In surveys of MMU students about the information they’d most like to see, course information and deadlines have been top of the list. In response, colleagues in MMU developed an extension to the (UNIT4) Student Records System for managing coursework deadlines and recording submissions.
Two web interfaces to this data have been developed, an ASP/.NET web application for coursework receipting administrative staff to update the records , and a PHP ‘Coursework Information’ web site that takes a nightly download of assessment dates from the student records system and publishes the relevant ones to students and academic staff.
After logging in, students see a personalised hand-in schedule and can download a PDF coversheet for every physical submission. PDF coversheets enable admin colleagues to process submissions quickly and accurately as they contain a barcode that identifies the student and the particular element of assessment. Academic staff can see a list of who has and has not submitted work for the course units they teach. After a year of piloting in one campus, the Coursework Information system rolled out university wide for the 2011/12 academic year.
In preparation for MMU’s move to Moodle a set of ‘threshold’ standards for content was approved in summer 2010. The standards set down the minimum a student should expect to find in a course area set up to support a Programme or Unit (module). For Programmes it was agreed that a student should be able to see a complete list of assignment submission deadlines; for Units it was agreed that a student should be able to see submission deadlines for that unit of study. To meet this ‘threshold’ standard, a (REST) web service interface was designed for the Coursework Information system that provided an XML feed of deadlines for a specified user. This deadlines feed was one of a number called from a ‘mega-mashup’ web service built to deliver ‘threshold’ standard content into each Moodle course area for the authenticated user (see our JISC W2C blog).
Our next task is to add provisional marks to the assignment information displaying in the Moodle right-hand-block.