Today’s review Module is the Configurable Reports block for Moodle 2. This block provides a way of creating custom reports without knowing database query language (SQL) and assigning access to selected users.

Background

There are a few options for implementing extra reporting in Moodle, and this plugin is certainly one to look into. This module for Moodle is created as a block and is maintained by Juan Leyva from Spain.  This was first released in October 2010 for Moodle 1.9 and was later released for Moodle 2.

What does it do?

The block is a custom report builder. It enables the users to build reports about the a range of topics and then assigned users to view the reports.  A number of different reports can be created including reports about:

  • courses
  • categories
  • users

Is it simple to install?

Yes. I downloaded the provided zip from the plugin page and extracted the configurable_reports folder. I uploaded it into the blocks section of my Moodle 2 install. When it was installed through the notifications page, the plug-in caused no errors and brought up no extra global settings. The source code is also available from contrib CVS.

Is there documentation for it?

The plug-ins page has a brief overview on the module and links to the very detailed Moodle Docs page. There are also links to the Bug Tracker entry and a discussion forum for questions.  the Moodle Docs page has information on how to install, configure, create reports and on the advanced options available if you need them.

Is it easy for the teacher/admin to use?

Yes. Once you add the block to a course, you then go in and manage the reports. You can either upload a pre-defined report or build one using the interactive interface. The first page of the report generation gets you to define basic information including the name, type of course and the export options.

Configurable Reports - General Info

Configurable Reports - General Info

Once submitted you are brought into the editor where you select a wide range of options including:

  • which fields to add to the report
  • the conditions to use in the query
  • the ordering of the output data
  • filters for the report
  • template – which to use
  • who can use the report
block_configreports_columns

Configurable Reports Adding Columns

One thing I particularly liked was the ability to set the permissions on the report. I was able to choose any of the following options:

  • Anyone
  • Any user in the current report course (where the block is)
  • Report capabilities  (Users with the capability moodle/site:viewreports enabled)
  • User field value ( you have to select which user profile field and what value)
  • Users with a specific role in the course with the report (for example a manager)

So you can set one or many of these access rules, which is very cool.

Config Reports Permissions

Config Reports Permissions

Once it is all set up you can just run the report. If the report provides data in such a way that a pie-chart would be useful visual, you can also set this up.

Pie chart report

Pie chart report

You can create the pie chart by defining the Plot options, of the name field and value field, and if you want to group the same values. Very handy.

Is it easy for the learner/student to use?

Yes. If the student has access to the report they can run it. It is really that simple and straightforward. There is also a nice print option which displays the report without any header/blocks around it. Another nice addition.

Does it do what it promises?

Yes. This report block is  useful in creating custom reports for all levels of users. I really like the export and print outs. However I did find a number of white screens (page had errors on it) when I was doing some options and so perhaps there are a few things still that need catching. That said, definitely one to keep an eye on.

Stars: 4 out of 5 stars for this block.

 

**Standard Reminder**

These reviews check out the plugin for usability not for security. If you are considering installing any module on your site you should also check that is secure and does not impact the server performance.

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