Moodle™ best practices: Big data is a big deal

Do you know that Moodle™ and Joule are constantly collecting valuable course information to help you track engagement, interaction, submission, and other types of trends? When was the last time you viewed reports within your Moodle™/Joule course or site? What metrics do you have in place for analyzing the data that is being collected? If you are already running reports, let me start by saying, “Great job!” Many of you may be having an aha moment, realizing that this is something that you should take the time to do. If you aren’t using the reporting features of Moodle™ and Joule, don’t worry! This post is going to help you get started by highlighting some great reports and potentially identify new ones, for those of you already using them, to try. In this post, I’ll suggest Moodle™ and Joule Reports that can benefit teachers and site administrators. Joule Reports is a feature available on Joule sites to collect data. Each time cron runs, more information is available for reporting purposes. Data is available to administrators, managers, teachers, and students in a variety of reports.

Course-level reporting

First let’s take a look at the types of data that can be analyzed regarding a specific course. Both site administrators and teachers can view course reports by navigating to the course administration area. Here you will find Reports which when expanded shows a variety of Moodle™ reports for use. You will also find a Joule Reports link which directs you to the Joule Report Dashboard.

Moodle™ reports

Moodle™ has a variety of reports for displaying information about a course. Here are a few to get you started:

  • If you are using completion tracking use the “Activity completion” report to view a matrix of students and items for checking on the completion status of resources and activities.
  • Use the “Course completion” report to review the course completion status for all participants enrolled in the course. You can access this same report by clicking the “view course report” link from within the “Course Completion” block (adding the block allows students to track their own progress as well).
  • The “Logs” report allows you to filter by users activity and action. If you are facilitating a course it can be a great way to filter by student activity. If you are within an activity and select the Logs link it will jump you to this report. If you are co-developing a course it can be helpful to filter by “Update” or “Delete” to know which items have already been updated by the other developer.
  • The Quiz activity has a powerful reporting tool called the “Statistics” report that allows teachers to conduct an item analysis of the questions within it. By running this report teachers can determine the effectiveness of the quiz as a whole each question and each distractor within each question. To access this fabulous report view the quiz you wish to analyze and then go to Settings > Quiz administration > Results > Statistics. You can then review what percentage of the students selected each answer how the highest scoring quiz takers answered the question compared to lowest scoring quiz takers and other statistical assessment. This report presents data about each quiz question in a table and you can sort each column.

Joule reports

Once you navigate into the Joule Reports area you will see the dashboard and filters above it. The one on the far left allows you to select the type of report (i.e. Course Correlation Exception LearnerView Comparison) and the one on the far right allows you to select the report to run. The filter in the middle allows you to jump easily from course to course and run reports for it. Run the following Joule Reports and filters to gather course data:

  • Use the Course > Activity Grades report to analyze grades on specific grade categories sections activity types activities groups and users. Based on results you can also choose to select users to message.
  • Use the Course > Roster report for a quick glance at all enrolled users and to see the last time they accessed the course. You can click the column title to order by last access. You can also message students by checking the corresponding boxes and selecting to send them a message from the Action drop-down menu.
  • Find out which of your course activities are gaining the most attention from your students. The Comparison > Activities Comparison report will allow you to view all activities in the course and sort by engagement hits so that you can compare engagement to grade and completion percentages. You can further drill down the information by typing the names of specific activities.
  • The Correlation > Learning Engagement Trends report reveals a total number of views or posts by users over a range of time. One can see when students are engaged (or not) with the course.
  • View the Exception > Forum Post report to see which student did not post in the forums for selected activities.
  • Identify the items that are ready for you to grade by running the Course > Needs grading report.

Teachers can learn more about course reports by signing up for the "Moodle™/Joule Course Building for Intermediate Users" online course.

Site-level reporting

Site administrator can gather valuable data by looking in the following areas on the site:

  • Moodle™ site-level reports are available to gain useful information about your site by clicking Reports within Site Administration. The “Course overview” report allows site administrators to view the most popular courses as well as the most active ones. Try comparing the level of activity and engagement across courses.
  • Using Joule Reports site administrators can pull an unlimited number of custom Joule Reports to gather data about your Joule site. These custom reports are generated by entering MySQL query commands (codes) and they can be saved and exported to CVS and XLS. Site administrators can access the report from the front page of the site by navigating to Settings > Front page settings > Reports > Dashboard. The Moodle™ community has contributed many ad-hoc report queries. In Joule the prefix “mdl_” (no quotes) will be in front of all queries for table names. For example you could generate a report to show the most active courses:
  • Gather additional data on your Joule site by adding analytics into your Joule Express Theme. Simply add the code into the “Analytics code” area of the “Create a Design” tab. The code will then be inserted into the footer of where the theme is applied (i.e. site category course).

This post has barely scratched the surface in covering the types of reports you can use to gather data about your Moodle™ and Joule courses and site. To learn more about reporting in Moodle™ and Joule site administrators and teachers can sign up for our "Making Moodle™ and Joule Reports Work for You" webinar or purchase a dedicated session for your organization by reaching out to your sales representative. ~Rebecca DeSantis, Senior Instructional Designer



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