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Picture of John McDermott
Parental access?
 
I'm getting ready to set up Moodle for a local school. They had a question I could not answer and I thought mabye someone here had an idea for them. They would like to allow parents to see students' assignments and possibly student work. The idea is to link one student account to one parent account (the parents could share). That way a parent could see only his/her child's "stuff". Ideally this would provide "read only" access.
Absent such a feature we could just give parents access to the student password, but I thought it would be nice to have a separate account. Has anyone done anything like this?
Thanks.
 
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Picture of koen roggemans
Re: Parental access?
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Translators
Not done this yet, but you could allow guests with a key or let the parents use their children's account.
 
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Picture of Marc Dastous
Re: Parental access?
 

I have this very same question, but I have a caviat...

I am currently using Moodle and if the students do not have an email address I am having them put their parent's email address.  The problem is that I am now having siblings entering my class and it will not let them put their parent's email address in the system, HELP!!!!  I want the parent to get the information or at least do what was described above.

Is it possible to remove the email requirement and make it an option?  For example, the teacher could switch on or off the requirement for email.

Marc

 
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Picture of Robert Lefebvre
Re: Parental access?
 
Would setting the parent up as a tutor or assistant teacher get a similar effect? I think there is a setting that allows enrolling tutors without editing features. Also, perhaps a code whizz can duplicate the assistant teacher function, rename it to "parent", and remove some of the excess features? I don't think there would be too many features to remove?
 
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Picture of W Page
Re: Parental access?
 
Hello All!

I think a "Parent Page" would be a nice feature to add to Moodle. (The teacher would decide if he/she wanted to add this to their site or not from the admin page).  It would be nice for Parents to get automatic e-mails when grades are posted for their child or children.  Also, for parents to be able to see certain comments made by instructors.

I described how I did it on another grading online service in     
Re: Icons from Hell
http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=4674&parent=21031

Also I referred to it in,
Re: Parse error
http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=6015&parent=28827

WP1
 
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Picture of Richard Watkins
Re: Parental access?
 
Haven't there been some thoughts about developing a much more flexible user system that will allow admins to tailor the types of users they want??
 
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Picture of Sean Keogh
Re: Parental access?
 
Yes, I believe Martin has been planning a system that is much more flexible than the current one.  I think this is one of the major things scheduled for V2.0


Oxford Beardie
 
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Picture of Chardelle Busch
Re: Parental access?
Group Developers

"It would be nice for Parents to get automatic e-mails when grades are posted for their child or children.  Also, for parents to be able to see certain comments made by instructors."

This would be a great application not only for parents, but for the business applications (was referred in another post as notifying managers/superisors, etc.)

This is also why I am interested in the php forms module (how is this progressing?).  Rather than have parents/managers allowed access to the students account--which I think could get messy--one could develop a form template e.g. "Progress Report" with the pertinent info (grades, assignments completed, etc.) that is filled out and emailed to the parent/manager on a regular basis. 

Chardelle

 
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Picture of John McDermott
Re: Parental access?
 
Oh, I like this idea. One could select what is sent:
  • grades
  • completed assignments
  • overdue assignments
  • assignments as they are assigned
  • attendance information
  • and so forth

The e-mail could then be sent nightly on days when the event occurs (e.g. an assignment is given) or weekly or monthly. I suppose one could get really fancy and have multiple e-mail recipients each getting different reports, but that seems like a more long-term goal...
 
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Picture of Jeff Wood
Re: Parental access?
 

At the start of a semester I send notices home to parents about the course site and what they can expect to find on it.

I give them the option to join us as a guest or register themselves.

As for marks - I use markbook that produces a lovely HTML version of student activities and just upload the marks to the site every few weeks.

Thoughts?

Jeff

 
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Picture of S. Fieler
Re: Parental access?
 
May I point out to this thread:
http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=6395

I think this considerations might fit here.

 
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Picture of Jeff Wood
Re: Parental access?
 
Markbook 2003 also has a feature that allows you to email marks, messages to parents that have supplied an email address.
 
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Picture of Floyd Collins
Re: Parental access?
 

Jeff,

This type of grading works great for a single teacher. What would be best is if moodle had these features for the whole district. This is a hot topic, but I cant help but wonder if all the moodlers out there spending money on external programs where to consolidate there funds in a moodle module programmer what a great feature it would be. I would much rather spend my money this way. Just some thoughts. This is a hot topic and one I think we should find a developer willing to help us with.

 
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Picture of Eugene Tregle
Parental access desparately needed
 

Unfortunately, asking parents to login as a Guest (even with a key) is not a reasonable option.

The problem is that the parent will have to search thru the course listings (over a hundred) to find EACH of her child's classes.  If this were a one-time process, that would be fine.

But the following day when she signs in as a guest, she will have to manually repeat this process all over again. And each time she wants to see her child's assignments, she'll have to do this.

And I just don't see asking a senior in high school to give his mother his username & password. This will unwittingly lead to some parents using features that were only intended for use by the student.

We basically just need the ability for a parent to enter her child's username AND a special read-only password (created by the student when he signed up with Moodle).  This way the child gives the parent his username & special read-only password, which is used by the parent to create a "special parental read-only account."  And when the parent initially logs in, her child's personal list of "My Courses" will already be set up and ready for the parent to view.

This whole issue really needs to be properly addressed and implemented. I am dismayed by the lack of an integrated parental participation in the Moodle environment.

 
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Picture of Tom Murdock
Re: Parental access desparately needed
 
Eugene, have you solved the problem from yesterday about distinguishing between students and teachers in your installation?

Does Blackboard or WebCT have the integrated parental participation features you desire?

Why don't you do the following: ask teachers at your school to create an assignment forum in the courses that lists daily assignments? Then create an RSS feed for the assignment forum and direct parents to sign up at http://www.bloglines.com so that they can receive the feed every day. This will allow a parent a clear way to learn about what's happening without "unwittingly" stumbling into her student's business.

Also, "dismayed" is a pretty strong word to describe a free program that is being developed daily by interested individuals who all have other jobs. wink

-Tom
 
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Martin in black and white
Re: Parental access desparately needed
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Moodle was not originally designed for high-schools ... it was for University.

But these extra roles will be possible eventually ...
 
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Picture of Hans de Zwart
Re: Parental access desparately needed
Group Developers
If Moodle was designed for university, I for one never noticed and still think it is the ideal solution for high schools (and maybe even primary schools).  smile
In my school every child is in a class with a mentor. The mentor is very important and has all the contact with the parents of the child. It is the mentor who keeps a tab on the childs development. The mentor class/group is consequently also very important as most children mostly have lessons in that group.
Next year I am planning on making a course for every mentor class and making sure that all parents in a class enroll. Every parent would have his/her own account inside Moodle. This way there could be a much better interaction between child, school, mentor and parent. I will keep everyone here posted on how it goes.

I must say that I also like Tom's idea about the RSS feeds. Maybe we as a community can get around using bloglines and have an inbuilt newsreader in Moodle. Isn't Gustav desparate for a new project? I will cheer from the site every day wink
 
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Ray Lawrence
Re: Parental access desparately needed - rant
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

I've noticed in a number of posts that teachers seem very keen for parents to become involved in or observe online activities within a Moodle site.

If we consider how forums work, for example, it is clear that (unless pseudonyms are used by all child participants) that an enrolled parent could have access to a wealth of information about the thoughts and school work of a range of children other than their own.

Profiles, which are lauded as an important part of the users online identity, are also easily available - perhaps even with an email address for the child.

I would further suggest that access to this information may not be limited to parents, if parents do not conduct themselves in a manner which promotes online security.

Surely it is, at best, naive in the extreme to allow "un-screened" adults access to children in this way. Unfettered access to children could have horrendous consequences. To be blunt - just because someone is a parent it does not mean that they (or their associates) are not paedophiles.

Options which allow access for managers/supervisors i.e. in addition to teachers? Great idea.

Options which allow access to the course work of consenting adults? No problem.

Any parent access options which allow parents access to the input of their child only? Great idea. Who could say this was bad move?

Allowing access to children without proper controls? You cant be serious.

As a parent, I would question the competence of any teacher, school or governing body which put my child at risk in this way.

 
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Picture of W Page
Re: Parental access desparately needed - rant
 
Hi Ray!

I agree with you, parental access should be limited to their child or children and not everyones child or children.  I hope eventually a parent page will provide a way for a parent to have access to or linkd to the work assignments, work product and grades of each of their children who are registered with that particular Moodle site.

WP1
 
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Picture of Eugene Tregle
Thank you to everyone
 
To All:

Thank you for the recent feedback from everyone.

I'm sorry for the use of the word "dismay" in my earlier message. I did not mean any disrespect. I was not aware that Moodle was originally designed for a University environment.

Thank you Martin for clearing that up for me.

As someone who is just discovering what Moodle is all about, please know that I am very impressed with what you have here and I'm very appreciative for the hard work that has gone into this project.

I'm sorry for sounding critical.


Sincerely,
Eugene
 
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Picture of Tom Murdock
Re: Thank you to everyone
 
Eugene,

I was far too critical of your tone (an English teacher facing a final stack of essays--not a good excuse).  Here's a love fest.  tongueout

Please stick around the site, we have plenty of great people here, but are always looking for new ideas and new perspectives.

Plus, your first reactions to the software prompted some excellent points of discussion.  This is exactly the kind of conversation that helps developers know what users are thinking.

best,
Tom
 
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Picture of David Lamotte
Re: Parental access desparately needed - rant
 

Ray has raised a number of excellent points here.

During my more than 20 years involved with the IT industry I have seen these sorts of issues raised many times.  IT is held responsible for new problems just because it is now possible to do new things.  Very rarely do people take a moment to consider IF some activity should be done.

 A good example is private use of the Internet. Management rightly becomes concerned if staff are doing their banking, sending personal emails etc all on their employers time, and usually request that the IT section does something to stop or limit it.

My point of view has always been that it is not an IT issue but a 'private use of company resources' one.  This means that the same policies that govern the private use of cars, phone calls and photocopying also apply to the Internet.

With parental access to students learning activities, I would ask what what is your institutions current policy? Parents would not be permitted to just walk into a class room to start poking around, they would normally work through their concerns with the teacher.

Similarly, they would work with the child in reviewing their homework and written workbooks so why is material contained within Moodle any different ?  What is stopping the parents sitting down with the child and going through their online work with them ?

If the child is reluctant, then the parent can discuss their concerns with the teacher in the normal way. 

Or am I missing something here ?

David

 
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Picture of Peter Honan
Re: Parental access desparately needed - rant
 

I agree with you David, I am also from a High school environment and we already have processes in place for communications to parents....(letters, interviews, phone and reports); most Highs schools would (I think) tend to use Moodle in a classroom environment, not as a fully online tool as I think it was originally envisaged.

Also from an IT guys perspective the admin overhead to align student and parent accounts would be huge. Unless this task could be automated (using active directory...if used!!) it would be a nightmare....we have over 1500 students, some with separated parents and we haven't even considered the privacy issues..................

Peter

 
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Ray Lawrence
Re: Parental access desparately needed - rant
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

David wrote: What is stopping the parents sitting down with the child and going through their online work with them ?

Good point. So parents can have access to other children's work / details using their child's account.

The potential educational / social benefits of the approaches outlined on this topic seem clear, however, I hope that teachers / schools who employ these methods give proper and careful consideration to the privacy and safety issues.

 
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Picture of Jeff Wood
Re: Parental access desparately needed - rant
 

Very good/interesting comments by all.

 

As a moodle user for almost 2 years in a high school setting, I have found that I am using it not as an online course but rather a vehicle to communicate with both students and their parents/guardians.

 

Case in point

 

1. I post homework daily

2. I am now using the calendar feature (LOVE IT!!) to note important dates for the course and school.

3. Resources are posted to help students with the current topics

4. The forum is used to communicate with all participants important information (test dates, change of schedules)

5. Student marks are posted (using Markbook and posted by student id only)

 

In this day and age of accountability and technology prevalence, my feeling is

 

1. I am doing my best to keep parents informed (whether or not they choose to take advantage is up top them)

2. Students will ALWAYS have a way of finding out what was missed

3. The technology (internet, emails, etc) is everywhere and widely available to our students 9here in Canada)

4. I am promoting a more collegial environment and able to provide extras (resources, handouts) with minimal work on my part (teaching the same class again)

 

Thoughts?

 

Jeff

 
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Picture of Hans de Zwart
Re: Parental access desparately needed - rant
Group Developers
My plan is only to use Moodle to engage parents into the mentor group. I will create a separate course for this and will not share any information on for example the grades of students. I think parents should know the grades of their own children but not of other people's children. I would let the children choose whether they would enroll in the course where parents are also present.

I know that I have to be carefull, but you also have to look at the advantages:
  • There is a sitewide calendar for schoolwide events
  • There is course calender
  • Parents can discuss things about the school with eachother, but cannot do this anonymously (great feature in Moodle). This makes moderating easy.
  • Through the forced subscribed news forum I have a newsletter for the parents of all my students.
I think these things are great and I will not give them up lightly.

There is one more thing I would like to say. The phrase better safe than sorry could very well be applicable here, but you also have to be carefull not to succumb to the culture of fear that is being propagated in Western Societies (with America in the forefront). Ray writes:

Just because someone is a parent it does not mean that they (or their associates) are not paedophiles.

That is a true statement. However the statement: Just because someone is a teacher doesn't mean they are not paedophiles also is true (yesterday I watched the disturbing and fascinating movie Capturing the Friedmans). There is a limit to how far you can let the fear get inside of you.
The parents in my course are parents that I know. I am present at school and in the Virtual learning environment. Children are not stupid (always my base premise)
 
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Art Lader
Re: Parental access desparately needed - rant
Group Documentation writers
All good points, Ray...

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent a parent from accessing a course using his child's username and password and seeing and viewing all that is happening and taking part as though he actually were a student.

I think what we will have to do in Aiken is to remind students and parents that their activity on the site is not really private and they must behave accordingly.

I also think that we will have to offer alternative assignments to students whose parents do not want the to Moodle.

I know that, over time, the vast majority of parents and students will learn to take part in our online learning community in a responsible, reasonable way. But "over time" could be a few years. and we we always have a few parents who want their cjildren to have nothing to do with Moodle.

In our case, I it would be best to work with these parents and try to work with them as partners, even if that means sometimes meeting them more than half-way, thereby winning as many friends and supporters along the way as possible.

The alternative would be to fight them every step of the way and hope that the adminsitration is willing and able to do the same. Not a bet I want to place.
 
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Art Lader
Re: Parental access desparately needed - rant
Group Documentation writers
As a matter of fact, our students at Aiken HS will be almost certainly be using pseudonyms. It will be inconvenient, but I have become increasingly concerned about how freely our students seem to give away precious information about themselves.

Better safe than sorry. Sigh...

-- Art
 
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Picture of Tom Murdock
Re: Parental access desparately needed
 
Hans,

I agree. I think if we could create some kind of RSS aggregator within Moodle, we could spiff up Art's "Parent Course" to allow individual parents to receive feeds of assignments.  This would exlude them from the actual course with their students, but keep them in contact with teachers and deans at the school.

I think Daryl's Simplog project has an aggregator.

-Tom

p.s. Ray's ideas are really valid (in terms of how much I trust people just because they are adults).  However, I think there is a middle road that gives parents good access to activities, good access to the instructor, but also gives the student room to succeed and falter (and to learn something in the process).
 
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Picture of Daryl Hawes
Re: Parental access desparately needed
 
Tom, Yes indeed. Simplog has an aggregator and it could be used for such a purpose.
 
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Picture of Floyd Collins
Re: Parental access desparately needed
 

Even if moodle was not originally meant for high school, I think the benefit of having a way to generate a report that can be, e-mailed or printed is an awesome addition to moodle. What would seem to fit everyone and still get the job done is if we had a way to give the parent, guidance or tutor a pin number that they could use to log in and receive a report on the student. When a new user account is created, there would also be a random number generated that would be attached to the account. When one logs into moodle they are asked to login with user name and password, another field would be needed that would allow for the pin number. Once the pin number is entered a window with the report pops up for that student with the option to e-mail or print the report.

The report itself would just be a summary of attendance, grades, activities, tests and quizzes as well as a teacher comment area.   Then make it so the only way to get the pin number is from the student, so then students have some control over who sees their report card if you will. This way the adult student can just ignore the pin and the young adult student can give the pin to their parent or what ever policy the high school has on the pin number. This makes it more flexible to both the university and the high school. Also for the adult learner it becomes a way for them to have a hard copy of their progress maybe to show an employer or someone in financial aid.

 
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Picture of W Page
Re: Parental access desparately needed
 
Hi Floyd!

Those are really good ideas. I used a pay online servicein the past which handled the posting of HW assignments, tests, tasks, projects, etc... and the posting of grades for these different activities. It allowed for either students, parents or both to be e-mailed class announcments or grades. This would also be very nice to be able to do this with Moodle.

I handled this process by
  1. Sending an announcement home to the parent which the parend had to sign (just a way to know the parent had seen it - I hope).
  2. I requested the parents e-mail address on the signed slip which was returned.
  3. The parents (I am trying to remember) were either given their own password which was generated by the program (student's passwords could also be generated by the program if desired by the teacher) or given their childs's username and password.

The parents liked this and many of them checked regularly. They were only notified of their child's work via e-mail, could only see their child's work, could only see their child's grades and could only see notes and messages to their child. They could not see any of this information specific to other children. The teacher could allow parents and students to see how the child was doing relative to other classmates via a line graph if this feature was turned on by the teacher.

Of course
Moodle is more interactive and is not just for posting or grading, however, it would be a nice to see the e-mail feature I noted above in Moodle. Also, it kinda gives Moodle a "One Stop" feel since it would also allow the Admin and/or Instructor to e-mail from the site.

Just my thoughts.

WP1
 
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Picture of W Page
Re: Parental access desparately needed
 
Hello Eugene!

Been out of it for a while. 

The bottom line (I feel) is one has to remember that programmers and developers have two arms, two legs, two eyes, a heart, a brain.... just like the rest of us.  They are human and deal with human stress everyday like the rest of us.  Moodle is a free program which is improved in some way every day by the many volunteer programmers that create code to make it better.  Sometimes the programmers and non-programmers clash about different issues but I think we all keep our eyes on the prize, that is, the ultimate LMS, CMS or whatever you call online learning software.  Also, those clashes appear to be keep to a minimum.

Some of the developers have even submitted code they created from projects they were contracted for to help make a better
Moodle.  One has to make a decision as to what one will contribute and how one will do it. 

There are some things I also would like to see in
Moodle. One just has to roll up one's sleeves and get to it or be patient.  The develpers hear you and will probably respond with something in time.  It is better if you do it, however, and contribute it yourself.  This does not mean that you should not suggest or criticize, just remember  all these volunteer delveopers at Moodle have to eat, feed their kids, et cetera, just like you or I and so they do Moodle stuff when they can.

I have not really seen any kind of a bad
Moodle developer attitude here.  Most of the folks are helpful and try to assist anyone with a project they are coding.  If there is an attitude it is one of pride in the product, Moodle.

I feel many at Moodle would like to se a "My
Moodle" area and a "Parent" area in Moodle.  With so much happening all at once, both have not caught "steam" just yet but I believe they will eventually.

I will be trying to accelerate my learning of PHP, mySQL and FLASH this summer.  Also, I am trying to get a little  working knowledge of XML, Smarty (which I think Martin is going to use in
Moodle 2.0) and the ADOdb (I am not sure what it is or what it is suppose to do in running the database).  

Nice to meet you Eugene.  I am still in the process of struggling through
Moodle myself right now.

WP1

 
 
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Picture of Jill Kaminski
Another gradebook program
 

I've been using Gradekeeper for 2 years. http://www.gradekeeper.com/

It's cheap ($20 US includes lifetime upgrades), easy to use, and creates web pages with a login page.

 
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Picture of Marc Dastous
Re: Parental access?
 

Wouldn't the solution to this be to add a parent email field as an option in the User Profile?  Then when an email is sent to the student, a CC of the email is sent to the parent.  This parent email field would not HAVE to be unique, as is the case with the User email.

I'm not sure how to code this, but the logic seems easy.  Any takers?

Marc

 
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Picture of Joseph Spilatore
Re: Parental access?
 

I am glad to see that others are thinking and requesting  for information about notification of enrollment. Our site needed to capture the name of the a student's supervisor(supname) and their superviosrs e-mail(supemail) for notification purposes.

I have added these two fields in the user profile. Now that we are capturing the data. We need to include the supemail in a notification of enrollment.

I have attempted to add the code to the enrol.php but at the timeof this posting I have not been able to get it to work. I am in support of adding this level of functionality to moodle and would be willing to work with anyone who has simaliar needs to notifiy a parent/supervisor as part of enrollment.

 
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Picture of Peter Kupfer
Re: Parental access?
 
This would be a good quick fix I think.
 
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Picture of Alexis Maldonado
Re: Parental access?
 
I think that instead of creating separate "parental" access we should focus more on creating a solid user/group permission system designed to control all aspects of access control to Moodle. A system so customizable that you could basically select what objects/functions each group of users have access to.

I was able to create a similar system in coldfusion but not at the objects/functions level. It would actually allow you to select what files a specific group of users could execute.. We could take that a step further and somehow show a list of objects/functions so that you could assign access to a group?
 
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Picture of Ian Semey
Re: Parental access?
 
I agree with Alexis, because this would be the most flexible way of managing access for different kinds of users. One caveat is that it quickly could get very complex and difficult to manage, specially if the moodle course has many files.

In the (excellent) moodle spirit, I would suggest this done by having some template users, with specific rights, just like the different users are implemented now - admins, creators, teachers and students. Here could be added the parent category, but also others, mentors, facilitators... And then there should be a way to finetune every role, and if necessary add others, eg. in the admin page, a link to edit these roles, like one can edit the users.

The reason why I would like it done this way is that at our university, all the students work in groups and use problem based learning. The way groups in moodle are implemented now as a way to restrict access is not applicable for our students, because I would like to be able to give the students a group space where they could share files and have their own forums, where the group would be in control of the rights.

The way we have tried to implement this in the courses I have created has been to create a main course where students were students, and give each group teacher rights in a course for themselves. The drawback of this is that the activities get split up, and it's difficult to navigate for the students. And the actions that the students need to cooperate isn't given by the tools that Moodle offer the teachers, tools for structuring content, modules and so on.
 
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Picture of Rhonda Racine
Re: Parental access desperately needed
 

I am very new to moodle and I'd like to weigh in on the parental access issue.

Parental access is probably one of the most desirable features for high schools. Parents are constantly lamenting the fact that they don't know what's going on in school with their children. So many parents are unpleasantly surprised when their sons or daughters bring home those quarterly progress reports with D's and F's. Principals and teachers are accused of not communicating with parents, and schools are anxious to find ways to solve this problem. Blackboard solves that problem nicely, and I'm disappointed but not surprised that the public K-12 district in my community just bought Blackboard, with others soon to follow.

Parents are our most effective partners in helping students succeed, and with knowledge they can be a big help. As principal of a private high school, I was hoping to get a LMS so parents could see their student's grades, and so teachers could communicate with parents easily via email. If a parent logs on with his/her student's ID, isn't there only one email address, i.e. the student's, associated with that account? It's very inconvenient for teachers to have to maintain a separate email list and switch to their email program instead of sending parents email directly from moodle. Also, I wouldn't want parents having access to participate in the course. I've met parents who could conceivably get carried away...

Blackboard calls the parental access feature the "Observer", which has been described as follows:

Observer Access allows an assigned user to view a specific student's course interaction, records, and grades. Instructors can limit the amount of access the observer has within the course. Note: Observers do not have access to the Blackboard communication tools (email, discussion, or chat). These accounts must be created and assigned to the specific users by the System Administrator. 

I believe that this is more than just a high school feature - if universities are using moodle, it's an easy extension to bring it to the high schools with the promise of preparing students for what lies ahead.

I had very bad experiences with those expensive vendors because they wouldn't pay attention to me - my school is small and it's not a university. I'm hoping the moodle community is different. Please, can the parental access feature be bumped in priority? Is there a way to do something in the short term, with the full meal deal following as a longer term solution?

 
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Picture of Jill Kaminski
Re: Parental access desperately needed
 

Ditto to Rhonda's excellent explanation. My district, while nervous about FERPA issues, will go with Blackboard over if they think all logins are "secure", and if parents can have a distinct login and role.

This is a primary reason why I'm changing code and bending over backwards so that my students cannot change their profiles. I want to give parents their children's usernames and passwords (that won't change) so that they can check the gradebook and the schedule.

 
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Picture of W Page
Re: Parental access desperately needed
 
Hi Jill!

Just a few questions.
  1. Does the code you are referring to allow Parents/Responsible Parties to see specific Student grades and schedules [everything a student schedules, just class schedules (field trips, quizzes, exams, etc..), and/or school schedules (holidays, Parent Teacher Nights, etc..)]?
  2. After logging in will the Parents/Respnsible Parties be taken to a special page which will display the information [Grades/Schedule] on the specific  child/children of the Parent/Responsible Party?
  3. Are you also considering the ability to report behavior problems as well ?
WP1




 
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Picture of Chardelle Busch
Re: Parental access desperately needed
Group Developers

Hi n,

It appears that you do not have children in school.  If so, you would realize just how difficult it is to get any information out of them regarding their schoolwork--no matter how good of a relationship you have--it just doesn't happen.  E.g. What did you do in school today?  Nothing.  The only time your kid is really attentive at letting you know what's going on is when there's a fieldtrip coming up smile and you have to sign the permission slip.

In my school district the teachers are required to send out weekly emails that include the assignments, due dates, and the grades.  And it is just this feature that allows for more parent-child interaction.  Once I know an assignment or test is coming up, then I know what I need to talk about or work on with my kids.  At the high school level, parents are also given passwords that give them access to student schedules, grades, and gpa.  I don't think access to 18-year olds is an issue--if you are the legal guardian, you have legal access to their grades at the high school level. 

Your idea of a PTA type of course is a really good one.

Some type of "reporting" feature of assignments/grades would be a great addition to Moodle.

Chardelle

 
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Picture of N Hansen
Re: Parental access desperately needed
 
Chardelle-No I don't have kids, but both my parents were junior high school teachers and so I have a pretty good idea about what it is realistic for parents to expect a school or teachers to do for them and what it isn't realistic for them to expect. And I think a lot of parents expect too much. I also was a teenager not too many years ago and although I wouldn't have had a problem with my parents reading what I wrote and I was a top student, I still at that time would have felt that this was an inappropriate thing to do for all students without their consent (I had a teacher in high school who nicknamed me the "lawyer" because I used to defend other students in the class when I felt he was treating them wrongly and perhaps I am trying to defend those voiceless students that everyone here is trying to make decisions for).

I think it is a great idea to send out weekly emails with a description of what the students are expected to do that week to the parents enabling them to open a dialog with their children about the work they are doing and it would be great if Moodle could be automated to do this, but it is another to give them access to see all of the work that the student produces and the teachers' comments on it without the student's consent. I think the student-teacher relationship is one thing, and the student-parent relationship is another. I think automating the parents' ability to spy on their children does not encourage parents to help their teenagers to develop adult social skills like mutual trust and respect of privacy, although perhaps in post-911 many Americans feel these are not such important values anymore.

If an English teacher sends out an email to parents saying the students were required to write an essay that week, then the parent can ask the child to show them the essay, and give positive feedback on that essay, which in turn will make the student more willing to share their work in the future. Computers are not an easy answer to developing such relationships. They require human interaction and effort.

About the issue of parents having access to the work of 18 year olds, I'm not so sure that that can be legally justified. An 18 year old is their own legal guardian. I remember distinctly that once I turned 18, I was able to write my own excuse notes when I was absent from school (which was quite frequent that year because I underwent major surgery during the year and had lots of doctors' appointments to attend), which I would not have been able to do if  I was not my own legal guardian.
 
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Picture of Jill Kaminski
Re: Parental access desperately needed
 

I'm just talking about parents logging in using the student's account. So my code just prohibits the student from changing anything (e.g., username and password) that would lock out their parents.

Nothing fancy here -- I'll just give the parents the student's login.

 
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Picture of Jeff Wood
Re: Parental access desperately needed
 

Jill,

Our work-around for this is to use an enrolment key (high school).  I send home a letter top parents that the start of a semester and invite them to register (so they can receive emails from forums - virtually no one does) or to use the guest account.

The guest account still provides them with course access (they can see homework, assignments, upcoming tests and the course/school calendar).

As for marks, the same letter invites them to email me if they want marks emailed to them.  I use markbook(.com) and this allows me to generate html marks - which I post on the site by code #, and also generates detailed students marks for emailing (a few parents take advantage of this).

Jeff

 
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Picture of mandy honeyman
Re: Parental access desperately needed
 
Hi Jeff,

Do your parents, via that enrolment key, only have access to their own children's course bits?

If so, I don't quite see how you do that, could you explain in more depth?

cheers
Mandy

 
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Picture of Jeff Wood
Re: Parental access desperately needed
 

Mandy,

The enrolment key allows parents to access the course as a guest (see what every "student" sees).  It does NOT given them access to any particular students work - except it will allow them to view the HTML marks page that I upload.  The students name is not used and only their ID # is.  This requires parents to ask their child for the code as ALL student marks are displayed.

Hope this helps.

Jeff

 
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Picture of N Hansen
Re: Parental access desperately needed
 
I hate to sound like a cynic, but I'm sure this is going to come across as cynical. I wouldn't expect Moodle to help parents to help their children succeed anymore than they already have the ability to do so. Why don't they ask their children to show them their homework, why don't they ask them to show them their report cards? Do we need computers to substitute for a good PARENT-CHILD communication because the parents can't be bothered to develop a good relationship with their children?

You don't need technology, you don't even need knowledge to help a child succeed. You just need to care about the child and his future. My father-in-law never went to a day of school in his life and is illiterate. But he made sure my husband was doing his homework every night and he figured out a way to make sure he was doing it. How? My husband used to write his homework in a notebook. Now, my father-in-law couldn't read it at all, but he would secretly make a mark on the page where he saw the writing ended. And then the next day he would check to see if anything more had been written. Today, my husband is a doctor, and he gives a lot of credit to his father for helping him to succeed. No Moodle needed.

What I think might be useful would be a virtual PTA course to encourage parents to know eachother and teachers. It certainly would be easier for concerned parents who don't have schedules compatible with PTA ones to get involved. And perhaps let them be involved in the decision making what sort of access parents should be allowed to have at your particular school. But I think you need to think very carefully before going the Big Brother route. And you are going to have to be very careful about the fact that many high school seniors will be 18 years old-legal adults who have a right to privacy of their records. You would have to have a system in place that would allow their parents' access to be cut off when they have their birthday if they so choose.


 
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Picture of mandy honeyman
Re: Parental access desperately needed
 
What an interesting topic that appears to have taken off again.

Firstly there seems to be an understandable dicotomy of views between university moodlers and school moodlers. There is no earthly reason for universities to need this functionality. But you university moodlers need to forgive us school moodlers for wanting/needing things that moodle wasn't originally designed for too.

I went to an interesting discussion during an education conference last month about how  parental involvement in their childs education and school makes an enormous difference in their childs progress. Even more interesting studies show (men take note) if a father is involved in their childs education, the effects last well into the child's twenties. So now there is a big push to specifically target dads. I think enabling parental involvement over the internet is especially relevant for dads, who might just be able to take a bit of time at work, for example, perhaps, to check in with happening with their kids.

In the UK the government are keen to encourage the "home-school link" because of the above and this is, just, one major reason that many schools are installing VLE's.

On that basis:
  1. I have installed moodle "under" postnuke. This still provides a one-stop site and also gives parents access to activities, information blah blah.
  2. I have removed "stranger" registration from postnuke (and hence moodle) in order to address the kind of child security points made here.
  3. I think that it's not going to be too complicated to "attach" parents to their children within the postnuke database (the db I'm using for moodle authentication).
  4. I will be sending letters home next term to all parents explaining internet policy (again), surveying computer use in the home (98% we're lucky), offering computer loans and will try to work out ISP deals and telling them about the next bit.
But then comes the difficult part (under discussion):
  1. How to deal with reports (we use a commercial management system for grades and attendance and somehow I have to link that in with moodle or postnuke).
  2. How to give parents access to knowing what the homework is and it's due date, without giving them access to the entire course. I personally think that students deserve some privacy in their interactions at school.
  3. How to give parents access to only their kids work.
I would love to help anyone who wants to start to try to address these issues within moodle. But I'm afraid to say that my php won't be up any great shakes til after xmas (and I've finished an OU course).
cheers
Mandy

 
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Picture of Howard Miller
Re: Parental access desperately needed
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers
It seems to me that we are talking about another 'role' type (like Teacher, Admin, Course Creator). However, the challenge here is that it is a role that is hard to define - for example I can actually see a benefit in University Moodles of being able to create 'Observers', but as has been discussed exactly what a parent should and should not have access to is a matter of opinion (and probably culture and country). Perhaps we need to clearly define what this role would look like and what should be fixed and what should be configurable.
 
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Martin in black and white
Re: Parental access desperately needed
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
The long-term plan for Roles is a system where sites can define their own roles by checking boxes in a long list of capabilities (some core ones, some from modules), then assigning users to those roles.

With this system Parent roles will be easy to create and customise.
 
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Picture of Marc Dastous
Re: Parental access desperately needed
 

Martin, this would be WONDERFUL!!  However, is this something that is being bantered about for 2.0 or something we might see sooner, say 1.4.1? wink

How many dollars are we talking about to get something like this on the fast track?  I believe that there is a market for this and some donations might be in order to get this moving along big grin

Please advise.

Marc

 
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Pensive mood
Re: Parental access desperately needed
 
Martin,

The Zope/Plone interface comes into mind. Almost too many checkboxes. However, it has a very fine granularity to controls.
 
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Picture of Ne Nashev
Re: With this system Parent roles will be easy to create and customise.
 
Martin, how people with role Parent can will be linked with his own childs and not with all childs?
 
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Picture of Claudia Scholz
Re: Parental access desperately needed
 
I disagree that universities would have "no earthly reason" to use this functionality.  I'd like to see a mechanism whereby students could grant "observer" priviledges to their own records to chosen individuals without giving away their own passwords.  When I teach first-year students I do still have parents calling me (I always tell them that their kids are adults now, etc. etc), but parents aren't the only constituency for such a feature.  Academic advisers may have some interest in monitoring the performance of students, particularly those on academic probation.  At two institutions where I have worked, coaches of sports teams would routinely contact me to find out about the progress of a student-athlete to make sure that he or she would be eligible to play in the "big game."  Many universities in the U.S. have someone on staff to monitor the academic side of the student-athletes.  I think the key issue at the university level is student consent.
Just my two cents.  Thanks for a great discussion!
 
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Picture of Brian Koontz
Re: Parental access desperately needed
 
I disagree that universities would have "no earthly reason" to use this functionality.

OTOH, one would want to be very careful with such a feature.  US case law treats college students as having reached "the age of majority" (regardless of age), at which point FERPA kicks in which prohibits the release of any education records without the student's express permission.  Some administrators might view Moodle as a liability if this functionality is present (or cannot be disabled at the server level).
 
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Picture of Michael Penney
Ferpa tutorial
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers
Heh, we just completed a FERPA tutorial (in lesson format).

Login as guest.

Yeah, this sort of thing would need to be disable-able for us in California.

Heck, we're getting flack for Moodle's ability to show student pics!
 
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Picture of Brian Koontz
Re: Ferpa tutorial
 
Not to get too far off-topic, but some of the interpretations we're getting about FERPA border on the ridiculous (I teach as a comm. college). For instance, we can no longer post grades even if we generate random identifiers for each student and arrange students in random-ID order -- because, we're told, others could make "educated guesses" as to what grades belong to what students. 

I like that lesson module (missed only one on your FERPA lesson!).  I'm going to have to give it a try for next semester.  Your lesson ended with a couple of warnings...maybe because I was logged in as guest?

Warning:  current(): Passed variable is not an array or object in /home/lms/public_html/mod/lesson/view.php on line 1062



Warning: end(): Passed variable is not an array or object in /home/lms/public_html/mod/lesson/view.php on line 1066

 
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Picture of Richard Pferdner
Re: Ferpa tutorial
 

The "passed variable is not an array or object" in lesson/view.php appears to be a bug that was fixed in version 1.52.2.5 and later (around line 1210 there is now verification the variable that was not initialized has been set). If you get this error, upgrade to the latest stable version (be sure to backup all your data first and then restore it to the new version).

Note: I searched for a corresponding bug id in the bug tracker, but was unable to find it.

 
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Picture of W Page
Re: Ferpa tutorial
 
Hello Michael!

Are you going to OpenSource the "Ferpa Tutorial"?

WP1

 
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Picture of Rob Barreca
Re: Parental access?
 
Has there been any progress on the parent accounts?  I see this forum is pretty old and really need and will program this functionality if I have to.  Let me know if anyone has started with this so I don't reinvent the wheel.
 
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Picture of Rob Barreca
Re: Parental access?
 
Well, I've almost finished programming the parental access into Moodle and will upload something soon.  I've made it so a parent can come and click "Create Parent Account" where they enter their son's first & last name, and id number to match them to a child.  Then they can browse their child's classes, see his grades, but not take any quizzes or submit assignments.

I'm almost done, so stay tuned for an upload.
 
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Picture of Floyd Collins
Re: Parental access?
 
YES YES YES YES YES,,,, I cant wait to see this ,,,, sounds greate.
 
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Julian Ridden
Re: Parental access?
Group DevelopersGroup Moodle Course Creator Certificate holdersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Translators
Sounds fantastic. I am happy to assist in testing this code if needed.
 
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Picture of Anil Sharma
Re: Parental access?
 

Great Rob !! Just a few thought !

1.  When you say ID number, i hope you mean username because the ID number field is not a necessary field durign signup

2.  Is there a way in which Admin can create parents accounts quickly and send them off to parents, they could later change their passwords ?

I have some very good people working on moodle now who can do extensive testing ...let me know in what ways we can help !!!

 
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Picture of W Page
Re: Parental access?
 
School House Rock!!!

WP1

 
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Picture of Anil Sharma
Re: Parental access?
 

Calling Rob....hello hello ? any progress...

 
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Picture of Bhupinder Singh
Re: Parental access?
 

Hi Rob,

Waiting for your great work on the parent Account.

Have you uploaded it???

Regards

Garry

 
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Picture of Rob Barreca
Re: Parental access?
 
Okay, here is the first batch.  This is NOT stable, and should not be used for a live site.  Parents create accounts and must specify their child's ID number, lastname, and firstname.  I know many of you want it to be on different criteria, but I don't have time to customize to everyone's needs...just yet.  So please test this out and let me know how it goes. 

I'm starting a LMS customization and customized moodle hosting company called School Engine (web page not done yet) and am working on some customized versions of Moodle to offer hosting clients.  So I will definitely want to polish this, but please test and let me know.

Note:
  1. The files should be copied over the latest 1.5.2 version.
  2. You should add the lang files.txt that is in the main directory to lang/en/moodle.php
  3. They are probably not complete as I had to work around tons of other hacks that I have in place, so let me know what doesn't work.
 
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Picture of Anil Sharma
Re: Parental access - error
 

Rob

I tried installing this, i think something's missing.  I get his error :


Fatal error: Call to undefined function: get_parent_child_courses() in /home/moodle/skool/lib/moodlelib.php on line 2551

I think the file defining the function or class is missing. Maybe i'm missing out something else, pls check !

Thanks ! this seems to be a feature we've been waiting for

 
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Picture of Rob Barreca
Re: Parental access - error
 
Try this.  
 
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Picture of Anil Sharma
Re: Parental access - error
 

With the new fix, it gives this error :

Could not add your parent-student relationship to the database!

Are any fields required to be created manually in the database ?

 
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Picture of Rob Barreca
Re: Parental access - error
 
Yes they are. Sorry about this, I just didn't want to do a fresh install of everything to see what works.

  1. To `mdl_course` add these two fields:
    `parent` varchar(100) NOT NULL default 'Parent'
    `parents` varchar(100) NOT NULL default 'Parents'
  2. Add this table:
    CREATE TABLE `mdl_user_parents` (
    `id` int(10) unsigned NOT NULL auto_increment,
    `parent_userid` int(10) unsigned NOT NULL default '0',
    `student_userid` int(10) unsigned NOT NULL default '0',
    PRIMARY KEY (`id`),
    UNIQUE KEY `id` (`id`),
    UNIQUE KEY `parent_student` (`student_userid`,`parent_userid`),
    KEY `parent_userid` (`parent_userid`)
    ) TYPE=MyISAM COMMENT='One record for each parent-to-student relationship';
I hope that's it, but let me know ASAP if there is more.

Also, I wanted to add one more thing.  I've included code in the assignment/quiz mods to prevent parents from actually TAKING a quiz or SUBMITTING an assignment.  But I haven't added code to other activity mods to prevent parents, so this will be something to happen in the future.
 
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Picture of Anil Sharma
Re: Parental access - error
 

Rob

More problems. It seems the function make_categories_options() is missing from your version of /course/lib.php. This causes the error :

Fatal error: Call to undefined function: make_categories_options() in /moodle/public_html/admin/configvars.php on line 265

I think you will have to do one last fresh install to test this completely.

TIA

 
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Picture of Rob Barreca
Re: Parental access - error
 
Nowhere in my version of Moodle is there a reference to make_categories_options() function. This parents mod includes the changes compared to the latest stable update of Moodle 1.5.2 from CVS.

If you're on a different version I'm not sure how the best way to proceed is. I think updating to Moodle 1.5.2 will fix any compatibility issues as I can't spend too much time updating this for older versions. What version are you running?  Anyone else having or not having problems with my latest zip and the sql code?
 
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Picture of Ludek Suk
Re: Parental access - error
 

Rob,

Thank you for working on this solution. I tried the fix on 1.5.2 but I keep getting an error saying that it couldn't match the parent with the child's ID. What may be the problem? Also I was wondering if you thought of a case where parents have 2 or more children in the same school. Would they need enter multiple student IDs?

Thank you

 
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Picture of Rob Barreca
Re: Parental access - error
 
Did you add the table and extra fields to the database? It is a couple of posts up at http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=6250#146127

Once they add their first child, any teacher can go into the new Parents section (next to Teachers/Students on each course) and add additional children to that parent.
 
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Julian Ridden
Re: Parental access?
Group DevelopersGroup Moodle Course Creator Certificate holdersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Translators

Thanks for posting this up. I am interested in converting this to 1.6. Could you possibly post a patch file so I can see the changes you made?

Thanks

JR

 
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Picture of Rob Barreca
Re: Parental access?
 
Okay, here is a massive patch against MOODLE_15_STABLE in CVS.  I'm pressed for time these days so could go through and weed out all the non-parental-access changes...so there are a lot of other changes included in this patch which include the editable grades changes, and a bunch of other minor changes I made. 

If this doesn't work out for you, let me know and when I get some spare time I can weed through it all, but if you know Moodle pretty well, it shouldn't be too hard to tell what is what in this huge patch.

I also included changes to the DB and the missing files (including some lang files).
 
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Picture of Bhupinder Singh
Re: Parental access?--REVISIT
 

Hi Rob,

I was interested in trying out the Parental access functionality.

Can you advise if this is stable and where I can get the latest package.

It would be nice if you could load them this folder and adise if ready for a production environment,

Garry

 
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Picture of Peter Kupfer
Re: Parental access?
 
Rob --

I think I have an easy question. I downloaded zip folder. I copied the files to my FTP server and copied the sql commands and made the appropriate table changes, but I am not sure what to do with that patch file.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Peter
 
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Picture of Floyd Collins
Re: Parental access?
 

I too have been waiting to see parents access, this is one thing moodle is lacking  for my schools, maybe its not so for college or University but for the secondary level it would be great feature. 

 
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Picture of W Page
Re: Parental access?
 
Hi Robert and Floyd!!

Gee, this thread was started March 2004. It was an interesting process to re-read it.

From what I can tell, it appears that much of the information on the "My" pages [MyMoodle Student / MyMoodle Parent / MyMoodle Teacher / etc...] depends on centralized grades.

I made a posting about this, but have not been able to get a response for the folks that appear to be in the "flow" about this issue. If you have a moment, take a look at the following post and included links.

Request: Information on Status of Centralized Grades in Moodle - Gustav, Zbigniew & Martin D
http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=28992

WP1

 
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Picture of Marc Dastous
Re: Parental access?
 

So after 2-years where are we on this?  I understand the vulnerabilities as they relate to FERPA, but before I can propose Moodle to replace Edline we need to have this functionality.  Parents able to see grades, but not edit or upload the assignments.

Is this going to happen soon?

Marc

 
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Picture of Wesley Wakeman
Re: Parental access?
 

I'd like to know if anyone else has managed to write some of the code for this too. With our government body pushing for parental access to their childs work load is this going to be possible?

Thanks


Wes

 
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Picture of Anil Sharma
Re: Parental access?
 
I'm not sure the "ROLE" option being planned for version 2.0 will even offer the functionality of parental access, so work must start on this all over again. 
 
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Picture of Helen Foster
Re: Parental access?
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Hi,

As far as I know, roles (including a parental role) are planned for Moodle 1.7. Please see the Roles documentation for further details.
 
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Picture of Rob Monk
Re: Parental access?
 

This may be the wrong place to put this post but hopefully it may start some development.

I have used MarkbookCY a canadian gradebook program for a number of years to record student assessment. It is a great little program and while I can import from the Moodle grade book into MarkbookCY via a csv file the process is fiddley at best and tedious at worst.

This year I have gone 100% Moodle. I'm using the Moodle grade book for both online and offline tasks so all my data is in one place. THis is OK for my students accessing the data but my parents are really missing out. MarkbookCY has a niffty email function where you could "push" assessment info out to parents via email reports. The parents love this. Every 2 or 3 weeks they would get emailed to them an up to date progress report. The two way communication produced by this was super.

By using Moodle there is no way I can "push" assessment info to parents. The only way a parent can get a picture of how the student is going is if the student gives the parent their username and password. Now this will work OK for the students who probably does not need a push along. But for the student who does not want Mum or Dad to know how they are going it is ideal. These parents remain clearly in the dark.

Markbook CY also generated nice printed progress reports that could be sent home to students who don't have internet access at home. Moodle cannot do this either.

How do I communicate assessment information to parents using Moodle?

 
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Picture of Matt Gibson relaxing in the Alps
Re: Parental access?
 
You can create a separate account for the parent and create a parent role that can view grades, then assign the parent role to that parent's account in the context of the student's profile page. That way, the parent can log in and see the student's grades. There is discussion of this elsewhere, and I think the mentees block in the modules and plugins database is designed to help with this.

Can't be more specific as I've not done it myself yet, but hopefully that'll give you some pointers smile

Also if you use 1.9 (are you already?) the user report of the gradebook comes close to the progress report idea and is very nice when printed.

Matt
 
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Picture of Ger Tielemans
Re: Parental access?
 
I am thinking of a more rich parent account: not only the grades but also a snapshot of the context of these "grades" during creation time.. (views on main parts of the course overview, but not during "the office hours")
 
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