David Clover


    Collecting Tutorial Attendance information

    David Clover  19 June 2013 16:34:20
    Every year our hardworking Associate Lecturers carry out a large number of face-to-face tutorials all around the country. This is how we bring the 'local' element into the distance teaching we do as a national University specialising in Supported Open Learning.

    We need to collect statistics about how many students attended the face to face sessions, and to record for onward report to the University how many scripts were received from the group that was tutored.

    Elsewhere in the University this troublesome chore is carried out in a very 'manual' way, perhaps by filling in and concatenating spreadsheets and netting them up laboriously into summary reports. However, for some years, our Faculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology has been collecting this electronically using our IBM Domino server, and this year, we completely re-built the system using IBM Domino XPages. This automated collector is now up and running very successfully. So far we have collected nearly 2000 records from our Faculty's Associate Lecturers.

    The IBM Domino system, developed by my colleague Jef, makes extensive use of XPage controls; an example is shown below. We also use a combination of Active Directory and Web SSL login cookie detection techniques to collect some of the details of the tutor completing the forms. This means that each sees only his or her own entries and only validated users can make entries and changes. Once they have authenticated, we can allow them to edit and delete their own entries too. Using Domino's useful ACL 'Roles' we can quickly assign or emove extra privileges to those who administer the system so that they can see all the entries from all users in the same web interface.

    Another XPage control allows us to upload the entire collection of reports, or part of it to an Excel sheet. We can also show as tooltips in the list of items any comments that have been placed on the underlying document. You can see one of these in the sample below. A simple workflow routine checks that the entries placed on the form are complete and consistent and advises the user of anything that might be missing before saving,

    Once again, IBM Domino and XPages has provided elegantly and quickly (in one easily managed Domino database object) a solution that would have taken much longer to develop using alternative techniques.
    Image:Collecting Tutorial Attendance information

    Fig 1: Log Display for a user

    Image:Collecting Tutorial Attendance information

    Fig 2: creating a new entry.

    Image:Collecting Tutorial Attendance information

    Fig 2: Offering an option to edit or delete an existing record
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