User Tracking

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profKroy
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User Tracking

Post by profKroy » Mon Feb 06, 2017 8:52 pm

In the context of using phpBB as a teaching tool, I would propose the beginning of a more robust tracking of forum users...via usernames. Just knowing the time spent by students interacting with the forum would be of interest to me in determining the level of participation. Of course I can review number/quality of posts but that only gives me a partial picture.

Keep in mind many students have never interacted with this type of forum. I often hear "its' confusing" and get criticism for the unorganized appearance. Of course, if you haven't spent any time learning how to use it, well, of course it might be confusing, like any new software that you might be working with. I think you see where I'm going with this. Some students are quick to criticize it.

Perhaps there are other methods to accomplish this that I'm unaware of. If you know of anything in existence that would accomplish this kind of tracking and is pretty straight forward to implement, I'd appreciate feedback. Shoot me a PM. It seems Google Analytics would be a great resource to somehow connect to, only I need usernames to be able to identify particular users.
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Ger
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Re: User Tracking

Post by Ger » Tue Feb 07, 2017 10:56 am

The time spent can't really be tracked. The server only knows when a client does a request, not how long a client actually views the served page. I can hold this browser tab open for hours while I'm actually not even behind the computer, for instance.

What you could do is track the number of clicks for a user, and perhaps log that with information like what kind of page is viewed (a topic, a forum, the FAQ, etc). That would quickly result in a huge log though, so you'd probably better think of the resulting statistics you want the view. The most simple stat would be to create a counter for each user that is upped by 1 on every request. Bare in mind that this would also quickly result in very high numbers; just logging in, opening a forum, opening a topic en going back would already result in 4 clicks. Also, I'd compare this to the timespan the user is registered; 100 clicks isn't much, but it is if the user is registered only 2 minutes ago.

So I guess you need to think about what it is you want exactly before starting to code this. Also think about where you want this to be displayed; on the memberlist, the ACP, viewtopic? For everybody, for admins, for moderators, etc?
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Re: User Tracking

Post by HiFiKabin » Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:57 am

There is an abandoned extension that might be worth looking at viewtopic.php?f=501&t=2276976

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Ger
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Re: User Tracking

Post by Ger » Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:17 pm

HiFiKabin wrote:
Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:57 am
There is an abandoned extension that might be worth looking at viewtopic.php?f=501&t=2276976
Keep in mind that this extension also has the limitation I wrote about:
Ger wrote:
Tue Feb 07, 2017 10:56 am
The server only knows when a client does a request, not how long a client actually views the served page. I can hold this browser tab open for hours while I'm actually not even behind the computer, for instance.
It calculates the active time with:

Code: Select all

time() -  $user_online_data['user_last_action']
e.g. the current timestamp minus the timestamp from the previous action if any. Depending on the session settings this might add up to 1 hour (default) for simply looking at the same page.
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PhilDiscuss
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Re: User Tracking

Post by PhilDiscuss » Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:32 pm

Time tracking for every user.
I like it.

profKroy
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Re: User Tracking

Post by profKroy » Wed Feb 08, 2017 6:34 pm

Ger wrote:
Tue Feb 07, 2017 10:56 am
The time spent can't really be tracked. The server only knows when a client does a request, not how long a client actually views the served page. I can hold this browser tab open for hours while I'm actually not even behind the computer, for instance.

What you could do is track the number of clicks for a user, and perhaps log that with information like what kind of page is viewed (a topic, a forum, the FAQ, etc). That would quickly result in a huge log though, so you'd probably better think of the resulting statistics you want the view. The most simple stat would be to create a counter for each user that is upped by 1 on every request. Bare in mind that this would also quickly result in very high numbers; just logging in, opening a forum, opening a topic en going back would already result in 4 clicks. Also, I'd compare this to the timespan the user is registered; 100 clicks isn't much, but it is if the user is registered only 2 minutes ago.

So I guess you need to think about what it is you want exactly before starting to code this. Also think about where you want this to be displayed; on the memberlist, the ACP, viewtopic? For everybody, for admins, for moderators, etc?
Thanks! Yeah I realize there is that issue of a user just hanging out on a page, allowing time to accumulate so it may not be that accurate, but it would be give me another rubric. I like the idea of tracking clicks as well. Each would be a good metric to form an overall impression of how much the forum is being used. Of courses what's actually being assessed, by me is the number of posts and also the quality of post.

For my purposes I would not be worried about generating too much data, because my forum for the most part is pretty small, and really operates on a term by term basis, with maybe 50 students maximum.

It would also be nice to have it in the ACP or somehow just available to admins as well.
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profKroy
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Re: User Tracking

Post by profKroy » Wed Feb 08, 2017 6:35 pm

Ger wrote:
Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:17 pm
HiFiKabin wrote:
Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:57 am
There is an abandoned extension that might be worth looking at viewtopic.php?f=501&t=2276976
Keep in mind that this extension also has the limitation I wrote about:
Ger wrote:
Tue Feb 07, 2017 10:56 am
The server only knows when a client does a request, not how long a client actually views the served page. I can hold this browser tab open for hours while I'm actually not even behind the computer, for instance.
It calculates the active time with:

Code: Select all

time() -  $user_online_data['user_last_action']
e.g. the current timestamp minus the timestamp from the previous action if any. Depending on the session settings this might add up to 1 hour (default) for simply looking at the same page.
Awesome, I'll have a look at this. Sounds like it would give me the additional info that I need.
Are you a skilled extension developer? I need an extension developed right now. Here are the general specs. Please PM me if interested.

profKroy
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Re: User Tracking

Post by profKroy » Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:11 am

Another metric that would be helpful in this context of using phpBB as a teaching tool or..."learning management system," because academics are in constant need of complicating language and using acronyms... :D

It would be awesome if I could look to see when a majority of users were online throughout the day. Then I could time my use in accordance with most user activity.
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Re: User Tracking

Post by david63 » Thu Feb 09, 2017 7:18 am

Have you thought of using one of the web stats applications such as awstats or Google Analytics?
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profKroy
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Re: User Tracking

Post by profKroy » Thu Feb 09, 2017 7:25 am

david63 wrote:
Thu Feb 09, 2017 7:18 am
Have you thought of using one of the web stats applications such as awstats or Google Analytics?
I haven't looked into awstats....but my understanding Google Analytics can't be associated with a particular user. But yes, it occurs to me that those tools would be effective for determining activity levels during the day.

Of course it would be nice to have an all in one package when it came to stats, where I could delineate how individual students are using the board. I've mentioned that some are not as digitally literate as others, so having metrics available that could help would be awesome.

I know it's a stretch and probably a fairly complicated bit of development. If Google Analytics could just track usernames in phpBB, and provide the metrics it does as well, that would be great. Maybe that's the direction to go with this extension? Even possible?
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profKroy
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Re: User Tracking

Post by profKroy » Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:32 pm

Number of logins would be a helpful metric as well....
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Re: User Tracking

Post by profKroy » Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:31 am

Just thought I'd resurrect this and see if anyone if interesting in developing it further. I did get a chance to look at the ABD extension referenced and it made me think again about having some sort of time indication with regard to the amount of time a user (student) spends in the forum (course).

One thing that I'm using now is the "Who Visited Topic" extension. This is helpful because it's basically like attendance. If I can see that a student didn't visit a particular topic, well, that tells me quite a bit about the level of engagement. To see an approximation of how much time user spend at a particular topic would be great.

Cross referencing this with the number of logins and a general sense of how much time was spent, links clicked, etc. would be VERY WELCOME. And I'd be willing to work with a developer to make phpBB a better teaching tool.
Are you a skilled extension developer? I need an extension developed right now. Here are the general specs. Please PM me if interested.

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Tarantino
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Re: User Tracking

Post by Tarantino » Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:45 pm


profKroy
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Re: User Tracking

Post by profKroy » Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:29 am

Tarantino wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:45 pm
Check this too: viewtopic.php?f=501&t=2261656 ;)
Looks interesting. Someone should pick it up and run with it at some point. I'll keep an eye on it. Looks like definitely a useful tool. When I get the chance I might test it out.
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