and we had a three way split,

  • Those not happy in using My MMU Googled for MMU and followed the links to the Library and logged into the library system from there
  • Of the reminder some used the icon bar in the email and more web part while others used the top level tab navigation to go to the my library page

Some confusion over the naming convention of my accounts and my finance pages.

One interesting comment from one student was that they do not explore the various tabs within My MMU and unless they are told the benefits its likely they will never see and use the features available to them

It was a very good day, and I am looking forward to seeing if the heat maps etc. show


MY MMU usage over the Christmas Holidays 2010

Graph Showing usage over Christmas 2010

As you can see My MMU was continued to be used over the Christmas break, this year we had 1095 unique users on Christmas day an increase of 188 on last year. Comparing this year’s Christmas break with last years the portal usage increased on average by 28%. Last Year December 29th was the most popular with 2424 users, this year January 2nd had 3301 users.