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2nd World Conference on Information Technology (WCIT-2011) ... Menemencioglu/ AWERProcedia Information Technology & Computer Science (2012) 314-319 ... Need of performing this job quickly instead of by hand arises in this case.

AWERProcedia Information Technology & Computer Science 1 (2012) 314-319

2nd World Conference on Information Technology (WCIT-2011)

LMS (Moodle) automatic enrollment approach by flat file with student information system data Oguzhan Menemencioglua *, Baha Sena, Ferhat Atasoya, Emrullah Sonuca a

Department of Computer Engineering,Karabuk University, Karabuk 78050, Turkey

Abstract In universities’ distance education centers, LMS and Student Information Systems (SIS) are discrete systems. Generally enrollment is performed on SIS; with student authentication, selection and supervisor confirmation. It has been a problem to move enrollments from SIS side to LMS side. The basic way is to perform the enrollment by hand. But amount of record can be huge for different infrastructures. So on Learning Management System (Moodle), automatic and easier course enrollment has been aimed. This paper has focused on integrating two different systems with separated data. The solution, which was performed and used for the integration, has been analyzed in this study. Used data which has been obtained from SIS, implemented approach, developed software running principles and presentation has been performed. Keywords: LMS, Moodle, Enrollment, Flat File, Student Information System, Distance Education, e-Learning Selection and peer review under responsibility of Prof. Dr. Hafize Keser. ©2012 Academic World Education & Research Center. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction In two hundred eleven countries, there are about fifty thousand registered sites which uses Moodle as LMS [1]. Among them there are too many universities and institutions. Distance education programs have become very popular. Each university wants to create distance education center or if exists they improve their investments about distance education infrastructure and they try to improve the number of their active distance programs. The increase and parallel interest creates a need of complicated distance education center infrastructure. The requirement is a framework to meet students and educatorwho are separated and in distance places; to enable their interaction with each other. Coming sections will provide details about this topic. Each university uses SIS to manage and coordinate course enrollments, grade and sometimes to administrate web sites of faculties. First step is authentication for both students and supervisors (faculties). Second step is * ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE : Oguzhan, Menemencioglu, Department of Computer Engineering, Karabuk University, Karabuk 78050, Turkey. E-mail address: [email protected]/ Phone: +90-370-433-2021; Fax: +90-370-433-3290.

Oguzhan Menemencioglu/ AWERProcedia Information Technology & Computer Science (2012) 314-319

selection for students. Third step is confirmation for supervisor. 2. Problem Moodle has been used as LMS in infrastructure. At university course enrollment hasbeen performed by SIS. On Moodle course enrollment should be done too, with SIS course enrollment data. On the centers’ systems which serve Associate &Bachelor &Master of Science degree and student number is high, consist of over than about nine thousands course enrollment number for each semester. Manual enrollment is impossible because of high overhead. Need of performing this job quickly instead of by hand arises in this case. Also after add-drop process, there is another need to update course enrollments. Some students drop some courses and add some instead of them; some students enroll all courses on this time. So this makes another overhead for enrollment job. For universities and institutions, LMS and Student Information System (SIS) are same or integrated in rare cases. The separated applications are successful on their parts. Looking for integrated LMS and SIS effects separated application success. So the problem which has been tried to define is integrationof a separated SIS and LMS. Two different systems, Moodle and SIS, have to be integrated automatically. The solution for collective enrollment problem on Moodle with completed SIS enrollment data hasbeen searched. 3. SIS Student Information System (SIS) is software to manage student data for educational institutions. SISs include all the information of students such as curriculum information, class information, grades etc. SISs provide capabilities for recording mentioned information. The main aim of using the SISs is to improve the efficiency of student information management. A functional SIS must have some major features like system maintenance, user management, personal information management and reporting [2]. Course registration consists of two steps. In the first step, student selects course/courses that he/she wants to take. In the second step, supervisor supervises course/courses taken by student and confirms if all selections are valid. 4. LMS LMSshave commonlybeen accepted as the e-learning principle tool. Nowadays it hasbeen used to support and improve learning teaching processes on classroom-based educationas well. LMSs are more than document warehouse. They provide discussion forums, online chat rooms, grade books, and the ability to give automatically marked tests such as multiple choice questionnaires and to track students’ performance. In terms of pedagogical impact and institutional resource consumption, LMSs are assumed as framework for e-learning or blended learning programs [3]. Corporate systems such as Blackboard,WebCTand open source systems such as Moodle, and Atutorare are two LMS types. Both of them support great variety of activities. Web-based course notes and developing course material, communicating with students and monitoring, grading student progress are the common features which are used by teachers. Besides, collaboration, communication and also learning are the common features which are used by students [4].

4.1. Moodle Moodle is Internet (PHP) based software. Global developer team aims to support framework of education. It hasbeen designed as a project. Moodle is Open Source software and is under the GNU Public License. Also it is copyrighted, which provides additional freedoms. Copying, usage and modifying is allowed provided that original license and copyrights be 315

Oguzhan Menemencioglu/ AWERProcedia Information Technology & Computer Science (2012) 314-319

removed or modified; provide the source public; apply license to any derivatives. Moodle can be installed on any computer that can run PHPand support an SQL type database. It is not recommended to use the same server for both application and database. Recommended way is the separate application and database to different servers. It is the most common way to use MySQL, because of Open Source database management system. It can be run on Mac, Windows and many derivatives of Linux, operating systems[5]. In this study, Moodle version is 1.9.9. Apache version is Apache/2.2.3. MySQL version is 14.12. 5. Course Enrollment Administrator sets up user authentication, once. Course process starts creating semester courses. Next step is course enrollment for teachers and students [6]. 5.1. Types In the standard Moodle enrollment plungings have been provided. Enrollment plugings are the way of managing course enrollment. A number of ways of course enrollment are listed below:  Payment Gateway  External database  Flat file  IMS Enterprise (from 1.6 onwards)  Internal enrolment (default method)  LDAP  Paypal  Moodle Network (from 1.8 onwards) [6]. After choosing one or more methods for enrollment, the need is saving changes. ‘Flat file’ method isapplicable. 5.2. Flat File Bulk existing users could be enrolled (un-enrolled)with a flat file in existing course. Moodle reads, executes and deletes the file. A text file is located in the Moodle file structure. Cron schedules reading and executing time. A specially-formatted text file would be checked and processed repeatedlyin the specified by administrators location. File type which is expected by Moodle is comma separated file (csv) and has four or six field per line:  operation, role, idnumber(user), idnumber(course) [, starttime, endtime]where: ○ operation = add | del ○ role = student | teacher | teacheredit ○ idnumber(user) = idnumber in the user table NB not id ○ idnumber(course) = idnumber in the course table NB not id ○ starttime = start time (in seconds since epoch) - optional ○ endtime = end time (in seconds since epoch) – optional    

It could look like: add, student, 5, CF101 add, teacheredit, 7, CF101 del, student, 17, CF101 add, student,21, CF101, 1091115000, 109121 [7].

5.3. SIS Data As mentioned above, if your distance education infrastructures havebeen built separately, you would find a 316

Oguzhan Menemencioglu/ AWERProcedia Information Technology & Computer Science (2012) 314-319

way to enroll users synchronously with SIS on LMS. Each SIS can provide you a csv file type which includes data like:  2009010207002;D.E. - Computer Engineering;CME209  2009010207002;D.E. - Computer Engineering;CME211  2010528130005;Master of Science - Computer Engineering (Distance Education – Without Thesis);CMM719  2010528130005;Master of Science - Computer Engineering (Distance Education – Without Thesis);CMM741  2010010113046;D.E. - English Literature And Language;ELIT107  2010010113046;D.E. - English Literature And Language;ELIT211 In section 5.2 flat file makes enrollment. But there is a need to match SIS users to LMS users. When writing a flat file, on SIS side student number or etc. can be unique data but on Moodle user id have to hold. 5.4. Developed Software Developed script readsstudent & teacher data from SIS csv file, searches in Moodle database, matches, takes user id and rewrites like 5.2 flat file format. In SIS, course codes are not unique. In fact for different programssame courses’ codes are the same. Because of the uniqueness for course code, another indexed fieldis provided. But in Moodle, course shortname must be unique to use flat file. So for course idnumber, shortname is very suitable to use.

Fig 1.Selection for enrollment type.

Fig. 2.Set prefix and choose source file.

5.5. Results of Enrollment Script After executing the script, as shown below, it writes the user based problem, or writes clear results on browser. And also script produces user based course enrollment results.


Oguzhan Menemencioglu/ AWERProcedia Information Technology & Computer Science (2012) 314-319

Fig. 3.Results of enrollment script.

Results of enrollment are written in course_add and course_del files for enroll and delete the students, non and editing teachers in the csv files which has been taken from SIS. These are the examples from course_add.csv:  add,student,761,020711G_CME103  add,student,761,020711G_CME 101  add,student,848,021111G_IND101  add,student,848,021111G_IND 103 Fig. 4.Enrollment script execution time.(a) Opera; (b) Mozilla Firefox.

5.6. Execution Results Last step is implementing the script results on Moodle. Details can be found on, how to execute result flat file. Result csv file should be located on Moodle servers’ specified location, and the location should be saved on flat file settings. After Cronchecked and Moodle executed csv file, users could enroll the specified courses. Execution time depends on system sources like: server capacity, network bandwidth, disk access way and time etc. In our system, maximum number of course enrollment is 8633. It took 261.408661 seconds on our server. Sun Fire X4275 has configuration like: Intel Xeon X5570, 4C, 2.93GHz, 8MB Cache, 6.4 GT/s QPI, Turbo Boost, Hyper Threading, 95W; 8 GB DDR3 ECC 1066 MHz RAM;73GB 15000 rpm 2.5-Inch Hot Plug, SAS Disk. On simpler test server (Hosts application and database both on it), execution took 462.562311 seconds. 6. Conclusions Only for distance education programs each semester there arenine thousands of enrollments. Even exception of add/remove time, it is really hard to do. Manually each enrollment takes about thirty seconds, dependingon Moodle internal enrollment structure. It takes seventy five hoursfor nine thousands enrollment. There would be wrong enrollments because of manual labor, too. Therefore solution software has been developed. It takes an enrollment text file from SIS, matches users and produces a result file for flat file enrollment. Administrator locates result file and calls Cron to read and execute it. This software provides a quick and automatic way to use Moodle flat file enrollment. It provides faster performance more than five hundred times.


Oguzhan Menemencioglu/ AWERProcedia Information Technology & Computer Science (2012) 314-319

References [1] (27.04.2011) [2] Qingshan Y., Xianli Z. and Mingying Z., “Design and implementation of college student management information system based o n .Net three-layer structure”, Intelligent Computing and Integrated Systems, 797 – 799(2010). [3] Yasar O. and Adiguzel T., “A working successor of learning management systems: SLOODLE”, Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2: 5682-5685 (2010). [4] Tsolisa D. , Stamoub S., Christiaa P., Kampanaa S.,Rapakouliaa T., Skoutaa M. and Tsakalidisa A., “An adaptive and personalized open source e-learning platform”, Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 9: 38-43(2010). [5] (09.10.2011) [6] (09.10.2011) [7] (09.10.2011)


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