CoursEval offers the option to schedule the generation of Evaluation reports. The reports will be generated on the CoursEval server and can be manually or automatically downloaded. Many customers use this option to populate faculty portfolio systems like Data180/Faculty180.
CoursEval has the ability to generate PDF files for a population of courses. The process is simple to setup, but a strategy is required to fetch and manage the files that are generated.
The Mass PDF generation process uses the CoursEval Impersonation feature to generate Evaluation reports as if the user was logged in. This ensures the data security settings for the particular user are enforced. Impersonation requires that SigAB authentication is turned on for the MyCoursEval portal.
Login as a manager and select User Authentication from the Set Up menu.
If SigAB is checked, you are all set. No further changes are needed.
If it is not checked, click on the MyCoursEval Portal, check the SigAB option and set the shared secret. Any arbitrary secret will work.
When configuring PDF report generation you will be required to select a manager user with rights to impersonate. This can be an existing manager, but could also be a special manager user created just for this task. For example: MassPdf. You can create the manager user with no actual rights. The important thing is to give the user rights to impersonate. Read-only rights will do.
What will you do with the PDF files that are generated?
- Will they be attached to a faculty portfolio?
- Will you manually send them to instructors?
- Are they simply a means to archive historical reports?
These are important questions to answer before you get started. The answers will guide you down this path and may also lead you to go in another direction.
Once you have confirmed your reasons for needing PDF files the next step is to actually do something with the files. CoursEval provides a file naming convention that you configure. The file naming convention that you select will enable you to identify reports for particular instructors, courses, periods, or even surveys. The name separator will enable a process to read the file names and automatically move or attach the files to the right places in your systems.
In this example the PDF file name for John Smith teaching Biology 101 section 100 in the Fall of 2017 might look like:
Smith_John_ FA17_BIO 101_100.PDF
A program could use the filename to determine the instructor and the course and move the file to the appropriate location. A good example is attaching the evaluation to a faculty portfolio.
Configuration & Scheduling
Now you are ready to kick off the PDF generation process. Look for PDF Report Generation on the Reports menu.
- Select the population of courses to create PDFs for. You can select the year, period, one or more departments, or even one or more faculty members.
- Select your file naming convention as discussed above
- Select your generation strategy:
- If never generated – This will only create PDF files that have never been generated by this process. CoursEval keeps track of every PDF that is generated. So it’s easy to skip files that have been generated already.
- If not generated recently – You select the number of days where a PDF might grow stale or maybe reporting options changed and you need the updated version.
- If file does not exist – If you are keeping the files on the CoursEval server (this is not recommended!) only courses without existing PDF files will be generated.
- Always - self-explanatory… This might be a good option if you are using option A or B and you need to refresh the report for a particular instructor.
- Select the manager user to impersonate with
- Enter the output folder… more on this below
- Select a schedule or you can elect to run immediately
- Once you save, the process is capable of running
The extract folder is a folder that exists on the CoursEval server or can be viewed while logged into the server console (e.g. network location). This is not a folder on your computer.
Options are likely to be:
- FTP folder on the server (this is true if your site is in the CoursEval SaaS environment and may be true for on-premise installations.)
- Network folder that is visible from the server (only for on-premise installations)
- Arbitrary storage folder on the server (only for on-premise installations)
NOTE: If you are hosting with CoursEval, the only option is #1: FTP. CoursEval Support will provide FTP credentials and the folder location on the server.
Be a Good Citizen
FTP generation can generate a lot of reports. This takes up processing and storage resources. There are a few things that you can do while configuring the process and also post-generation to ensure these processes minimize the impact on the CoursEval server:
- Schedule off-hours. Evening and overnight hours typically see less users in CoursEval. Your process and the user experience will both benefit.
- Cleanup as you go. After PDF files are copied off of the CoursEval server there is no need to keep them around. Be sure to delete the files after they are used.
PDF Generation Troubleshooting