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Cleaning up my perpetual Group for re-use next year

Further to an earlier discussion on how I am using Gamelab in my classroom here:
https://getsatisfaction.com/3d_gamela...

My school year just ended (high school, grades 10,11,12). I used GameLab for the entire year, for every course I taught.

Now I am considering what I should do for next year (Sept 2014). Here are my problems and some ideas for possible solution:

The Problems:

1. I want to keep all of my students who might return next year in their current state (quests completed, badges, etc)
2. I need some way for students to be able to reset their XP/Mark in an obvious way if they return for another course.
3. I need to delete old students to make room for new students, but I don't want to lose their archived work, which will happen if I delete them.
4. I need to delete old quests that I won't use anymore, but I don't want to lose the archived work that former students have submitted under those quests. (I currently have 368 quests...)

Ideas:
If it was possible to take a snapshot of a group in it's current state and archive that snapshot, that would solve 1, 3, and 4. I could do that once a semester, then cleanup my perpetual group for the next semester, while still having previous work and marks archived.

For #2, Lisa mentioned in another thread the possibility of having an XP bar that could be reset, this would be the nicest solution for my students and I.
https://getsatisfaction.com/3d_gamela...

Currently, I am boosting (with awards) returning students to the nearest 1000 to give them a round jumping off point, but that's ugly and clogs up my awards.

This won't really work next year, when I will have a much higher number of returning students, probably around 75-100 returning students (between two semesters). That's a lot of manual work-arounds =P
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  • rdnewman (Official Rep) June 23, 2014 20:46
    Our best advise is to clone your group. What that means is that your new group has all your quests from your old group, but the students start over. You can archive the old group thereby keeping the records as they were at that time. You can safely remove quests or change them in the new group without affecting the old group. In other words, your original group is saved as a kind of snapshot but the new group can be changed as you see fit. And archived groups do not count against your groups limit.

    Just so you know, we recently changed the behavior of removing students from your classes (regardless of clones, etc.): it no longer removes a student completely from the platform, but instead simply unenrolls them from your courses so that their work is still archived in our databases.

    Also, now that we have course codes, it's much easier to have existing students (if 13 or older) join your new groups. Just generate a course code for the new group and share it with your students. They can use the group drop down to enter the code and immediately join your new group (or sign up with the code if they're not already in 3D GameLab).

    I think by cloning your group, you'll get the behavior you want, but let us know if you think this won't work for you and we'll walk through the use cases.
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  • Thanks for the reply.

    The reason I can't clone is because the student's do start over. Having the students continue where they left off is what I want to do (see problem #1 =)

    I've tried thinking of ways of doing a reset that would work through the provision of awards manually, but without more flexibility in quest/reward prerequisite logic (i.e. OR, NOT) I don't see how it could work.

    I was originally planning to do a standard course that starts and stops. But then this possibility emerged of continuing where students left off (which I tested between 1st and 2nd semester this past year, where I had about 10 returning students) and it was awesome. I just don't see the benefit in going back to the standard "pass" or "fail, do it again" classroom when the only reason that probably exists is because historically most classes don't have a GameLab ;)
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  • rdnewman (Official Rep) June 23, 2014 21:26
    If we had a way to preserve/transfer their completed and in-progress quest information as you clone or reset the group, would that solve #1 for you? For instance (not saying this is how we'd do it, but just to illustrate), if when you cloned the group, you had a setting that said "Transfer student progress", and the new group had just those students that had current work, but it didn't count toward their new XP, would that meet your needs? Perhaps we do the transfer student-by-student (through, say, a list of previous students and you check the ones to transfer)?
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  • Yes, that would be awesome!

    "...students that had current work, but it didn't count toward their new XP..."

    And that would be extra awesome.

    Actually, that would solve all of my problems, #1-4!

    If their archived XP still counted toward their System XP (while their Group XP would be 0 with the new group). That would be Awesome^3.
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  • rdnewman (Official Rep) June 23, 2014 22:21
    Great! I believe we can make this happen this summer. When do your classes start up again so that we can have this capability in time for you?

    The archived XP will require a bit more thought. I like the idea, I just want to think it through a bit more.
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  • The last week of August is when I hope to be preparing my new Group for the new school year.

    Thanks for considering these features!
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  • rdnewman (Official Rep) June 23, 2014 22:30
    You bet and I saw the other issues you "bumped" today, I just don't have a definite timeline on their resolution yet, but hopefully we can show you some attention on these very soon.
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  • I’m Happy
    Last night we deployed an update that affected cloning and archiving groups to regain student seats that were no longer being used (last year's groups, for example) for new groups.  Please let us know if everything is working for you.
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  • MrC,

    Just wanted you to know that we're still hoping to implement the student progress transfer idea you had for cloning, but we weren't able to get it in time for Labor Day.

    Without this feature, is there something you need our help with for your returning students? My understanding was that without transferring student progress, the notion of cloning and archiving in preparation for the next semester is not useful to you.
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  • Thanks for following up on this.

    I am setting up my class/group this weekend, so I'll let you know! I will have to continue using the same group.

    The most difficult task I have without these new features, is that I have to "reset" all my returning students' XP. I guess I will do this by manually adding rewards to boost their XP to the nearest thousand.

    That is currently about 60 students. I.e. I have to manually add "Adjustment" Awards in 5, 50, and 500 increments to get each of these 60 students' XP to the nearest 1000. I guess I could add more Adjustment increments, but then I just bloat my Awards with hacks that students shouldn't see.

    This might break me.

    Is there any possibly way of making that process not painful? =)

    Thank you!

    -Tylere
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  • I want to understand what your workaround is. Are you saying that if a student is returning you want them to have some multiple of 1000 XP? Does that mean that a given student in a year does not reach 1000, so then the thousands digit ends up representing the number of times they've returned?
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  • "Does that mean that a given student in a year does not reach 1000?"

    Yes, usually. The way my grading is set up is that a student with 1000XP gets 100% (500XP = 50%, 730XP = 73% etc). Most students don't make it to 1000, though some go over.

    "Are you saying that if a student is returning you want them to have some multiple of 1000 XP?"

    Yes, this is only so it is easy for students to tell what their mark is. For example, a student who got 860XP (86%) in their last course, would be starting with 860XP and have to subtract 860 to figure out how much XP they actual have in their new course. That's a nightmare. So by rounding all students to the nearest thousand, it is easier for them to track their progress: 860 --> bumped to 1000.

    Now if they have 1790 XP, they know they have 79%.

    "so then the thousands digit ends up representing the number of times they've returned? "

    That's not intentional, though in practice that is usually what happens (however, any student who got more than 1000 in a course, would have to be reset/ bumped to 2000 for their 2nd course since I can't remove XP)

    IDEALLY I would have a separate XP bar that could be reset to 0 for each course, but that's discussed in detail in the first post.

    This is all just a work around because I can't reset to 0 without losing their quest history/progress
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  • This is all problem #2 discussed in the first post.

    Here was Lisa's suggestion, which would be awesome:
    https://getsatisfaction.com/3d_gamela...
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  • Let me muse on this a bit. Maybe I can find a quick way to help you out even if it isn't the full idea we came up with earlier. Not sure whether it's the trip-odometer idea (which has some other cool corollaries like being able to show varying progress anytime during the year) or some custom script I run one-time for your class just to set you up well this time. You have a lot of students, so of course we certainly don't you to have hand edit a bunch of custom rewards if we can help it.
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  • Do you think there is any possibility of a quick way to do this? My course is starting on Monday, so if there isn't, I will do it manually over the weekend.

    Thanks!
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  • Sorry, MrC, we got pulled off into quashing bugs for the last couple of weeks and weren't able to put this together in time for you. The script idea I mentioned a couple of weeks ago won't be practical either unless we wait until all your students are enrolled for the semester.

    Just so you're aware, the design we have in mind for this "trip-odometer" approach will always (re-)calculate points on demand (so that we can go back to any given date). I mention this because in the past it was difficult for you to recalculate points for your group because you'd sometimes change the value of badges or quests throughout the semester. If we implement this as we've discussed, will this calculation-on-demand be a problem going forward?

    One last hope: how many students are you expecting this semester that will need this special points consideration for their prior work? Previously, you seemed to indicate it might only be 10 or so. If it's a small number like that, we might yet be able to something as a workaround on our side for you.
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  • " If we implement this as we've discussed, will this calculation-on-demand be a problem going forward? "

    No, it won't be a problem! Now that I know how its supposed to work, I don't change things anymore mid-course (I just note them and change them before the start of the next).

    "how many students are you expecting this semester"

    By Monday, I need to convert about 60 students returning from last year. If it was a script, it could just convert ALL students in the group.

    I will also be adding 20 or so new students, but I was thinking of trying the course code thing to have them join the group themselves.
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  • If we did the script, all it would do is reset their group XP to zero. But that would affect their System XP, so I'm thinking we really don't have a way to do this well. If it was just a few, we might be able to hand set them, but still, System XP is just a sum of the points of the groups they're in, so by overriding their Group XP, System XP is necessarily affected.

    Is it practical to leave them as they are and then just try to get the trip-odometer working in the next couple of weeks? That way you wouldn't have to make the odd badges you didn't want to do and they'd still get the benefit of it before the semester went too deep.

    BTW, we've had good reviews of course codes. Just be aware that students need to be 13 or older for that option to be available to them.
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  • What are the odds of the trip-meter function not happening according to plan? I'm worried that a couple weeks will turn into much more than that =D

    I think it would be safer to reset everything to zero (group and thus system too)..although the trip meter thing would be really cool....

    Either way, I need this dealt with first:
    https://getsatisfaction.com/3d_gamela...

    Otherwise they'll effect both options, it seems to me, if they are deleted after the semester starts.
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  • Very fair question: you're right, we couldn't guarantee it right now until we solve a couple of things affecting the whole user community. We'll respond further to the post you referenced on that page.

    If you decide you want us to zero our your class ahead of the semester, we can do that, but it will mean that recalc-XP under Group Manager will be lost to you (because it will restore scores) until we get the odometer back.
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  • Thank you! Can you go ahead and do the reset to zero then? I understand I won't be able to recalc-XP.

    Out of curiosity (not important if you don't have time to answer), I thought there was some kind of automatic nightly recalculation that happened? How are you getting around that with the reset to zero thing?
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  • No, there's no nightly recalc. We calculate System XP whenever it is displayed as a sum of all groups for the user. Group XPs are only calculated on quest/reward activity or on demand (say, via the Group Manager option).

    We did plan to make Group XPs to behave like System XP to avoid ever having to do a recalc (and so always be correct), but that lost some priority as the number of issues people had became fewer. It's still the plan though. But now we won't do it until we resolve the trip-odometer solution, so you can have your cake and eat it too.

    I'll apply the zero-out for your group at the same time as we repair the other multi-quest issue for your group (so by Sunday). Not that you want to, but we'll be able to get them back (except for your historical point changes) whenever we want by doing a Group Recalc. I recommend you pull and save a report for your group in the next 24 hours so you have a firm record of what the historical scores were.
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  • They're all set to zero now. Completed quests and awards were untouched. Note that the ranks depend on points, so they're back to beginning ranks. And, as you know, you can recalc XP at any time to recalculate their points back in the normal way.
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  • Do you think you could run a reset for me again for my new semester that starts Tuesday?

    I'm going to pull grades at the end of the day today, so anytime after that would be awesome.

    Thanks!
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  • All members in your group are now reset to zero points. Previously awarded quests and rewards were not affected.
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