The to do list for BIM development is now hosted on github.
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This is fantastic! It means that student blogging can really take off since teachers now have the ability to grade and comment on the postings in a private way. I did have a few questions though about the design.
1. It wasn’t clear to me the extent of student interaction with the BIM activity. There’s a screencast about registering your blog, but once the student has done that I wasn’t clear what else she had to do. It seems to me that there should be somewhere where the student assigns a blog entry to the question.
2. It’s also not clear how the marks are accumulated in the gradebook. Are they all summed into one grade item per BIM activity?
3. Could things be streamlined with the use of tags? For example, tag the blog posting corresponding to the BIM assignment #1 with ‘week1_assignment’? Or something similar. I guess that different blogging systems handle tags differently.
Whatever the case with the above, I think that this is an excellent Activity and will really help blogging to break into the mainstream Moodlers consciousness. The achilles heel of using blogs with a class has always been the issue of marking and private comments and this really seems to be a workable solution. Well done! I shall be testing it soon with Moodle 1.9.7.
First, glad BIM is useful for others. Let me know if you have any questions or problems, I’m keen to work with folk to make BIM as useful as possible.
I’m working on some additional resources that will explain BIM in more detail. Not sure if you’ve seen them. Just in case, will point to them here and then respond to your questions
There are screencasts to help users perform their tasks
which give some idea of how it works.
There’s also a presentation (set of slides)
I hope to be making an audio/screencast around this presentation available later this week.
The students interaction could be said to be 3 fold
1. They register their blog/feed.
2. They can view what BIM knows about their feed
3. What they write on their blog is processed by BIM
Part of that processing is BIM’s attempt at “automatic allocation’. i.e. BIM looks at the student post, compares it with the list of questions set for the activity and if it finds a match it will automatically allocate the post to the question.
There is no need for a BIM activity to have questions, but most do.
Currently, there’s also an interface that allows teaching staff to manually allocate the posts if the automatic allocation fails.
The presentation above provides a brief description of how the automatic allocation actually works.
In this first version, which is also my first serious Moodle development, I’ve taken the easy route, at least initially.
Each BIM activity will have its own column in the gradebook. So, if you have multiple different BIM activities in a single course, you’ll have multiple different entries in the gradebook.
The gradebook entry for each student for a single BIM activity is simply the sum of all the marks given to the posts. The assumption was that if the teaching staff wish to scale or manipulate the grade, they can do that in the gradebook.
Initially, tagging was though of. But, as you point out, there’s a bit too much variability between blogging engines and the aim was to support as many as possible.
That’s why the automatic allocation is currently only done on the title and the body of the post. BIM currently only relies minimally on the body.
This is an area that could be improved. One of the tasks over coming weeks and months.
Hope this helps.
>Hope this helps.
Yes it does. Of course, as soon as I posted the comment I found your other posts about BIM which threw more light on it. After I’ve got this operational on a test moodle site I’ll let you know how it works out.
Will be good to hear feedback.
The plan is that I will be making some minor changes/fixes to the BIM code today based on feedback from Netspot.
Nothing drastic at this stage, but addressing some minor problems.
e.g. I believe the zip file with the code in it might be slightly badly “zipped”. i.e. it has duplicate code. Will fix that up.
> Each BIM activity will have its own column in the gradebook. So, if you have multiple different BIM activities in a single course, you’ll have multiple different entries in the gradebook.
This makes a lot of sense.
>The gradebook entry for each student for a single BIM activity is simply the sum of all the marks given to the posts. The assumption was that if the teaching staff wish to scale or manipulate the grade, they can do that in the gradebook.
Yes, ditto. Again, this is the intuitive way that one would expect it to work.
I do like the way that you have multiple questions within a singular BIM Activity. It’s a natural way to map blog postings to an longer term assignment, eg “every week post a comment on the class discussion”. Plus, having tutored students on the art of trackbacks, one could also add commenting on other posts as a BIM assignment.
Mark, glad it’s making sense so far. There will eventually be some mismatches between your ideas and the model in the system. An inevitable mismatch with most systems. I’m keen to hear what that mismatch is when it happens.
One source of that mismatch is likely to be that your more advanced with the use of blogs than all of the folk locally that used the previous systems (BAM). Which meant the commenting and community aspects of BAM/BIM never developed as much as they could. I only used BAM once, just after it was developed.
For example, it would be interesting how to work in the trackbacks and comments on other posts into the BIM model. I suspect it wouldn’t work straight forwardly at the moment.
One BAM feature that is missing from BIM, is the generation of OPML files for academics. These could be loaded into a news/feed reader and allow the staff to track student participation in an informal way.
One suggestion for future addition to BIM is a feed forward mechanism. i.e. allow teaching staff to configure some method that would filter student posts and then generate a feed of some description.
The filter might be as simple as including all student posts or it might include all the best students posts (based on mark) or those that have been tagged as interesting by the teaching staff or by some other means – perhaps number of trackbacks or links from other students.
I’m particularly interested in hearing from folk who are keen to push the boundaries like this. Happy to modify BIM to provide the type of functionality they’d like.
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