I remember when i wrote my blog post on rollovers and how people did them, it was based on experience with many organisations - all different and all who pretty much had their own local culture of how they
a) used a moodle course
b) enrolled people
c) various level of what their coursework existed in Moodle
So some of the following were things I noticed:
- course start as a field in a course may exist but was not the actual dates at all of the specific module for all users in it - often was just the date of a course being created manually or by external bulk create
- end date probably does not have a value, - its new in 3.2 and so most SIS integrations (manual or automatic) would not have it, yet.
- a course may have same shortname/id year on yearost do not use activity completion
- assignment activities are liable to be hidden after end dates, and sometimes unhidden not always
About course enrolments
- There may be multiple sets of students from different modules in the course at same, or back to back without resets - some students left with access for 3-4 years while in college
- a course may be reused year on year with just a reset
- a course may exist for years in the moodle site, and just used for reference while each course is cloned for new running of module
- Final grade for overall course is most likely not in moodle (as most are blended not fully online)
- Gradebook may have formative and summative items mixed up - as many institutions export the summative or actual serious graded activities out into their Student record system
what does this mean for doing generic analytics?
- Can we rely on the start/end date reliably- or enrol start date /end date
- Can we use activity completion- or is view / submit / graded more dependable
- the gradebook, is only whats in it - and all we have to go with - how to know
- some users may be in one assignment, some in others if groups are used
- some gradebook entries may not actually contribute to a real final grade
So what can an analytics engine potentially and reliably use across most types of course?
- Perhaps ongoing "periods of time" can be used, looking at who/what is happening within a period of time
- Students who are active during a set period (if analysing on a week, then only those active in that week for example) - and comparing only within that window
- Grading of activities - can only go on whats there or not
- Activity on activities (or lack of)
- the details with Rubric responses of assignments
- the details with Marking guide responses of assignments
- overall access patterns to non activity items (messaging, gradebook, calendar)
in short, what is reliable consistent data withint inconcistent course structures, design and implementation.
My 2 cents.
What do you think?