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MIS Integration with Moodle

 
 
Picture of Richard Willis
MIS Integration with Moodle
 
I have created a product which can be used to integrate MIS systems and other data sources with other systems such as Active Directory, SharePoint and SLK. In particular, being a UK company I can pull data from the main UK MIS systems in particular Sims.Net and Facility CMIS.

I am currently investigating whether to provide an integration with Moodle. I'm posting here to determine if there is any interest in a commercial offering linking school MIS sytems to Moodle as opposed to a purely open source one.

If I get enough interest I would be looking to develop a solution before the start of the next school year.

Positive and negative feedback is appreciated.

If you want more information there's a link to my company website in my profile.

Cost would likely be £749 + VAT a year.

Thanks,
Richard Willis

 
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Picture of Peter James
Re: MIS Integration with Moodle
 

£749 is quite expensive, there are a coupleof people in the moodle universe making open source connecters for this purpose.

Thanks

Peter James

 
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Picture of Richard Willis
Re: MIS Integration with Moodle
 
Peter,

Thank you for taking the time to respond, it's much appreciated.

I've had a trawl through the forums previously and have seen various references to people making connections to Sims and Facility CMIS, but mostly the posts have been quite old so I don't know how far they have progressed.

Using mostly Open Source tools in my development work, I quite understand that the community would prefer an open source solution. In my view, any solution that I provide I would view more of a service than just a product, with full support to ensure that your Moodle is always up to date and synchronised with your MIS.

There hasn't been much feedback so far either way, which I'm not sure it that's due to the post being in the wrong place or a lack of interest.

Thanks,
Richard
 
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Picture of Peter James
Re: MIS Integration with Moodle
 
Richard
when you looked a couple of them would have been mine, unfortunately my lea is going with the serco vle, ole, mle what ever you want to call it. i realise for you develop this it would cost you time, however although i have said it is a bit rich i think there is a need for another method of linking to cmis rather than serco's own ole , as i feel moodle offers a whole lot more. until serco and the others jump on the band wagon and give teachers what they need to make an efficient ole i.e. moodle is still the front runner
Peter
 
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Picture of Richard Williamson
Re: MIS Integration with Moodle
 

I would certainly be very interested in this, as currently we have to assign groups by hand sad

We would need not only LDAP authentication, but also manual as well. The manual ones wouldn't be expected to retrieve any information from CMIS.

Regards
RW

 
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Picture of Rick Barnes
Re: MIS Integration with Moodle
 
We have moodle up and running and will be getting serco later this year. Some way to link the 2 would be excellent. Otherwise I am only going to be asked why don't we moe to SERCO and I haven't been impressed.
Although initially your price seems a little steep compared to replacing Moodle and transfering information and courses or having 2 systems running parallel.......
Will your system be able to handle extracting assessment data from moodle to add to the assessment areas of the MIS?

A direct link or the LDAP link would be great. County are looking to push single sign on but with the poor services that they provide (email and broadband) we may well be looking for our own solutions for these and being able to have one log on for all would be fantastic.

I know several other schools in the area that are also using Moodle who would probably be interested. I'll be sending the word out.

Rick

 
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Picture of Richard Willis
Re: MIS Integration with Moodle
 
Hi Rick,

> Will your system be able to handle extracting assessment data from moodle to add to the assessment areas of the MIS?

That's something that I'm going to be looking at. It probably wouldn't be in an initial release, but would come later.

Richard
 
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Picture of David Hicks
Re: MIS Integration with Moodle
 
> I am currently investigating whether to provide an integration with Moodle.

This sounds interesting...

> Cost would likely be £749 + VAT a year.

...but out of our price range. It's a more than fair price for an LEA supporting several schools to pay, but that's a significant chunk of our individual school's annual IT budget. I'm guessing £300 purchase, £100 annual maintainance fee is nearer our mark.

--
David Hicks
 
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Head
Re: MIS Integration with Moodle
Group Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Sounds interesting. A connector between Moodle and SIMS would make things a bit easier. But to be honest I feel that it is Capita who should making their system more compatible with the other systems out there. (Integration into Active Directory / LDAP databases for example!)

We have effectively achieved single sign on using the LDAP authentication.

I feel that the price is a little high, and do not feel comfortable having to pay an annual fee to have my open source product connect to the lumbering closed source beast that is SIMS.

I suppose it depends what is going to be connected between the two systems as to whether it would be worthwhile. I know that there is a push with the e-learning strategy to have all systems incorporated into one portal, but at present I can not see the benefit of doing this with our MIS data. As far as I am concerned, if we can get a viable e-portfolio system integrated with Moodle, it meets all of the necessary requirements of that strategy without integrating with SIMS.
 
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Picture of Colin McQueen
Re: MIS Integration with Moodle
 

As I said in our phone conversation Richard, this is a key area. But intergration or interoperability?

Two way data movement particularly assessment data back to the MIS as well as one way enrolments provisioned out of the MIS is needed. The Capita IMS Enterprise Services interface is supposed to provide both of these but the former in a very limited fashion I believe?

A really big issue isn't the connection to provision the VLE out of the MIS regarding simple memberships, it is the ease with which you can handle the configuration of the memberships as well as the range of patterns for creating usernames. Simply taking, for example, the SIMS timetable classes and creating courses 1 for 1 isn't what most secondary schools would want. Maybe not even what primary would want. SIMS course Manager could be providing a better source as it allows any groups and memberships to be formed including FE, clubs etc.

Different subjects in secondary may want different models of mapping classes to course, For example:-

All year 7 classes in History mapped to one Year 7 History course but maybe top year 10 science classes mapped to one course and bottom Yr 10 Science classes to a different course, it would vary from year to year etc. the interface to allow someone to do the mapping would be crucial unless it was customised by you as part of the support. What matching is wanted depends on how the teachers in any particular dept etc. work together and share resources.

I think Moodle would need global groups to interoperate with a directory service or MIS system fully.

Perhaps more important is the movement of data between the two. Where do people think the online markbook will sit for day to day use? The VLE or the MIS system? I woulod go for the former.  nd where would the reportimng system best sit? I would want pupil comments, parent comments and other learnin g provider comments to merge with the report so getting them back into the MIS such as back in Profiles for SIMS isn't going to be easy is it? Reporting for personal reports to parents and pupil would best be part of the VLE system in my view, pulling data out of the VLE and MIS to create the report. Web 2.0 Ajax style technology is needed not some horrible system locked into Microsoft Office.

 
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Picture of Julian Whitehead
Re: MIS Integration with Moodle
 

It really really important that we get this right!

We are looking at SERCO Facility for our MIS - but are seriously unimpressed with their VLE. Moodle is streets ahead.

However our Network manager is very worried about how well Moodle and Facility will talk to each other. Should either system be able to pull data from one to the other?

Much work needed here, but not sure that the kind gentleman up the top who has written something to do this has quite found his market with £750 a year.

I know this is pittance compared to the cost of a MIS, but I really would want to know exactly what I would be getting for this amount of dosh.

Isn't this something the Moodle partners could be offering. It would certainly make me happier to hand over all my hard work, if I knew there was a serious advantage - like interoperability between MIS and VLE. Don't forget the idea of an ILP as well (although I am not really sure anyone actually understands what this means).

 
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Picture of Richard Willis
Re: MIS Integration with Moodle
 
Hi Colin,

> Two way data movement particularly assessment data back to the MIS as well as one way enrolments provisioned out of the MIS is needed.

This is something that I'm looking into, but probably wouldn't be in a first release.

> A really big issue isn't the connection to provision the VLE out of the MIS regarding simple memberships, it is the ease with which you can handle the configuration of the memberships as well as the range of patterns for creating usernames.

This would all be fully configurable, pretty much in the manners you suggest. I would also be able to take group memberships from Sims Course Manager or plain old user-defined groups.

> the interface to allow someone to do the mapping would be crucial unless it was customised by you as part of the support.

This would be customised by me as part of the support, certainly in the first instance. Depending on the uptake I would then look into a supporting tool for this, however as you have pointed out this can get very complex. The configuration files I use can already support this sort of scheme, but an editor for them is going to take a fair amount of work.

Richard
 
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Picture of Guy Thomas
Re: MIS Integration with Moodle
 
Getting data into Facility CMIS assessments is a nightmare.
They store the data in a really poor way.

Assessment result data is stored in a single field separated by chr(10)

Assessment result data max 40 characters is split into separate lines with a row number identifier used to concatenate it later.

GARBAGE!

I think they need to go on a DB design for dummies course.

I have some libs for reading data out of Facility assessments (nsturesults table) and a few for fixing broken assessments (i.e. teacher enters data into wrong template).

We are going to use this to show parents assessment data from ePortal in Moodle. Then we can use Moodle as a portal instead of ePortal. Also, we will be making moodle show attendance info too.

 
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Picture of Richard Willis
Re: MIS Integration with Moodle
 
Thank you to everyone who has responded.

To bring this thread to a close, I now have a Beta version of my product which integrates with Moodle. This was developed for one of my existing customers who wanted to move to Moodle.

Thanks,
Richard
 
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Picture of Brian Davies
Re: MIS Integration with Moodle
 
Hi Richard

I am very late on board with this sort of thing and am looking to link our school Moodle markbook to SIMs Assessment Manager. Did your product get off the ground?

Cheers

Brian
 
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