Brightcookie started using Moodle around 2002 – even before Moodle reached version 1.0. Since then we have worked with many clients from educational as well as corporate environments. We have noticed that their needs and requirements from their learning management system have changed considerably over the years. What we are now finding is that our clients are requiring a more streamlined user management functionality and a more complex reporting system.
To cater for this change in needs, Brightcookie has created a separate UI for administrative users of Moodle/Mahara. Called the Brightcookie Console, this simple and clean interface hides some of the complexities of the existing Moodle/Mahara interface and makes the administrative tasks of user management and reporting much easier to do.
The Brightcookie Console can be used as a standard version or customised to include additional functionalities. For some clients, the standard version suits their needs and they can immediately reap the benefits of using a more streamlined user management and reporting system. The customised version is ideal for clients requiring more specific and complex functionalities. Brightcookie staff work with clients to determine their requirements and additional user management and reporting features are programmed into the Brightcookie Console.
Using the Brightcookie Console interface, Moodle/Mahara administrators can manage users. Tasks such as creating new users, editing user information, searching for users, assigning user roles and deleting users can be done using the one interface.
To create a new user, the administrator simply selects Create and then enters the user details into the Create new user box (see image below). Within this box, administrators can assign user roles, set passwords, enrol users into courses and even send a pre-formatted email to users informing them of their login details. This interface can be customised for clients requiring specific data fields and functionalities.
Administrators can also create multiple users by uploading a CSV file.
The reporting feature of the Brightcookie Console enables each client to produce customised reports. The reporting feature supports multi-output format such as web page, PDF, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and CSV.
The reporting templates can be pre-formatted to a specific design and layout to include specific text and company branding information.
The design of the UI can be customised so that it fits in with existing company branding. Alternatively, administrators can control the design by selecting a theme from a number of pre-set options.
Using the settings functions administrators can edit the wording of the email and reporting templates.
Case study – SPAA
SMSF Professionals’ Association of Australia Limited (SPAA) is recognised as the peak body for professional advisors and the leading association within the SMSF industry in Australia. Deb Bennett is their Education Coordinator.
We required an online system that was secure and stable enough to manage and deliver our two-hour online examinations that consists of over 120 multiple-choice questions. We had found that our previous system was no longer able to meet our specific needs so after research and consulting with the team at Brightcookie, we made the switch to Moodle with the addition of the UI called Brightcookie Console.
The process of creating new users has been made a lot easier using the interface of the Brightcookie Console. Our users are entered into the system as either candidates or supervisors.
As the examinations are supervised, candidates are required to nominate a supervisor. This supervisor is to be approved by our association and be present when the candidate sits the exam. The new system allows us to link supervisors to their candidates.
Once the candidate has been entered into the system and assigned to an examination, an email containing login details and important information is automatically sent to them. The same happens when a user is entered into the system as a supervisor. It is as simple as ticking a box. Their email contains their login details and information on how to ‘unlock’ the exam for the candidate. If we need to, we can edit the content of the email at any time by changing the wording in the email template contained within the settings tab.
Unlocking the exam
Prior to sitting their actual exam, candidates have access to information and a practice questions. They do not have access to their exam until it is unlocked by their supervisor. At the commencement of their exam sitting, the supervisor unlocks the exam by entering their username and password into the system.
Brightcookie has automated this process transforming what was quite a laborious and time consuming process into something quite simple and easy to manage. The amount of time saved and the ease of this through the Brightcookie Console has been fantastic!
Another essential feature required was that many of our candidates sitting the exam were requesting feedback on how they performed. The feedback was not just about providing a final grade but also highlighting areas of strengths and weaknesses. For confidentiality reasons it is obviously not possible to provide candidates with their actual answers to the exam questions.
Brightcookie devised a system where the questions in the exam were grouped together under categories or topic areas and a final report is generated as a PDF or Word document so that additional information can be added if required. This report is in the form of a personalised letter to the candidate providing their overall grade as well as extracting the categories of strengths and weaknesses. Again, the reporting templates can easily be edited in the settings.
This personalised approach of feedback has been well received by candidates and has enabled them to focus on areas or topics for improvement in the future. The report a candidate receives is far more professional than what we were able to do with our previous system and it reduces the isolated and no-care factor feeling of someone who has just sat a two-hour exam.
In summary, we are extremely satisfied with our new system. The integration with Moodle is seamless. The use of the Brightcookie Console and the specialised programming within Moodle for the unlocking of the exams has resulted in a system that is extremely reliable, efficient and very easy to manage!