The extendable learning management system - Aalto internal documentation
A+ is an open-source platform for creating and (partly or fully) automatically grading electronic course assignments, currently used in Aalto University and Tampere University.
The core of A+ LMS consists of the A+ portal (frontend, data storage) and MOOC grader (assignment grading), of which new versions are released every January and June. There are also other components and services extending the core functionality. Details can be found in the public documentation: https://apluslms.github.io
A+ is a complementary system to Moodle, the official LMS provided by Aalto Learning Services (LES) as MyCourses. You could think the difference between the two like MS Word (MyCourses) and LaTeX (A+) - at least if we forget about VBScript for now. MyCourses gives you a GUI with low threshold adoption, a wide range of tools for basic needs in teaching (sharing course material and assignments, collecting student submissions, quizzes, peer feedback and discussions) and, at Aalto, a number of licenced or free add-ins, like Panopto for creating and sharing videos, Stack for mathematical assignments, CodeRunner for programming assignments, and H5P for creating interactive contents. You'll find the complete list of features at https://wiki.aalto.fi/display/mchelp. Compared to MyCourses, A+ provides you with additional features for producing course material including assignments with automatic assessment for Computer Science needs, with the drawback of a high threshold learning curve. It is also possible to use the MOOC grader with limited functionality through MyCourses via a Moodle plugin called Astra.
(NB: now referring to standard MyCourses excluding the A+ Astra plugin) At Aalto, course workspaces for all courses published in Oodi are automatically created in MyCourses. Additionally, students are automatically enrolled to the workspace based on enrollments in Oodi. Therefore, you need to keep MyCourses in mind in every case.
Consider using A+ LMS, when the features of MyCourses do not fulfil your needs for course material and assessment. The main points are
To learn about creating and testing course material in A+, you will first need to set up a local course development environment on either Linux or MacOS, so the basic knowledge of using command line tools and git is helpful. If you have an Aalto workstation, this also requires you to apply for local administrative rights for your workstation (= wa account).
You will need to install the following software:
Instructions for installing the tools above are linked in the A+ quick start guide. See also the Q&A section at the end of this page.
The Aalto A+ LMS environment is hosted and administered by the Computer science department IT (CS IT). The front-end can be found at https://plus.cs.aalto.fi
NOTE: Aalto CS department only offers support for CS department teachers (beyond the issues directly related to the hosting environment). Other Aalto users need to have a support person in their unit, or be able to figure out things by themselves.
Support is available
NOTE: due to support availability, using submission deadlines during weekends or off-hours is at own risk.
Check the CS IT status page to see if there are problems within the environment and if someone is already looking into them.
If you cannot find answers here or the status page, please contact us in Slack, or using the contact emails listed below.
|Production environment||Test environment (under construction)|
|Responsible person(s)||Seppo Äyräväinen||TBA|
Problem: Course works in someone else's computer, but not on mine - although nothing has been changed. The docker-up.sh script gives a strange error, with the following lines shown on the console:
grader_1 | CommandError: Course not found for key: default
grader_1 | [cmd] run-django.sh exited 1
Solution: Check, that the course directories have the execute (x) and read (r) permissions for all users. If not, run the following command at the same level where your course folder is located (the X option prevents adding unnecessary execute permissions to files):
chmod -R a+rX coursefolder
Here we have gathered some answers to Aalto-specific questions. If your question is not answered here, contact us in Slack, or using the contact emails listed above.
When you have prepared the material for your course, contact A+ support by email at firstname.lastname@example.org with:
Note: We strongly suggest to transfer your repository to the Aplus course group in GitLab. If you are interested, please ask us about the GitLab group by email.
Typically the material should be finished a few months in advance, so any possible problems can be resolved. If your course material needs new features to be added in A+, you should contact A+ support at least one year before your course starts, as new features are only published every six months.
Electronic exams with A+ are piloted. Are you interested? Contact us!
You can use version.aalto.fi.