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"My" Pages Wizard feature proposal
17 August 2009, 8:57 AM
Hello Mahara Community,
Here is another of our ideas for the extension of Mahara that we are looking into funding. This would be a big feature and have a great influence on Mahara's architecture as Nigel indicated when he first looked at a very brief sketch of this idea I had sent him earlier (not here in the Community).
We would very much like to hear your ideas on this proposed wizard to create individual pages similar to the "Resume", "My Goals", and "My Skills" pages to come up with a good suggesion which can be developed for all Mahara users.
Though this feature is big, the document is relatively short with only a few screenshots because I think we need to discuss further possibilities before deciding on how each individual screen may look.
As usual, you can find the details on this feature request in my feature request view where I can link to uploaded files.
I'm looking forward to your comments
17 August 2009, 9:49 AM
Interesting idea! :) I have a few questions:
1. How do you map which forms get given to which students? You hint in your document that this is either per-institution (easy) or per-program (harder)
2. Mahara 1.2 will support the ability to export and import the entire student portfolio using LEAP2A portfolio standard. When you start giving administrators the ability to define custom fields, it starts to become very difficult to support a standard. Wheras with the current fieds, we (the programmers with a good knowledge of LEAP2A) have a reasonable idea of what they mean and what they map to in the standard. Do you have any ideas on how to resolve this?
17 August 2009, 9:52 AM
Oh actually, per-institution isn't as easy as I hinted, it seems that users can be in multiple institutions (at least it looks that way from the database, not sure what happens in the application, I don't know that area of code very well).
Assuming that this *is* the case, how do you deal with the student having two conflicting rulesets about which forms they get?
17 August 2009, 2:18 PM
Thank you very much for your questions. I guess, we will need to put our heads together with Nigel et al. to come up with an elegant solution. I was merely writing down our "dream". ;-) I have no idea if everything is possible to implement easily or if we have to be creative with existing components or have a slightly less than perfect solution. However, I tried to write down the ideas even if it may not be fully possible to implement them so that we have a basis for our discussions and can go from there to get them to a manageable level that we can agree on. :-)
Your question about the study program: I was thinking that students would be members of different institutions. I used study programs / institutions because in our installation it would not be different institutions, but study programs. Currently, however, we use Mahara just for one study program, our BA. But another study program on our campus also works with a portfolio and they have an interest to see how we fare with our electronic portfolio.
I hadn't thought about people being members of a number of institutions. That is indeed interesting. We usually have sharp limits though I do know of two students who belonged to two programs. However, as our BA was the only one with a portfolio, this conflict had never crossed my mind.
To make my ramblings short: I think the student should see whatever is allowed by his institutions. If one has the "My Skills" and the other "My Competencies" and "My Internships", then he sees all three of them and can use them in any of his views as the views are not restricted to institutional membership. Thus, he could also use data from "My Competencies" in his first study program though it does not originally provide for it. From the guidelines of his study program he should know which information is required. The rest he can add on voluntarily.
In regard to your standards question, Iadmit that I do not have a whole lot of knowledgein that area and how it works precisely in technical terms. Couldn't the created pages be coded in an XML / standard's conform way that they were readable?No eporfolio system has the same functionality and thus I assume that the current "My Skills" and "My Goals" pages must be coded a certain way to be represented in a different system. Couldn't the same be done with the other pages?
Have a nice evening
17 August 2009, 9:16 PMThe standards question is a good one. In the case of goals and skills, they don't actually map particularly well to LEAP2A - but skills in particular are a LEAP2A "ability" rather than an "entry". Penny raises a valid point - I'm not sure off the top of my head how we could map such information to a LEAP export. Something to think about in more detail I'm sure.
17 August 2009, 9:13 PM
Have had a read. I've never heard of jotform before, though they're using the syntax highlighter I wrote to highlight the form source code
At first read, I think most of what's in there is do-able. I would be inclined to use Pieforms quite extensively for it, so the form "source" might not be HTML so much as a pieform definition - but that's rather moot as non-coders don't understand either of them anyway
I'm interested about the sharing stuff - you're keen on the idea of people building forms and sharing them with the community?
The view feedback issue you identify is interesting. I think that's the kind of thing that we'd need to solve with view revisioning (e.g. having many versions of a view). Then feedback could be attached to a version of the View so people would know exactly what the View looked like when the feedback was attached.
I don't see why where the pages go should be limited to just the Profile menu. As it is, we're going to change the menus a lot after 1.2, so that particular restriction wouldn't make much sense.
18 August 2009, 1:47 AM
Sounds great that most things are do-able.
I only chose JotForm as an example because it is an easy drag n'drop form creator. Good that you now know where some of your code is used. If there is an open-source form builder that could be used / adopted even better. Hey, Pieforms is written by you. Great. Then we are one step closer to the solution.
I actually just thought about it when I saw the menu in JotForm because I had to decide whether we needed all the options available there or whether I should take some out (didn't erase the login area as I thought that was obvious we wouldn't need it). However, after only a few seconds I realized that it would be cool to keep the share button and make the forms available to the Mahara community.
The reason? We use an online questionnaire system in which you can create your personal libraries of questions and questionnaires for future reference and re-use. It is also possible to browse the library of questionnaires and questions that everybody has access to. Thus, if I am new to creating questionnaires, but need to come up with one for say a seminar evaluation, I can check the library and get some inspiration from questionnaires other users had created on that topic. Then I can copy the questionnaire and adopt it to my needs.
I think such a feature may be good to have for Mahara users to share their approach to their portfolio work and allow others an easier glimpse at how they implement certain things, how they work with a portfolio with their students etc. Often, as also in our case, the portfolios are not made public and thus it is difficult to look behind the curtain. If, however, we were to share some of our forms, others may see what we mean by competencies, what information we gather about internships etc. and may find that information useful.
Yes, you are correct. A versioning system would be handy because views change all the time and then the feedback may be totally irrelevant.
Placement of "My" pages
If we could get rid of this restriction of having such "My" pages only in the Profile the better. Originally, I thought that they could also be made available in the Portfolio next to "My Views", "My Blogs" etc. and that the students could give their tutors explicit access to these "My" pages thus not having to put the information in a view. However, I left this out of yesterday's description because I found it rather confusing thinking about it again.But I was thinking more in terms of the tutor side and not the student's side. As competencies, skills, internships etc. have more to do with the portfolio then one's profile because the information provided there is required by the portfolio (at least in our case), it would certainly make more sense to have these pages also in "Portfolio" next to views, blogs, files, glossary, bibliography and what else may be there in the future.
18 August 2009, 6:12 PM
Yeah I wrote Pieforms for Mahara, it's already used for just about every form in Mahara (except the view editor I think).
The sharing thing would be cool indeed. It would make it a lot easier for people to cobble together a portfolio site, that's for sure. And teachers are a sharing bunch, so I'm sure people would use it quite extensively
View versioning is the solution to quite a few problems around the view system actually. The only thing is, it's not a small job. We've talked about it on and off over the last year, and it's definitely possible, just maybe on the order of a couple of weeks work.
The menu side of things should be a lot better after 1.2. Sharing parts of the portfolio outside the view framework is something we'd be reluctant to do (though the Problems & Conditions plugin does it in a controlled way with success).
Mostly, the logic is as follows: Students are made aware that the stuff in their portfolio is private to them, and also that tutors are expecting to see some of their results. So they can choose to not put them in a View and not show the tutor, but then the tutor fails them .
This is a really general comment, not aimed at you, but I find it funny that people want to insist on forcing students to reveal certain data, or submit it in a certain format (e.g. View Templates where the student can't change the layout or what blocks are in them - which we didn't do in the end). If students want to not reveal certain data, surely the tutor can always fail them! This is much less "expensive" - and more human - than building a system of control only to have students attempt to sneak around it in other ways, IMHO .
Same applies to "content moderation", in a sense. I don't think I'll ever fully understand why some people insist on it. If you claim to fully moderate content, the first time you miss something you'll be in big trouble - better to let the system moderate itself and have you "guide the tone" as it were. Again IMHO, and definitely not aimed at you. What do I know, I just write software
19 August 2009, 5:22 AM
"The sharing thing would be cool indeed." -> Then let's keep it in there and see how everybody else likes it. :-)
It was just an idea to make the "My" pages entirely visible to a tutor, but I see the problems connected to that and had left it out. If students can move them around for their own purposes: great. It will most likely be easier for them to just remember that anything they want to make visible has to be in a view. Otherwise it may get rather confusing because then the question pops up why they can make "My" pages visible, but not "My Blogs" and "My Files".
Going from there it will be important to allow for different views of the data entered in the "My" pages. With that I mean the single entry and the list view as outlined in the document.
I am not in favor of forcing students to use a certain layout for a view or restricting their options. Although we have a predominantly developmental portfolio thus giving the students a lot of freedom of what they want to put into their portfolio, certain things are a must. That is even more so the case in evaluation portfolios.
That's when Mahara's view logic comes in handy that they can decide to show certain data in one view and more detailed or less detailed information in another one not having to include everything they gathered on the "My" pages.
As there are a number of different types of portfolios around, not all their characteristics may fit into the current philosophy you have for Mahara. It will be up to further discussions to see how these differences can be overcome (if they can) or if other solutions need to be found for certain points. It is very difficult for one system (no matter the topic) to cover every conceivable purpose. ;-)
19 August 2009, 8:41 PM
This all sounds good, like we're on the right page .
/me goes back to looking at your glossary/bibliograpy proposal