The Assessment Package unites the work and needs of various members of the OpenACS community for data collection functionality within the OpenACS framework. We're using the term "Assessment" instead of "Survey" or "Questionnaire" (or "Case Report Form" a.k.a. CRF, the term used in clinical trials) because it is a term used by IMS and because it connotes the more generic nature of the data collection system we're focusing on.

There has been considerable recent interest in expanding the capabilities of generic data collection packages within OpenACS. Identified applications include:

Historical Considerations (Work Done So Far)

Several OpenACS efforts form the context for any future work. These include:

Competitive Analysis

The number of competing products in this area is *huge*. Starting with the usual suspects Blackboard and WebCT you can go on to clinical trial software like Oracle Clinical or specialised survey systems. When writing the specifications we tried to incorporate as many ideas as possible from the various systems we had a look at and use that experience. A detailed analysis would be too much for the moment.

Functional Requirements

An overview of the functional requirements can be found here . It is highly encouraged to be read first, as it contains the use cases along with a global overview of the functionality contained within assessment. Additional requirements can be found in the specific pages for the user interface.

Design Tradeoffs

The assessment system has been designed with a large flexibility and reuse of existing functionality in mind. This might result in larger complexity for simple uses (e.g. a plain poll system on it's own will be more performant than running a poll through assessment), but provides the chance to maintain one code base for all these separate modules.


The API will be defined during the development phase.

Data model

The data model is described in detail in the design descriptions .

User Interface

The UI for Assessment divides into a number of primary functional areas, with the entry page located here . It is split up into multiple sections:

The  Page Flow page is diagrammed below and should give a very rough and outdated overview, but still good for getting an impression.


The specifications for the assessment system have been written by Stan Kaufman and Malte Sussdorff with help from numerous people within and outside the OpenACS community.