Moodle has a logs section where you can view all the actions that have been taken in a specific course. In this article we will look at the logs area and the options you have for selecting and filtering the logs displayed. In a future article we will look at how you could extract and analyse the information available in the logs.
Why use the Moodle Logs?
The Moodle Logs are a good place to go if you want to see what actions people have been taking in your course. By viewing the logs you can see who has done what and when. Viewing (and analysing) the course logs could help you to understand the following:
- Who has been the most active over a given period of time
- What actions specific individuals have been taking
- When these actions have occurred
- Which days or times of days people are the most active in the course
- Which administrators have been creating resources
- Which individual performed a specific action on a specific date.
Accessing the Logs
The course logs can be accessed from within a course. Click on Administration, then click on Reports and finally on Logs.
You have a number of filtering options available to you. Filtering the logs will allow you to extract just the logs you are interested in, making it easier to locate the information you are after. This can be useful on a large course or when you do not want to do a lot of work cleaning and filtering the data outside of Moodle (we will look at this process in a future article). Filter the data using the filtering options at the top of the page:
- You can choose to view the logs for all participants or a specific participant (1)
- You can view the logs for a specific day or for all days (2)
- From the activities dropdown menu you can select a specific activity to view (3)
- The specific action to view can be selected in dropdown menu (4)
- You can select the source of the action from (5)
- For events you can choose from Participating, Teaching and Other (6)
Complete your desired filtering selections and then click Get these logs (7) to update the data.
Most of the filtering options will only allow you to select one option. For instance, you can select a specific day or all days. You cannot select multiple days or a range of days. If you are only interested in a specific day (or action or activity…) then select it as a filter. If you want more than one day, you will need to leave the selection as All days and then perform your filtering on the dataset that you download.
You can only filter on participants that are currently enrolled into the course. The logs will contain entries for users that were previously enrolled into the course. You will not be able to select these users from the participant selection dropdown menu, so if you wish to include them you will need to leave the filter as ‘All participants’.
Downloading the Logs
The filtered logs will appear on the screen after you click the Get these logs button. This may be useful if you are only looking for a single data point. In most cases though you will want to perform some sort of analysis on the data. To do this you will want to export the data to a file. This is done by clicking on the Download button at the bottom of the page. From the dropdown menu you can select the file type including HTML, PDF and Excel formats. If you will be analysing the data directly in Excel then the Microsoft Excel (.xlsx) format is best. If you will be using the data with a programming language such as Python or R, I would recommend using a CSV file type instead.
With the data downloaded you can now start to analyse it to answer any questions you have regarding the course. In the next article we will explore the downloaded data and discuss some methods for analysing it in Excel. In later articles we will look at the sorts of questions you could answer with this data and explore analysing the data using Python.