Introduction

Friday, June 24, 2022

The Integrated OBE Software, or iOBE, is an award-winning software that provides applications relevant to tertiary academic programs to address the requirements of implementing Outcome-Based Education in Malaysia as well as other countries. The full version of the software is released as a free software for all academic institutions and can be downloaded here.

The OBE Framework has been fully adopted by all engineering programs in Malaysia since 2009 through the Washington Accord, an international agreement that mutually recognizes the quality of engineering graduates from member countries. Compliance with this Accord requires engineering programs in Malaysia, through their accreditation exercises with the national Engineering Accreditation Council (EAC), to assess students' learning outcomes more rigorously.

Non-engineering academic programs in Malaysia are bounded by OBE as well through their accreditation with the Malaysian Qualification Agency (MQA). As such, engineering and non-engineering academic programs in Malaysia must develop dedicated systems to manage and automate the processes of computing and integrating assessment data on different outcomes from multiple courses. The iOBE software is designed to meet these needs.

The software is designed to be very easy to use (with single-button clicks), computationally fast (within seconds to a few minutes), flexible in managing data, and robust in its mathematical formulations. It runs as a standalone offline software, eliminating online-related issues such as slow servers and data security breach. The image below shows the one and only windows panel that the user needs to interact with when using iOBE.


Readers can browse through the following links to know more about the iOBE software:
  1. Downloadable iOBE software, with a number of major upgrades since its first release in July 2015.
  2. Software documentation, consisting of academic articles and software manuals. The documentation describes its mathematical framework, software architecture, and case studies on software implementation.
The software developer can be contacted here for further inquiries and for request to conduct workshops on OBE and the iOBE software.

Read more...

iOBE Workshop @ Arts USM

Saturday, May 28, 2022

An iOBE workshop "Assessing Student Outcomes Automatically Using iOBE" has recently been conducted online at the School of The Arts USM on 18 May 2022, through the Webex Platform.

Many thanks to Associate Professor Dr Sarena, the Dean of the School, for this invitation for me to conduct the workshop. Many thanks as well to the Academic Team headed by Dr Muhammad Khizal for organizing the workshop, and to the OBE Team headed by Dr. Jasni for the detailed discussions during and after the workshop.

This session explained the rationale and techniques of computing the attainment of Course Learning Outcomes (CLO) for individual students and groups of students at the course and program levels, and introduced the iOBE software as a solution to automate the computation of these outcomes.

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Upgrade: iOBE v6.2

Thursday, October 7, 2021

The iOBE software has been upgraded into iOBE v6.2. The new version of the software, its compiler, and relevant documentations can be downloaded below. The full version of the iOBE software is released as a free software to the public.

  1. iOBE Software Version 6.2. Update 15/5/2022: the sample input files have been updated to improve the textual label inside those files, without affecting the software's data processing.
  2. Matlab Runtime Compiler R2021a (9.10) for 64-bit Windows
  3. Documentations
The main upgrade is:
  1. Consideration on Repeated Courses: For students who have repeated some of their courses (to pass these courses or improve their grades), the calculations of their POs and CGPAs will only take into account the improved marks/grades from these repeated courses. In other words, the lower marks/grades from the same courses taken previously will not be aggregated into their POs and CGPAs.
In addition to the new upgrade above, users are advised to check out the list of major upgrades in iOBE v6.1, recently completed two months prior to this upgrade.


Completion of Upgrades:
This latest update completes all the major upgrades intended for the iOBE software to be able to perform its two primary functions:
  1. To calculate students' outcomes attainments at the course/program levels,
  2. To present those outcomes in useful tabular and graphical forms.

Data Management:
Detailed management of the outcomes data is beyond the functionalities of this free software. To do so, users can build separate systems, e.g., through a simple spreadsheet-based system, or more effectively, through a modular software-based system. Please contact the software developer for advice on how to do this.

Operating System:
The new version was developed in the 64-bit Windows OS with Matlab R2021a and therefore has to be run with the newest Matlab compiler in the same Windos OS. The software can also be run on Apple MAC computers, but only within the 64-bit Windows OS environment that needs to be installed first into the MAC computers.

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Major Upgrade: iOBE v6.1

Monday, August 30, 2021

Update on 30/8/2021: A newer upgrade, iOBE v6.1, was made to replace iOBE v6.0 that was released here in this post on 26/8/2021. iOBE v6.0 contained a glitch when reading input files, and has been taken out from here following this new replacement of v6.1. Users who have downloaded iOBE v6.0 should replace it with the newer v6.1.

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The iOBE software has been upgraded with major improvements, from iOBE v5.2 into iOBE v6.1. The new version was developed in the 64-bit Windows OS with Matlab R2021a and therefore has to be run with the newest Matlab compiler in the same Windos OS. The software can also be run on Apple MAC computers, but only within the 64-bit Windows OS environment that needs to be installed first into the MAC computers.

The new software, its compiler, and relevant documentations can be downloaded below. The full version of the iOBE software is released as a free software to the public.

  1. iOBE Software Version 6.1
  2. Matlab Runtime Compiler R2021a (9.10) for 64-bit Windows
  3. Other related documentations
The key upgrades are:
  1. Students' Names with Symbols: In the previous version (iOBE v5.2), there was a limitation in that students' names cannot contain non-alphabetical characters or symbols, such as the slashes "/" in names that contain S/O (son of) or D/O (daughter of). In iOBE v6.1, this issue has been fixed and students' names with symbols can now be entered as inputs. Examples of such names are included in the sample files packaged together with the iOBE software that can be downloaded in the link above.
  2. Flexible Axes Labelling: Plot axes are labelled exactly with the names of the Assessment Tools, Course Outcomes, or Program Outcomes entered by users as inputs into the Excel file of the course to be computed. In the previous version, the axes were labelled as numbered codes only (e.g., AT1, AT2, AT3... CO1, CO2, CO3... PO1, PO2, PO3, and so on).
  3. Expanded Charts: The bar charts based on student populations are expanded with more data being plotted, to show populations of students with marks above 80%, 70%, 60%, 40%, and 25%. These five marking levels are chosen based on the typical levels used at USM. In the previous version (iOBE v5.2), only three marking levels were shown, with marks above 80%, 60%, and 40%.
  4. Progress Bar: A small Windows progress-bar panel appears when the software computation is initiated. The panel displays a green bar that dynamically show the progress of the computational process in the software, which typically takes a few seconds for a single course, and up to less than 2 minutes when aggregating 50 courses or more.
When using the new version, please take note that:
  1. The previous version of the main input files in Microsoft Excel at the course level (i.e., Course Info, individual course files, and the iOBEdata files for individual courses) that were used with iOBE v5.2 are COMPATIBLE with iOBE v6.1, and can be used as they are with iOBE v6.1 without any changes.
  2. The previous version of the Course List file that was used at the program level with iOBE v5.2 are NOT COMPATIBLE with iOBE v6.1. The Course List file for iOBE v6.1 has an extra (third) sheet that contains the list of the Program Outcomes (POs). This list MUST BE IDENTICAL to the list of POs in all of the courses in the program. A sample file of the new Course List is included together with the iOBE software package that can be downloaded above.
  3. The input files are maintained to be in the form of Excel files because this is the EASIEST way for lecturers to enter students' assessment data. In most cases, lecturers already record the assessment data of their students in Excel files. In such cases, they can simply copy-paste the data from their own Excel files into the Excel files formatted to be used with the iOBE software. These specially-formatted Excel files come pre-packaged with the software that can be downloaded above.
Examples of the charts produced from this new version are shown below:
Hopefully this upgrade will help facilitate and improve the process of computing students' learning outcomes for educational program providers.

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iOBE Workshop @ SComm USM

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

An iOBE workshop has recently been conducted online at the School of Communication USM on August 12th 2021, through the Webex Platform.

Many thanks to Dr Nurzali, the Dean of SComm, for this invitation, and to the Academic Team headed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Bahiyah for organizing this workshop. Thank you also to Dr Hasfizani and her administrative team for further follow-ups in using the iOBE software at SComm.

This session explained the rationale and techniques of computing the attainment of Course Learning Outcomes (CLO) for individual students and groups of students at the course and program levels, and introduced the iOBE software as a solution to automate the computation of these outcomes.

Read more...

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