Welcome to ApEx, rookie!

ApEx is short for Oracle Application Express . It originally cut its teeth as HTML-DB (note the current logo still possesses the old monicker) -- and it is up to me to learn it. ApEx logo?

So what you [hopefully] will witness over the coming weeks and months is an account of my experiences -- both good and bad (hopefully more of the former).

So why is that so special?
Because I really have no DBA experience, and do not have much more than a basic understanding of databases, SQL, and DB philosophy. Since we implemented WebCT Campus Edition (CE) 6, I have been able to do some tinkering on the database to get a feel for how they work.

So why me?
If that ain't the $64,000 question...
Seriously, I am not wihtout my abilities, and though we have two very talented Oracle trained DBAs, if we as an MIS team put anything more on their shoulders, their respective floors would collapse and, well, at least their A/C problems would be solved.

I have a knack for learning quickly and I have a great team to help me when I get stuck. (You've been warned!!!)

oracle, application express, ApEx, HTML-DB

So why are you writing?
While ApEx is truly designed to help you create secure web-based databases without knowing too much about the databases themselves, I imagine many who have mastered it have that knowledge. The documentation on Oracle's web site is great and I know will help, but I will likely still have very basic questions that others may clearly have the answers for. Perhaps the next yokel who comes around starting from scratch will be able to learn a little from my work.

Look out for future posts!

WebCT: The 6 day work week (Part II)

My original posting on this topic has received a lot of attention from many in our ITS department, which has then encouraged more refinement on two fronts.

1) Work a little more indepth with the WebCT login information (more than just April), and
2) Perform similar studies with other Plymouth State University online resources.

I could not do much to accompish #1, as our reports that achive login numbers only extended about a week before April, and our 'standard' usage does not apply after Finals week of the Spring Term -- about three weeks after April -- so I was only able to add about a month to the month I already had. However a deeper study into each day does provid more insight.

For #2, I collaborated with Zach, our portal administrator, to perform an analysis on the most similar statistic he had -- number of logins in a given hour (remember, the WebCT metric is number of people logged in every ten minutes.) Though the statistics themselves were not identical, they do reflect the same thing, overall use and activity. Actually, these would be the same if you assume that all WebCT sessions last less than an hour, and no one enters WebCT more than once per portal login...its clearly a stretch, but also an indicator that they are similar.

Results (each graph has two lines per day...potal logins and WebCT active sessions).

Overall Trends

Not surprising (though comforting to verify), the usage trend between WebCT and our portal (MyPlymouth) were vary similar, as can be seen from the graph. Each day has a level of significant inactivity from 2:00-3:00AM hour until 6:00AM. After that, activity increases for the day time and stays active for the remainder of the day -- including well into the evening. Portal logins are quite a bit higher in number (these graph are plotted on two vertical axes), and even though the measurements are not the same, this is to be expected as the portal itself serves many more purposes. WebCT trends - each day
All 7 days

Weekdays vs. Weeekends

Clearly, as a traditional academic institution, one would expect that usage numbers are higher during the week, and these to hold true. Remembering that from 2:00-6:00AM are identical regardles of day, what's noteable here between the weekdays and the weekends is how rapidly activity increases immediately after 6:00AM. Also, note another interesting trend...the after dinner check-in. Each day (even on Friday), there is a peak of activity in the evenings after a clear dip during dinnertime. This appears to me more pronounced in WebCT usage, suggesting a higher percentage of WebCT use in the portal at that time.

Saturday vs. Sunday

This might be the most useful comparison. When a picture says a thousand words, then I don't have to type as much. Needless to say, this graph is highly responsible to a potential shift in our ITS weekly downtime window to Saturday. Also, again like the after dinner check-in during the week, the WeCT use is at a higher level with respect ot other times during Sunday evenings. Saturday-Sunday usage
Sat(blk) & Sun(red)

Friday vs. Sunday

This might be the most insteresting comparison, and the one the ultimately spawned this study. My original argument was that the additional activity on Sunday meant that WebCT worked a six day work week. In most repsects, this is still true, but you could also make the argument that the online academic week begins at noon on Sunday, and ends at noon Friday -- the new five day week? Fridays and Sundays
Fri(prpl) & Sun(red)