Added by Spyros Papadakis, last edited by Jeremy Page on Dec 02, 2009  (view change)


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The Spreadsheet Activity allows a sequence author to provide data in a spreadsheet format to Learners.
Learners can then perform their own calculations on and manipulations of the data.

By default, the Spreadsheet tool allows each learner to save their own individual copy of the spreadsheet. The activity can be configured to allow Monitors to mark each Learners spreadsheet.

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Spreadsheet Authoring

All properties sheets contain three tabs:

  • Basic: Which controls the Content of the Activity.
  • Advanced: Which controls the Behaviour of the Activity.
  • Instructions: Provides information on the Structure of the activity.

Unable to render embedded object: File (sprdBasic.png) not found. View of the Spreadsheet Authoring Basic Tab.

The Basic Tab for the Spreadsheet Activity allows authors to specify a title for the activity, create Learner instructions, and defines the questions that will make up each record:

  • Title: All Activities have a web page title which is presented at the top of the activity page when displayed in the Learning Environment. This is NOT the same title as the Title that can be set using the Properties Inspector.
  • Instructions: All Activities have a text area that is presented beneath the title. This is where the main activity text to be displayed to learners is entered. The text can be formatted using the Rich-Text Editor. Image, Video, Audio and URL content can also be displayed in the Instructions area.

Specific Feature: Spreadsheet Applet

The Spreadsheet is where the data and calculations for the activity are entered. The Applet contains a comprehensive help menu, which is accessed by clicking Help in the top-right corner of the applet, and is reproduced [here].

You may also like to read the Simple Groupware manual available here.

Some of the most useful spreadsheet functions are listed below:

Spreadsheet Functions

The Spreadsheet can be viewed in one of several modes. These are changed by clicking the labels in the top-right corner of the applet.

  • Values: shows all the calculated values on the screen (default mode)
    • Auto: calculates and updates values in real time
    • Manual: Disables automatic calculations (gives better performance)
      • Click Refresh to update the values in the spreadsheet if Manual mode is selected.
  • Formulas: shows the formulas in the spreadsheet.
    Formulas: shows all formulas on the screen
    Styles: shows all styles on the screen

Cell References

  • A1 gives the value of cell A1
  • A2:A4 gives the values of A2, A3 and A4 in an array
  • [A2,A4] gives the values A2 and A4 in an array.
    NOTE: Cell values are always given using capital letters. ie: a1 will not give the value of cell A1.

Maths Formulae

  • For addition of a row: sum(A2:A4) gives A2+A3+A4
  • For addition across columns: sum(A2:B3) gives A2+A3+B2+B3
  • For averages: avg(2,3,4) gives (2+3+4)/3 = 3
  • For minimum values: min(2,3,4) gives 2 (the smallest value in the array)
  • For maximum values: max(2,3,4) gives 4 (the largest value in the array)
  • For number of values: count(A2:A4) gives 3 (the number of values in the array)

Keyboard shortcuts

enter / start typing edit cell
ctrl+x or shift+del cut cell
ctrl+c or ctrl+ins copy cell
ctrl+v or shift+ins paste cell
del empty cell
cursor up go up
cursor down go down
cursor left go left
cursor right go right
home go to first cell in row or page left/up if already in first cell
end go to last cell in row or page right if already in last cell
page up go 10 rows down
page down go 10 rows up

Additional functions and commands can be found [here].

Advanced Tab

Unable to render embedded object: File (sprdAdvanced.PNG) not found. View of the Spreadsheet Activity Advanced tab.

  • Lock When Finished: This option is available on all Activities.
    • Enabling this option in Spreadsheet means that the once the learner clicks Finish they will not be able to make further changes to the spreadsheet (if Learner editing has been enabled - see below.) Learners can still view the spreadsheet by returning via the progress bar.
    • If this option is disabled, Learners can edit their spreadsheets until the sequence is stopped by a monitor.
  • Authors must select one of the following options:
    • Play Only: When enabled, this option does not allow Learner's to save changes they have made to the spreadsheet. They can still edit the spreadsheet within their own LAMS session, but changes are not committed.
    • Learners are allowed to submit...: This option is enabled by default. When enabled, this option means that each learner is required to submit a modified spreadsheet at the end of the activity. Their changes are saved and can be reviewed through monitoring.
      • Enable Spreadsheet Marking: When enabled, this option activates the marking component in the monitoring environment, similar to the Submit Files activity..
  • Add Notebook... : This option is available on all Activities. Enabling this option creates a Notebook as part of the Activity, which Learner's can use to reflect on the activity just completed. The reflections are personal (ie: not shared with other learners).
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Spreadsheet Monitoring

Summary Screen

Unable to render embedded object: File (sprdSummary.PNG) not found. View of the Spreadsheet Monitoring Summary tab with marking features enabled.

Double Clicking a Spreadsheet activity on the Sequence tab opens the Summary Screen for the Activity.

The contents displayed on the Spreadsheet summary screen depend on the options selected when the activity was authored. In the activity shown here, Learners can submit individual spreadsheets, and monitor marking has been enabled.

The Summary Screen shows the names of the Learners who have submitted a spreadsheet and provides an interface for monitors to assign marks to Learner contributions. It also displays which spreadsheets have or have not been marked.

  • Learner: Clicking the learner's name will open their spreadsheet (as saved in the sequence) in a seperate window.
  • Marked?: This column dynamically changes according to whether or not the submission has been marked or not.\
  • Mark Buttons: These open the marking interface where a monitor can insert a numerical mark and leave a comment for the learner.\
  • View All Marks: displays a list of all marks assigned to learners.
  • Release Marks: will display the learner's marks in the sequence view. Learners must log back in to the sequence to view their marks.
    Email Notifications
    If your System Administrator has configured Email notifications, Learners will recieve an email from LAMS when the marks are released.
  • Download Marks: Allows monitors to download the learner marks in a Spreadsheet (.xls) format.


View of the Chat Monitoring Instructions tab.

In the Authoring Environment, Authors can use the Instructions Space to attach support files for a specific activity, or leave comments for othe Monitors about how a given activity should be run.

In Submit Files, the Author may suggest instructions for submitting files offline (e.g. a hand written or printed essay) if learners aqnd teachers are more comfortable with that format.

Edit Activity

Clicking the Edit Activity button opens a new screen identical to the _'Basic'_tab in the authoring environment.

LAMS versions 2.1 and up support editing of Spreadsheet activities after one or more Learners have attempted the activity, but provide a notice warning monitors that changing the content will result in students receiving different information:

Warning: One of more students have accessed this activity. Changing this content will result in students getting different information.

Unlike Live Edit, this form of Editing can only modify the content of an activity, as opposed to the structure of a sequence.


Under Development
Features described on this page are currently under development.
Described specifications and features may change in the future.