Saturday, 31 July 2021, 8:59 PM
Site: Flinders Learning Online
Topic: FLO Staff Support (FLO_Staff_Support)
Glossary: How-to glossary
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Database - build a database activity (step 2)

1. Plan  |   2. Build   |  3. Test   | 4. Administer   |  5. Review   ||  Support  

database iconThis entry relates to the Database activity.

Once you have created the database activity 'shell', you need to build it (using fields) and create templates. To build the database you can:


Choose a predefined set of fields (preset)

    Once you have created the database, you need to define the field types for the information you wish to collect. You can use a database preset (or predefined set up fields). Optionally, you can then edit the database templates to alter the way in which the database displays entries.

    1. Click the Presets tab
      Presets tab 

    2. On the Presets page, scroll down to the Use a preset section
      Use a present

    3. Select the preset (eg Image gallery) and click Choose. Note that a field for tags will be automatically added, but will not be visible on this page

    4. On the Field mappings page, select the Overwrite current settings check box and click Continue  you will be invited to Add entries
      Field mappings

    5. If you want to edit the preset fields, go to the Fields tab. Click on the cog wheel next to the field under the Action menu. You can also Create a new field in this screen (see instructions below)
      Edit preset fields


    Create your own fields

    You will have thought about the following questions in the database activity planning phase:

    • What fields/questions do I want my students to answer?
    • What format will my students answer in? Text? Uploading images or documents? Links?
    • What fields are required/optional?
    Steps

    1. Click the Fields tab to create a new field section
      Fields tab 

    2. Choose the field type you want to create (Text area, Radio button, URL etc) from the drop-down list. For a description of what the different field types mean (eg Text area vs Text input), see Moodle Docs: Building Database
      Create a new field

    3. Enter the Field name and Field description (note: the Field description is not the instructions to the user, it is for administrator viewing only). If you need to ensure one or several particular fields are always completed, then tick the Required field box. Click Add.
      Field name and description 

    4. Once you have finished adding your fields they will appear listed in the Fields tab
       
    5. Next, you may want to edit the database templates to make the database entries display the way you want them. See Create templates for your database (step 3)


    Customise the database search

    Once you and your students have populated the database beyond a certain size, you'll want it to be (more) searchable. The database is searchable by default, but you can customise the search to suit the database.

    1. On the View list or Search page, deselect the Advanced search check box and click Save settings
      Search

    2. Do one of the following:

      1. Use the fields that now display below the list to conduct a simple search. To search, enter a Search term and either click Save settings or press Enter
        OR
      2. Select the Templates tab, then on the Templates page select the Advanced search template tab, and define the template to suit your and your students' needs

    Database - create a database activity (step 1)

    1. Plan  |   2. Build   |  3. Test   | 4. Administer  |  5. Review   ||  Support  

    database iconThis entry relates to the Database activity.

    First you have to create the activity (steps below). This provides the 'shell' for the activity. Then you will need to build the database (fields and searchability) (step 2) and create templates to aid usability (step 3).

    When setting up the conditions for adding entries, you can decide whether entries need to be approved, and whether/who to give ratings to entries (if ratings are used for marking). 


    Steps

    1. Turn editing on using the green button – this button is available top left of screen on the topic homepage
       Turn editing on
    2. Go to the module where you would like the database to appear
    3. Click the Add an activity or resource link at the bottom of the module
      Add an activity or resource

    4. Select Database from Activities tab
      database icon
       
    5. In the General section enter a Name for the database and some text in the Description field explaining how the database will be used
      general section

    6. Under Entries, select: 
      o whether the topic coordinator/teacher's approval is required before the entry will display to other students in the database
      o whether it is allowed to edit the approved entries (this is disabled if no approval is required)
      o whether you will allow comments on entries
      o the number of entries required for completion per student for the activity to be considered complete
      o the number of entries required before viewing other students’ entries
      o the maximum number of entries any student can contribute to the database
      database entries screen

    7. If necessary, under Availability, enable the date fields and define the periods for which the database will be available for contributions, and in read-only form (Read only from) if applicable
      Timeline block: The 'Available to' date will show to students in the Timeline block.

      database availability

    8. Set up the Ratings system if you want students to rate entries. You must save the activity before the Roles with permission to rate will display – ask your eLearning support team to add students (permissions). You can:
      o tell FLO how to decide on a final rating (Aggregate type)
      o indicate whether to apply a Scale to the ratings
      o Restrict ratings to items with dates in the given date range

      database ratings

    9. You can set up activity completion for your database based on the below conditions 

       
    10. Complete the remainder of the page and click Save and display

    Database - customise the templates (step 3)

    1. Plan  |   2. Build   |  3. Test   | 4. Administer  |  5. Review   ||  Support  

    database iconThis entry relates to the Database activity.

    Templates for the database activity allow you to control the visual layout of information when listing, viewing or editing database entries. A basic level of HTML knowledge may be necessary to edit database templates. If you need help, contact your local eLearning support team

    Before you create a template, you first need to Create a database activity (step 1) and Build a database activity (step 2).

    There are six template types, but the most important ones (for a good user experience) are the Add templateSingle template and List template. You will need to make changes to all three templates. The instructions below are for basic customisations only. For more sophisticated customisations, contact your local eLearning support team

    1. View template options 

    Then create your templates in the following (logical) order:

    1. Add template (how the Add entry looks)
    2. Single template (how a single entry looks)
    3. List template (how a list of entries looks)


    View template options

    These instructions tell you how to bold the field names, and make the table that field names and field types sit in more viewable and usable.

    To view the complete list of templates, and access the View list, View single and Add entry types:

    1. Click on the database activity you have set up

    2. In the next screen, click on the Templates tab. You will see the template options. Select the tab you want to create a template (Add template, Single template, List template)
      Templates tab

     


    1. Create an Add template

    The Add template determines what users see when they click on the Add entry prompt (ie how the fields are displayed). In this template, you can provide more information/instruction to users about what they need to enter into a field (eg instead of just having the field title, have a question and/or examples). Example field name: 'Duration' – the question could be 'How long did this task take? (Please enter in hours, rounded to the nearest full hour)'

    These instructions tell you how to bold the field names, and make the table that the field names and field types sit in more viewable and usable.

    1. As per the steps above (View template options), make sure you are in the Add template tab

    2. To bold field names, highlight the field name and click on the B prompt in the HTML toolbar
      Bold field names

    3. To make the table more user friendly, by creating more space between field names (left column) and responses (right column)you will need to go into the HTML code. To do this, click on the HTML icon in the HTML editor 
      HTML mode

    4. You will now see the HTML code view for the template

    5. Add style="width:100%;" cellpadding="5" align="left" [+ space after "left"/before code that follows] after <table ...> (ie <table style="width:100%;" cellpadding="5" align="left" ). This code means the table will use all space available in the screen (width:100%), the distance between table cell and text will be 5 pixels (cellpadding="5"), and text will be aligned left (you could also align "center" (note American spelling) or "right"
      Add HTML code

    6. To provide instructions to the user adding an entry, put your cursor at the beginning of a right-hand row, and click Enter. Fill in the space above with the instruction
      Provide instructions

    7. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click Save template

    8. To see what your changes look like, click on the Add entry tab
       


    2. Create a Single template

    The Single template determines how one result looks to the user. This is the template where you can add a user tag so that you know who has contributed.

    These instructions tell you how to bold the field names, and make the table that field names and field types sit in more viewable and usable.

    1. As per the steps above (View template options), make sure you are in the Single template tab (under Templates)

    2. Follow steps 2-6 above (under Create an Add template)

    3. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click Save template 

    4. To see what your changes look like, click on the View single tab (you need to have added an entry to see what this looks like)

    Add a user tag

    If you add a user tag, you will be able to see who has added an entry, which will be useful for adding comments etc. You can update the template with this tag even after the database is open for adding entries (and entries have been added).

    These instructions assume you have already set up this template (see above).

    1. Under Templates, click on the Single template tab

    2. With your mouse, select the row in the Single template text box that you want to add a user row/column after/before
      Select row in table

    3. Click on the Table icon in the HTML toolbar and select Insert row after or Insert row before (or column)
      Insert row

    4. To add the user tag, place your cursor where you want it to go in the template box, then select User (under Other) in the Available tags box. The ##user## tag should automatically appear in the selected location in your template table
      Add user tag

    5. Scroll down and click Save template

    6. To check, click on the View single tab (add an entry to see how this looks if the database is not yet open to students)



    3. Create a List template

    The List template determines how a list of results (entries) looks to the user. You do not need to include every field (eg as for the Add template), particularly when there are lots of fields. The list can just be some key fields (eg Journal name).

    1. As per the steps above (View template options), make sure you are in the List template tab

    2. Follow steps 2-6 above (under Create an Add template)

    3. To delete a field, select the table row, click on the Table icon in the HTML editor and select Delete row
      Delete row

    4. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click Save template

    5. To see what your changes look like, click on the View list tab (you need to have added at least one entry to see what this looks like)

    Database - main entry

    Using a database activity in your topic is one way to allow students to create content and share it with others. Using the Database activity in a topic ideally consists of 5 stages, in a looped process.

    1. Plan  |  2. Build  |  3. Test  |  4. Administer  |  5. Review  ||  Support 
      Database iconThe database activity allows teachers and students to build up a bank of structured information (a 'collection'). A database activity could be used:

    • as a collaborative collection of web links, books, book reviews, journal references etc
    • to display student-created photos, posters, websites or text for peer comment and review.
    Using a database in your topic is a way to allow students to create content ('entries') and interact with others (collaborate). Students have the opportunity to teach and learn from their peers by making considered decisions about resources that require critical thinking, and supporting their choices through debate (comments). As well as being a resource in the current topic, the content created can become a legacy or resource/exemplar for another (future) topic (ie it can be rolled over).

    The database entries need to be exported/imported separately if you want to use the database in another site (eg the topic's next version) – only the database shell will be copied over. Contact your eLearning support team.

    Good practice guides and tip sheets

    Good practice guides and tip sheets have been developed to support quality in both curriculum design and teaching practice. Good practice guides provide a pedagogical overview and tip sheets provide you with practical strategies and ideas for implementation. Links to database-related resources are provided below. 

    Providing constructive feedback in FLO



      1. Plan

      The success of the database activity is in the planning. Once students begin adding content (entries), it can be tricky to change the fields, so thinking ahead is key. 

      What is the intended purpose of the database activity? 

      • What fields/questions do you want your students to answer? What format – uploading images or documents? Links? What fields are required/optional?
      • How does it link to assessment – is it an assessment item itself, or is it a step towards an assessment item (eg resource supporting assessment, digital literacy skill development)?
      • How interactive do you want the activity to be? Allow comments on entries (moderated/unmoderated)? Students/teachers rate entries? Ratings can be aggregated to form a final grade which is recorded in the Gradebook.

      The structure of the entries is defined by the teacher as a number of fields. The visual layout of information when listing, viewing or editing database entries is  controlled by templates

      When creating a database for the first time, it can be helpful to think about it like an Excel spreadsheet. The teacher creates the columns (fields), and students and/or teachers add rows of content.


      2. Build

      Once you have planned your database fields, you are ready to set up your database.

        1. Create a database activity (settings)
        2. Define database fields (preset, create your own, make your database searchable)
        3. Customise the templates (View list, View single, Add entry)

        3. Test

        The database activity is a highly customisable and very versatile tool, so it's important to test what you've built thoroughly before releasing the activity to students. Ask your local eLearning support team to check your Database for you (especially if this is your first time). It is best to amend mistakes before students add entries.

        • Practice creating an entry – as a form of scaffolding, you could support students by showing what an entry that's added looks like
        • Preview the Single, List, and Add views – is the layout is clear and easy to understand?


        4. Administer

        When setting up your database activity, you can enable a number of optional settings. Some of these settings require administration by a teacher:

        • Approve entries – If enabled, entries require approving by a teacher before they are viewable by everyone
        • Give ratings to entries – if ratings are being used for marking (settings)

        To encourage students to add entries, you could add an initial entry to model good practice, setting a standard and ensuring that instructions are not misunderstood. You could add the first entry in the Test phase). This is equivalent to making the first post in a forum. The fields you set up when you built the database will also prompt students as to what to add to create an entry. Students like examples and will engage more promptly with the tool.

        You can see how many students have contributed on the topic homepage:
        database contributions


        5. Review

        How did your database activity go? Would you set up the activity differently next time round? Talk to colleagues and/or your local eLearning support team to get ideas for improvement.

        If you are happy with the activity and you want to use the content in a future topic version/other topics, you can ask your eLearning support team to roll over or import the database activity. The entries will need to be exported/imported separately. 


          Training and support

          Troubleshooting

        Support

        eLearning support teams

        There are no known issues with this tool, but you may require help to build it.

        Designing a banner for your FLO site

        Whether you are starting from scratch or working with an existing site, using a banner transforms your site and makes it instantly recognisable.

        1. Plan  |  2. Build  |  3. Test  |  4. Review  || Support

        A banner is designed to give a face to your site and make it recognisable to your students. The banner is visible on top of the site, as well as on the topic 'card' on the MyFLO page.


        The same image file is used for both the topic site banner and the topic card viewed on My FLO, with each displaying different elements of the picture.  It should also be noted that these 2 regions can vary slightly depending on window size, device and whether the navigation menu is open.

        Most landscape orientation photos will be roughly 4x3 aspect ratio (width x height). If a full image like this is uploaded, the central area is displayed as in the image below.

        A yellow border shows the part that will be seen in My FLO. A blue border shows the part that will be seen in the topic.

        To ensure a high quality banner, images should be optimised and cropped to 1920 x 850px, the recommended dimensions.  The next image shows the image which would be uploaded to FLO.

        A breakwater is on the right of the image. The sun is setting behind the breakwater, and reflecting off the water.

        On My FLO, this banner image would appear like this in topic cards:

        Two topics in My FLO. The first topic has the default banner. The second topic has the picture of the sunset.

        Within the topic, this banner image would appear like this:

        The top of a FLO site, including the banner. It is cropped, matching the blue borders in the first image.

        The FLO topic name and navigation breadcrumbs sit over the left side of the banner. Depending on the image content, it may be useful to flip the image horizontally. In this example, the image has been flipped and the darker less interesting region has the topic title overtop.

        The banner has been flipped so the breakwater (and the shadow cast by the setting sun) is on the left side of the image.

        What if the area of interest in the image is not central?

        If the area of interest is not central in the image, it may still be a suitable image for a banner, as long as it can be cropped to 1920 x 850 px region centred around the area of interest.

        Examples:

        A picture of a coastline, taken from above. The bottom half of the image is greyed out, indicating that it will be removed.

        The cropped version of the previous picture.

        A picture of the Hub and the path heading south (to Anchor Court). The left and bottom side of the image is greyed out.

        The cropped version of the previous image.


        For staff who wish to prepare their own banner image, Snagit is a University-supplied program which can do everyday image editing. Snagit is available through the IDS Support Portal. Home-use licences are also available (request via ServiceOne)

        Banners for teaching sites will be uploaded by college eLearning teams. Send your image via a ServiceOne request. You can either send them a cropped, optimised image or a candidate image that they can prepare for you.

        If you wish to see how your banner looks, try uploading it to your sandpit.

        Note: images must be royalty/copyright free.

        Suggested sources of free images

        1. Pexels
        2. Unsplash
        3. Pixabay

        Dialogue - main entry

        The dialogue tool in a topic ideally consists of 4 stages, in a looped process.

        1. Plan  |  2. Build  |  3. Test  |  4. Administer  ||  Support 

        Good practice guides and tip sheets

        Good practice guides and tip sheets have been developed to support quality in both curriculum design and teaching practice. Good practice guides provide a pedagogical overview and tip sheets provide you with practical strategies and ideas for implementation. Links to assignment-related resources are provided below. 

        Communication, interaction and collaboration tools in FLO

        Dialogue icoxThe dialogue tool allows you to start one-to-one conversations with your students or allows students to initiate conversations with you or others in the topic. A copy of all messages will be kept within the topic.


        1. Plan your dialogue

        The dialogue tool has some similarities to other communication methods (e.g. email, forums, messages). Dialogue allows for one to one conversations inside the topic, as opposed to forums which are mainly for group discussions and messaging, which is for one on one discussion, but is not recorded in the topic.

        You could use the dialogue tool to:

        • ask a question of some or all students in your topic, and have them reply individually
        • ask students if they have any problems working in their project teams.
        Conversations between a student and a staff member can be seen by all staff with access to the topic. This can be useful for larger topics, but may not be appropriate for topics where a lot of sensitive discussions are expected.


        2. Build

        The dialogue tool can be set up with a few quick steps:

        1. In your topic click Turn editing on
          turn editing on
        2. In the week/module where you want the dialogue to appear, click Add an activity or resource
          add an activity or resource button
        3. Select Dialogue and click add button
        4. Fill in the dialogue Name and Introduction
          type a dialogue name and description
        5. Click Save and display
          save and display button


          3. Test

          The easiest way to see how the dialogue tool works is to try it out with a colleague (or multiple colleagues).


          4. Administer

          You can send a message to a particular person, or send identical copies of a message to everyone in a group.

          1. In the dialogue activity, click Create
            Select 'create'

          2. If sending a message to a single person, start typing the users name in the People box. Select the name of the person from the dropdown list.
            Begin typing the user's name and then select student from the drop-down menu

            If sending a message to multiple people, click on Bulk open rule and select a group to send the message to. If you want to include any users who may join the group in the future, tick Include future members.

            select a group from the drop-down menu

          3. Enter a Subject and type a Message
            type a subject and message

          4. Click the Send button when you are ready. If you are sending a message to a group, each person in the group will get an individual copy of the message.
            click save
          If you are not receiving notifications about new messages, check your notification settings in the preferences menu:
          Preferences menu Notifications link

            Training and support

            Troubleshooting

          Support
          eLearning support team
          There are no known issues with this tool.

          Download and install Kaltura Desktop Recorder (video)