Zenoir Online Classroom

Zenoir Online Classroom is a personal project by yours truly. It’s actually just a modern version of the Manhattan Virtual Classroom with some additional features. Some of the useful features like the visual indication that a post is still not opened by the current user is still present. Unread post are indicated by a red star at the end of the title of a message and once its opened the star goes off.

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User

Users can edit information such as the photo that they will use for their account and password.

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Groups

Groups can also be created by any user. Groups can be used for grouping people in a specific class. Groups can be created by the teacher or the student and only the creator of the group can add or remove members from the group. This is similar to the groupings created by the teacher in a real-world classroom.

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Dashboard

The dashboard is the landing page of the students and the teachers whenever they log in with their accounts. Classes in which the student or teacher belongs are all listed in this page. Unread post from every class, notifications, people, and the previous classes attended to are also listed. Previous classes can be accessed as long as it wasn’t explicitly locked by the teacher.

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Messages

The messages module is where the users can send private messages to one or more users who also belong to the classroom where the user is currently logged in. image

Users can also reply to a specific message where they have the option to attach files.

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There is also a conversation history feature. This allows for viewing the past messages that has been sent as a reply to an original message. Entries that are listed here are ordered by the date and time it was sent, the recent messages are on the top portion. If the original message is a group message all the replies of the people who received the message can also be seen by other people in the conversation history.

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Original messages are created using the create new message link. The main difference between an original message and a reply message is that the original message can be sent to many people while reply messages can only be sent to a single person.

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Quizzes

There is also a quizzes module that allows the teacher to create quizzes such as the one below. The scores of the students in a particular quiz is stored in the database so that the teacher can view it at a later time to monitor the performance of students.

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Handouts

Handouts can also be created by the teacher to give the students reading materials in e-format such as pdf files and word files. The attached files can be downloaded by the students. It can also be viewed as long as the browser that is used by the student supports viewing of that specific kind of file.

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Assignments

Assignments can also be created by the teacher. In the screenshot below a student is trying to reply to an assignment. The body of the assignment reply is automatically filled up with the body of the assignment that is selected by the student, this eliminates the need to open another browser window or tab to see the contents of the assignment. The student can just delete it later once the reply to that particular assignment has been written.

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Replies to a particular assignment can also be viewed by the teacher.

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Sessions

Sessions can also be created by both students and teachers. There are 3 kinds of sessions one is the class session which can only be created by the teacher. In a class session all the students in the class are automatically a part of the session which means that every student in the class can enter the session as long as it is still valid. Another kind of session is the masked session which is similar to the class session as all students in the class are automatically members, the only difference is that there is a choice for the session members to use an alias. The alias is used to conceal the identity of the student. This feature is useful for the students to share their thoughts on something without revealing their identity. The third kind of session is the team session where a student can choose who will join the session. Session members can either be composed of a single group or multiple groups to which the student belongs. 

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Here is what a masked session looks like as I have mentioned earlier the members of this session can actually choose an alias to use. A session is really just a traditional chat box where the students and teachers can discuss about things related to their class. I used Node.js and Socket.io to ensure optimum performance.

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Class Settings

There’s also a separate module where the teacher can enable or disable specific modules in the class. Disabling a module will cause it to be inaccessible by both the teacher and the student. This feature is useful for the teacher to control which modules can be used by the students this also saves space in the database because modules that aren’t necessary to the class is disabled therefore the students cannot post anything which consumes space on the database.

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Student accounts created by the administrator can also be invited by the teacher as long as they’re not already a member of the class. Only students which aren’t a member of the current class is listed.

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Once invited there will be a new entry listed on the invites panel where the student has the option to accept it or leave it be. I’m also planning to have a decline button in there just in case the student was added by teacher by accident.

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Existing students can also be removed from the class. This is useful in cases wherein the teacher accidentally invited a student into the class and the student also confirmed the invite even if he is not formally a member of the class.

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Classroom data can also be exported by the teacher to other classes that he handles. At the time of writing of this post only students and handouts can be exported to another class. Some of the obvious limitations is that it’s only good for bulk export, the teacher cannot select what specific data to export to another class. And that only one export at a time is allowed.

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Reports

There’s also a reports module which allows the teacher to view the student activity log. This module is still under development. I’m planning to add reports that will answer questions like: who are the students who aren’t submitting their assignments, who are the students who has not viewed their handouts, who are the students that always gets low on quizzes, who are the students who doesn’t participate in class sessions and other reports that might be useful to the teacher.

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User Visibility

To ensure the visibility of a user to another user I’m also planning to add a feature wherein every user who is currently logged into the system can set if they are online or offline. This gives the user an option if he wants to declare that he’s currently using the system or not. Just like what has done by Facebook on their chat box.

 

Admin

Here is what the class looks like when an administrator is looking at it. There’s an additional module accessible to the administrator which allows him to change the settings in the class.

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The administrator can access any classroom and view its contents. But it’s only for viewing. The administrator cannot be involved in any class activity like posting assignments and handouts. The administrator module is still under development so I’m still thinking of the possibility for the administrator to be an automatic member of every class that he creates.

The administrator is the only one who can create new classes so the teachers has to approach the administrator if they want to create a class. Every class has only one teacher. A class has also a start and lock date, once a class has reached its lock date a notification on the teachers dashboard will show up prompting the teacher to lock the classroom if the teacher wants the classroom to be continually accessible to the students then he can just ignore the notice. But once the teacher has chosen to lock the classroom it will no longer be accessible to both the teacher and the students. But the admin can still unlock it if the teacher requests for it.

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Conclusion

As you can see Zenoir Online Classroom is still incomplete, there are still features which are not incorporated in the system and there are still some bugs because I haven’t done a thorough testing of it yet. If you want to contribute to this project feel free to visit it’s page on Github and either download, clone or fork it.

Zenoir Online Classroom

If you have any questions or suggestions regarding this project feel free to throw them in the comments! Thanks!

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