Since obtaining the award letter at the beginning of June we've been involved in setting up the infrastructure we need to have in place including organising the contract programmer associated with the project. We had always thought that this could be one of the hardest things to establish for the project in keeping to HR policy and procurement policy within the institution. After meeting with the key players with regards to ensuring project support it has actually turned out to be fairly simple and not the headache that it could have been. So infrastructure wise everything seems to be in place.
The system involves building upon an institutional learning and teaching innovations project we developed a couple of years ago. The tool esentially was a stand alone application which took a Microsoft Powerpoint presentation and embedded dynamic content within it. There were a number of issues with this at the time with one of the largest issues being negotiating Microsoft's 'standards'. The system was trialed fairly successfully in two modules over two semesters and has been translated into a few academic papers. We have this month reviewed the old system and its problems with the view of tackling this grant as an opportunity of working towards the ideal system. A system which at the very least embeds into MS Powerpoint to encourage ease of use within the user community and in addition is extensible enough to be re-packaged for other presentational environments. To this end we have this week spent some time focused on thinking about our system in terms of essential and desirable requirements and have this week put together a release schedule involving three releases with each to be delivered over a four week period.
Next on our agenda over the next few weeks is a focus on the design of the system at conceptual level and then at physical level in the form of UML and class diagrams. The programmer is due to join our team in mid-July and will contribute to the end of this design process.
Finally, a SWOT analysis for the project.
Pre-existing prototype system
Already been trialed within a user community - feedback gathered
Understanding of what the ideal infrastucture should be
Know already some of the problems
MS Powerpoint as a focus - originally for the old innovations project we wished to use a more open tool, such as openoffice, however, MS PP was the only tool which seemed to be able to work for our purposes - as other environments didn't offer structured xHTML - only static images of slides were used.
Developing a community of users
Challenges traditional views of lectures, however, can be used in lots of other scenarios
Not everyone has a wireless tool in classrooms, however, with the advent of always on contracts such as those supplied with the iPhone this becomes less of a problem.
A real opportunity to learn from the problems of the first tool and develop a much more usable and professional product
Dissemination activities for the product including HEA Physical Sciences workshop in October which was already set-up before award
An opportunity to get people excited about our product and thinking about other ways to use it.
Scope on completion to use technology in conjunction with other innovations projects
Scope on completion for professional use of the technology.
Delays in procurement or at various stages of the project