This presentation is submitted under the ‘Wildcard’ conference theme and would be informative to individuals and organisations engaged in bespoke learning technology development.
Developing bespoke learning technology in UK Higher Education can be a challenging and obstacle-driven endeavour. There are inherent risks to long-term sustainability; cooperation and support of multiple groups of stakeholders is vital; specialist skills and experience are required; and to be successful the endeavour itself needs to be project managed effectively.
EasyPoll (GitHub, 2017) is a bespoke, open-source, lightweight and easy to use polling tool that allows people to gather asynchronous feedback within the Blackboard Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) for a variety of purposes, including gauging student opinion, gathering feedback, facilitating voting and stimulating thought and debate. EasyPoll was created by an in-house team of learning technologists at a UK Higher Education Institution wishing to improve active learning potential within the VLE.
EasyPoll was funded by a fixed budget of £4500, all staffing and IT resources were covered by the budget and the tool was developed using a Scrum (Ken Schwaber, 2001) iterative approach using stakeholder feedback to inform feature priorities and iterations of the tool.
This presentation will explore the experience from concept to completion, highlighting and examining the risks, discussing the benefits and dis-benefits of bespoke development, identifying the common challenges and key stakeholders within a Higher Education environment, outlining a Scrum development approach and the key skills required, inspecting the costs and sharing in the successes and failures of the experience.
This presentation will help inform decision making within the learning technologist community when considering developing bespoke learning technology and act as a source of reference for future similar projects.
EasyPoll was developed using the Node.js (Node.js Foundation, 2017) platform and adheres to the Learning Tools Interoperability (IMS Global Learning Consortium, 2012) standard.
Imsglobal.org. 2012. Learning Tools Interoperability® 1.1. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.imsglobal.org/specs/ltiv1p1. [Accessed 27 March 2017].
GitHub, Inc. 2017. EasyPoll. [ONLINE] Available at: https://github.com/SOCSIELEARNING/EasyPoll. [Accessed 27 March 2017].
Ken Schwaber, 2001. Agile Software Development with Scrum (Series in Agile Software Development). 1 Edition. Pearson.
Node.js Foundation. 2017. Node.js. [ONLINE] Available at: https://nodejs.org/en/. [Accessed 27 March 2017].