Closure Report

Project Summary

This project delivered a proof of concept for a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) API which exposes course data that can be used by developers across the University (subject to appropriate data governance and approvals).

The initial planned consumers of the API were the following projects:

  1. DTI011 - User Centred Portal Technological Pilot, part of the User Centred Portal (UCP) programme within Digital Transformation
  2. SAS002 - Student Centred Portal Pilot, part of the Service Excellence, Student Administration and Support programme

The VLE API delivered by this project interacts with the Learn system using the existing API provided by Blackboard (vendor of the Learn system).  

The project planned a decision point following delivery of the proof of concept - the possible options (to be considered as part of a recommendation from the project team) were envisaged during planning to include:

  • Extend the Proof of Concept to other e-learning systems (subject to undertaking additional analysis and planning work)
  • Analyse requirements, plan, build and deliver the initial production release of the VLE API

The project was suspended in November 2017 (see PICCL Issue 7) and a decision was subsequently taken to close the project early in February 2018 (see PICCL Decision 8).

The API was not deployed to the DEV environment as this was not considered necessary in order to accept the proof of concept; the required functionality was demonstrated successfully and the deployment of APIs using Bamboo had already been proven within DTI014.  

Read access to announcements (D4) did not complete successfully (an empty string was returned.)  This was thought to be related to the local test environment as opposed to being an issue with the API itself.  The project team agreed on 28/9/17 that the proof of concept delivery milestone should be signed off with this issue as all other functionality was demonstrated successfully.  In addition, the API does not currently give access to course announcements within Learn, it can only be used for system announcements.

No.

Description

Priority

Delivered?

O1

Proof of Concept - to prove that the API can be used to integrate Learn and a client front-end to allow course data to be read / written and validated before it is written 

M

Yes

D1

VLE API that allows read access to course enrolment data

M

Yes

D2

VLE API that allows read access to grade book assessments

M

Yes

D3

VLE API that allows read access to groups including tutorial groups

M

Yes

D4 VLE API that allows read access to announcements.  M API does not currently give access to course announcements within Learn, it can only be used for system announcements.
D5 Decision point - recommendation for next steps M Yes
O2 Analyse requirements, plan, build and deliver the initial production release of the VLE API S No - see PICCL Issue 7 (suspend project) and Decision 8 (close project early).
D6ff  To be planned as part of O2 S No - see PICCL Issue 7 (suspend project) and Decision 8 (close project early).

 

Key Project Dates

  1. Sign-off Project Brief 21/7/17
  2. Delivery - proof of concept 28/9/17
  3. Decision Point 4/10/17
  4. Project suspension 17/11/17
  5. Project close 16/3/18

Key Project Issues and Changes

Refsort descending Date Identified Type Short Description
1 28-Apr-2017 Change Change to project priority
2 02-May-2017 Change Change to project name
3 14-Aug-2017 Change Change to project budget
4 04-Oct-2017 Decision Decision - focus on the Learn system and develop a plan for the initial production release of the API
5 11-Oct-2017 Issue Availability of a project sponsor
6 20-Oct-2017 Change Change of project sponsor
7 06-Nov-2017 Change Change to project milestones / suspend project
8 05-Feb-2018 Decision Decision: project to close early

Analysis of Resource Usage:

Staff Usage Estimate: 90 days

Staff Usage Actual: 33 days

Staff Usage Variance:  -63%

Other Resource Estimate: 15 days (LTW)

Other Resource Actual: 15 days (LTW)

Other Resource Variance: N/A

Explanation for Variance

Less effort than was planned was required to deliver this project due to the decision to close the project early (PICCL Decision 8).

Key Learning Points

  1. The approach of initially developing a proof of concept reduced the risk to the design and build phases.
  2. Co-location and integration of team members (including resources from LTW) as early in the project as possible was key to successful delivery of the proof of concept.
  3. The development of API standards (for example naming conventions) is still evolving as the University's experience of API development matures.
  4. Delivery of the project has led to the development of Enterprise APIs knowledge and capability which will be recorded for future projects.

Outstanding Issues

  1. Decommissioning has taken place of infrastructure that is no longer required within Dev, Test and Live environments (no GoCAB approval is required).
  2. There are no further outstanding issues and no issues in JIRA.

 

Project Info

Project
VLE API
Code
DTI017
Programme
Digital Transformation - Enterprise APIs (DTIP03)
Management Office
ISG PMO
Project Manager
Chris Copner
Project Sponsor
Stephannie Hay
Current Stage
Close
Status
Closed
Start Date
12-Jun-2017
Planning Date
n/a
Delivery Date
n/a
Close Date
23-Mar-2018
Programme Priority
1
Overall Priority
Normal
Category
Discretionary

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