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Data Management Considerations for Online High Schools - Katie Logan, Gene Meier & David B. Glick


Data management complexity has increased steadily for years, but especially for online high schools often requiring static exports. Rarely do student management and learning management systems interface easily. What data is critical for online programs to collect? This presentation will look at these issues from the viewpoints of a technology director and a program evaluator. A frank discussion regarding the current challenges and possible solutions will take place between the presenters and audience.

Presentation PowerPoint:

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Note from attendee:
This presentation detailed very well the problems with a two-system model (a SIS and LMS) and how it creates considerable overhead on staff. Also discussed was a great explanation of why large established companies are not designed for online learning (because traditional schools is a vastly larger consumer market). One thing to add though is that "The Gorrila" (one complete solution) IS possible for the same fees or less as other major LMS providers. www.AcquireLearning.com has succeeded in providing complete solutions for online schools.
These solutions are scalable because they not only do what you want today, but also do what you realize you want next year, and what the state requires the year after that, and more. A custom system is a dependable way to gain high instructor ASPU (average satisfaction per user)
Browse to www.AcquireLearning.com/VSS2008 for a free gift prepared just for conference attendees.

Note from Katie Logan:
Thank you for the direction to the Acquire Learning web site. Over the past three days I've come to the conclusion that we need to write an RFP and put it out there to see what kind of new products that are available that we can use. If our current LMS responds and is as competitive as the others I"m all for it. I was amazed at how much the K12 online market has matured. When we started our program six years ago, we didn't have all these choices.

Thank you to all who attended our session. I didn't realized how many "data geeks" there are out there. It makes me feel less crazy.

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Note from Kathleen Webb - Utah EHS
During our discussion about how to get data out of a large LMS systems, I talked about the 5 kinds of data that was not easy to get out our our LMS without paying money for custom solutions.

I also mentioned Utah has written five reports that pull information directly from the Oracle database running behind our older Blackboard server (7.1.467.28) and that we're sharing them 'as is' for any who may want to adapt them to meet their needs.

The SQL scripts are embedded in 5 perl scripts and generate comma-separated-values in a text file (.csv). NOTE: Our script writer had to figure out which tables and fields to use because Blackboard does not give out the schema for the tables we needed. (Their reporting tables did not contain all the information we need to make our daily decisions.) We run these five scripts each night and download the results each morning to process and make our decisions with.

The five reports are:

ehs_stu_act_det_rep.pl ehs_stu_act_det_rep.pl
This generates a list of all enrollments in classes.
user_id
our custom student_id field,
last_login_date
course_name
course_id
date_enrolled_in_course
last_activity_date
last_gradebook_date (manual overrides are not date stamped so these are not reflected in the data)
total_points_in_gradebook (the number here is not always perfect because sometimes teachers use letters instead of points - but of use to track progress)

ehs_gradebook.pl ehs_gradebook.pl
This generates a list of entries in the gradebooks
course_id
user_id
gradebook_item_title
latest contents of manual_grade_attempt_field
latest contents of auto_grade_attempt_field
attempt status (1=manual scored; 3=locked; 6=waiting for scoring; 7=auto-scored)
attempt_date (may not be date-stamped)

ehs_tch_act_sum_rep.pl ehs_tch_act_sum_rep.pl
This generates a list of the past 2 weeks of log-ins by teachers
course_name
course_id
points possible in gradebook (not always accurate - depends on how the gradebook is configured)
last_login_date
previous_log-in dates for past 15 days

ehs_tch_act_det_rep.pl ehs_tch_act_det_rep.pl
This generates the enrollment counts for each course.
course_name
course_id
teacher name
teacher's last log-in date
number of enrolled persons
number who haven't been active for over 90 days

ehs_stu_list_rep.pl ehs_stu_list_rep.pl
This generates a list of all accounts
user_id,
last_login_date
our custom student_id field,
student_email field,
our custom school field,
our custom district field,

We import these files into custom Filemaker Pro database tables with relationships set up with other data files. From these tables we then can generate these kinds of action files:

final grades to put into our SIS
user_ids to drop for inactivity or for proctored final completion
teachers to call for not logging in recently
lists of students from our Utah schools and districts along with their progress in classes
lists of classes to close or open for over-enrollment or under-enrollment

Please Note: Use these scripts for information only. Because we were blind in our exploration for finding the correct values, we do not warrant these will give you exactly what you need from your BB database tables.


We have also developed a process for batch deleting students from classes. We've chosen to not share it because Blackboard warned us that the method we use to delete the students is not supported. (We're using the system tag rather than a custom tag.)