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UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle

 
 
Picture of Guy Thomas
UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

I am considering using Moodle at my school (I think its great).

However, the only problem I have is the task of manually adding students / enrolling them on courses.

I know that SIMs has the ability to import this information from text files or even point at SQL databases. Does anyone have any experience of this with SIMs or know if any documentation is available? If not I would be willing to put the documentation together or develop an automated interface.

Cheers

Guy Thomas

Ossett School wink

 
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Martin Dougiamas
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Moodle can use external databases and flatfiles, for both Authentication and Enrolment.  Hunt around the admin menus.  wink
 
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Picture of Guy Thomas
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

Thanks Martin.

I had seen them - I think some documentation related to SIMs would really help out UK moodle users. Most schools in the UK use SIMs to store pupil enrolement data. When I'm successful with linking the two sytems, I'll put some documentation together.

Well done with Moodle- its a great system.

Best Regards

Guy Thomas

 
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Picture of Orville Canter
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Hi Guy,

We're about halfway done with a SIMS integration at San Francisco State University. When we get further along, I would be happy to share our solution with you. For now we are processing flat file "dumps" of the SIMS data with some shell scripts that pass data on users and courses to the moodle pages /admin/uploaduser.php and /course/edit.php, and we use the flat file enrolment feature. Our next step will be to build something that interfaces the moodle database directly. Ideally we would interface SIMS directly too, but for now our only access to the SIMS database is through the text file dumps. E-mail me if you'd like to see what we have so far.


Orville
 
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Martin Langhoff - Sailing
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

If you look at the Artena-SMS directory in contrib, there's an example intergration project with Artena (a SMS that's popular in NZ), using the auth/db and enrol/db plugins. A more complex one, using LDAP, can be found here and you can also see a color-coded history of the project

 
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Picture of Tom Raider
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Hi Guy,

Have you made any progress with the Moodle-SIMS integration? I'm strugging to find an easy-to-use solution that a school can use to update all their Moodle users, courses and enrollments from SIMS data that changes all the time, e.g. something that runs on a weekly basis.

I've not got access to SIMS myself so I'm struggling even more knowing what format CSVs with which fields are required, so I can ask them for this specifically.

Thanks!
Tom.
 
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Picture of Darren Smith
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
I'm curious - What information do people need from SIMS to go into Moodle in it's current form?
 
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Picture of David Willington
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
I've written a set of php / bash / awk scripts that uses the output of SIMS to populate a fresh moodle installation. It works on my test setup - LAMP server, moodle 1.5 - but I've not tried it in a production environment and I need to alter a couple of things for our use.

At the moment it creates categories and courses, adds teachers as users, assigns them to courses, adds pupils as users and enrols them in courses. The plan is to have something that can update Moodle based on a SIMS export so that moodle can be updated eg weekly.

If anyone tries it and has any comments I'd be interested to see how you get on.

Picture of Helen Foster
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Hi David,

Thanks for your work. Is Capita aware of what you are doing? I hope UK schools will be able to try your scripts.
 
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Picture of David Willington
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Afternoon Helen

I contacted them to ask about connecting to the database directly. I think I told them why I wanted to do it. The SIMS license doesn't allow you to do this, which is why I wrote some scripts to use a SIMS csv file. There's no problem about any schools trying out what I've done - I've uploaded the scripts to moodle.org and I hope someone might have a go with them and let me know what they think.

I've just had a look at the developers' guidelines - I should have done that before I started of course. What I've done falls outside these, so I need to modify them so that they produce the same result but in a more predictable way for other databases. I've only worried about mysql.

If you get a chance to try them out I'd welcome any feedback

all the best

David

 
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Picture of Matt Gibson relaxing in the Alps
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

David, this sounds like excellent work! Sadly, we host on windows server 2003, so I can't make use of it sad

My school is currently looking for a VLE and are angling towards sims.net (despite me pushing for moodle). They like it because they will be able to access pupil data from within sims and have lots of data and grades etc. Do you have any idea whether any further integration is planned by capita for moodle and sims.net? It seems that looking at all grade information for all a pupil's courses is currently not possible in moodle (or am I missing something?). How easy do you think it would be (ignoring licence constraints for the moment) to write a module for moodle that would query the sims database in order to produce pupil reports?

Matt

 
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Picture of David Willington
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
I'm not sure to what extent Capita will work to actively integrate SIMS and moodle. I've exchanged a few emails and they've been very encouraging and have offered advice and pointers, but no code. As for SIMS.net being a VLE, I may be wrong about this but as I understand it the SIMS.net is a school management system, not a course management system, so while there's some overlap in functionality (such as recording pupil grades) SIMS isn't designed for handling teaching resources, running wikis, chat rooms, dictionaries, forums etc. I think Capita subscribe to this list, so if this is wrong I'm sure they'll correct me.

I think you might be missing something in terms of viewing grades for a course - it depends exactly what you want to do.

Pupil reports from a SIMS db. I'm not sure what the point would be. If you're using moodle and have the marks in there, then why import that data into SIMS just to use moodle to query sims for data that was originally in moodle? You'd be better off either writing code for moodle that queried the moodle database, or using the SIMS interface to query SIMS directly. SIMS has a SDK (which I haven't used yet) which I believe you can use to query the SIMS database dynamically. Alternatively you could use the SIMS report mechanism.

David
 
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Picture of David Hicks
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
SIMS.net is a school management system, but Capita also sell a seperate VLE product that integrates with SIMS - I had someone ring me up one day and attempt to flog me it. Several thousand pounds a year, I think it was, although that might include your licenses for SIMS too.

--
David Hicks
 
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Picture of David Berry
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Capita have joined forces with Granada Learnwise to produce a MLE (Managed Learning Environment).  The main selling point being tha data can easily be transferred into the VLE portion (populating classes, enrolling, etc) and then the results from the VLE sent back to SIMS (probably Assessment Manager).  The fact that senior staff can then easily monitor/evaluate progress in the same package then provides a very powerful argument in favour of this approach.

On the other hand...

At the moment the users/groups are populated by running a batch file that exports data from SIMS.  Given enough information the clever people out there could do the same with Moodle.  Advertising blurb always promises more than it can deliver and, if BECTA gets it's act together, they should put a requirement in the Learning Platform framework that Management systems (like SIMS) should open up conduits to the VLE's. 

David Berry
 
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Picture of David Hicks
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
I understand that SIMS' current public-access "API" consists of a command-line tool that dumps out information to some kind of text file (maybe CSV, maybe their own XML format of some kind, maybe PLASC, I don't know). I don't think there's any way to get information back in to SIMS, other than paying to become a SIMS devlopment partner and getting access to their full-blown API. Unless... I'm currently using a very excellent freeware utility called AutoIt to create scripted installs for software packages. AutoIt can control Windows GUI elements - dialog boxes, input text, etc, and is a fully-featured scripting language (and can even be used from within other languages). You could hook that up to a SIMS client and, say, every 10 minutes script SIMS to dump information into a file at a given location and read information from another file at a different given location. Heck, you could do a full web services API if you wanted - define a bunch of functions to get/set information in SIMS via a SIMS client and an AutoIt script.

I doubt BECTA can do much to really force Capita to support a full, useful, publicly-accesible API. SIMS is already installed in a bunch of schools, and is suitibly entrenched that switching to another system is simply too high in cost/trouble.

--
David Hicks
 
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Picture of Phil NEAL
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

Capita got together with Microsoft, RM and <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Granada over 2 years ago and proposed an open standard to Becta/DfES for moving data from an MIS to a VLE.  The link is based on IMS.  Becta has not taken up this proposal.  <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

We decided that in spite of not getting traction we should progress the proposal and the link has now been built into SIMS. It will be included in our software in the autumn.  The Moodle community can develop a link if they would like to. Details will be made available on our web site.

Phil Neal

Director SIMS

 

 
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Picture of Andy Diament
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Phil, can you reveal more at this stage?

Andy D
 
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Picture of Phil NEAL
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

I have asked someone to post details of the interchange format on our web site http://support.capitaes.co.uk/.  I am expecting it to be in the "Sticky Items" section.

 
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Ray Lawrence
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Hi Phil,

It seems that only existing clients of Capita can register on this site.

Ray
 
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Picture of David Berry
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Doesn't appear to be there at 5:45 UK time.  I know the football is on but I just can't watch...........
 
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Picture of Phil NEAL
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Sorry I should have been more precise - I've asked for it to be done but only late last week; it isn't up there yet. I'll see if we can put it into our public site SIMS.CO.UK
 
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Ray Lawrence
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Thanks, Phil.
 
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Picture of Matt Gibson relaxing in the Alps
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

Phil,

was there any progress on putting the details of this integration onto the sims.co.uk site? I'm very interested.

Matt

 
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Picture of Sean Keogh
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

Hi David,

Did this info ever appear on the sims support site?  It doesn't look like it is on the public site.  We are interested in developing some moodle tools that use this - but the amount of money Capita want to charge for technical partnership status is a bit steep.

cheers

Sean K

 
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Picture of David Berry
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
No sign of it anywhere - on the public or support site.  I must admit that I was surprised by the offer in the first place.

David Berry
 
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Picture of David Hicks
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Ah! Excellent, that sounds like just the kind of thing we could do with. When you say "the autumn", I assume you mean September or sometime after. Is there any documentation available beforehand? It'd be handy to be able to figure out how stuff'll work and to think about how to go about sticking things together.

--
David Hicks
 
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Picture of David Berry
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
This is very good news.  However the latest Becta Learning Platform spec gives mandatory IMS QTI 1.2 and v2.0 and for consideration IMS QTI Version 2.1.  Does this fit in with what you are proposing?  I'm asking these questions and I have no idea what they are big grin

It would also be nice if you provided a nice way into SIMS from Moodle.

David Berry
 
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Picture of Mark Berthelemy
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Hi David,

Just to clarify things. There are a number of IMS specifications... IMS QTI is the specification for Question and Test Interoperability". It is meant to allow Questions and Tests built in one application to be easily ported over to another application.

IMS Content Packaging (CP) is the specification that is meant to allow bundles of content created in one application to be ported over and delivered in another. SCORM is a reference model that shows how IMS CP might be used in conjunction with other specifications such as the IEEE Learning Object Metadata standard.

IMS Enterprise is the specification that allows data about people to be transferred between applications. This could include personal information, as well as course enrollments and assessment results.

There are other IMS specifications - they are all basically setting out ways of writing a particular XML file.

All the best,

Mark
 
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Picture of David Berry
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Mark

Many thanks for the comprehensive reply.

David
 
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Picture of Phil NEAL
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

We have reached the final stages of producing the interface documentation and I expect it to be published on our public site by the start of next week. SIMS.CO.UK

 
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Picture of David Grashoff
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Anyone having trouble finding the documentation may drop me an email david.grashoff@capita.co.uk and I will send a copy by return.
 
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Picture of David Berry
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
On behalf of UK Moodlers - many thanks.  Just received the documentation.  Now to try and understand it. smile

David Berry
 
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Picture of Graham Stone
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
I've just requested a copy, looking forward to receiving it and having a good read.

Thanks,
 
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Picture of David Grashoff
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

A number of colleagues on this forum have asked for some background to the development and the ability to write to SIMS from Moodle.  Capita SIMS, working with Granada, Reasearch Machines and Microsoft have produced a restricted IMS web services profile. In its current format, the application allows a dynamic link to extract data from SIMS.net to provide both an initial population of another database and also to then provide updated information (SIMS is acting as the IMS Reference Agent). The data includes student, staff, groups and membership.

At this stage we are only including the mandated IMS fields plus those which we required for a specific project. We will continue to work with partners to improve the breadth of data and look to develop SIMS.net also as a Sych Agent. We do however need commercial cases from partners where there is a desire to increase the interoperability by extending the IMS Web Services.

Although the functionality is embedded within the SIMS.net application , users need to apply a "licence script" to make the application active. This "licence script" is non-chargeable but is often controlled by the SIMS Support Teams responsible for the schools MIS system support.

 
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Picture of Darren Munday
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
I have been unable to get the licence file from capita support. What do I need to ask for?
 
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Picture of Phil NEAL
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
You need to ask for a licence for IMS links. Applying this licence will enable SIMS to be set up so that it can dynamically update any other IMS compatible receiver with pupil, teacher and class data.  Do bear in mind that Moodle will need to have that capability built in by someone.
 
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Picture of Mark Berthelemy
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Hi David & everyone,

Just wondering if anyone's got SIMS working with Moodle, based on the documentation that SIMS have provided?

Cheers,

Mark
 
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Picture of Antony OSullivan
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

I have looked on www.sims.co.uk  (not sims.co.uk as this has a bad dns/web mapping).

I have looked on www.capitaes.co.uk/support/ .

This IMS document is either not there... or hidden away...

Does anyone one know where this IMS document is?

 
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Picture of David Grashoff
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

Anthony

Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
by David Grashoff - Tuesday, 12 September 2006, 03:13 AM
  Anyone having trouble finding the documentation may drop me an email <font color="#0000aa">david.grashoff@capita.co.uk and I will send a copy by return.
 
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Picture of stu h
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
"info froms sims to moodle"

There is a government deadline for all schools in England and Wales to provide information on the VLE by 2010.

Information from SIMS (or whatever IMS schools are using) includes
  • Attendance stats
  • Reporting on Achievement
  • Reporting on Behaviour.

Many schools are using SIMS.
VLE providers such as Frog (my favourite) and Fronter (recommended by VTFourS in Surrey) are able to to at least a once per day data update from SIMS to the VLE using Parent Gateway tools. Real time updates are in the pipe line.

Its fair to say this is still embreyonic both for the service providers, schools and parents. However in my view these tools are EXTREMELY powerful relationship builders. A few years from now we will wonder how we ever did without them. Schools who lag behind will be disadvantaged and look behind the times to prospective parents.

Take behaviour reporting for example. Old paper reporting systems take days to circulate via HoDs, HoYS and the SMT. By the time parents see any documentation weeks may have passed. HoDs trying to address poor behaviour within their dept have little idea whether this pupils behaviour is consistent across subject areas. If it is then this pupil is seriously disrupting his/her own learning and that of others. If its not what are other depts doing to resolve this conflict. Parents who get a stuffy letter without any prior warning or build up can be prickly and i can understand why. Yet it is all too easy for time poor teachers to not write a letter or call home, especially if there is some cynicsm about the level of support for the school. Its an old story but the solution is not LESS communication but MORE. Schools who have implemented behaviour logs that parents can access via the web get a lot more support. Teachers fill out ONE online form that gets distributed to all the stake holders. Parents see clearly how their "little darling" is performing across all subject areas.

As teachers we all try hard to use at least as much positive praise as negative admonishments. Yet there are only 24 hours in the day and I have been guilty of not sending out praise post cards when students deserve them. Schools who have successfully implemented their parent gateway and behaviour reporting tell me they do quite a lot of staff training to ensure that the onus is on POSITIVE praise as much as negative reporting. Staff also need to be very aware that once they click the "send" button the report they wrote is live. As with paper reporting an incident should not be written up "in anger".

As with all aspects of rolling out a vle training is key. Clear deadlines, multiple training opportunities, e mail support and drop in sessions are vital. Senior staff who pay a fortune for a solution, offer one training opportunity and throw it at time poor staff get should not be suprised when those staff do not respond with whole hearted confidence or enthusiasm.
 
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Carol walking in the Howgills
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

Hi Stu (and all)

I must say I'm finding this topic hard to navigate because it goes back so far...

I want to provide SIMS.net information via Moodle (to fulfil the BECTA requirements as Stu explained) and have found the documentation at http://docs.moodle.org/en/Integrate_Moodle%2C_LDAP_and_SIMS.net.  On a quick inspection, it appears that one can automatically create users based on SIMS.net people and set up a Moodle course which will display the user's timetable.  I don't see any evidence of things like behaviour and assessment information, which are some of the things BECTA has asked us to provide online to parents.

I'm not clear on who wrote the 'how to' but if they were able to give an example of what one would see from Moodle, I'd be really grateful. 

 
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Picture of Dan Ballance
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Hi Carol,

At the moment I think individual institutions or clusters of institutions are developing their own bespoke code to get the job done.

I have some code that I am running on a few schools here in West Yorkshire that does some cool stuff with Sims data - pulling it into Moodle for timetabled groups and into Mahara for things like attendance and student progress.

The problem is I have had to modify the Moodle core in order to make this work and my code is at the moment very particular to the schools I am supporting.

My hope is that as Moodle 2 takes shape we can all put our heads together and get some kind of MIS integration that works out of the box for the main players (ie Sims, Facility etc)

Sorry I can't say anything more immediately useful to you at this point,

dan
 
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Carol walking in the Howgills
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Hi Dan,

It's good to know that you're working on this. What you're doing sounds great and I hope we'll hear more about it.

Are you using the API SIMS provides or using exported files?

Do you think we'll get to the stage of a community supported SIMS module for Moodle? I remember that Egglescliffe school submitted a great messaging management system for 1.8 but then the staff member moved on and the system didn't (easily) work with 1.9. I wouldn't want to get into that position with SIMS integration and I'm afraid I don't personally have the time/skills to keep such a thing up to date.

Anyway, I'm very encouraged that other schools are working on this.

Carol
 
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Picture of Kristian Still
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
Group Testers
We were supported by Class Technology Solutions. We have one way information from Sims to Moodle.

Our next step is to integrate timetables, and like you Carol, we are seeking solutions. Here and edugeek are very information. At some point I would hope schools will work together and generate more momentum
 
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Head
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Hi Chris,

What data do you have from SIMS to Moodle at present?

We are running Moodle with LDAP authentication.

At present we have to manually create our AD (LDAP) users once they are entered in SIMS. It would be really useful for us to have SIMS automatically create our LDAP users in AD...
 
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Picture of Matt Gibson relaxing in the Alps
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
The solution Carol linked to above does allow for that, although I've not tried it yet.
 
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Picture of Ian Tasker
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Hi All,

I am the author of the Moodle LDAP & SIMS.net Documentation.

I have been help with support questions here (sorry its not on moodle.org, hard to follow the forums here)

The integration so far with SIMS.net and Moodle is
Auto creation of student/staff account/courses.
Updating of course memberships.
SIMS.net timetables (including staff cover) available in Moodle.

Currently in development are the following features
auto creation of parent accounts (proof of concept works)
auto association of parent account with correct students (proof of concept works)
parental email block (authorised users with have the ability to email parents of either years/courses/classes) (currently in development)

All these components are release under GPL. Unfortunately i'm unable to given dedicated support, but try my best with other users to support these plugin over at edugeek.net.

The main issues people are facing is getting freetds up and running correctly.

I am looking to re-write the interface and use the SIMS.net business objects, but due to the lack of documentation i have on how to use the business objects i'm getting know where.

I will be trying to fulfil the Becta requirements along with the ability to write data back through the sims.net business objects.





 
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Picture of James Newman
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
I am looking to relaunch our moodle site but we are hosting the moodle server in house. Am right in thinking that if we use the info laid out in the Moodle Docs section the following will happen.

Will this mean that users are placed into courses based on their timetables. This was the one barrier to our last moodle site not working. If courses are based around class groups then that would be fantastic.
 
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Picture of A K
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Another perspective on carrying over timetable constraints into Moodle:

One of the significant things about Web 2.0 is that interactions aren't subject to the time and place limitations of traditional schools (Class X meets during period Y in room Z).

To replicate those limitations in a Web 2.0 application, arguably, isn't to embrace the Web 2.0 world but, rather, to cling on to old familiar things from a different world.

Most of the best use of the VLE we've seen has involved enrolling people to whom a particular course is relevant and not artificially subdividing them into the timetable slots of a MIS that has to deal with scheduling of classrooms / teachers / pupils.

E.g.s
  • As exams approach it might be suitable to give Y9 students access to Y8 and Y7 courses.
  • Access to activities (e.g. forums) and resources can (and arguably should) be provided for all the people studying a subject, such as a whole year group, rather than to several discrete groups whose only reason for existence is traditional timetable and classroom constraints.
Focussing on replicating the 'real-world' boundaries in the online world would seem to be like starting a 100m race with the assumption that you should be wearing a skiing outfit, just beacause that's what you always wore at that time of day in the past.

For examples, think of all the social networking and interactive sites of recent years... Facebook, Twitter, Flicker, Amazon book reviews(!), etc., etc. Where there are subgroups, they tend to be a minor part of the site and only used when the need arises. However, none of them became successful by putting up artificial barriers based on physical world constraints of time and place.

If education were being invented now, for the first time, in a world that is very much online, would the inventors start by limiting interactions to only certain predefined groups of people in certain places at certain times?

Just some thoughts.
 
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Picture of Richard Carr
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Hi,

A few very simple questions.

If we have LDAP working and want to integrate Moodle and SIMs does this mean we have to manually copy the UPN into the Employee ID field? Are there any other sensible options?

When LDAP is working does it actually create UserIds in Moodle

When might the parent accounts be made available and do they require the EmployeeId/ UPn to be working?

Thanks for all your development work!!
 
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Picture of Liam Winterbottom
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Hi All,

I represent a Moodle Partner who have developed an integration tool through authorised Capita Partnership that automatically creates parental accounts, produces on line reporting in attendance, assessment, behavior, reporting, achievements & much more.

Please feel free to contact me for further information or visit our website http://www.schoolanywhere.co.uk/sims-moodle-integration.php


Thanks,

Liam
 
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Picture of Liam Winterbottom
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Hi Stu,

I represent a Moodle Partner in the UK who have successfully released a Sims Integration tool into Moodle that provide maintenance of the data & parental reporting to meet the 2010 requirements.

You can read more on this by visiting http://www.schoolanywhere.co.uk/sims-moodle-integration.php

Please feel free to contact me to arrange an online demonstration.


Thanks,

Liam
 
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Picture of Nasir Sajjad
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

Hi Martin

I have seen that it is very difficult to get Moddle and SIMS.net integrated however I followed all the instructions on the moodle documentation. The VLE Export always fails and it seems there is a problem with 'update persons' item (see screenshot below)  I have contacted Capita who have tried to help and it seems that SIMS can't write into the persons field. I was wondering if you might be able to help or point me in the right direction

Thanks very much

Nasir

sims error

 
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Picture of Stephen Knott
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Hi,

We have had the licence script applied (many thanks to all at Leamis).

In the (SIMS.net) configuration it asks for the URL of the web service, is this in moodle or something else?

 
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Picture of Stephen Knott
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

Hi,

I have been working with the IMS ES export tool now and have a better understanding of it.

The SIMS VLEExport utility is looking for an IMS Enterprise Web Service to facilitate its requests. I know the methods it is looking for (given in Capita's documentation and the IMS 1.0/1.1 Specs) but am not sure if the VLEExport utility is actually connecting to my basic webservice in the first place.

At the moment I have created a simple script to record all HTTP_RAW_POST_DATA to try and find out exactly what SIMS is trying to send through. However nothing is being recorded. Does anyone know if the SIMS VLEExport Utility is sending data using POST or is it doing something else first, like trying to connect to get a handle to send data through on?

Phil, if you are reading, any pointers would be gratefully received!! big grin

 
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Picture of Phil NEAL
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
One thing that you might not have done is apply the licence key to activate IMS. This needs to be obtained from your local support team - we don't charge for this.
 
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Picture of Stephen Knott
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

Thanks Phil,

We have had the licence key applied and have access to the IMS export configuration. The problem we have had is that the IMS export utility needs a webservice URL to (I assume) handle the conversion/export.

I tried to configure it to send data through to http://<<domain>>/ims/service.php

In this service.php I wrote a bit of code to output all the POST data to a file (including header information). However the file is empty! It seems to me that the IMS Export Utility isn't connecting or trying to export the data.

Now I understand that this is probably due to my script not working as a proper web service. The reason I have been doing this is to try and find out whether it (the IMS Export Utility) is trying to access a SOAP or WSDL service.

Can anyone shed any light?

 
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Picture of Paul Littlemore
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
I have tried using the VLEExport.exe program from the command line to see if there is anything that that is dumping out.

VLEExport is not actually doing anything because it says (When using the /V switch)
ERROR :User Paul does not have required permissions on SIMS.Processes.VLEExportProcess.

Any Ideas on this one? Is there any way that i can check if i have the correct licence patch applied?
 
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Picture of Daniel Samuels
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

Paul,

I know this is a very late reply, but did you ever manage to fixed the SIMS.Processes.VLEExportProcess error you were getting? I'm having the same issue and your post is the only one which I can find online which relates to it.

Thanks,
Daniel.

 
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Picture of Jon Lunn
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Just to add another idea into the thread, we are looking at integration with SIMS from a slightly different angle. After attending lots of VLE conferences there seems to be a general consensus that sharepoint will be used by most of the big players as the glue to combine all data. If you search the Moodle forums for webparts and sharepoint you will see that development is under way to develop Moodle webparts that will plug into sharepoint. CAPITAES also have developed sharepoint webparts and for a considerable cost you can purchase them. Thus will then give us all the connectivity we need in one interface.
 
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Picture of Matt Gibson relaxing in the Alps
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
I just found these sharepoint/moodle webparts, but am not enough of an expert to know if they can be used/adapted. Hopefully someone else is.
 
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Martin Dougiamas
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
What's the latest on Moodle -> SIMS?

Does someone want to write up a How-to in Moodle docs?
 
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Dan at desk in Moodle HQ, Perth
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
Group DevelopersGroup Moodle Course Creator Certificate holdersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
I've just spent a whole day in a meeting discussing this problem, so I may as well discuss the work i've doing while its fresh in my mind. ;) There are a lot of wide ranging issues in this debate, a lot of it comes from a required change which learning platforms bring about in school culture. There has previously not been much use of MIS data and certainly not used to populate group data in school IT systems. Which I guess is where the difficulty comes from the use of Moodle in schools vs Higher Education.

The simple way to extract data from SIMS and put it into moodle currently is to use CSV export and import it into moodle. This has a number of limitations however:

1. Schools SIMS databases often don't include email addresses
2. They wont contain usernames, so these need to be generated somewhere else
3. Enrolments are a bit tricky because the groups which SIMS has for classes don't always map up to real life school courses. (Often it'll be a few sims classes to one physical class). So moodle courses couldn't be created from this in any great way.

I've also tried the IMS export utility briefly, this suffers from similar limitations (as its the same data source) and also needs a receiving SOAP service developed in order to process the data it receives, but does have potential for semi-synchronous data transfers. Essentially one of the biggest issues is turning MIS data into an authentication source.

For my work with CLEO we are probably going to look at a solution to converge school MIS data with school authentication data to then provide this data to schools' moodles in our RBC (probably using an LDAP backend).

I'm very keen on aiding the development of the new groups, particularly as an enrollment source to aid point 3 above as this is perhaps the biggest barrier faced by our school moodle users at the moment.

I'd also like to put some quick hacks I did for getting around the first two problems into contrib to perhaps help for ideas for the google summer of code project and those other users who need their itch scratching ;). (But alas, i've been too busy with a lot of other stuff recently).
 
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Picture of Colin McQueen
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

In Hampshire we have a project looking into this via a PoC with the added complications of Sharepoint for SIMS.net Learning Gateway access, Moodle Web parts and firewall issues because we think we need to allow for Moodle, SIMS and Sharepoint servers sitting in various locations. The security policy on firewalls may cause us servere headaches with regard to SQL connections but I thought web parts used SOAP and normal port http/https ports? We don't have a centralised pupil/teacher/parent database either.

Becta are pushing SIF not IMS Enterprise as the data model for schools data interoperability. See http://uk.sifinfo.org/

The username having to align with the Sharepoint AD username but created by IMS is a bit of a sticky one. We were going to use LDAP for Moodle authentication against the SPS AD but I see the problem is getting that username aligned with what the IMS import/update does.

 
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Picture of Bruce Robinson
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Having just gone on a " Moodle Awareness" mission to several schools around the local area. The lack of integration with SIMs or CMIS is proving to be a fairly serious flaw for Moodle especially amongst the senior management who need the MIS data to support funding and staffing decisions.
Although Moodle may be vastly superior than many other platforms in ease of use and flexibility, I'm now coming up against a real barrier to further progression.
A VLE without an integrated MIS is a little like a boat with out a rudder. It does the job of staying afloat but lacks any real control over the direction it can go in. Integration with existing MIS is critical, not just a nice to have as too much money has already been spent to change
If a solution can be found to this issue, Moodle will truly have come of age.
 
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Picture of Richard Willis
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Hi,

I am considering extending my product which connects school systems together to support Moodle. I am already linking Sims and Facility CMIS to Active Directory, SharePoint/SharePoint SLK and Class Server.

I've put up a post at http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=73988 to see if there's enough interest in it. It would be a commercial product, with the downsides that entails - cost, not open source, etc. - and the advantages - the cost includes support, etc.

Please reply to the post references above as to whether you would be interested in it or not to help me decide to go ahead or not.

Thanks,
Richard
 
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Picture of David Willington
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

I'm not sure I've got a complete solution, but I've got a script that'll do a batch upload of SIMS data to moodle. In an empty installation of moodle it'll create users, subjects and lessons and put teachers and pupils in their lessons. At the moment it assumes authentication is via an ldap server (Active Directory in the case of the two schools where I've used it) and the script creates usernames and email addresses based on data from SIMS and asking questions about how usernames and email addresses are constructed (eg firstname.lastname@myschool.co.uk).

It'll also synchronise data if the SIMS report produces a different set of data (eg pupils move, the year changes etc) to when it was previously run. It's a work in progress but has worked fine for the two installations I've done. In particular the options for how usernames and email addresses are constructed are limited but cover the specific requirements of the two schools I've used it for. The plan is that it'll be run daily.

I've tested on moodle 1.8 on windows and linux servers with no problems on either (apache and mysql in both cases). However I've tried to stick to the moodle developer guidelines, so it should work with other databases or on IIS. I expect it to work on 1.7 but not 1.6 or earlier as it uses the roles mechanism that was introduced in 1.7

I'd be grateful for any feedback that people can offer about this. I hope it's useful.


 
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Picture of David Berry
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Very impressed and thank you for your efforts. As you realise, start of term is very hectic and so I only got chance to test your program last thing on Friday. Worked well but it just made me realise how each school has unique ways of setting things up and solving problems (and that timetablers are a law unto themselves!)

Looking to hack your code (but with no PHP experience) so that we generate usernames in the form

surname, initial, year of entry

So my username would be

berryd07

if I started school in 2007. If you could point me in the correct direction I would be grateful.

Secondly, your program appears to run quite happily on our 1.9 test machine but without generating email addresses. Possibly I didn't click on the correct buttons.

Lastly, how would your program deal with metacourses? Trying to make more use of these to save duplicating resources.

Thanks again

David Berry

Edit: Just realised that I could attack the CSV. With a little bit of pre-processing I could probably produce our username format in combination with your program.
 
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Picture of David Willington
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Morning David

Glad it worked and thanks for trying it out. For your specific setup we'd need to

1. Change the SIMS report to include year of entry
2. Add year of entry to the fields array
3. Process the new field to strip off the leading 20 if necessary (ie 2007 becomes 07)
4. Edit the set_user_name_format() and set_email_format functions to accomodate the extra field (ie year of entry)

I think this should do it, although I may have missed something. I put the script together bearing in mind that different schools have different ways of constructing usernames and email addresses, so it'll be relatively easy to change to accomodate the year of entry.

As regards meta-courses, the setup we're using is to use meta-courses widely and then put the class sets (ie the courses created by moodle) into the relevant meta-courses. It's early days for us, but the idea is to have a meta-course for each subject / year (eg year 9 geography, y7 English) then put each class into the relevant course. I'm planning on having the script setup meta-courses in this way, but it's not there yet.

All the best

David
 
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Picture of Cal Flanders
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Dear David,

I have tried your excellent script on one moodle installation and it has worked very well. I have modified it very slightly to fit in with our pupil username scheme (3 digit number) but that's about all.

On a second moodle intallation, I am having less useful results. Pupils are now only added to 2 or 3 courses each instead of the 9 or 10 in the CSV file and the script is taking more than 8 minutes to run at the "Assign pupils to course stage". It then appears to complete OK, with a few pupils listed as NOT added to courses.

The new moodle is with 1.8.2+ moodle and 5.2.4 PHP both of which are upgrades to the first moodle I tried it on, which did not have this issue. Turning on debugging shows various errors which I doubt are showstoppers with text as follows:
1)
Notice: Undefined index: 292 in X:\Programs\moodle\admin\importSIMSdata.php on line 763
Either userid or groupid must be provided
  • line 2163 of lib\accesslib.php: call to debugging()
  • line 767 of admin\importSIMSdata.php: call to role_assign()
2)
Notice: Undefined index: in D:\Programs\moodle\admin\importSIMSdata.php on line 762
Error: Invalid context creation request for level "50", instance "".
  • line 1709 of lib\accesslib.php: call to debugging()
  • line 1868 of lib\accesslib.php: call to create_context()
  • line 765 of admin\importSIMSdata.php: call to get_context_instance()
Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in D:\Programs\moodle\admin\importSIMSdata.php on line 766
Context ID 0 does not exist!
  • line 2178 of lib\accesslib.php: call to debugging()
  • line 767 of admin\importSIMSdata.php: call to role_assign()
Anyway, please let me know if you can advise on any troubleshooting steps for why pupils are being added to only some courses.

Having tried again on the first moodel, I am also getting the same behaviour. I think that there is something going on with the data file that's causing this...

Regards,
Cal.
 
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Picture of David Willington
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Dear Cal

Off the top of my head, I'm not sure. Putting the script together was fiddly and I suspect the devil's in the detail. I'd expect it to work on the moodle 1.8.2, php 5.2.4 installation (although of course it hasn't!) as it uses moodle's standard function calls. I think the windows installation I successfully installed on was 1.8.x. I've tweaked the script since I posted the version you have, so I'll post this one asap. Unfortunately I've left in on a server in a school I was working on so I'll have to go in and get it.

If you are happy to send me your modified version of the script and SIMS data (or some of it) and details about which settings you used to import the data, I'll have a look and see if I can spot what the problem might be. I'm not sure I can get much further without this.

Judging by what you've sent, my guess is that my script is possibly trying to put pupils in courses that don't exist, or it's getting wrong information about courses it's created already and trying to put pupils in incorrectly. Might be problems with not comparing cases correctly somewhere in the script. Could be any number of things!

Sorry I can't tell you exactly what the problem is, but if you send me your script, SIMS data (if you're happy to do this) and settings you used when you ran the script, I'll take a look

All the best

David
 
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Picture of Cal Flanders
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Thanks for this quick response, David.

I have restored a clean moodle db to the second moodle and tried again.

This time I screened the data file more carefully and found that leading zeroes for student usernames were stripped in the csv file from Excel. Saving it as text seems to have rectified things by maintaining the zeroes.

Seems a simple case of GIGO with no fault in your script! I will still lookout for your tweaked version when you post it.

Thanks again,
Cal.
 
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Picture of David Willington
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Crikey, that's not the reply I expected! Good luck with it, let me know if
you hit any other snags

All the best

David
 
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Picture of Sarah Quantick
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
David

This looks like it could be a useful tool. Would it be easy to modify and use students classes in SIms to assignment students to groups rather than courses. We are set up so that courses are per subject and the per keystage and then students are in groups with in that course.

Thanks

Sarah
 
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Picture of David Willington
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Morning Sarah

I think you've hit the nail on the head. I'm anticipating changing the setups I've created to the one you describe, ie using groups instead of metacourses. I don't think it'll be too tricky, although I've not looked into it. It's the next job on the list for me, although I'll have the added complication of having to search through a current installation that's set up as I've set it up and create groups for each of the courses that I've put into a meta-course rather than just make the groups as part of populating an empty moodle installation. I'll also take the opportunity to try and ensure we can rerun the script nightly / weekly to synchronise users on a regular basis. I've got various other things to sort out which are nothing to do with this script and that are more urgent so I'm not sure when I'm going to be working on it, but I hope to do so in the next couple of months. If you want to take on the development yourself, please feel free to join in. I'll be happy to discuss it with you more.

All the best

David
 
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Picture of Sarah Quantick
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

David

I am not sure if I have the expertise to take on the development although it has been something I've been interested in looking into in more detail in general.

I will have a look at the code and if you have any pointers please let me know

Sarah

 
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Picture of Alistair Gill
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
David / Sarah,

Having the ability to automate adding pupils to groups would be excellent, I have some scripting / programming knowledge and would be more than happy to help out if I can!

Thanks,
Al
 
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Picture of David Willington
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Morning Al

Feel free to take what's there and see where you get to. My approach from here would be
1. Work out how groups are handled from a moodle API / database point of view
2. Modify the script so that creating courses based on classes is optional
3. Add the option to create 1 course for each year group and subject (eg Y7 Geog, Y9 Maths) as identified from the imported data.
4. Add the option to make each of the class courses (if they have been created) a meta course, or to import entire year groups into each of these big courses.
5. Add the option of creating class based groups in each of the courses, which will either correspond to meta courses (if the user has selected these) or will just group the imported users into groups.

Actually, before all this try and make sure I understand exactly what groups and meta-courses are intended for. I still don't think I really know how it's intended that metacourses be used.

All the best

David
 
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Picture of Sarah Quantick
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

I think I know in  my head what it needs to be able to I just need a bit of time to explain it I guess, But it would be good if through working together we could get something to link sims to moodle. The next thing would then be to link in assessment manager now that would be a real winner.

Sarah

 
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Picture of David Willington
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Evening Sarah

I could do with some more chalkface views about what's needed. My wife teaches at one of the schools and once she's come home from a day of running the performing arts department the last thing she wants to talk about is how exactly I can connect SIMS and moodle to make her life easier! I used to be a teacher but never had to use SIMS, and trying to pin teachers down for an indepth discussion about how best to join the two systems is very difficult. I'd find your views very useful.

All the best

David
 
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Picture of David Barszczak
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

Hi all,

I have created a script that allows me to run a report in sims and pull it out as a csv file.

The script imports all students into moodle ties them to the LDAP login creates all groups as class names and then put all users into the correct groups.

I then have another script that allows you to enrol a group to a class.

Would seriously recommend testing it in a sandbox environment first though.

Also starting work on a gui for it within moodle but a little inexperianced in this area.

 
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Picture of David Willington
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Afternoon David

Would you mind posting your script? I'd like to have a look at it if it's open source.

All the best

David
 
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Picture of Sarah Quantick
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Morning David

The main point about linking sims.net and moodle would be to have a flow of data each way and to keep it as live as possible.

Downloading from sims and uploading pupil data including classes on a daily basis as an automated routine would be excellent.

As I said previously uploading the classes so they represented groups within courses rather than being seperate courses would be far better i.e. year 8 light would be taught to all of year 8 at somepoint in the year and therefore having the one course with all students enrolled in seperate groups would be better rather than having a light course for every group. Keeping these groups lists up to date is essential.

Maybe we could use hidden enrollment courses for each subject for each year which fed into meta courses for each subject.

There is also then getting data from moodle back to sims, the biggest problem in schools is that there are still to many systems and to much hunting for data. This would mainly be assessment data from assignments I think the new gradebook in 1.9 will help to facilitate as you can choose what data you are exporting a lot better. Assessment Manager in sims is the place where this information need to go, is assessment manager you can create templates is for importing data into.

Taking it another step would be to link attendance data in sims back to moodle so that a full picture can be seen in moodle.

As I said at the start the main thing is that it just happens and doesn't rely on someone running a script.

Hope this helps come back to me if you have any more questions as it is hard trying to get thoughts down on paper. Also I would be keen to work on this with you and test anything that needs testing. As I said before I am not a great programmer but am just starting to get my head around things.

Sarah

 
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Picture of David Berry
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Just to complicate things another "David" re-enters the thread.....

From what I understand Capita (ie SIMS) charge something like £5000 to get hold of the development kit which allows data to be written back to SIMS. I don't normally support Capita but you can understand that they don't want the data being corrupted by wayward programs. An alternative could possibly to export the assessment data from Moodle in an XML format that can be read into Assessment Manager.

Personally I would keep the data in Moodle. Moodle works.

Regards

David Berry
 
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Picture of David Barszczak
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

I don't think that we are going to get exactly what were after without paying Capita for the licence. From what i understand Capita licence a program to talk to sims and would proberbly have to licence a moodle module which due to the cost would end up no being open source.

Due to the amount of schools that use it, it maybe worth getting together and trying to solve this but after paying for developers to it could work out quite expensive.

 
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Picture of Colin McQueen
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
This thread has been dead a while so I thought I'd restart it by clarifying as best as I can the SIMS<>Moodle situation as far as I see it.

Capita have several interfaces to SIMS.
  • Their reporting interface that can output data from SIMS. This can be used by any SIMS user given access. It is SIMS> only. This can provide semi automated interoperability at least read out if scheduled reports are collected and munged by scripts.
  • Their SDK which essentially gives you better access to reporting by exposing the key ID fields of tables. This needs to be sanctioned by the suppoort service for your SIMS installation probably your Local Authority and if they support it there should be no cost. I think it may allow some form of write > SIMS as well as output SIMS > but that may only be into the assessment module? I do recall doing CSV import into assessment manager but it often required careful setup and manual intervention to sort out records that didn't quite match student records.
  • Their IMS Enterprise interface as mentioned by Phil Neal above. This requires web services and has a data model that provides student and teacher data out of SIMS. I believe there is limited exposure of assessment and attendance data. As for the SDK it requires support from your support services for SIMS and Capita require you to register the use of this. I don't know where you get the web services to talk and listen? Anyone? Is this what the MINTED project does? This is SIMS > only.
  • Capita licence their Business Objects which are a set of windows dlls that are required on the client accessing the SIMS server which could include the Moodle server if on Windows. this is what requires the large annual support agreement I believe. It is the recommended way to write > SIMS as well as the best way to get data out. This is because it rovides an api that Capita will continue to support. It allows youi to expand the SIMS database too. I believe TASC use it for their PARS extensions to SIMS.
  • Capita are involved in the UK SIF group and are writing agents to provide write > SIMS and read i.e. SIMS >. They use this for their Partnership Xchange server which is a SIF ZIS. There is a developing SIF data model for the UK and I believe the DCSF may soon be announcing a statement of intent about SIF being the way forward for data interoperability for MIS and Learning Platforms and other uk educational databases. Capita have expressed concern about the development costs required and that data will be lost if temporal data is not linked with SIF data objects particularly for attendance and assessment data. I suspect some MIS suppliers may need to extend their database to accomodate this kind of data too.
  • Capita have their dot net SIMS Learning Gateway that provides a provisioning service for creating Active Directory Accounts and an apsx application layer and web parts to give a view onto a limited set of SIMS data modules. Mostly read only but their is some write back into assessment and pupil reporting modules. This isn't true data interoperability bar the provisioning of accounts as the data doesn't come out into the dot net VLE database so you can't "mix" the data except by view.
  • Capita do not support direct access to the MS SQL database though read only shouldn't be a problem any write back is definitely not a good idea becuase of the validation issues and because I don't think there is any normalisation either.
Hope that helps. This is not "official information, just what I have come to understand.

I think the way ahead in the UK is SIF. Is Moodle 2.0 going to support SIF via agents and a SIF ZIS and IMS (Enterprise and other things like QTI) via web services?



 
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Picture of David Willington
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Hi Sarah

Unless things have changed with SIMS the problem is getting the data back in from moodle, and I can't see that there's any way for me to make any progress here, although BlueFountain systems and Pteppic were working on the problem, I think with a view to meeting the license costs by working LEAs. From what I remember they planned to have something ready in late 2007, but I've no idea if it is available. My approach is probably going to start with finding out who needs what information in the school and then providing it. If I find out that Mr Smith really does need the information in SIMS then I'm likely to hit a problem. If Mr Smith needs the total mark out of 100 for all the pupils in year 8 with corresponding grades in alphabetical order then there's no need to put the information in SIMS first, we can leave it in moodle and if necesssary write some code to generate it.

With the nightly updates for getting data into moodle, this should be reasonably straightforward. I need to work out how to get SIMS to automatically run a query nightly, but once this is done there'll be a CVS file somewhere that moodle can get as a cron job.

putting students into groups - I'll be onto it as soon as I get back to the script

With attendance, as far as I know moodle doesn't have any facility for tracking attendance so we'd need something that does this. There is an api for querying SIMS but I don't know if I can rely on that a) being cost-free in the future b) being available in the future c) behaving in the future as it does now. Also, I had a look through the documentation and couldn't make much sense of it. As far as I could tell there were no php bindings, so I'd need to pick up another programming language before I could use it. My initial instinct is that it'd be more convenient to write something for moodle to track attendance in classes, or to use another open source product to do this, but attendance tracking is not something that's in my immediate plans

All the best

David

 
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Picture of Dark Nova
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Hi David,

I've just done a mid year re-import of SIMS users into Moodle, however... the PHP script seems to think some students who are still enrolled should be removed... and students that have left should stay....

Any Ideas?

Cheers

DK
 
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Picture of David Willington
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Afternoon DK

Not sure. Did you use the script to get the users into moodle in the first place? Have you used the same SIMS report? My installations are still using last September's data which hasn't been updated yet - getting the script to work with nightly upgrades is on the cards but it's not something I'm doing yet. Chances are it's buggy code, although without seeing the details of your exported SIMS data and which students are being handled incorrectly, I can't offer much more at the moment
All the best

David
 
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Picture of Dark Nova
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Hi David,

I used your Sims-importer to get the users into moodle except myself as i used LDAP and set the permissions from there to use as an admin account rather then the inbuilt moodle admin account.

In the SIMS report, I change the effective from date to run from today, would you think that would cause an issue? I could always try wiping the user accounts in moodle and try again and let you know.

Also one thing I did notice about your script is a possible problem with the "User delete". It only deletes from Moodle and not the SQL Database... So housekeeping on the SQL database would be needed when users are deleted from moodle.

Cheers again David.

Regards

DK
 
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Picture of David Willington
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Morning DK

In the SIMS report, I change the effective from date to run from today, would you think that would cause an issue?

I wouldn't have thought so. Did you check the data you were getting out of SIMS was accurate?

I could always try wiping the user accounts in moodle and try again and let you know.


That might help, but I think a glance through the csv you're importing would tell you as much.

Also one thing I did notice about your script is a possible problem with the "User delete". It only deletes from Moodle and not the SQL Database... So housekeeping on the SQL database would be needed when users are deleted from moodle.
I wanted to use
 
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Picture of Christoph Ruda
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

Hi David,

I was wondering whether you've had a chance to spend some time with your SIMS - Moodle script, especially with regard to representing classes as groups rather than courses.

I suspect you've been rather busy recently with the implementation of what you describe here.

Christoph

 
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Picture of David Willington
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Afternoon Christoph

I've not had any more time to work on it. I've heard that others are working on exactly the same problem, and they told me they'd be releasing code very soon, ie any day now, although I've not seen any yet. I'm hoping this is going to solve this problem for me.

All the best

David
 
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Picture of Christoph Ruda
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Hi David,

Thanks for your reply. I was wondering whether you have heard anything since your post. Unfortunately I have not been able to find out any more. Do you know who to get in touch with. I'd be very happy to contribute to a solution, even in my rather limited way by testing or something like that.

Regards,

Christoph
 
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Picture of Nasir Sajjad
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

Hi David

I am trying to integrate moodle and sims and it may be that your solution is the best way. (I've been emailed a IMS utiltiy patch fropm Capita and followed the instructions but I am not getting any connection to SIMS. Whe I do a VLE Export in SIMS it returns an error stating  problem with update persons)

 

Where do I run your file?

 

Thanks for the help

 

Nasir

 
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Picture of Shish Moom
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Is there any chance of getting a bulk course upload facility in the core*, to go with bulk user upload? I found such things very useful when working on sims -> moodle scripts for the school I'm working at; and even with a proper sims import, it'd be handy for other systems which moodle doesn't have explicit support for~

* I know of the extension, but it's mysql only, and aimed at 1.5 mixed
 
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Picture of Guy Thomas
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

Check out my blog- I have a Facility CMIS Integration block ready to be released under GPL. wink

 
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punisher
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Hi,

What is the address of our Blog Site for this plugin?

Thanks

 
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Martin Dougiamas
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
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Picture of Dark Nova
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

"Check out my blog- I have a Facility CMIS Integration block ready to be released under GPL. wink"


Does this work with SIMS?


 
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Picture of Paul Garratt
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 

DId anyoen ever get Moodle to Link with SIMS

If so how????

 
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Picture of Matt Gibson relaxing in the Alps
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Not that I know of. I think it will appear quite quickly after webservices and site-wide groups are implemented as a relatively simple cron job could be written based on the documentation for the SIMS webservices mentioned above.

Add your vote for the site-wide groups issue if you want it fixed in 2.0 (currently not scheduled for a fix)
 
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Picture of Cristian Alvarado
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
 
Wow, this thread brings back memories...

Our campus ended up using the script that Orville wrote about back in 2004 where we get a flat file dump of SIMS and we process it using a custom script.

I'm sure Wen on our team can give more details if asked.
 
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Dan at desk in Moodle HQ, Perth
Re: UK Moodling - SIMs.net Interface to Moodle
Group DevelopersGroup Moodle Course Creator Certificate holdersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Hi All,

I refrained from replying to this thread because there were battles of red tape internally and I didn't want to get your hopes up early. But we've had a solution in place for CLEO schools for the past year or so which works well with SIMS.net and CMIS, and i've finally been authorised to post the code on the GDF which i've mentioned here:

http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=98792

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the solution on that thread. Enjoy

Dan
 
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