Currently we are using the LMB Plugin for Moodle to enroll students into our courses. This works swimmingly, until you have to enroll a large group into a class that really isn’t a class. Let me explain…no let me sum up.
We have a bunch of placement tests and advising courses and that sort of thing we want our first year students to be enrolled in. Moodle happens to have a flat file enrollment feature. Below are the instructions from that enrollment feature:
This method will repeatedly check for and process a specially-formatted text file in the location that you specify. The file is a comma separated file assumed to have four or six fields per line:
* operation, role, idnumber(user), idnumber(course) [, starttime, endtime]
* operation = add | del
* role = student | teacher | teacheredit
* idnumber(user) = idnumber in the user table NB not id
* idnumber(course) = idnumber in the course table NB not id
* starttime = start time (in seconds since epoch) - optional
* endtime = end time (in seconds since epoch) - optional
It could look something like this:
add, student, 5, CF101
add, teacher, 6, CF101
add, teacheredit, 7, CF101
del, student, 8, CF101
del, student, 17, CF101
add, student, 21, CF101, 1091115000, 1091215000
So great, I need to pull a randomly generated number rather than a username in order to enroll students. So now I need to figure out a way to take a list of usernames in banner and get their corresponding idnumbers in Moodle.
Now if this were a one time thing I would take the lazy man’s way out and I would create a table in the database and do a simple
select table.username, user.idnumber
from table, user
where table.username = user.username;
But I’m going to have to do this every year until we either get rid of Moodle or I leave Wheaton. Since plans are not in the work for either, I’ll actually do something more substantive.
First I made the decision to use the MySQL select in clause. For those of you who don’t know, you can do:
select username, idnumber
where username in ('value1', 'value2', 'valueN');
Its pretty useful really. I can’t really find a MySQL page that talks about the in() clause but I did find a good post in the MySQL lists. The next thing I had to figure out was how to push a file into a php array. Again I found a great post on using the file() command to do this. The only drawback is that when i go to print it’ll just show:
value1 value2 valueN
When that’s not what I want. I need quotes and commas and crap around it. So I found another great post that talks about using the implode function to put a php array into an in() clause. The implode function will allow me to put quotes and what not around each one of the values in the array so it will look like this:
'value1', 'value2', 'valueN'
So now that I have the component parts, all I need to do is create a php page that will let me upload a file, run the query, and retrieve the outfile. Of course the idea of writing this code makes me tired and since its 5pm I shall just publish this post and write the code tomorrow (hopefully).
I was wrong. The value is not a randomly generated number, well it is, but its randomly generated by Banner. In the Banner XML the value is the <sourcedid> for a <person>.
Luckily this randomly generated value is something that we can pull out of Banner using our reporting system. The value (in our Banner) is gobsrid_sourced_id. Not sure if it will be the same in your Banner, but hopefully this will put someone on the right track.
My next step is to document how to do all of this in our Moodle Documentation Wiki. I might do a Jing Video.