The Project course format displays the course as a collection of "phases" and "topics" made of of modules. In fact, this is very similar to the "weeks" and "topics" format, in that each "phase" is actually a "topic" with additional information regarding the start and end dates of the phase.
The project format allows to mix phases and topics. A Gantt chart is automatically included in the top area (section 0) of the course. It represents a 'bar' for each phase and a milestone for each assignemt activity that is defined as part of a phase. By mousing over the milestones the teacher gets a list of students who have competed the assignements and who got feedback already. It would be quite easy to add events from the calendar to the Gannt chart.
The motivation to develop such a course format is that we have been using a homemade project manager based on postnuke in the past 2 years (http://teamframes.epfl.ch). As we are now moving towards using Moodle as our basic elearning toolkit, we wanted to continue supporting teachers who do project-based teaching.
The implementation is very preliminary but does the essential. I developed it with 1.5 and then had to adapt some code to have it run under 1.4. It relies on a modified version of JpGraph that allows mouseovers and upon overlib for the popups.
Open questions which I have not addressed yet are how to backup such a course including the information about phases. How to allow one member of a group to submit something that 'counts' for all members. How to allow multifile submissions to assignement. How to enable file sharing among the group members. etc. etc.
If you are interested in having a look, testing is available at:
As a student: student / student77
As a teacher: teacher / teacher77
I'd be interested to know if someone else has developed a module or a course format for similar purposes.
Very nice!, You are already on the road I am still puzzled about: a simple GANTT/WBD for older secondary school students when they have to do their final (big) project: "Profiel werkstuk" in Dutch
- Is the current GANNT chart a static representation of the course layout?
- If so, are you considering to give students a window where they can express the progress of their steps?
- Are the student deliverables automatically connected to the overview? (I like it: very intuitiv!)
- In the end I hope that a student can draw in a project the starting GANTT and the progress figures(25%, halfway,..), are you moving in that direction? (For example: when working on a project in a Wiki, it is not possible to measure the progress automatically, only the student's feeling can be expressed, so..)
It is indeed a good idea to give the sudents the possibility to evaluate progress by themselves for each phase. The progress would be displayed in the phase's bar. For the teacher view, there would be some redesign to be though of in order to accomodate the display of multiple progress bars.
Also, giving the students the possibility to design their own project can be a interesting learning activity. This would however require that the students have editing privileges like teachers.
Concerning the deliverables in the overview of assignments, they are indeed connected. In the popups, NA appears where something is missing. 'OK' or an icon appear to signal a feedback or a file.
For the teacher: the colors of the milestones correspond to whether no/some/all students have submitted their assignment and to whether no/some/all students got feedback.
For the student: the colors of the milestones correspond to whether they delivered or not (green/red) and to whether they got feedback or not (green/red).
A very interesting and useful tool. The roll-over pop-ups are great for overviews. Makes me wonder whether we could use them for most of the Moodle activities? Teacher mouses over a journal activity and gets a pop-up of what has been done and what still needs comments!
I wonder whether the Gantt chart could be a block and whether all of Moodle's activities could simply get an additional variable that tagged them as certain phases (or some custom term). For example, I could imagine tagging all of the the first term assignments this way, so that students could have a quick glance at what needed to be completed.
p.s. Because of your "quick glance" look at feedback, it seems that the Gantt chart could even function (in block form) as a "marking" block (like the one that Mike Churchill created), that would allow teachers to quickly view what needed to be graded in certain projects/phases/terms.
If a teacher sets the outline of a course, talking to students in a live meeting at the beginning and then the students have only access to a progression table with the phases and only drop downboxes after each phase: 0% 25% 50% 75% 100% (and: stuck?)
(progress is projected as a small progress bar inside the current bar)
If students work in groups:
How can a teacher (or student in that group) view the progress:
- filter by group (average?)
- filter by participant?
The idea to set up the project in f2f with the students is very appropriate I think. For the display of progress, the average and the filter seem both interesting.
I guess I have to start thinking about a configuration file that lets the teacher or the administrator define all possible aspects of the chart (e.g. average or separate display of progress, display the comments in the popups versus display only a marker, etc.) .
Patrick, when I try to use this course format in 1.7 I get the message:
This SQL relies on obsolete tables! Your code must be fixed by a developer.
Can you help?
Just some thoughts regarding how we would use it:
Logged in as a pupil it would be nice when you hovered over the milestone/assignment you got the teacher feedback (if exists) in the pop up. Also, it would be nice if a student clicked on the line in the gannt it took them to the correct phase / topic.
I have only had a quick look as a teacher but it would be nice if the mouseover on the assignments in the gannt chart showed submitted and unsubmitted.
Anyway, excellent step forward.
For displaying the comment ... this would make the popup larger, this is why I first chose to put only a 'OK' in place. But it would be worth a try with real comments (as given by a teacher in a real course) to see whether the popups don't get too big. Another possibility is to show, say the 50 first words of the comments. Will give it a try.
The mouseover shows whether a file was submitted (there is an icon) or not (there are the letters 'NA'). Is this what you mean by submitted and unsubmitted ?
Also, take a look here to see the Project Activity Module we are working on. It is in the design stage and we will have screen designs ready shortly. It is intended for short or medium size projects--not where the whole course is a single project.
There's one issue, I don't quite understand how this Gantt chart is working. What are the numbers directly under the months? I would expect days of the month but that doesn't seem to be what it is. Or are they weeks? Or what?
The numbers on the Gantt chart are week numbers. The JpGraph library allows other scales to be displayed as well, e.g. the days. I have to work more on the chart in order to allow for more or less details and some navigation (e.g. moce one month forward or backward, come back to today, etc.). For now I chose to display weeks rather than days only to keep the size of the chart down. These issues are in the pipeline ...
I would suggest to move the 'Project Phase -> Topic' change function to the right border of the topic box, where you also control visibility and placement of the boxes.
> Also, giving the students the possibility to design their own project
> can be a interesting learning activity. This would however require that
> the students have editing privileges like teachers.
This is also something we would vote for, giving the students possibility to design their own project, because if you give the students the possibility to have ownership over their own learning process, learning is increased. But of course, this only works if the students are trained in how to be in charge.
this format Looks great and we are very interested in using project based courses.
We have been trying for a long time to use standalone application (like phproject ) sharing users DB with moodle; but we hadn't a real integration...
so your way it's what we have been looking for! Can we get this resource in some way?
thanks so much,
We have been working some more on the project based format during these past weeks and will use it "for real" during the coming semester. We have about 60 projects that plan to use it ...
Here is the code for the project based course format. You are welcome to try it out, but please be aware that:
a) it works (was tested) only with 1.5.2+ running with MySQL,
b) still needs many enhancements,
c) is going to change as we get feedback from the teachers ...
d) due to scarce ressources, we can't provide any support for it
A short description of the features provided by the format is contained in this document: http://moodle.epfl.ch/mod/resource/view.php?id=674
great addon to Moodle. Works fine first time.
I have to test it in many other situations.
"Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/moodle/public_html/course/gantt.php on line 50
JpGraph Error Can't create or stream image to file ./format/project/images/course217graphic1129269369a159.png Check that PHP has enough permission to write a file to the current directory."
How can I check the permisison levels PHP has?
The first line is just a warning because we try to loop upon an empty list. I should put a test in the code before ... but this is not harming the way it works.
The second line (JpGraph Error) probably comes from the fact that the webserver can't write to ./format/project/images . This depends on the system you use. I have a linux box, and when you look at the permissions for that directory (by typing 'ls -la' in that directory) is says:
drwxr-xr-x 2 apache apache 2152 Oct 14 07:36 images
Which means that the user apache (the one that runs the website) has read and write (the first two rw) permission on that directory.
Still getting the error - any ideas?
I'm really interested too in this project course format.
I'd like to use moodle to manage my business and that looks great!
How can I get it??
Thanks in advance