Forum .LRN Q&A: Re: Priority Items for v2.0

Posted by Oscar Bonilla on
I'd say the most important thing for .LRN would be to bring back the "killer features" that the original education package (the one from Randy's Thesis) had. Those are:

1. Web interfaces for managing tasks (assignments, handouts, exams, lecture notes, etc). From my experience using a system derived from ACES 2.0 beta I've found that the file storage is not a good abstraction for most people.

2. Groups of students working on projects together.

3. A grading system that supports the aforementioned groups.

4. Randy's education package had some pages in which professors could see at-a-glance all the grades given to a particular student. This page would display the student's photo, a small blurb written by the student, and a list of all grades received in that class. There was also a page for TA's in which professors could see a photo of the TA, the blurb, and a list of all grades *given* by the TA. This allowed professors to see in one page wether the TA was a high grader or a low grader.

We had also a page in the education module (that we copied and modified from the intranet module) which would display in a portlet information about a random student (the photo, blurb, and courses in which he was enrolled). This was actually the one feature that allowed me to convince professors to use the system. They said the hardest thing about teaching a class was memorizing student's names!

These might be trivial procs or small enhancements, but no matter how robust or sophisticated .LRN is, these small details make all the difference when convincing professors (and the institution) to actually use the system.



Posted by Carl Robert Blesius on

sounds good. Let's see how we can add these points to the roadmap.

1. After a couple of days of watching people use file-storage it seems it needs some major UI work. I would be very interested in seeing the web interface you mention.

2. Wimpy point is is going to be the first "group project tool" we are going to have. What else was in there?

3. This would be excellent. A grading system is a puzzle piece we are all looking for right now. Support for groups would be excellent.

4. Do you have a demo we could look at? The "help remember random students" function sounds really cool. The MIT profiles package seems to be making progress (it has shown up on SloanSpace recently) and I hope it will be part of the solution. In addition, the "What other users see about me" page is one of the most important community promoting tools in OpenACS/.LRN and it needs some major work to get it back up to the 3.x level (the page is more than lame at the moment). In the process we have to think about who gets to see what (e.g. only people in class X should be able to see my postings in that class, TAs and Professors should have a link to my grades in that class, dean's office might have access to all grades, etc.). I hope the  profiles package is  part of the solution.