Moodle

Student Portal off to good start

The launch of the University’s Student Portal project this week was the culmination of months of intensive work by IT Services, the Registrar’s Office and a variety of stakeholders across the campus.

Jamie Chinn, IT Services’ Application Development Manager, says feedback from students so far has been overwhelmingly positive. “We’re thrilled. Not only do they like what they see, but they’ve provided us with great ideas for new features, and how they’d like to see the content and features laid out.” To encourage continued feedback, the portal team is running a 10-week contest for which every submission is entered into a weekly draw for a $100 gift card.PortalScreenshot

The portal currently integrates Moodle, The Bridge, Library and Bridge Bucks systems. Students can find their grades, account balances and course information, along with critical information such as important deadlines, crisis communication and other announcements.

Chinn says the work will continue over the summer to enhance and adjust the portal’s features, and monitor its performance. Next steps include integrating Google email and calendaring, as well as providing information and helpful links for new applicants to the University. The versatile system is configured to display only information that is specific to the user. “For example, only new applicants will see the information that is relevant to them,” says Chinn.

“The portal is available to all students now but we’ll be pushing out our communications to students more broadly in the fall. That version will incorporate as many suggestions and improvements as possible over the summer.”

The portal can be accessed at http://www.portal.uleth.ca

For more information and to keep apprised of the portal’s continued development, visit http://blogs.ulethbridge.ca/portal-update/

More details on the GoogleApps for Education roll-out can be found in our March blog: http://blogs.ulethbridge.ca/it-services/2014/03/27/student-email-moving-into-the-21st-century/

IT Services update for week of April 1, 2013

CRITICAL SERVICES: (Banner, Moodle, Wireless, Internet, Telephony)

  • Some students in the Testing Centre experienced intermittent error messages in Moodle this afternoon.  We have changed out a network device that may have been causing the problem, and will be monitoring Moodle closely when the Testing Centre opens tomorrow morning.

KPI SPOTLIGHT:

Anticipating the need to re-develop the University homepage, we have been collecting some data to better understand the needs of those using our site.  The “heatmap” below was generated over 3 days of activity in March (17,352 clicks). Much of this data aligns with areas we are already planning to address.  A few highlights:

  • The search box is well used, which could be a symptom of poor information architecture, or habitual user behaviour
  • The direct links by demographic in the “Apply Now” section is well visited, however the award offer beside it is almost never interacted with
  • Current Students and Faculty & Staff tabs in the lower quadrant are well-used and could be used as justification for a current student / employee portal (intranet) – to better focus our public website content.
  • “Services for Students” is well visited, even with lower positioning and size relationships to other elements on the page.
  • Our social media links in the footer are poorly visited.
  • The flexible messaging area graphic is heavily interacted with; people engage often with the slideshow format.

Heatmap spotlight

SERVICE IMPROVMENTS:

We have engaged an instructor from Lethbridge College to provide training for interested faculty and staff on Microsoft Office software (Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.)  We have completed three courses so far and the feedback has been extremely positive.  We have included a few of the comments from participants below, as well as the scorecard showing top marks for the course evaluation.

“Good instructor; made course more fun. Thanks!”

“Excellent course – I learned lots of little tricks even though I’d taken other basic courses.”

Training comments

 

IT Services Update for week of March 25, 2013

 

CRITICAL SERVICES: (Banner, Moodle, Wireless, Internet, Phone)

All services were functioning normally.

SERVICE IMPROVEMENTS:

We have added new storage space to the Testing Centre to ensure that there is sufficient space for bags and backpacks even during peak periods.  Student bags used to be pilled on the floor in these areas, creating a safety hazard.

Testing centre shelving

IT Services Weekly Update

Critical Services (Banner, Moodle, Wireless, Internet)

All services functioning normally.

KPI Spotlight

The Testing Centre has been seeing higher volume with midterm exams in full swing.  Some relevant statistics are provided below.

Last week (Feb 23 – Mar 1):

Number of students processed:              98-150 per day avg
Peak time of day:                                         1pm,  3pm, and 7pm peaks
Average exam duration:                            20-50 minutes
Total exams approx:                                   750

This week (Mar 2 – Mar 8):

Number of students processed:              140-220 per day avg
Peak time of day:                                         1pm to 3pm
Average exam duration:                            60-90 minutes
Total exams approx:                                   1100

Service Improvements

We have recently purchased and installed quiet keyboards in the Testing Centre and level nine of the Library.  This significantly reduces the noise in these facilities, making it easier for students to concentrate on their examinations and studies.

quiet_keyboard

Canada Wide Science Fair

The University is hosting the Canada Wide Science Fair on May 11, 2013, which will bring students and judges from across Canada to our campus.  All of the judging will be conducted using Blackberry Playbook tablets, so having adequate wifi capacity is critical to the success of the event.  IT Services has constructed seven “wifi trees” (see below) which allow us to position wifi access points to provide optimal coverage and capacity within the 1st Choice Savings Centre.

wifi_tree

IT Services Weekly Update

Critical Services (Banner, Moodle, Wireless, Internet)

All services functioning normally.

KPI Spotlight

As we enter the busy mid-term exam period, the Learning Management System (Moodle) is functioning well with the heavy load we are seeing:

Feb 13 – 453 exams completed (one room)

Feb 14 – 643 exams completed (two rooms for 6 hours of the day)

Service Improvements

We have installed Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPSs) in Anderson Hall, Turcotte Hall, and Tsuu T’ina House.  This ensures that our network infrastructure supporting wired and wireless network and telephones continues to operate in the event of a brief power outage.

ups

Moodle report card

Final exams are now over and the central LMS Moodle administered more than 4000 exams – the highest number to date. Prior to final exams, ITS and CRDC staff met to determine how to improve service for students.  As a result, the recent final exam period experienced nearly flawless service.  A couple of very small incidents affected one or two users but did not result in outages.  This is now the benchmark for the Moodle service. Systems and service upgrades will be implemented during the summer to strengthen this operational standard.