C.G. Haba, L. Breniuc

Technical University of Iasi (ROMANIA)
Our paper presents the work at our faculty for developing visualization and analysis methods that could enhance the features of a content management system (CMS). The visualization techniques will be used for better representing student activity in order to identify: most active students in different activity categories; online activities of most interest for students; document access by student or date; relations between events recorded in the CMS; forum topics that are most active etc.

For several years we have used content management system in order to manage our teaching activities, the learning resources for students and also for implementing an e-learning system.

For the management of all these activities we have used Moodle (Modular Object Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment) system. The choice was influenced by following facts:
- it is open source which means it is free and also the source code is available and can be modified to add new functionalities;
- it is widely used for e-learning purposes;
- it has a large set of modules that implement all kind of e-learning activities;
- the available modules are increasing in number constantly as the development community of the system, which is open source, is very active.

One important feature of this CMS is the possibility to generate automatic reports about student activity. The reports can be configured to include activities of one or all students, include a specific day or all days since the course was started, select a specific activity or all the activities, select a specific action types or all types.

The reports are displayed in tabular format or can be downloaded in format that can be viewed also in tabular format.
Many studies revealed that human brain is better adapted to process and analyze data coming through the eyes and thus relying on edge detection, pattern matching and shape recognition. Therefore, analysis of data presented in graphical form will be more useful for teachers for extracting useful information regarding student activities.

In this paper we analyze different visualization software that could be connected to the CMS in order to provide visual representation of data related to the activities recorded by the system.

We are interested in visualizing data in the following ways:
- Graphs that represent relations between users (student or teachers) and activities (opening a course support document, opening a laboratory work document, posting a homework, posting a message on student forum). User nodes issuing high number of edges, easily identifiable by visual inspection of the graph correspond to a high activity of that user;
- Pie charts representing percentages of student activities based on types.
- Graphs that represent time relations between events related to student activities that can be use to extract information such as: who are the first 5 students that replied after the homework was launched; how many of the posted messages in the first 24 hours after an activity was launched is related to that event and so on.