MMS Module Activities
The University of St Andrews packages teaching into blocks known as ‘modules’. A module will have staff e.g. a module coordinator (an academic responsible for the module), lecturers etc, students and usually lecturers and groups such as tutorials. Each module is worth a certain number of credits which reflect the estimated time taken by the student to complete the module, and students need to achieve a certain number of credits before being illegible to achieve a degree. Modules usually run in either a single semester or all year but can be shorted or run outside the usual academic year.
MMS, which stands for Module Management System, was primary conceived to assist in the teaching and administration of academic modules. This still holds true today with each taught module being represented by an MMS module, but has been expanded to include Research modules for PGR administration, Custom modules for staff only modules or non-taught modules, and Meta-modules which can combine groups of students from Taught and Custom modules.
Module are created by a process known as ‘activation’. Once a module has been activated school administrators can add staff, import or add students, create groups and add as many tools as required. These are known as 'module level' activities.
This chapter will discuss:
- Module Types and Meta Modules
- PGR Research Modules
- Custom Modules
- Meta Modules
- The Modules Page and Accessing a Module
- Activating a Module
- Module configuration
- Module level activities and related topics
Module Types and Meta Modules
Usually a module in MMS directly represents a taught module. These standard modules are linked to the Registry Database (SITS) which allows MMS to import students onto the module, and to allow results to be reported back to Registry for said students. Staff can also be assigned to a module, and tools can be created that allow for a range of functionality. Over time, however, it was found that this ‘modular’ approach can be applied to other situations other than just taught modules, this includes PGR Research modules, Custom Modules and Meta Modules
PGR Research Modules
Like normal taught modules, PGR Research modules are linked with SITS, they can import students and also staff, however they differ from standard modules in so much as they don’t represent a discreet, credited, taught modules, but rather are a single space that groups together all Research students in a unit. Research modules have the ‘PGR Administration’ tool, which is a specialized tool for handling PGR administration and the unique ‘Supervision’ group type which links Research students and their supervisors together.
Custom modules take the same form as a normal taught module however they are not linked to the Registry database. This means they are incredibly flexible as to who gets access. Custom modules can be used to create a space just for staff, or can be used for a cohort of students defined by the school.
Meta Modules do not have any specialized groups or tools but can be linked to either Registry and/or other modules in MMS (including custom modules). By linking modules to a meta-module MMS will pull staff and student lists automatically and dynamically from the linking modules. This is particularly useful in cases where you want a space for all students in the school taking a first level module etc.
When users first log into MMS the are met with the 'Modules' page (an example of which can be seen in Figure 1). By default this will list the current modules that a user has been added to. Current modules are modules that are defined as running today, based on the visibility dates of the module. The view can be altered to show modules that were running in a given academic year using the drop down list at the top left of the Modules page. In the majority of cases the ‘current’ list of modules will match the list generated for the current academic year, however modules can also be extended beyond the academic year to give students access for longer (to extend a module see section <______Module Config________>).
The ‘Get My Modules’ button will get the list of modules that you have been added to directly on the module. If you are a member of staff with school wide privileges then you will also see a ‘Get All Modules’ button. This will get all the modules in the selected unit.
The other button on the Modules page is the ‘View School’ button. This will direct you to the School Activities page.
The Modules page is split into three columns, based on semester time period in which the module runs. Each module is represented by a block, with the module title at the top followed by links to the created tools. Accessing a module can be done by locating the module on the ‘Modules’ page and clicking the module title. If you have a long list of modules it may be quicker to type the module code into the ‘Search’ field, if you have access to the module MMS will then send you directly to the module overview.
Adding / Removing Staff to a Module or Group
To add a staff member to a module or group:
- Enter the relevant module (see The Modules Page and Accessing a Module above).
- Click the ‘Staff’ tab
- In the search box directly under 'Add staff to module', enter the name or username of a staff member and then click on their name in order to select them.
- Select the relevant role in the 'Role' drop-down list.
- Select the relevant group in the 'Group' drop-down list. If assigning at module level (e.g. as Module Co-ordinator for the module), leave the 'Group' selection as "Module".
- Click the green "Add" button to save. If you do not wish to proceed, click "Cancel".
The user assignment record (i.e. row displaying the staff member, their role and the group to which they have been assigned) will now appear in the main table. If assigned at group level, the staff member will now also be displayed in their group on the relevant group tab, e.g. 'Tutorial Groups'.
The main table on the staff page can also be filtered by entering text into the 'filter table' box (e.g. entering the name of a particular supervision group will display all staff in that group).
To delete a staff member from a module or group:
- Enter the relevant module
- Select the ‘Staff’ tab
- Locate the staff member in the main table (you may wish to use the 'filter table' box to assist) and click the "Delete" button to the right to remove them.
- A pop-up window will ask if you are sure you wish to proceed. If so, click "Ok" to complete the task.