Closure Review

Project Summary:






Project Manager (Owner)

IS Applications - Project Services

Tim Gray

Project SponsorUser Services DivisionBryan Macgregor

Programme Manager

IS Applications - Project Services

Maurice Franceschi

Configuration Team Lead

IS Applications - Development Services

Defeng Ma

Senior Supplier

IS Applications - Service Management

Mark Wetton

Senior DeveloperIS Applications - Development ServicesRichard Good
Helpdesk CoordinatorUser Services DivisionDuncan MacGruer


Project Review

The project has been a good success with different areas within IS and MVM working well together.  For example, sharing the System Design Document for the MyEd integration with MVM assisted them greatly in their integration of VLE’s EEMeC and EEVeC . Likewise, the skills from User Services Division ensured that user input before and during acceptance testing was comprehensive, the resulting deployments were relatively trouble-free.

Senior Supplier and Head of Learning Services Mark Wetton commented “I think given the complexity of following on from the procurement and a multi-phase delivery involving multiple systems integrations, the project was one of the most successful I've been involved with”.

In order to meet the objectives and deliverables to integrate the virtual classroom software to the 4 different systems, the project was planned in four phases. The phases covered the integration of Collaborate as follows:

·         Phase 1: Moodle Integration

·         Phase 2: Learn integration

·         Phase 3: MyEd Integration

·         Phase 4: EEMeC and EEVeC

The main objectives were to integrate Collaborate with Moodle and Learn, and this proved to be the simplest to deliver.

Both phase 1 and 2 were completed successfully with less effort than had originally been estimated. These integrations were time critical due to summer school and distance education dependencies. both were delivered on time.

Phase 3: after initial workshops with stakeholders from Institute for Academic Development, EDINA and Student Recruitment and Admissions a business requirements document was written. This document was refined with additional detail during the system design stage development and acceptance phases of the project. There were resource availability issues concerning the Senior Developer which resulted in the development moving out to late summer. The initial delay was due to on-going work on Learn. However as the integration coincided with the delayed upgraded of MyEd a further delay was incurred. There were no significant issues during the development and testing phase. User acceptance testing and Blackboard’s code validation revealed some issues but these were resolved. Some minor enhancements which were not included in the requirements document were also added during testing as part of rework. This phase was successfully deployed to LIVE at the beginning of November 2012.

Phase : This integration was completed by MVM not by IS Applications which impacted positively on the estimated effort. Although originally planned for the summer is was moved out a few weeks due to other priorities and went live in September 2012.

With less complex integration of the Moodle and Learn VLE’s and the development completed by MVM for their integration the original estimate of 203 Apps days was reduced to 145 days, the project will actually completed in 135 days effort.

Objectives and Deliverables


The project was tasked with three objectives and subsequent deliverables as signed off in the Terms of Reference, these were:




New or Changed (Y/N)


Deliver a virtual classroom with Basic Test environment,  integrated Dev environment and minimum configuration based on the hosted Collaborate software service by end May 12.



DEV & TEST environments with the Moodle plugin installed



DEV & TEST environments with the Learn9.1 plugin installed



Users (from the Moodle DEI community) able to access the TEST environment



Delivery of the bespoke analysis and design being done by Blackboard. (Single sign-on and VLE for MVM)



Enable an online meeting space for teaching, research and administrative activities based on the software procured in LAT009



A configured and implemented virtual classroom tool



A support framework and documentation



All environments with the Collaborate API enabled to allow EEMeC and EEVeC integration



Deliver fully integrated live environment deployment with target by 6th July and DSOR by end July


The hosting of the Virtual Classroom (Collaborate) software will be outsourced to Blackboard. It is assumed that the appropriate safeguards for the personal data that will be saved within the Virtual Classroom hosted software in relation to the Data Protection Act will be agreed within the contract from LAT009.

It is anticipated that the Virtual Classroom will be a Priority 1 service, due to the need to support the Distance Education Initiative. Academics will be dependent on Collaborate to deliver the course material according to the Programme of Study, and students will be dependent on Collaborate to access their lectures and tutorials.


The original project proposal was split into two projects: LAT009 covered the procurement of the Virtual Classroom software and this project covers the implementation of the selected Collaborate software.

Collaborate is provided as a hosted service from Blackboard. For Year 1 there will be DEV, TEST and LIVE environments as well as a demonstrator environment that is currently available to us. At the end of Year 1 the TEST environment will be decommissioned by Blackboard and ongoing there will only be DEV and LIVE environments.

This project must deliver the minimum for the Moodle DEI community to be able to start using the software for documentation purposes by the end of May 2012. This project must then deliver the configured system by the end of July 2012.

Scope for end May 12:

  • TEST environment configured with Moodle plugin, Learn9.1.
  • Users from Moodle and Learn9.1 able to access Collaborate.
  • Moodle DEI community able to start using the software in TEST for documentation purposes.

Scope for end July 12:

  • LIVE environment configured with:

o   Moodle plugin with courses available from LIVE Moodle

o   Learn9.1 plugin with courses available from LIVE Learn9.1

o   MyEd integration for initiation of:

  • Authentication
  • Participants to attend a session
  • Staff to set up a meeting or drop-in

o   Single API through which Schools may integrate their courses, e.g. MVM eMec and eVec – note analysis and design will be completed by Blackboard but development may be undertaken by IS Applications.

o   All staff to able to set-up and use meetings without intervention from Service Management

  • Technical documentation regarding the interfaces and plug-ins used (to support the UoE environment as technical Collaborate documentation is available online)
  • User documentation (USD)

o   Accessibility guidance document on what is available

o   Training for students as participants in courses

o   Training for administrators on how to check and setup courses, drop-ins and users

o   Training for staff on how to chair a session

o   Training for staff to set up meetings and how to use meetings and drop-ins

  • Gaining agreement whether and when MVM expect to build their system integration with the Collaborate API

Out of scope:

  • Decommissioning Wimba (USD will do this outwith this project)
  • Migrating content from Wimba to Collaborate
  • Modifications for School systems to connect to or integrate with Collaborate, e.g.  eMec, eVec or similar systems not listed as in scope above to enable integration with the Collaborate API or plugins

o    Build or update the API for School systems to connect

o    Build or amend any School system

  • Separate environment for user training on test courses (assume TEST or LIVE will be used with naming convention for test courses)
  • Phone backup procurement and testing[5]; this will be needed for:

o    Simulcast: phone number for participant to call if no audio or mike is available to them, though they will be logged into the VC and able to follow the session

o    Phone dial-in: phone number for participants to call if they have a bad internet connection and are unable to join the session in VC, but may be sent the presentation material separately and follow the audio on the phone


Analysis of Resource Usage:

Staff Usage Estimate: 203 days

Staff Usage Actual: 135 days

Staff Usage Variance: 33%

Other Resource Estimate: 91420 days

Other Resource Actual: 91420 days

Other Resource Variance: 0%

Explanation for variance:

Key Learning Points:

From the many positive aspects of this project, there are three positive learning points to be taken from this project namely:

  1. The involvement of Software Development during the business requirements proved very useful. This allowed some requirements which were unclear or not described in adequate detail to be teased out during the systems design. This communication between the lead developer and the customer all the way through was very positive. As a result any issues which cropped up or feature request were dealt with effectively and quickly.
  2. Building on the above, a small amount of time invested between USD and Software Development during the build phase identified a number of things which could be clarified and dealt with in advance of UAT. In addition, the wider team accessing the content in DEV meant issues that would have resulted in UAT fails were picked up much earlier and meant UAT was a shorter process and had a more positive outcome.
  3. The development work completed together with MVM went very well, highlighting how well different areas can work together.

On the negative side, it shouls be noted that resourcing in Software Development was an issue. Resource conflicts with other higher prioritised projects combined with other activities for example on-going recruitment process led to a delay in phase 3 development. A knock on effect of this delay was the dependency on the MyEd project which was delayed for technical issues.

Outstanding issues:

There are no outstanding technical issues, however two days of training with were bought as part of the contract with Blackboard was not called upon during the project. This will be taken forward by Service Management with a “needs assessment” meeting scheduled for 11/12/12.