Introduction

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Integrated OBE Software, or iOBE, is a free software package that provides applications relevant to tertiary academic programs, particularly engineering programs.

Since the adoption of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) in 2009 through the Washington Accord, Malaysian engineering programs are required to assess their educational performance with new but more rigorous procedures. To comply, they must develop dedicated systems to manage large amounts of assessment data and automate the process of integrating the data across three different levels. iOBE is designed and developed to meet these needs.

This package consists of two modules: iOBE Calculator and iOBE Aggregator. The main functions of the software are to calculate and aggregate the attainment of learning outcomes at the student, course, and program levels. The software are developed with GUI interfaces to simplify user interaction.

The software can be downloaded here. Please also check recent upgrades of the software.

For further details, users can contact the software developer.

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Download

Prior to running the iOBE software, the Matlab Compiler Runtime (MCR) needs to be installed first. The software was developed in the Windows OS, and can be run in this platform only. The latest version of the software, with its Matlab Compiler, can be downloaded below:

  1. iOBE v6.2 (updated 7/10/2021).
  2. Matlab Compiler R2021a (9.10): for iOBE v6.0 and above. Please note that the iOBE software was developed on a 64-bit Windows OS and thus requires the Matlab compiler R6016a (9.0.1) for 64-bit Windows OS. The software can also be run on a MAC OS Apple computer, but only within the 64-bit Windows OS environment that needs to be installed into the MAC computer first.

OLDER VERSIONS:
The older versions of the iOBE Software can be downloaded below. Nonetheless, please note that the use of the older versions of iOBE is NOT recommended due to some issues and computing inefficiencies in these older versions that had been resolved in the most recent version recommended above.
  1. iOBE v5.2 (updated 9/2/2018)
  2. iOBE v5.1 (updated 28/7/2017)
  3. iOBE v5.0 (updated 20/4/2017)
  4. iOBE v4.0 (updated 14/12/2016)
  5. iOBE Calculator v3.2 (updated 15/3/2016)
  6. iOBE Aggregator v3.1 (updated 2/3/2016)
  7. iOBE Calculator v3.1 (updated 2/3/2016)
  8. iOBE Calculator v2.4 (updated 1/2/2016)
  9. iOBE Aggregator v2.4 (updated 1/2/2016)
  10. iOBE Calculator v2.1 (updated 13/1/2016)
  11. iOBE Aggregator v2.0 (updated 17/9/2015)
  12. iOBE Calculator v2.0 (17/9/2015)
  13. iOBE Calculator v1.3
  14. iOBE Aggregator v1.3
Accordingly, use the following Matlab Compiler for the older versions of the iOBE Software:
  1. Matlab Compiler R2016a (9.0.1): for iOBE v5.0 up to v5.2
  2. Matlab Compiler R2015a (8.5): for iOBE v3.0 up to v4.0
  3. Matlab Compiler R2012a (7.17): for iOBE v2.4 and lower
  4. Matlab Compiler 7.15: also for iOBE v2.4 and lower

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iOBE Software

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The two software modules presented here are iOBE Calculator and iOBE Aggregator. They are developed using Matlab as executable files with GUI. The modules have two separate functions: iOBE Calculator maps the matrices and calculates outcomes for a single course and iOBE Aggregator aggregates outcomes data from multiple courses.

Both software are designed to be simple in its use, flexible in its data management, and robust in its computation.

In addition to its ease of use, another advantage of using the software is in its compact and visual presentation of the results. Outcomes data are presented in bar charts with colored graphics designed to facilitate the interpretation of the results. For instance, green-colored bars are used to indicate desired outcomes and red bars to indicate unfavorable outcomes. Average outcomes are shown in blue.

In this visual mode, users can easily communicate and evaluate various aspects of the results. Some of these aspects include the performance of or comparisons between students, courses, groups of courses, student cohorts or an entire program.

Performance gaps can be measured as well through the introduction of two parameters: Q1 and Q4. With such ease in interpreting the results, users can quickly identify measures to be taken to further improve their courses or program.

The mathematical framework used by the software is described here.

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iOBE Calculator

iOBE Calculator computes the learning outcomes for a single course and for individual students in the course. It is used to analyze the performance of a course from many aspects.

The results produced from the software can be presented with respect to either the assessment tools used in the course, the intended learning outcomes designed for the course, or the common outcomes for the academic program as defined by the program outcomes. It can also be used to analyze the performance of different groups of students, by filtering the input data entered into the computation based on respective student groups.

Users need to prepare two input files before using the software.

To compute outcomes data for a course, users only need to click the button “Calculate Course Data”. The computation will normally take a few seconds after the click. To compute outcomes data for a student, users need to key in first the student’s ID in the dialog box “Enter Student ID”, overwriting the text itself. Next, users need to click the “Calculate Student Data”. These are the only two operations needed to obtain results from iOBE Calculator.

The figure below shows how the software appears on the computer when displaying the results. Users can refer to the instruction manual on how to interpret the results.

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iOBE Aggregator

iOBE Aggregator gathers data from multiple courses and integrates them into compact forms, making it suitable to compute outcomes data for a group of courses, for a cohort of students, or for the entire program. This software also computes the learning outcomes for individual students as aggregated from multiple courses.

Users need to prepare two input files before using the software.

To compute outcomes data for a group of courses, users need to click the button “Aggregate Program Data”. The software will normally take a few seconds per course before the results appear on the screen. The overall computation time depends on the total number of courses being aggregated. To compute outcomes data for an individual student, users need to key in first the student’s ID in the dialog box “Enter Student ID”, overwriting the text itself. Next, users need to click the “Aggregate Student Data”. These are the only two operations needed to obtain results from iOBE Aggregator.

The figure below shows how the software appears with its aggregated results. Users can refer to the instruction manual on how to interpret the results.

Update 10/8/2015: The DEMO Version of iOBE Aggregator has been upgraded to v1.3.

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Input Files

Saturday, July 11, 2015

To operate either software, users need to prepare two types of input files using Excel (with the extension .xlsx only). The first input file has a fixed name that the software calls upon to read the name of the course file. The second input file is the course file: it is the main file that contains students’ information, mapping matrices and assessment data of a course. Once these input files are available, the computation inside the software can be started with a single click of a button.

For iOBE Calculator, the first input file is named “Course Info.xlsx”. This file name cannot be changed. The second input file can be named based on the course name.

An example of the Course Info

An example of the Course File

iOBE Aggregator can only be used once the course outcomes for individual courses have been computed. For its first input file, users need to prepare an Excel file named “Course List.xlsx” that contains the names of all the courses to be aggregated. This file named cannot be changed. The course files (i.e., the second input files) of these courses must be made available as well. These files should be prepared prior to using iOBE Calculator.

An example of the Course List

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Mathematical Framework

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The algorithm in the software is based on a mathematical model that formalizes the procedures to compute students’ learning outcomes in a single course and aggregates these outcomes data from multiple courses.

The mathematical framework is based on the work by Z. Mohamed-Kassim (2015).

The essence of this modeling framework is that the learning outcomes computed at various levels rely on the assessments of students conducted within individual courses. Typically, students in a course are assessed using multiple assessment tools (e.g., exams, tests, reports, projects, presentations, etc). It is the data from these assessments (i.e., students’ marks) that are used as the basis to produce the outcomes data either for individual students, individual courses or an academic program. Other types of assessments (e.g., alumni feedback, students’ interviews and polls, etc) can also be used in addition to those students’ marks to calculate learning outcomes.

The two main procedures used in the software are matrix-mapping and data aggregation.

The matrix-mapping procedure is used to transform outcomes data. The basic idea of the matrix-mapping technique follows the approach introduced by Felder and Brent (2003) but refined to improve its computational rigor. Once the mapping is completed, the outcomes data from multiple courses are aggregated to compute the overall program outcomes

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