Perl 6 - the future is here, just unevenly distributed

IRC log for #webwork, 2014-02-07

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All times shown according to UTC.

Time Nick Message
05:33 rbeezer joined #webwork
13:45 goehle joined #webwork
15:45 rbeezer joined #webwork
16:10 goehle joined #webwork
16:23 aubreyja joined #webwork
16:23 aubreyja joined #webwork
16:36 aubreyja mgage - around?
16:37 mgage hi jason
16:37 aubreyja Hi - did you see the message from Santo DAugstino on rt? It sounds like he might have an interesting project. I'm wondering if we should set him up on test?
16:39 mgage the only drawback is that it looks like he would want command line access to testcourses
16:39 mgage so he could run scripts -- or perhaps I don't know what he means by scripts
16:39 aubreyja would he - maybe I missed that
16:40 aubreyja yeah, I thought that too at first but then he just asks for a course I think
16:40 aubreyja maybe he has some macro that does this...?
16:40 mgage in the latter case I don't see any problem at all
16:40 aubreyja I'll write to him to clarify
16:41 mgage there already are ways to fake collections of problems by using the includeProblem() macro.
16:41 mgage go ahead and check
16:42 mgage a lot of the randomization he is talking about can be done within a a single problem.
16:43 mgage creating the problem from several files might simplify the organization but it might not.
18:49 shdw_work joined #webwork
18:51 * shdw_work waves
18:53 shdw_work is there a module available that would show the grades for all the students in a given section, at any time during the semester?  I've been told that instructors can currently only get the final grades after the class is completed.
18:55 shdw_work the only thing I can think of is interpreting the output from the totals.csv file (or perhaps figure out how to read the appropriate fields directly from the database)
19:02 shdw_work I guess what I need to do is use Grades.pm as a starting point
19:03 goehle hi shdw_work
19:03 shdw_work hi... sorry for the rotten timing, but I was just going to a meeting
19:03 shdw_work back in an hour :-(
19:03 goehle kk
20:09 shdw_work well that was loads of fun
20:09 goehle meetings
20:09 shdw_work yeah
20:09 goehle to answer your question
20:10 shdw_work I'm grasping at info here because they haven't given me a lot of info on the exact problem yet...
20:10 goehle if you want to see student progress or statistics on a certain set
20:10 goehle then you can go to that set in Student Progress or Statistics
20:10 goehle and you can click on "section" to sort by section
20:11 goehle if you want to do more than look at the grades
20:11 goehle you can always use Scoring Tools
20:11 goehle this can be used to export the current grades to a csv at any time
20:11 goehle and it includes a section column
20:13 shdw_work looking at the student progress page... I think what they are looking for is to basically get a cummulative score for each student within their section, something that shows this is how everyone in my class is doing as of today?
20:13 goehle I would use scoring tools then
20:13 goehle it has a column for the total grade
20:14 shdw_work the csv file seems to have the info I'm looking for, if I can figure out what each column is.  It's just a matter of the instructors would prefer something easy.... click on a page under webwork and immediately see the info they want
20:15 shdw_work the grades page seems to have the info for a particular student, so I'm betting I could rewrite it a bit to pull the info for all students within a section and just display a current grade percentage
20:15 goehle I suppose
20:15 goehle I mean I'm not sure the total cumulative grade is what your instructors actually want to be looking at
20:15 goehle not to be pretentious
20:16 goehle They want to see how the students did on the last homework
20:16 goehle or the last two homeworks
20:16 shdw_work it looks like I have another meeting in an hour with someone to give me more details about what they actually want
20:16 goehle expecially at the end of the term the total cumulative grade isn't going to change much from week to week
20:16 goehle that being said
20:16 shdw_work true
20:17 goehle the grades page is mostly for students
20:17 goehle if you wanted to add something to show the cumulative grade
20:17 goehle I would add it to the Student Progress page
20:17 shdw_work yeah but I'm not too familiar with the webwork code, so having an existing page that I can build from is much easier than trying to create something completely from scratch
20:18 goehle the Student Progress page is existing
20:18 goehle what I would do is add another link in the "View student progress by set" box
20:18 shdw_work well after this meeting I'll have a better idea, and I can figure out what page is already similar to what they need
20:18 goehle which basically does the same thing as viewing the student progress on an a set
20:18 goehle (and you would reuse the code for that)
20:18 goehle but instead of the score on one set
20:18 goehle it shows the total score in the class.
20:19 goehle then you could reuse the sorting things already set up for that page
20:19 goehle the problem with the Grades page is you only get to see one student at a time
20:19 goehle and you actually have to *act* as that student to see their grades
20:20 shdw_work hmm good point
20:22 shdw_work I think what they're looking for is something of a merger between the progress by set, and the progress by student page
20:22 shdw_work yeah this should be fun
20:23 goehle you will have to figure out what to do with the Problems colulmn
20:23 goehle the ghetto thing to do would be to leave it empty
20:23 goehle but it would be better if it wasn't displayed
20:23 goehle Maybe you could replace it with a percentage column
20:23 shdw_work right, I don't need that, just the overall score per set
20:24 goehle Score would be current score on all sets, Out of is the possible number of points for all sets, and Problems becomes percentage
20:24 goehle because the possible number of problems and the actual score are probably not the numbers people care about.
20:25 goehle so you also want to display scores on individual sets
20:25 goehle in addition to the total score
20:25 goehle it sounds like that could be busy
20:25 shdw_work oh both of these tables get generated by StudentProgress.pm, right?  Its not two separate programs?
20:26 goehle right
20:26 goehle both the view a student and view a set pages are generated by StudentProgress.pm
20:26 shdw_work whew that's a good-sized file too... gonna be fun sifting through all that code
20:26 goehle yeah, the files which generated the content pages are a bit weighty.  In the next year or so they are going to be replaced by more modern stuff.
20:27 shdw_work ah well, I'll get it figured out once she points me in the right direction
20:28 shdw_work oh I am horribly out of date as it is... I think I'm running 2.5.0?
20:28 goehle that is pretty out of date
20:28 shdw_work this was set up years ago, then ignored, then tossed my way
20:28 goehle if you are going to do any work on it you should really think about upgrading first
20:28 goehle its all served by git not, not svn
20:28 shdw_work yeah I saw that
20:28 goehle the upgrade process *should* be painless, but it does require upgrading your course tables
20:29 goehle and that works 98% of the time,
20:29 goehle but the other 2% gets kind of ugly
20:29 goehle in particular there are some nice graphs and things on some of the statistics pages for individual sets
20:29 shdw_work in the updates?
20:30 goehle yeah
20:30 shdw_work hmm
20:30 shdw_work math people love graphs :-)
20:30 goehle fact.
20:32 shdw_work I don't suppose theres a wiki page on the upgrade process?
20:32 goehle http://webwork.maa.org/wiki/Release_notes_for_WeBWorK_2.7#.UvVC6t-hWDg
20:33 goehle that is for 2.7
20:33 goehle but the basic process is the same for 2.8
20:33 goehle http://webwork.maa.org/wiki/Release_notes_for_WeBWorK_2.8#.UvVDAt-hWDg
20:33 goehle that is for 2.8
20:33 goehle that being said, if you have done a lot of customization on your old setup, or if its got some special things hooked up to it
20:33 shdw_work do I need to step through version levels, or will it go straight from 2.5 to 2.8?
20:33 goehle you can take an alternate approach which is less risky than overwriting your exisiting things
20:34 goehle in theory it will got straight to 2.8
20:34 goehle I recommend this though
20:34 goehle rename your existing webwork2 and pg directories to webwork2-old and pg-old
20:34 goehle and make webwork2-new and pg-new
20:34 goehle and then make a link from webwork2-new to webwork2
20:34 goehle and pg-new to pg
20:34 goehle then install a fresh copy of webwork into webwork2-new and pg-new
20:35 goehle (all of the course stuff is in courses and can stay there)
20:35 shdw_work the changes I've made so far have been centered around building a new css (adding IDs and classes to fields that had none) and patching some things that were broken but fixed later
20:35 goehle that way if you need to go back to the old setup you can just change the links around
20:35 goehle right
20:35 goehle so the new 2.8 has a completely redone css setup using bootsrap
20:36 goehle so you will probably want to take a look at that
20:36 shdw_work hmm I've heard of bootstrap but never worked with it
20:36 goehle its pretty nice
20:36 goehle unfortunately 3.0 came out just after we implemented 2.8 into webwork
20:36 goehle so its still on bootstrap 2.8
20:36 shdw_work then again, 'bootstrap' is such a common phrase...
20:37 goehle ah
20:37 goehle well I mean twitter bootstrap, the open source css framework project
20:38 goehle http://bootstrapdocs.com/v2.3.1/docs/
20:38 goehle http://bootstrapdocs.com/v2.3.1/docs/base-css.html
20:38 goehle also the config file structure has changed in recent years
20:39 goehle there is a README in the conf file
20:39 goehle which describes how its changed
20:39 shdw_work I better get a fresh supply of excedrine, looks like I have a lot of reading ahead of me :-)
20:39 goehle but basically you will have to take the server info from the old setup and move it over to the new one
20:39 goehle looks like
20:39 goehle you might also like to get a completely fresh installation of webwork running on a virtual machine
20:40 goehle that way you can play around with it without potentially endangering a production machine
20:40 shdw_work we have a test site set up for me to make changes through the semester, then we copy over the changes in between semesters
20:40 goehle You can use https://github.com/aubreyja/ww_install
20:40 goehle to make a fresh install of the latest version
20:41 goehle (and you can specify directories and whatnot so it doesn't ovewrite your old stuff. I would make backups in any case)
20:41 shdw_work oh say... they moved webwork to a VM last year and we had all kinds of problems last Fall from it getting overloaded.  Has been fairly stable now, but are there any recommendations posted anywhere for memory and such when running webwork from a VM?
20:41 goehle thats a guided installation script that is a lot easier to work with than following the old install docs manually
20:41 shdw_work nice
20:42 goehle unstable how?  I've had trouble with that before, but it was actually instability caused by the vm setup (and in particular how it did its networking)
20:42 goehle in general the recommendation for memory usage on vms will be the same as for regular machines
20:43 shdw_work the whole system crashed several times from the student load.  I think they're running with with 6GB of ram now and its been working fairly well.
20:43 shdw_work I'm not sure what the specs of the original real server were, would have been nice to know though
20:44 goehle yeah, probably just not enough memory.  There are some things  you can do, like set up lighttpd to serve static images and js
20:44 shdw_work they switched it over to a VM just as I was getting introduced to webwork
20:44 goehle and setting MathJax as the default rendering mode
20:44 goehle and not images
20:45 shdw_work oh was mathjax added in newer versions?  All I saw was images and mathML
20:45 goehle that second one saves a lot of resources.  The work done of rendering the typeset mathematics is done on the client side.
20:45 goehle ah yes
20:45 goehle mathjax is in the latest one
20:45 goehle I would recommend setting it as default
20:45 shdw_work yeah it works pretty, although hopefully not as slow as the installations I wrked with
20:46 goehle I haven't noticed too much of an issue.  But different setups are different.
20:48 goehle So it sounds like you have your work cut out for you.  I wouldn't do a whole lot of code modification until you get the upgrade process done.  And that is going to subtlety change a lot of stuff, so I'm sure you'll have to have a meeting or two about it.
20:48 shdw_work I was using it for a seminars page, followed their info on setting it up, and it would take 5 seconds to load up the mathjax images
20:48 goehle ah
20:48 shdw_work erg... I'm done with meetings :-)
20:49 goehle I suppose it depends on where mathjax was getting its fonts from.  They are served by webwork now, so it should be about the same speed as using the img method.  If not there is something wrong.
20:49 shdw_work that's good, local setup is best.  This was coming from the mathjax website
20:50 goehle I guess you could change your seminar page to point to the new webwork server for the majax, which should speed things up
20:50 goehle *your* new webwork server, rather
20:52 shdw_work naw I just found some code to display the latex formulas in mathML and it runs instantaneously now.
20:52 goehle or that
20:52 shdw_work too bad Microsoft doesn't seem to support mathML
20:53 shdw_work anyway, thanks for all the info... this will certainly keep me busy for awhile
20:53 goehle yeah, neither does chrome though
20:53 goehle no problem
20:53 goehle if you have issues feel free to ask around in the forum
20:53 goehle you might have to be patient though
20:53 shdw_work think I'll just idle in the channel while I'm at work... I'm usually signed in to freenode anyway
20:54 goehle we all teach classes so we may or may not be around
20:54 goehle also if you ping someone specifically they will get on a lot faster
20:54 shdw_work I've been speaking with Gavin LaRose through email... he's really been a big help getting me started
20:54 goehle Gavin is one of the old timers
20:54 goehle Jason Aurbery (aubreyja) knows an awful lot about installation (and its his install script, in case you run into trouble)
20:55 shdw_work yeah I was getting that feeling, seems like his name shows up on a lot of stuff
20:55 shdw_work ah cool
20:59 goehle ok I'm off.  Good luck with the upgrade.
21:00 shdw_work thanks
21:07 shdw_work oh, another question whenever someone is around... We had a problem last Fall with file permissions.  If files were not owned by the www user, webwork bombed out.  Specifically I had updated the site_info.txt file, and when the admins copied it to the server it had 644 permissions, but was owned by me, and WW was generating all kinds of errors.
21:07 shdw_work hopefully this issue has been addressed in newer versions?
21:12 mgage shdw_work:  that file won't cause errors -- but the webwork server has to be able to write to log files and such like so it is important that the permissions and ownership are set correctly
21:14 mgage http://webwork.maa.org/wiki/Installation_Manual_for_2.5#Setting_permissions
21:52 shdw_work in the case I was referring to, the site_info file was the only thing that was modified...  I just know it was throwing out errors when students tried to log in, I don't know if any of them actually succeeded in logging in.
21:53 shdw_work I have a good idea of what the instructors want now.  Essentially a compilation of the two tables generated under the student progress page.
21:54 shdw_work we run a lot of different class sections under each course, so I'll make a new column to view student progress by section and see what it takes to get a combination of the data
21:55 shdw_work oh, and I opened a ticket with the server admin folks to see if we can coordinate an upgrade to 2.8... crossing my fingers
22:24 goehle left #webwork

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