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Progress Blog

Prototype feedback

User AvatarPosted by XCRI Project Manager at 02/11/2012 14:23:49
The proof-of-concept iteration was shown to the University’s Executive and Professional Development forum in September. This is a group tasked with policy and marketing for the University’s non-traditional courses and includes academic and support staff from across the organisation.

The system was demonstrated live using test data and met the following requirements:
  • Means of entering course data (M)
  • Means of viewing course data (M)
  • Means of amending course data (M)
  • An Xcri-Cap feed automatically created from course data (M)
  • The Xcri-Cap feed published to a publically accessible location (M)
  • The system must be supported and maintained within the current University ICT infrastructure (M)
We were able to show the entry and retrieval of course data and the subsequent Xcri-Cap output (although the feed wasn’t valid). The concept and system were well received by the group who were keen to see executive and professional development courses more widely marketed.

(The following requirements weren’t completed in this iteration. They will be included in later developments as per Atern’s ‘flex features’ philosophy:
  • Means of producing HTML from course data
  • Means of validating course data
  • Individual users are able to enter and access their own data)
As a result of seeing the prototype, several new functions were suggested:
  • Storing the contact details for the person administering the course to facilitate better internal communication
  • Storing income and hours for non-credit bearing courses for the HE-BCI survey
Neither would be published as Xcri data, but would be kept with the relevant course information. The extra data entry would create additional requirements:
  • Automatically identify non-credit bearing courses
  • A means of reporting the HE-BCI data using standard University reporting software
Prototype validation
In the previous post I talked about the purpose of the prototype – to validate the choice of Sits as the technology platform. Developing in Sits has initially proved difficult. It is hard to learn and uses obscure and outdated programming concepts. Despite these shortcomings we have decided to continue with Sits as the technology platform. The difficulties must be offset against the benefits of building within a key University system:
  • The administrative staff who will be maintaining the course information are already trained in its use
  • The course database will slot easily into the maintenance framework of the dedicated Sits IT Support team once the project is completed.
The requirements for the next iteration are as follows:
  • Create a feed that validates (M)
  • Store taught hours for each non-credit bearing course (M)
  • Store income for each non-credit bearing course (M)
  • Automatically identify non-credit bearing courses (S)
  • Store and display date of last amendment (C)
This will create enough of the HE-BCI functionality to allow us to check the implementation with the end users.

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