Developer Area/Specifications in Development/Tracking Outcomes FunctionalSpec

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NOTE: The information in this page is largely obsolete. This specification has been developed, see [1] for details on the implementation.


Some people need some structured assessment portfolio features even though they philosophically prefer a constructivist, learning portfolio system (such as Mahara). This document specifies the user experience after assessment features become available for Mahara portfolios through Moodle's Outcomes feature.

This spec has been the basis of a project cost estimate, so hopefully it's sufficient.


  1. Moodle SSO integration is a prerequisite for these portfolio assessment features to be enabled.
  2. These assessment features may be disabled by default when Moodle SSO is configured.
  3. This project will require implementation in both Moodle and Mahara.
  4. Moodle's Outcomes interface(s) may need enhancement; that may but will probably not be part of this project.


  1. Student Sady must demonstrate that she is familiar with the following aspects of aardvarks: geographical location, evolutionary taxonomy, diet, favorite colors, liklihood of naming a son "Arthur", and chances of success in escaping from a vat of jell-o. She clicks on the "Understanding Aardvarks" assignment in her "Portfolio Proofs" course in Moodle, and that brings her to a screen listing her Mahara views. She clicks on her "Aaron the Aardvark" view to make sure it's the one she wants, and then she selects it to submit for the assignment. After it is submitted to the assignment, the "Aaron the Aardvark" view is locked in Mahara and cannot be changed or deleted by Sady.
    1. Technical note: If Sady wishes to keep developing "Aaron the Aardvark", she can make a copy of the submitted view and then make changes to the new copy.
  2. Teacher Tyrae is given the responsibility of noting which of several government-standardized aardvark-related competencies are met by each of her students' portfolios. She notices in her moodle that Student Sady has submitted her "Understanding Aardvarks" portfolio assignment, and by clicking in Moodle's grading screen she is able to view and evaluate Sady's submitted portfolio view with regard to each of the aardvark aspects listed in #1, above.
  3. Headmaster Hannah has been tasked by the Ministry of Education to ensure, by collecting demonstrative portfolio artifacts, that all her students are flawlessly fluent when it comes to anything aardvarkish. She has 2317 students in her school, so tracking all of this and providing data to the Ministry is a big job! Her students are all registered in a Moodle course named "Portfolio Proofs", which consists of some brief instructions and several Moodle-Mahara assignments. Each assignment is associated with relevant Outcomes derived from the standards published by the Ministry of Education, and teachers assess the portfolio views submitted to each assignment with regard to each relevant Outcome. Hannah is then able to use Moodle's Outcomes reporting to show very nice tables and even nicer graphs to the Ministry of Education as evidence that her students are accelerating in their apprehension of aardvarkdom.
  4. Lord Lando has decreed that each student must provide evidence of having met 457 unique competencies before being allowed to graduate from High School in his serfdom. Headmaster Hannah reorganizes her "Portfolio Proofs" course to put all the aardvark-related assignments in just one section, and she imports Moodle Outcomes based on the standards lauded by Lord Lando. She then creates many other course sections with Moodle-Mahara assignments, and associates a handful of Outcomes with each assignment. As students complete their coursework they build their portfolios and submit Mahara views to the Moodle-Mahara assignments; teachers assess these views according to the attached Moodle Outcomes, and Hannah is able to use Moodle's Outcomes reporting to determine how each student is progressing in meeting her graduation requirements.
  5. Roamer Ronald has moved from Spaz City School to Bean Farmer Country School, and both institutions are using Moodle+Mahara to store and assess student portfolios. Fortunately, Bean Farmer Country School developed and shared its assessment standards (a set of Moodle Outcomes + a Moodle-Mahara assignments course) with Spaz City School, so the competency-based evaluation of Roamer's portfolio travels with him when his portfolio is imported into Mahara at Bean Farmer Country School, and this evaluation information is visible in Mahara. He is able to continue building his portfolio toward his graduation requirements without himself or his teachers missing a beat, and he is even home in time to milk the goat before supper.
    1. Technical note: This assumes use of Mahara's LEAP export/import, to include the view and all metadata (including Outcomes).
    2. Technical note: The Moodle-Mahara assignment submissions will not be automatically imported into the Bean Farmer moodle, though if they are re-submitted by Ronald as Moodle-Mahara assignments, the Outcomes evaluations exported from Spaz City will, when matches are found, be automatically submitted in Moodle.


  • This has nothing to do with Mahara importing classes or groups or enrolment data in general from an integrated moodle.
  • It might be nice if assessment information could be entered directly into Mahara at some point, but this project does not encompass the entry of assessment data directly into Mahara.


  1. This project must be implemented in Moodle 1.9 (the latest release). Moodle code must be contributed toward Moodle 2.0 if at all possible.
  2. This project should be implemented in a released version of Mahara, or a version that is in its last weeks before release.
  3. This project must be complete and installed on clients' servers by 30 June, 2009.
  4. Outcomes assessment information must be stored in Mahara and travel with a view that is exported and imported into another instance of Mahara.
    1. Assessment info for Outcomes with matching names must be imported back into Moodle if the view is submitted to a Moodle-Mahara assignment in that Moodle.
  5. Outcomes assessment information in Mahara must be displayable in Mahara in case an imported view cannot be submitted to a Moodle-Mahara assignment, or in case the moodle where it was already submitted has become unavailable.
    1. Mid-implementation note: This is the least important feature on this specification.
    2. Mid-implementation note: A student should be able to see her own Outcomes. If Mahara's permissions principles permit, it would also be very useful if access would be granted to mahara administrators.

Wishful Thinking

  1. Moodle admin is given the option of allowing users to copy Mahara views into Moodle instead of merely linking to them.
  2. Mahara admin can disable the locking of Mahara views that have been submitted to Moodle-Mahara assignments.

Ubiquitous Flowcharts

  1. High-level assessment workflow overview:[[../../../../@api/deki/files/88/=high-level-assessment-workflow.png?size=webview|flowchart of portfolio assessment workflow]]
  2. Student view creation workflow: [[../../../../@api/deki/files/90/=student-portfolio-building.png?size=webview|student-portfolio-building.png]]
  3. Student view submission workflow: [[../../../../@api/deki/files/92/=student-view-submission.png?size=webview|flowchart of workflow & data transfer for a Mahara view submission in Moodle]]
  4. Teacher portfolio evaluation workflow: [[../../../../@api/deki/files/96/=teacher-outcomes-evaluation.png?size=webview|flowchart of workflow for teacher evaluation of portfolio views]]


  1. mock-up of interface for student to submit a Moodle-Mahara assignment: [[../../../../@api/deki/files/103/=student-select-view-screenshot.png?size=webview|mock-up screenshot of interface for student to select Mahara view for submission to a Moodle-Mahara assignment]] mock-up depiction goals:
    1. student is presented with sorted list of views
    2. recently modified view is listed first
    3. previews are automatic or readily available
    4. student can search for a particular view
    5. full-size re-view is easily available (editing may be possible)
  2. mock-up of existing Moodle 1.9 Outcomes reporting interface with some ICT evaluation: [[../../../../@api/deki/files/104/=outcomes-report.png?size=webview|mock-up screenshot of outcomes reporting interface in Moodle 1.9]]
  3. mock-up of Mahara display of Outcomes for a single view: [[../../../../@api/deki/files/106/=mahara-outcomes-display-by-view.png?size=webview|mock-up screenshot of Mahara display of outcomes for a single view]]
  4. mock-up of Mahara display of Outcomes aggregated for a single user (first feature to drop if necessary): [[../../../../@api/deki/files/105/=mahara-outcomes-display-aggregated.png?size=webview|mock-up screenshot of Mahara display of outcomes aggregated for a single user]]