Setbacks

A lot of the blog posts I’ve been putting up recently have been on the e-portfolio widgets so I thought I should take a few moments to explain what’s happening with the other widgets. Unfortunately, the project has had a number of setbacks which meant progress hasn’t been as fast as it could have been:

  • Karsten going to teach full-time — This meant Karsten unfortunately had to leave DEVELOP. While Karsten has been around to advise us on certain issues, some of the development which we had been going to do over the summer didn’t happen.
  • Test Server down — Whilst we were in part correct when we predicted that the upgrade of our instance of Blackboard from 8 to 9.1 wouldn’t affect the project, there were related drawbacks. The upgrade itself was successful but the Test Server was down for longer than anticipated, briefly preventing continuation of some of the work we were doing.
  • Changes to annual routine — Again, whilst the upgrade didn’t directly affect the project, there was also a change in the way courses were archived this year. This decision was made at a higher level but unfortunately had an impact on the number of issues and queries that the e-Learning Team had to deal with, thus eating into project time.
  • Blackboard Administrator absence — Unfortunately our Blackboard Administrator in IT Services was away for some time due to illness. She’s better now and back at work but we really missed her while she was gone as it meant, not least, that we couldn’t do half as much as we would have otherwise!

I wish I could say that there were lessons learned from this for the Project Team but it really feels like these were circumstances largely beyond our control. Despite all these setbacks, we still had a really successful implementation of the e-Portfolio Templates widget and are expecting similar success with the Feedback widget soon.

So, apart from those:

  • The Video Widget is up and running but we are still working on advice for how this can be used by other institutions (e.g. the University of Bedfordshire).
  • Meanwhile, just today, we managed to get a prototype of the tagging/recommender widget up on our Test Server, which I’m hoping to get onto the Live Server before long so I can show it to our pilots soon.
  • And we do have the basics of a Content widget too but I think piloting of this will be limited, if there is any at all. I need to review what we have and then see if I can gather feedback from those who expressed an interest in using it.

The e-Portfolio Export widget is something I’m very much interested in exploring, even it means that I put in time beyond the project; Pat and I drew up quite a few ideas for how to move forward with this but as December nears it remains to be seen how much we can implement before next term. Pat and I both hope to post more about that in the near future.

About Guy

I am currently Enhancement Officer (for Education Technologies) at the University of Reading. I am also studying for a Masters in Research at the University's School of Systems Engineering.
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