Multi-Page Experiments

Today experiments (or, rather, surveys) that incorporate multiple question sheets were implemented, and the groundwork was laid to making complex experiments that have both survey and matrix items. Work stopped once an unknown error was encountered — trapping that will be the top priority for the next note on rails.


First, we’ll change the code so the question_sheets are no longer just dynamically added to the old page, but come up as something new. This will make the page both easier to navigate and easier to program for. To do this, change the app/views/students/_selection_condition.rhtml partial to

<% form_tag :action => ‘run_experiment’ do %>

Your Condition: <%= select :student, :condition_id, @conditions %>
<%= submit_tag "Select Condition" %>

<% end %>

Now go tinto the students_controller.rb, and rename select_notes_from_condition to run_experiment(). This will pull up our old _question_list_view.rhtml partial. However, partials means that the standard header doesn’t get added. So rename _question_list_view.rhtml to run_experiment.rhtml

Open the run_experiment.rhtml file, and update the form tag so that it’s a traditional form and not one of these hip AJAX forms. Leaving out the body of the file, run_experiment.rhtml should now look like:

<h1>Question List Page</h1>
<% form_tag :action => ‘run_experiment’ do %>

<u>…</u>

<%= submit_tag "Continue" %>
<% end %>

Now we get into the problem, however, that run_experiment.rhtml contains both the outer form that does the work of handling form processing and the inner control logic of what to do for different types of questions. Furhter, a check of our code as it now runs reveals that the controller is going to try to determine the condition of the student each time So break out the inner part of the page to a partial called _question_types.rhtml

<% for question in @questions %>
<p><h3><%= question.display_text %></h3>

<% if question.type_id == QuestionType::STRING %>
<%= text_field("question",question.id) %>
<% end %>

<% if question.type_id == QuestionType::TEXT %>
<%= text_area("question",question.id) %>
<% end %>

<% if question.type_id == QuestionType::SELECTION %>
<% @options = Question.find_question_options_map(question.id) %>
<%= select :question, question.id, @options %>
<% end %>

<% if question.type_id == QuestionType::CHECKBOX %>
<% @options = Question.find_question_options_array(question.id) %>
<% for option in @options %>
<%= check_box("question",question.id) %><%= option.display_text %>

<% end %>
<% end %>

<% if question.type_id == QuestionType::RADIO %>
<% @options = Question.find_question_options_array(question.id) %>
<% for option in @options %>
<%= radio_button("question",question.id,option.id) %><%= option.display_text %>

<% end %>
<% end %>

<% if question.type_id == QuestionType::INSTRUCTION %>

<% end %>

</p>
<% end %>

And now run_experiment.rhtml should read:

<h1>Question List Page</h1>
<% form_tag :action => ‘running_experiment’ do %>
<%= render :partial => ‘question_types’ %>
<%= submit_tag "Continue" %>
<% end %>

For now create a skeleten running_experiment() in the students controller

def running_experiment
@student = Student.find(session[:student])
@next_question_list = Student.find_next_question_list(@student.condition_id,@student.current_question_list)
@student.current_question_list = @next_question_list
@student.save
@questions = Question.find_by_question_list_id(@student.current_question_list)
end

Hmmm.. Some quick testing reveals that Question List never goes above “1,” even after @student.save is added to the code. Some investigation reveals an error in how the find_next_question_list method and related code was programmed. We need both to know the question_list_id (so that the current question list can be pulled out) and the ordering (so that we know how to search for the next one). So change find_next_question_list in student.rb to:

def self.find_next_question_list(condition_id,ordering)
to_find = QuestionListCondition.find(
:first,
:conditions=> [ ‘condition_id = ? AND ordering > ?’, condition_id, ordering ],
:order => ‘ordering ASC’
)

@to_return = to_find
end

We’ll also update the database again to store the ordering information

ruby script/generate migration alter_student_add_current_ordering

The new file, 026_alter_student_add_current_ordering.rb

class AlterStudentAddCurrentOrdering < ActiveRecord::Migration
def self.up
add_column :students, :current_ordering, :integer, :default => 0
end

def self.down
remove_column :students, :current_ordering
end
end

Then rake db:migrate

Updating the controller as appropriate makes it work, but now a new question — what happens when the system comes to the end of questions? The solution will be to collapse back into one run_experiment() procedure that tests for both the beginninga and the end. Change the “running_experiment” reference to “run_experiment” in run_experiment.rhtml and there you go!

Next step is to integrate the matrix back into the experiment. It won’t eb fully functioning now, but at least it will allow the matrix to appear in the regular rotation

add these lines: at the very bottom of question_type.rb:

QuestionType.add_item :NOTES_LINEAR, 7
QuestionType.add_item :NOTES_MATRIX, 8

The full run_experiment function will look like this:

def run_experiment
@student = Student.find(session[:student])

unless @student.condition_id
@student.condition_id = params[:student][:condition_id]
@student.save
end

@next_question_list = Student.find_next_question_list(@student.condition_id,@student.current_ordering)
if @next_question_list

@student.current_question_list = @next_question_list.question_list_id
@student.current_ordering = @next_question_list.ordering
@student.save
@questions = Question.find_by_question_list_id(@student.current_question_list)
else
render_text "Hello, world"
end
end

There is more to do. The notes have to be integrated, and during testing there’s an error somewhere that needs to be caught. But everyday is one day closer to having a functioning system.

Me versus myself

A great discussion over at Tom’s blog led me back to my archives — and to discover this apparently tdaxp contradiction

From June 9, 2005:

If we lose the Global War on Terrorism it will be through lack of political will. America needs a strong, rooted, outward-looking ideology to win. It must be a revolutionary ideology…

The neocon / theocon ideological network is a perfect motivating force for the United States in the Global War on Terrorism. It provides tremendous internal energy and is very outward looking — the religious right agitates for System Administration in Darfur, Sudan while secular right sees classic enemies in Syria and North Korea. Their enemy lists overlap almost perfectly.

From July 15th, 2007:

America cannot win a 4GW — a long-term war of ideas — because she will betray herself first. Within a generation of the enslavement of Europe and China to Stalinism, arrogant American liberals combined with comforatble American leftists to do their best to defeat American action in the Vietnam War, and make South-East Asia safe for Communism.

If history repeats itself, or at least rhymes, within a generation of 9/11 active support of al Qaeda inspired movements should be fashionable on college campuses.

So who is right? tdaxp? Or tdaxp?

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Cognitive Development, a tdaxp series
1. Introduction
2. Infant Perception
3. Infant Cognition
4. Representation and Concepts
5. Reasoning and Problem Solving
6. Social Cognition
7. Memory
8. Language
9. Questions and Problems
10. Bibliography