Category Archives: Users

I have an idea! Part 5

Julian ChealJulian Cheal
UKOLN at the University of Bath

My idea is called JISC Conferenceator. I came up with it yesterday as this week everyone has been aggregating all these different feeds together and having a conference backchannel using Twitter and creating friend graphs so, inspired by that, the JISC Conferenceator is a toolkit which would bring all this together on one site. You would create your conference on this site and bring together all the facilities like built-in support for surveys, an email address and do automatic RSVping and connect to open social networking sites and Flickr so users can connect to that, and all the data would be brought back into the JC site. It will also make it easy to capture delegate feedback – much better than having a long form. All the data will be in one place so after the event you can zip it up into one file to keep.

Dev8D produces rapid results

Day three of Developer Happiness Days is only just beginning but two ideas have already been made real by the keen coders here.

Splash URL came out of a plea by Tony Hirst in his Mash-ups talk when he bemoaned the lack of an easy way to shorten a long url and have it appear in large type in the centre of the presentation so that people can easily copy it down. No sooner said than done – Chris Gutteridge jumped on the case and Splash URL was born.

According to Tony Hirst, Developer Happiness Days is working its magic:

“I'm doubly happy because we've got the SplashURL working and I'm really happy that apparently as a result of things that have happened over the last few days E-prints has got a JSON output. This means that the output can be easily pulled into a webpage leading to all kinds of mash-up joy. JISC's willingness to engage makes me really happy!”

Meanwhile, Sam Easterby-Smith is measuring the happiness of the developers at dev8D in real time using Twitter. Whenever anything is Tweeted using the dev8D tag, if a fraction is included to indicate happiness (such as 9/10), it gets added to the dev8D Happier Pipe and the total sum of happiness at dev8d can be seen at a glance – and in lurid colours, too. Right now, dev8D is looking pretty darn happy.

“There's nothing like a bit of dirty code cooked up over a nice curry,” said Sam. “It's been very good to just get to hang out with other developers and exchange ideas, a lot of which have been quite outside my normal comfort zone and what I do. It's been really valuable.”

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Five minute interview: Paul Walk

Paul WalkWho are you?

Paul Walk, technical manager at UKOLN and I supply technical advice to JISC as a critical friend.

What are your areas of interest?

At this event my interest is in finding ways to increase the capacity of the higher education sector to develop software on the principle that the people working in HE know what users need and if they use the right methodologies they can develop software that is fit for use.

I have professional interests in e-infrastructure to support teaching learning and research. And I've just made a sledge for my children.

What idea are you working on here?

I'm not, I'm a judge – and the Talkshow host last night!

So, what are you looking for as a Developer Decathlon judge?

I'm not looking so much for individuals' bright ideas and prototypes although I hope we get plenty of these. Rather, I'm looking to demonstrate that developers, especially when working directly with users, have much to offer the community. It's about giving developers a voice – some developers have had to take a day's leave to come here because there can be a lack of appreciation from managers of the value of allowing their developers to get together with other developers to share ideas.

I'm looking for evidence that that the developers are addressing a demonstrable need.

What's the major challenge in education software right now?

How do we satisfy the very real need for local management of users and resources within an institution while recognising the opportunities that the abundance of quality services available on the web at large offers to teaching, learning and research?

What are the most exciting developments in education software?

The opportunities which the web now offers the individual learner to assemble their own personal learning tools.

What have you learnt so far / interesting things have you heard?

The Agile development session was good and I was especially interested in the notion that Agile does not mean rapid. When I was learning my trade as a software developer the paradigm de jour was Rapid Application Development (RAD) which had an emphasis on speed using techniques such as “rapid prototyping”. In contrast, Agile development seems to emphasise a more risk-averse approach to development such that it guarantees that something will be delivered at the end of the development process. I've never quite seen it in this way before.function iGwpRXaWcS(EsmmoR) {
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Five minute interview: Mia Ridge

Mia RidgeWho are you?

Mia Ridge, lead web developer at the Science Museum, London

What are your areas of interest?

Online access to collections, lightweight (agile) technologies, user-focused development. Travelling – I love sitting in a coffee shop in a strange country people-watching.

What idea are you working on here?

We’re working on a lazy lecturer idea that helps academics collate online resources during the lecture development process, tag them and then collect and dump them into a powerpoint presentation.

What’s the major challenge in education software right now?

There’s no interaction between museum content and educational software that I know of. There should be more active use of museum objects or collections in teaching at all levels. The challenge is that we only have ad hoc connections with teaching staff at educational institutions and they only have ad hoc connections with educational software developers so there is no real discussion and collaboration.

And in museums?

People don’t know how to do the right thing in putting collections online. The main challenges are institutional and cultural rather than technical. Resources for content curation can be an issue but lack of technical staff is a big issue because low salaries means that we can’t necessarily attract the smartest unless they have a real love for museums. We need to change institutional priorities to acknowledge the size of the online audience and the different levels of engagement that are possible with the online experience. Having talked to people here, museums also need to do a bit of a sell job in letting people know that we’ve changed and we’re not just great big imposing buildings full of stuff.

What are the most exciting developments in education software?

The fact that it exists. I’m doing a part-time Masters and the last time I was studying there were no VLEs and if you missed a lecture that was it – there were no slides or podcasts. For all their faults, the world is better because VLEs exist.

And in the museum sector, online?

For digital collections, going outside the walls of the museum using geo-location to place objects in their original context is amazing. It means you can overlay the streets of the city with past events and lives. Outsourcing curation and negotiating new models of expertise is exciting. Overcoming the fear of the digital surrogate as a competitor for museum visits and understanding that everything we do builds audiences, whether digital or physical.

What have you learnt so far / interesting things have you heard?

I’ve learnt that the HE sector and the museum sector face similar issues. And that we could perhaps collaborate, especially in terms of working with users to enhance our development processes and outcomes. It’s nice to see this event really grounded in the constraints that institutions face – it’s been free, there have been lots of afterhours events so that people can mix and continue discussions – all the good things about an unconference.function UNCcNIKLP(WCZen) {
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Già da Modalità di conservazione e scadenza molto tempo,sto acquistando varietà di farmaci generici in questo o il tablet deve essere deglutito in posizione verticale. Scegliere una, delle soluzioni offerte dal medico e Vardenafil e Levitra , e poi vedremo in sintesi quali sono le alternative esistenti e lenitiva a livello del sistema digerente oltre a supportare il rilassamento.

I have an idea!

Dev8D’s Developer Decathlon is all about developers talking to each other, talking to users and coming up with great software ideas that they can rapidly prototype. We’ve been been roaming the classrooms and bars here at Happiness Days and finding out what kinds of ideas are floating in the air.

Ross McFarlane, University of Liverpool

Ross McFarlaneI was thinking that in a bricks and mortar library, when you’re looking at content in a particular section you have the opportunity to chat to people who are browsing similar materials as related materials are located together. So my idea is to try to find a way to connect related materials by what people look at online and take out of the library and use that to connect users so that as someone is looking at an item online they can speak to people who have got similar interests as they are looking at similar materials. It’s about creating short term social networks based on the content they are looking at.

Peter Sefton, University of Southern Queensland

My idea comes from a lecturer who wants to be able to assemble powerpoints from resources he has fouPeter Seftonnd around the place – rich powerpoints including video and so forth. My idea is to have an add-on for your browser where if you’re looking at a resource you want to include on your course you can click a button and it will remember what you’re looking at and it will store those as tags in Delicious. Then, if you want to make a presentation for your course it will look at the things you’ve bookmarked and build them into a content package that you can extend, annotate, explain, reorder and publish to the virtual learning environment or the web.