Saturday, 12 July 2008

Subject Choice system

I spent the majority of today populating the tables required for the students subject choice system, inputting all the subjects, entry requirements, content, assessments and costs. this takes quite a while, it is having to be copied and pasted out of a word document into phpmyadmin. One of the issues with this is that all the assessment information is in a table, which I need to convert to text with a space separating the information instead of a tab. But it has got me thinking, maybe the next iteration of the subject choice system is to see how many standards are used and getting the staff to input just the standard number and the rest of the information comes up. Which means our curriculum guide would be up to date always. Just need a scheme to have the data to be imported correctly.
Which leads me to some of the issues I have had today, the number of options in the curriculum guide does not match up with what I have been given. There are two year 12 SCI classes, in which there should be one SCI and SCU. And does the hospitality course have a Nil cost or is it $35?
I have managed to get all the students subject information in correctly after a good couple of hours, some issues have been, how many subjects does a year 10 student do, 9 or 10? Which you export information out of KAMAR in CSV format there is a space between the comma and the subject, example , 12PRO, the space is counted as a character in my mysql table so I get the result of , 12PR, which of course is wrong.
And making all the students date of births md5 encrypted, hasn't been a easy job, considering the date of '12/12/1990' should be inputted as md5('12/12/1990') which I have had to use wordpad to do the adding of md5(' ') which has been fun as there is a student with a date of birth in 1987 which I missed and caused chaos to my importing. 2 hours to get the data scheme right with the right spaces. will have to work out a better way as this will be required to be entered by someone else next year, or do I make a macro in excel to do this? As well as encoding the md5 checksum?
But, it has been solved, and added, though I do not think I will be changing the details on these tables for a while now. Just maybe adding the odd new student in one by one might be safer.
And we now have working login system with session ID's. This has been worked through by the use of someone elses script, which after a bit of reading and some working through has revealed itself to be quite useful.
Though it did require me to work through how to decrypt a md5, the password on the account that is created is passme
I now have integrated the work that I have done already on the other pages to select the options, and insert the options into a transfer table.

To be done next is:
  • To get the Ajax components working, so when you select the 5 letter code of the subject it comes up with what the subject is and the entry requirements. I am using this tutorial to try and word out what I need to do though I keep ending up with an error
  • A way to make changes to the subjects that you have already selected.
  • School and versioning information included in a table to make changes specific to each school that it is installed.?
  • Are you returning to school, career goal?
  • What qualifications are you going for insert into the subjects table? NCEA level 1, 2, 3 see this for example
  • Next iteration, max number of students to take a subject. As this system could be used to handle suspended timetable days in which First in, First Serve needs to be shown.
  • Who hasn't completed filling out the form? select firstname, surname, year, form from subjects where completed = 0, 1 means they have completed it.
  • A way to display all the curriculum guide information through one page? curriculum.php?subjectcode=XXxxx
  • The exported csv done to meet the KAMAR requirements.
  • Do I record IP address that it was filled in on. date and time?
  • Reserve subjects, in case things just don't fit in right as we are not going with option lines.
Next iteration of the system
  • Input of standards, unit and achievement standards, gain the information from the NZQA database and import it into the system. I have the file already in my email, just need to find the schema so I can remove all the old and unused unit and achievement standards
  • HOD being able to change their subject details online, maybe using the YUI editor so they can do bullet points and the like.
    I looked at using the Yahoo editor and decided against it, I have instead looked at the FCK editor and decided I can integrate it easier into the current system and will do what i require it to do. The developers code to get it in is located here.
  • Max number of students to take a subject, this allows it to be used in a different way as describe above.
  • a way to make the importation of the SMS data into the system easier. 4 hours to modify, empty, insert, check, test, import the csv, export to sql, find and replace in wordpad because notepad sucks at this, is just crazy.
I have found it good just to hide away and work on this today, though I know I need more time to get it done, as well as the need to get the portal site looking good as well.

Just some information, I am using portable apps to run the development site on a usb stick, for those interested I am running it seems to be doing the job, you just have to remove the ticks beside the SVC in the console program. I have been running it on my eeepc and connecting to it through the wireless network at work, it just means I can take it and use it anywhere I need to, just a pity i can't run it on my mac.

This blog has had a number of changes to it along way in the last couple of days to accommodate my notes and ideas for the next version, I know I should properly use a wiki, but you use what you have at the time.

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