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Introduction to Expert Rules

In the tabs "Visibilty" and "Access", you can configure additional preferences for many course elements. For instance, you can block a course element for learners, grant access only for certain groups or unlock it depending on the date. 

In case of more complicated visibility or access rules you can use the expert mode, thus enabling you to configure visibility and access of course elements as required. You can e.g. limit access to a course element to specific user names, link several types of restrictions to each other or work with relative date values. The following example illustrates this:

 questionnaire example

Sie wollen einen Kursfragebogen erst in der letzter letzten Kurswoche frei schalten, möchten diese Option aber schon mal einrichten, damit Sie es später nicht vergessen. 

Sie schalten also den Kursbaustein „Fragebogen“ datumsabhängig frei, damit Sie sich im Kursverlauf nicht mehr darum kümmern müssen. In den Tabs Sichtbarkeit und Zugang des „Fragebogens“ können Sie hierfür im einfachen Modus das Anfangs- und Enddatum eingeben. Sie können Ihren Fragebogen auch nur für eine bestimmte Teilnehmergruppe zugängig machen. Wählen Sie hierfür unter Sichtbarkeit bzw. Zugang ergänzend "Gruppenabhängig". So könnten Sie z.B. bei institutionsübergreifenden Online-Kursen zwei unterschiedliche Fragebögen verwenden. Voraussetzung ist lediglich, dass Sie die Kursteilnehmenden in (zwei) unterschiedliche Gruppen geteilt haben die sie nun zuweisen können.

Ein etwas komplexeres Beispiel mit genauer Angabe der Expertenregel finden Sie hier.

Expert rules primarily serve to save you time and work or just simplify it. Therefore, it is worth the effort to take a closer look at them. Just like any language, expert rules follow a syntax. OpenOLAT will indicate an error should you make a syntactic mistake. This is very helpful, especially at the beginning if one does not have any or just little programming skills. Expert rules verify if a certain attribute is TRUE or FALSE. 

As an introduction to the syntax of expert rules, you should at first define a rule in the simple mode. For example, you may generate a "single page“, and click on "Blocked for learners“ in the "Access" tab.

Then click on "Display expert mode“ and see your first expert rule:

(  ( isCourseCoach(0) | isCourseAdministrator(0) ) )


The whole term is enclosed in double brackets. The two outer brackets can be omitted in this case. Just try it out. The vertical line in the center "|“ is the Boolean operator OR and connects the course coach with the course administrator. Both of them have exclusive access to the "single page“.

Now change the Boolen Operator into "&“:

isCourseCoach(0) & isCourseAdministrator(0)


This rule grants access exclusively to those course coaches who are also course administrators. This preference is only possible in the expert mode.

You can try out any number of scenarios and insert further attributes and operators. In this chapter you will find further attributes and examples illustrating their meaning to help you become more acqainted with expert rules.

Configuration of Expert Rules

Expert rules certify if there is an attribute with a specific value.

AttributeDescriptionExample Expert rule
isGuestaccessible only for guestsisGuest(0)
isCourseCoachavailable only for coachisCourseCoach(0)
isUseravailable only for one specific userisUser("pmuster")

Working with the Constants "TRUE" and "FALSE"

By using the constants "true“ and "false“, the existence (“true” = “1”) or non-existence (“false” = “0”) of an attribute can be verified. In this case, we refer to a so-called Boolean Variable (named after George Boole, the father of the Boolean Algebra). These variables can only take a limited number of values or states. In our specific case, the variable can only take the two values (“true” = “1” = existing or “false” =”0” = non-exisiting).


 Guest example

To give a practical example in our OLAT context, we will use a simple expert rule for managing the access to a course:

Case 1: Only guest-users get access to the course. The respective user therefore only gets access if the attribute “isGuest” is true. There are three alternatives for this expert rule:

isGuest(0) oder isGuest(0)=1 oder isGuest(0)=true


Case 2: In this case we want guest-users not to have access. The respective user therefore only gets access if the attribute “isGuest” is false. There are two alternatives for this expert rule:

isGuest(0)=0 oder isGuest(0)=false

An extensive list of all relevant components needed for applying expert rules can be found in the following box.

 Functions, operators and other expert rule components
TypeSyntaxMeaning
ConstantsTRUE or 1True
FALSE or 0False
ANY_COURSEQuery should be applied to every course (only for isCourseAdministrator(), isCourseCoach(), isCourseParticipant())
VariablenowActual time of server system
Functionsdate("[date]")Retrieve date
inLearningGroup("[string]")Generates TRUE for all members of the learning group [string]
inRightGroup("[string]")Generates TRUE for all group members with the same rights [string]
isLearningGroupFull("[string]")Generates the boolean TRUE (= full) or FALSE (= vacancies) for the learning group indicated.
isUser("[string]")Results in TRUE for users with the user name [string]
inLearningArea("[string]")Generates TRUE for all group members in the learning area [string]
isGlobalAuthor(0)Generates TRUE for all members of the OLAT author group
isCourseAdministrator(0)Generates TRUE for all owners of a course (learning resource)
isCourseAdministrator(ANY_COURSE)Generates TRUE for all users which have owner rights on at least one course on the system
isCourseCoach(0)Generates TRUE for all users supervising a learning group or are supervising the course
isCourseCoach(ANY_COURSE)Generates TRUE for all users supervising at least one learning group of a course or are supervising at lease one course on the system
isCourseParticipant(0)Generates TRUE for all participants of this course
isCourseParticipant(ANY_COURSE)Generates TRUE for all users on the system that participate in at least one course
isGuest(0)Generates TRUE for all users visiting OLAT as guests
hasAttribute("[AttrName]","[string]")Generates TRUE, if [string] corresponds to the relevant user's value of the AAI attribute [AttrName] .
isInAttribute("[AttrName]","[substring]")Generates TRUE, if [substring] corresponds to part of the relevant user's value of the AAI attribute [AttrName].
General information on AAI
AAI attributes
Specification of AAI attributes (pdf file)
getUserProperty("userPropertyname")Generates the value of a specific user attribute. By means of "=" this value can be compared to another fixed value.
getPassed("[integer]")Generates the Boolean TRUE (=Passed) or FALSE (=Failed) from a course element with specified ID
getScore("[integer]")Generates the score from a course element with specified ID
getAttempts("[integer]")Generates the number of completed attempts from a course element with specified ID. Can be applied to course elements of the type Test, Self-test, Questionnaire (possible return values 0 or 1) and Task (deprecated) (return value = number of files handed in).
getLastAttemptDate("[integer]")Generates the date of the last attempt from a course element with the specified ID. Can be applied like the getAttempts method.
getInitialEnrollmentDate("[integer]")Generates the date of the first registration of the relevant course participant from the course element Enrolment with specified ID.
getRecentEnrollmentDate("[integer]")Generates the date of the last registration of the relevant course participant from the course element Enrolment with specified ID.
getInitialCourseLaunchDate(0)Generates the date of a course participant's first course attendance.
getRecentCourseLaunchDate(0)Generates the date of a course participant's last course attendance.
getPassedWithCourseId("[integer-1]","[integer-2]")Generates the Boolean TRUE (=Passed) or FALSE (=Failed) from the course element ID=[integer-2] of the course ID=[integer-1]
getScoreWithCourseId("[integer-1]","[integer-2]")Generates the score from the course element ID=[integer-2] of the course ID=[integer-1]
hasUserProperty("[userPropertyname]", "[string]")Generates TRUE, if [string] corresponds to the relevant user's value of the userproperty [userPropertyname] .
userPropertyStartswith("[userPropertyname]", "[substring]")Generates TRUE, if the userproperty [userPropertyname] starts with [substring] .
userPropertyEndswith("[userPropertyname]", "[substring]")Generates TRUE, if the userproperty [userPropertyname] ends with [substring] .
isInUserProperty("[userPropertyname]", "[substring]")Generates TRUE, if [substring] corresponds to part of the relevant user's value of the userproperty [userPropertyname].
isNotInUserProperty("[userPropertyname]", "[substring]")Generates TRUE, if [substring] does not show up in the value of the userproperty [userPropertyname].
hasNotUserProperty("[userPropertyname]", "[string]")Generates TRUE, if [string] does not corresponds to the relevant user's value of the userproperty [userPropertyname] .
UnitsminMinutes
hHours
dDays
wWeeks
mMonths
Operators=equal
>greater than
<less than
>=greater/equal
<=less/equal
*Multiplication
/Division
+Addition
-Subtraction
Booleans&Logical AND
|Logical OR
 User attributes

Various expert rules require the use of user attributes in order to filter eligible users for access content. Those rules enable authors to limit access rights depending on name, gender, address, field of studies and so on. Those user attributes are usually visible in the user profile.

OpenOLAT provides standardized terms for those attributes. The following expert rules require the use of user attributes:

  • getUserProperty("[userPropertyname]")
  • hasUserProperty("[userPropertyname]", "[string]")
  • userPropertyStartswith(" [userPropertyname]", "[substring]")
  • userPropertyEndswith(" [userPropertyname]", "[substring]")
  • isInUserProperty(" [userPropertyname]", "[substring]")
  • isNotInUserProperty("[userPropertyname]", "[substring]")
  • hasNotUserProperty("[userPropertyname]", "[string]")

The following user attributes are available in OpenOLAT. Please note that access restrictions using user attributes can only be successful if those user attributes are used and generally filled in throughout your system. Simply check your user profile in the the personal menu in Configuration/Profile for available user attributes. For questions, please contact your system administrator.

BenutzerdatenKontaktdatenAdressdaten
userNameUser nametelPrivatePhone number privatestreetStreet
firstNameFirst nametelMobilePhone number mobileextendedAddressExtra address line
lastNameLast nametelOfficePhone number officepoBoxP.O.Box
emailE-mail addressskypeSkype IDzipCodeZip code
creationDateDisplayPropertyUser creation datexingXingregionRegion / Canton
lastloginDateDisplayPropertyUser last loginhomepageHomepagecityCity
birthDayDate of birth

countryCountry
genderGender

countryCodeCountry code

OrganisationBerufliche KontaktdatenVerschiedenes
institutionalNameInstitutiondepartment

Department / Company

typeOfUser

Type of user

institutionalUserIdentifierInstitution identifier
(registration number)
officeStreet

Address / P.O. box

rank

Service grade / employment title

institutionalEmail

Institutional e-mail

extendedOfficeAddress

Extended office address

socialSecurityNumber

Social security number

orgUnit

Organizational unit /
study group

officeZipCode

Office ZIP

degree

Academic degree

studySubject

Field of studies

officeCity

Office city

position

Role / position

graduationGraduation yearofficeCountry

Office country

userInterestsExpertise


officeMobilePhone

Office mobile phone



Examples on how to apply "getUserProperty":

  • Only course participants of a specific field of study should be granted access:

    getUserProperty("studySubject") = "Mechanical Engineering"

    Now anybody who needs access must first complete the field "field of study" in their profile and state it as "Mechanical Engineering".

  • The other way round, should you intend to grant access only to those who have not stated their field of study in their profile, you can express the corresponding rule as follows:

    getUserProperty("studySubject") = ""
  • Should you want to grant access only course participants who have completed the field of study in their profile (no matter what the study subjects are), the rule can be defined as follows:

    getUserProperty("studySubject") = "" = false

    or

    getUserProperty("studySubject") = "" = 0


There are various options to interrelate single rules to each other. The two most important operators to combine attributes are:

  • AND conjunction: &
  • OR conjunction: |

Please note that an OR conjunction precedes an AND conjunction. In order to handle an AND conjunction first you have to use brackets.

Example: The expert rule (inGroup("Participants IntensiveCourse") | isCourseCoach(0)) means that either participants of an intensive course or all coaches of groups will have access to a course element.

Some examples are listed below in order to show you how to use the expert syntax.

 Examples of expert rules in the tabs «Visibility», «Access» and «Score» (structural elements)
inLearningGroup("Amateur") = 0
With the exception of the group «Amateur» this course element is visible for all participants.

(now >= date("22.03.2018 12:00")) & (now <= date("23.08.2018 18:00")) | inLearningGroup("Tutor")
This course element is visible for all participants between 22-3-2018 and 23-8-2018. For members of the learning group «Tutor» it is always visible.

(now >= date("03.09.2018 00:00")) & (now <= date("13.10.2018 00:00")) & inRightGroup("Assessors")| isUser("Author")
This course element is visible for all participants of the right group «Assessors» between 3-9-2018 and 13-10-2018. For the person with the user name «Author» it is always visible.

hasAttribute("swissEduPersonStudyBranch3","6200")
Only students of human medicine have access to this course element.
See also:
AAI attributes
Specification of AAI attributes (pdf file)

hasAttribute("swissEduPersonHomeOrganization","uzh.ch")
Only students of the University of Zurich have access to this course element.
See also:
AAI attributes 
Specification of AAI attributes (pdf file)

isInAttribute("surname","Mue")
Generates TRUE for all persons whose attribute surname contains the letter sequence "Mue". E.g. gives TRUE for the value "Mueller" or "Muehlebacher"
See also:
AAI attributes 
Specification of AAI attributes (pdf file)

isInAttribute("eduPersonEntitlement","http://vam.uzh.ch")
Generates TRUE for all persons whose attribute eduPersonEntitlement contains the value "http://vam.uzh.ch". E.g. gives TRUE for the value "http://vam.uzh.ch/surgery"
See also:
AAI attributes 
Specification of AAI attributes (pdf file)

(getUserProperty("orgUnit") = "Sales")
Checks if a person is part of the organizational unit 'Sales.' This can be useful if e.g. data are automatedly transferred from LDAP.

(getPassed("69742969114730") | getPassed("69742969115733") | getPassed("69742969118009")) * 10
This rule is set in the tab «Score» -> «Processing score» of the course element Structure . The course element Structure shows 10 points if one of the tests (course element IDs "69742969114730", "69742969115733" or "69742969118009") was passed. Otherwise 0 points.

(getScore("69742969114730") + getScore("69742969115733") + getScore("69742969118009")) >= 140 | getPassed("69978845384688")
This rule is set in the tab «Score» -> «Passed if» of the course element Structure . The course element Structure shows «Passed», if a minimum of 140 points in all tests is achieved or if «Passed» is entered manually. (Element Assessment with ID "69978845384688").

getAttempts("70323786958847") > 0
Generates TRUE, as soon as the relevant course participant has completed the test with specified ID for the first time.

getAttempts("70323524635734") <= 3
Generates FALSE, as soon as the relevant course participant has put more than 3 files into the storage folder of the course element Task (deprecated) .

getLastAttemptDate("70323524635734") + 24h < now
Generates TRUE when the last test attempt is older than 24 hours

getInitialEnrollmentDate("70323786958847") <= date("26.5.2005 18:00")
Generates TRUE for those participants who enrolled in an available group before 6 p.m. on May 26th, 2005, by means of the course element Enrolment with specified ID.

getInitialEnrollmentDate("70323786958847") + 2h > now
Generates TRUE within two hours starting at the moment of registration for those participants who have enrolled in an available group by means of the course element Enrolment with specified ID. This way it is clear that every participant can only work on e.g. a script within a particular time frame.

(getInitialCourseLaunchDate(0) >= never) | (getInitialCourseLaunchDate(0) + 2h > now)
Generates TRUE if a course participant has not yet taken any courses or during the first two hours after taking a course. This way it is possible represent that each course participant can only see courses for a certain period of time.

(getRecentCourseLaunchDate(0) + 10min < now)
Generates TRUE if a user is active for more than 10 min within a course.

(getCourseBeginDate(0) <= today) & (getCourseEndDate(0) >= today)
Returns the value TRUE if today's date lies in between the start and end date of the execution period.

isAssessmentMode(0)
Returns the value TRUE if the course is within an assessment.
 

hasUserProperty("email","john.doe@openolat.org")
Generates TRUE, if the course participant is registered in OpenOLAT with the listed e-mail address.
 

userPropertyEndswith("email","@openolat.org")
Generates TRUE, if the e-mail address of the course participant ends with @openolat.org.
 
isInUserProperty("email","doe@openo")
Generates TRUE, if the term doe@openo is a part of the e-mail address of the course participant.
 

isNotInUserProperty("email","doe@openo")
Generates FALSE, if the term doe@openo s a part of the e-mail address of the course participant.
 

Please note that the IDs of the course elements mentioned above are only examples. To create your course, you have to make reference to the relevant numbers available on the first tab «Title and description» of the favored course element.

Use of AAI Attributes

If you are enrolled at swiss academia or any other institution with access to an AAI infrastructure, by means of AAI attributes you can set access rules within a course to make sure that only course participants with specific user attributes (e.g. members of a certain organization) will have access to your course material. AAI means "Authentication and Authorization Infrastructure" and allows university members to use systems of other participating institutions with only one user name and password. For further information on AAI please go to e.g. Switch or to Deutsches Forschungsnetz .

Available attributes and possible values are described in the AAI Attribute Specification on the Switch and the DFN-AAI site (in german). The two most common attributes at swiss universities can be found in the following table along with examples of their corresponding expert rules:

AttributeDescriptionExample Expert rule and Explication
swissEduPerson-HomeOrganizationUniversity or home organizationhasAttribute ("swissEduPersonHomeOrganization", "uzh.ch"): only members of the Zurich University will get access.
swissEduStudyBranch3Field of study, 3rd classificationhasAttribute ("swissEduPersonStudyBranch3","6400"): only veterinary medicine students will have access.

Utilization

You can retrieve AAI attributes by using the syntax
hasAttribute("[AttrName]","[string]") or
isInAttribute("[AttrName]","[substring]").

Where:

[AttrName] is the attribute name you can find in the following table and also in the Specification of AAI attributes (pdf file) (column LDAP names) on page 5.
[string]  is the value of the AAI attribute with the name [AttrName].
[substring]  is any part of [string] .
AAI retrievals for example: John Doe
 Values for John Doe
Variable
You can retrieve AAI attributes by using the syntax
hasAttribute("[AttrName]","[string]") or
isInAttribute("[AttrName]","[substring]").
Example value
[string]
Description
swissEduPersonUniqueID845938727494@uzh.chUnambiguous personal identification number
surnameDoeLast name
givenNameJohnFirst name
mailjohn.doe@uzh.chPreferred e-mail address
swissEduPersonHomeOrganizationuzh.chHome organisation/university
swissEduPersonHomeOrganizationTypeuniversityType of home organisation
eduPersonAffiliationstudentPosition within this organisation
swissEduPersonStudyBranch14Field of study 1st classification
swissEduPersonStudyBranch242 (=Natural sciences)Field of study 2nd classification
swissEduPersonStudyBranch34600 (=Chemistry)Field of study 3rd classification
swissEduPersonStudyLevel15Description of study level
eduPersonEntitlementhttp://vam.uzh.ch/surgeryAccess right to resource
employeeNumber01-234-567Registration number (only for students at Zurich university)
organizationalUnit1Unity of home organisation e.g. faculty (only for employees)
  For the example "John Doe" mentioned above the following retrievals would respectively produce:
isInAttribute("surname","ust")true
hasAttribute("swissEduPersonStudyBranch3","4600")true
hasAttribute("swissEduPersonStudyBranch3","1200")false
isInAttribute("eduPersonEntitlement","http://vam.uzh.ch")true
isInAttribute("eduPersonEntitlement","http://vam.uzh.ch/ophthalmology")false
hasAttribute("employeeNumber","01-234-567")true

You will find the link to a list of possible attribute values in the Specification of AAI attributes (pdf file) appendix, as of page 20. Specification of AAI attributes (pdf file)

For further information on attribute values or the application of AAI attributes in Switzerland please go to Switch, and for Germany go to Deutsches Forschungsnetz.

Only use the AAI attributes if you are sure that all participants of your course are dialing in via an AAI structure. Otherwise the parameters do not apply!

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