spider blog



SPIDER's blog

Since Monday 03 October 2005 04:30 pm

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Monday 29 November 2010 09:38 am

minor change to file_manager/index for assignment uploads - confirm file view opens in a new window to prevent user hitting back and re-submitting form

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This Week's Tweaks

Friday 26 November 2010 04:47 pm

radiation v1
changed swabs tool to allow lab listing to include labs with no stock in them.

radiation v2
finished user editing, added in admin "user labs" tool (will control which labs a user can view/use stocks from).

fixed bug in add poll that was stopping class rep users from adding new polls.

file manager
updated to block submission of .pages (iWork) files - gives student a warning to save as .doc or .rtf instead

updated mobile to always show link back to full site (updated inc_bottom_phone). Finished myQuiz results tool (on DEV, will move to live after testing). Finished mobile what's new, now on live.

form handling
completed a function [showEditableForm($id,$labels,$data,$action,$method,$class)] that will generate a complete web form (complete with all elements from inc_form and data). Testing in radiation v2 system.

updated student record to better display funding data.

exam paper builder
completed all changes. First completed papers generated and ready for use in exams.

class reviews
tool completed, ready for user acceptance testing.

various new pages covering development added - see previous post.


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dev wiki

Thursday 25 November 2010 04:19 pm

Added some of the documentation of SPIDER (currently in Word file format) into the help wiki - each page is tagged with Dev:blah. Currently covers:

- scripting overview
- scripting detail (root, core and modules)
- database (spiderbase table list)
- a start on the functions and includes

still needs a lot of work on the detail, but its a start


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This Week's Tweaks

Friday 19 November 2010 03:36 pm

STS (template system)
updated platinum drugs website to allow for 'hot article' variation of news posting on site home page. Updated config to allow for login box to appear on left or right of home page. Added hard coded site-wide bg image to CSS in codeprefs, will make part of config later.

assignments in file manager/files.php
fixed bug with auto-checkout feature not working properly. Fixed bug with rename/delete of assignments not correctly updating/clearing out student entries.

fixed layout of news to cut attachment filename length to fit on page (else it was causing div to stretch over widget box)

fixed bug causing class polls to be assigned to bioscience cluster preventing cluster admins from editing polls. Added in time option to 'expiry' date.

dragboxes/portal view
updated CSS and layout of portal interface - see http://spider-dev.pharmacy.strath.ac.uk/spiderV/spider/modules/portal/ (login as username: portal, password: portal )

what's new
started 'mobilising' tool, still WIP as other stuff came up

ePDP - reflection planning
fixed the MPharm reflection planning extension which was not saving correctly.

radiation v2
finished stock reports tool. Updated bin history tool. Fixed bug in swabs/sharps not saving date correctly. Started to add user management.

exam paper builder
updates and fixes in reponse to extensive user testing/ feedback.

class reviews tool
undergoing final approval and date release decisions.

SIPBS website
some progress with content updates/ additions, adding temporary site decoration/ images.


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Monday 15 November 2010 01:58 pm

bug fix - updated modules/file_manager/files.php to fix issue with ID not being passed correctly causing 'auto check-out' of assignments to incorrectly assign an empty due date to assignments.

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should SPIDER integrate with facebookbebotwitterspace?

Friday 12 November 2010 04:06 pm

Should SPIDER allow you to do 'stuff' with social networking sites (Facebook, bebo, twitter, mySpace etc.) such as allowing you to 'like' discussions, classes and integrate with tweets? Or should SPIDER stick to supporting teaching & learning and leave the 'social' stuff to other sites? What do you think?

this was asked in the general community discussion forum and provoked a reasonable debate with users on both sides of the argument. Some support for adding a 'like' button was expressed, though it was pointed out there may be an issue with SPIDER being 'private' and how this would work with Facebook being an open system (note to self - check the facebook API to see if this can be worked with). Others were wary of making such changes as it could break "SPIDER's nice clean straightforward simplicity... [this] is important because the Uni attracts lots of students from a diverse range of backgrounds. Having something they can immediately interact with is extremely useful, for some even reassuring".

So, adding in social networking 'extras' may add a level of complexity that is not needed or not wanted - "social networking should be left to twitter/facebook/ etc" and "nobody's even gone so far as to say that the like button isn't for girning morons who are too busy slapping their palms together like drunken seals to actually contribute to the conversation.". 

There was some support for a 'like' feature, so if there's a way of adding this with minimal disruption to the discussion/site layout, it perhaps would be of benefit. However, with there being such mixed responses, and the unknown feasibility with respect to the authentication issues, will leave this on the back burner, at least until I've had chance to check the ins and out of the various APIs. For now, we'll "keep SPIDER simple". 

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This Week's Tweaks

Friday 12 November 2010 03:41 pm

in between the racket from the demolition of the building next door, shaking the very desks we work upon, this week's updates are:

linked the beta chat from the tools/ myStuff. Initial feedback from users has been good, with about 1200 uses. However, need to stop it logging to the main log - getChat logs a visit for each AJAX request to the page, which is just adding noise to the log tables.

exam results
updated PG tutor view of class exam results to allow edit action when the PG tutor is assigned to the group a particular students belongs to (alllows edit only for those students, other students are locked c.f staff who can edit any data)

do_quiz - fixed bug in timer code that was causing auto-submit of quizzes - issues with differences between browser versions of Javascript and GMT/ UTC were resulting in the timer zeroing immediately, disallowing students from taking the quiz. Converted everthing to work in seconds instead of working with actual dates seems to have done the trick
test_question - fixed view of numeric question types when reviewing student responses from 'quiz breakdown stats' view to show the actual variables seen by the student instead of it randomly generating new values each time
question builder - copy/paste now automatically strips out MS Word 'junk' HTML/ CSS. Going to monitor this feature and if successful, will transpose to other tools that use the WYSISYG editor.

radiation v2
updated more of the stock report code (bin history), fixed bug in total per bin type for isotope reports.

info/ showDepartment
updated text under admin to note that they are a tech contact for SPIDER only. Linked department heading to go to 'home' (main list).

updated onsite help page to include 2 search boxes for FAQs and help wiki pages

myAssignments - barcode
updated to show link to barcode for bioscience cluster to get around issue with PGi students not seeing the link -their MP classes are hosted in the pharmacy cluster for administrative purposes.

added 'funding details' page to allow P&A Chemistry to store more detailed information on student funding. Updated student record page to show full degree name instead of prog_code to distinguish between PhD and MPhil students. Changed 'completed' tick box to be drop down of 'active', 'completed' or 'withdrawn' to allow system to track withdrawn students.

updated inc_functions_data with getDegreeDetails($user,$session="") - looks up student users degree programme, year, session etc (used by PG DB)

fixed bug in assignments to prevent the replacement of a file for file based assignment archiving the replaced file and generating a new assignment instance.

exam paper builder
various minor changes in response to user feedback

class review tool
various minor changes in response to user feedback. Requires an 'admin' stage added to allow data input from departmental administration (e.g. exam marks).





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PDP and chat

Monday 08 November 2010 11:23 am

minor update to ePDP navigation to account for students with resit years or multiple ePDP templates due to switching degree courses

added beta version of SPIDER chat (v2) - new AJAX front end to chat tool.

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This Week's Tweaks

Friday 05 November 2010 04:19 pm

PG Database
updated student record page to allow quick view of student by registration number for admin level users. Minor tweaks to reports_pending to show 'missing' reports to HoD level user.

fix to inc_javascript to show_info function - change to options to account for IE 7+ displaying the back/forward buttons in the 'location' instead of 'toolbar' like normal browsers. Fix in inc_style_main for 'tabs' CSS - was hard coded white background instead of using user's background from prefs. inc_functions/ inc_functions_data/ inc_functions_classes - swapped a couple of functions from single scripts into the core function libraries.

reworked the 'inc_top' to better handle students who have switched degrees and/or resat years so that firstly multiple programmes/resits display and that the 'tabs' with year/session show correctly. Still testing this, but should be able to go live on Monday.

admin tools - copyClassContent
added a new tool that allows admin level user to copy the entire content of one class to another. Copies all of current session + last session + 'all' session content. Recreates directory hierarchy and does not over-write existing files.

cobbled together a chat client in an afternoon using AJAX/ php. Mostly working, needs a bit of refinement, but will be an improvement over the shockwave (sw) chat. Has all features (nearly) of sw-chat (rooms, swear filter/monitor, who's here).

add discussion
fixed the fix I made last week to the add discussion tool. Now works as it should.

exam paper builder
reworked interface. Still needs final refinement based on user feedback. Added Word importer for questions.

SIPBS website
updated to wider design (950px for now).

quiz builder
minor fix to sub-section engine. Working on better implementation of 'Word' junk HTML filter. Potential to re-use Word import for quiz questions.

file manager
fixed warnings on deletes.

SPIDER tools & functions + use case documents
finalised these documents after a couple of meetings with LTE team to ensure document was accurate in terms of Moodle functions/ comparisons with SPIDER.


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admin tool: class copy

Wednesday 03 November 2010 02:02 pm

reworked the (hidden) class copy tool (used to copy materials from HaSS classes that had been renamed, but needed the 09-10 content copied forward) to create an admin tool that allows the admin user to copy all content from one class to another.  Linked from Tools for admin level users.

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disussion fixes

Monday 01 November 2010 11:35 am

updated discussion add/edit code to use the core db functions. Fixed bug in inc_functions_discussion that was incorrctly allowing delete of replied to posts for students and blocking delete of 'new', unreplied to postings.

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