Exploring with Oracle

Someone finally asked.  For as long as we have been using Blackboard Learning System CE8, I have been aware of the wealth of information/data available within and about our installation.  I have just never tried to summarize.  Well, I have tried a couple of times, but came up against some logic issues and put it aside.  Now, since someone has asked, I have been attempting to clarify using SQL what it takes to provide the numbers in question.

For instance, “active” accounts — seems reasonable enough.  I can get those figures pretty easily (active, not denied access, not webct_demo_* users, exclude a few other specialized logins), but what do they mean in our system?  We create accounts for all admitted students and I believe our banner connection will allow creation within CE8 of any account sent over for an enrolled member.  And we create sections for every section marked in banner (with encouragement to mark them all).  So, “active” numbers are just the numbers of accounts that could access CE8 any given semester.

Next comes the part I have puzzled over, off and on, for years.  And I have come to a simple conclusion that I can hardly believe I overlooked for all that time.  We need numbers regarding how many actually use our system.  There are log files galore and the reporting tables.  Finally, it became clear to me that anything in rpt_tracking involved someone who was logged in to the system.  While their role is UNKN, they are not in a section.  When they are in a section, the role is clear.  So, with a little bit of joining, I can get reasonable, readable, countable info about the numbers actually logging in and clicking into sections.

Of course, that doesn’t help with the age-old question of whether clicking on a discussion means you read it or not, but I’ll just put that question aside for another day.

Happy Friday!