Requirements from Computing and Maths

The Learning Developments Group (LDG) in the Department of Computing and Maths (DoCM) has prepared a ‘statement of needs’ following consultation across the department to inform the learning technologies review. DoCM staff have invested significantly in the current WebCT system and are therefore looking to transition to a VLE that will continue to support their identified developments and facilitate roll-over of existing courses and materials.

DoCM colleagues summarised their needs in terms of the following learning environment characteristics:

  1. An environment that is fast, reliable and robust;
  2. Demonstrable ease of use for non-expert users;
  3. Localised dedicated technical support and training for ongoing VLE development;
  4. Is extensible and modifiable: staff can easily add features and functionality that are not tied to proprietary technologies;
  5. Allows for flexible content structure, and collaborative activity;
  6. Support for a wide range of e-learning standards – to ensure that legacy material can be readily imported and reused, and that future material is not locked into a particular VLE. This would include SCORM 2004, Common Cartridge, IMS CP, QTI, and Simple Sequencing;
  7. A IMS-DRI (Digital Repositories Interoperability)-compliant Repository facility to centralise resources and ensure consistency and integrity of materials;
  8. Support for the rollover of learning and teaching content and structures from year to year (only a handful of areas are set up empty each year);
  9. Sufficient disk space to host multiple types of learning materials, including screen-casts, podcasts, sound recordings and learning objects;
  10. Support for a wide range of e-submissions, assignments and assessments (including peer assessment) – extensive use is made of Grade-book for feedback of student marks and for harvesting of marks by Admin staff
  11. Full interaction with other University systems such as QLS-Agresso;
  12. Integrated support for teaching approaches that utilise Web 2.0 technologies such as wiki development, mash-up customisation of student learning spaces, blogging, tagging, forums, syndication;
  13. Integrated support for e-Portfolios (IMS standard-compliant) to facilitate a culture of personal development.
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One Response to Requirements from Computing and Maths

  1. Martin Stanton says:

    Just a comment about point 11 above.

    I am not sure what is meant by full interaction (I’m interested that it says interaction and not integration).

    A big failing of the current system is the tight coupling of WebCT Vista (our teaching platform) with the administrative platform. Because of this coupling, any delays in the administrative processing of a student (however necessary) will effectively result in the student not being able to start their course, even if they are legitimately entitled to do so. Software/systems developers know that it is generally bad practice to tightly couple systems that have different purposes, so I wouldn’t want to see this coupling in the new system.

    So, at a minimum I would add this requirement:

    * To be flexible in allowing ad-hoc (perhaps temporary) addition of students to courses (something we could do in the past with Moodle and also the previous version of WebCT).

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