What attracts me to Bodington at this point is the permissions system. We want to set up an online learning program that will be open to both students and our pals at Caltrans, but not to any old consultant. We also want to structure things so that a Caltrans engineer can take a look at a course and see its prerequisites and decide whether or not the course is something that can be pursued or whether the prerequisites need a look over first.
Our thought is that we can build a hierarchy of courses, with each course requiring prior competency in some list of concepts, and promising acquisition of competency in others. A simple search can then reveal courses or even individual lectures that teach the required concepts, something like
SELECT courses.* from courses join skills_courses using (course.id=skills_courses.course_id) join skills using(skills_courses.skills_id=skills.id) where skills.skill = 'travel demand';
The thing about that is that it is hard to specify all the meta data needed, and then it is hard to put this on-line into an LMS. We tried with Moodle, and couldn’t get the hierarchy of courses to make sense. Further, we couldn’t get Moodle to let us share courses in a common repository without a lot of hacking. So if I’m pulling together a travel demand course, I might want to pull in one of Mike’s lectures on the four step planning process. We couldn’t do that easily in Moodle. I’m hoping we can do that with Bodington, by exposing lectures and so on from other buildings and rooms in the particular building/room we happen to be in. We’ll see.
So my last post I got Bodington up and running. Yay. Today I am going to write up getting things working, and my gradual learning curve.
First things first, with a username of sysadmin and a password of sysadmin, I want to change that right away.
Nothing relevant is immediately obvious.
I navigated my way into the buildings down to the user administration room, and saw the second picture shown, at left. I poked into each resource and none let me modify my user password. So I figured I needed to add a resource to let me do that. So I did, clicking on the create link.
This produced the screen shown at right. Somewhere in one of the documentation pages I saw that the Personal Data Tool was used to change passwords, so I added one of those to this page. Probably not the best place to put it, but my goal now is to change my password, not to structure the site.
The resulting dialog is shown at left. I’m at a loss what to call this resource, and how to describe it, etc. It looks like a generic template that could probably have sensible defaults for the tool in question, but that doesn’t. Anyway, I typed in some stuff (Update your personal details) and save the tool, and changed my password. However it turns out that the personal data tool lets one view one’s personal data, but does not let you change it. So there is no worry that the sysadmin will suddenly change her login name to lurker, I guess. For that I guess I’ll have to massage the database directly.
So with the password changed, time to poke around a bit at the top level and see what I can do without consulting any manuals. (I looked at the bodington.org/wiki but I haven’t spent too much time with the resources linked there.)
First off, I wanted to add stuff to the menus on the left, mostly just to see how one would do that. No joy. It doesn’t seem to be available in any of the options, and I can’t find a resource to add that would let me add menu items (like I did with changing the sysadmin password). I am interested because it obviously can be edited: Oxford’s WebLearn has a navigation menu with links and so on in their “LHS Frame,” the UHI site has links to Amazon (!), and the Leeds site has a link to Intute, which I’d never heard of but seems interesting. But again, no joy changing that from within the site tools.
Next, I poked around creating users, groups, buildings, floors, and rooms.
First I made a microsimulation group. Nothing fancy, just a way to get a handle on creating groups. It seems that one can make groups of groups, and groups of users. I wonder if users can belong to multiple groups (I assume yes), and if you can do something as crazy as have a functional managers group in the microsimulation group and have their access permissions be different from the engineers group in the microsimulation group. Probably, I don’t see why not.
So I navigated back up to the campus level (I like the building metaphor, and I like the ease of navigation, but jeez what clunky icons. I right clicked and viewed the icon in firefox and lo and behold you can set the colors of the icon in its url. I wonder whether it would be worth gutting that functionality and replacing it with static pictures, called by their color, like how I did icons for my maps using perl and image magick, like this one called 6ee300.png: . Just make them site_ffffff.ffffff.gif or whatever. On the other hand, if colors are never used other than black and white, not many cpu cycles are wasted processing the dynamic request and generating the new icon.)
Okay, as I was saying before I so rudely interrupted myself, I navigated back up to the campus level and created a building for microsimulation. Then I created a floor for Paramics (picking names at random). (Why is the floor icon a tower?) (perhaps I should make a hallway icon?) Then I clicked to create a new resource for the floor and there were lots of interesting options, as shown in the screenshot at the right.
But life calls right now and I have to do other things. More tomorrow.
And sorry about the floating images. This weblog software is pretty icky. I think I’ll just switch to my own homepage in a few days.