Closure Report

PROJECT BACKGROUND 

There are three applications that needed to be replaced before support for Classic ASP expires in October 2023. EROS/PathCAL and Labyrinth were legacy systems that provided a technical framework for provision of branching CAL (Computer Assisted Learning) content, and the framework technologies were approaching end-of-life. In addition, some of the content included Flash objects, which were no longer supported for security patches as of December 2020. This project aimed to replace and decommission three legacy systems with a secure, supported system that would enable long-term provision of branching CAL functions for medical, dental and veterinary teaching. 

PROJECT SCOPE

  • Replacement application(s) for PathCAL, Labyrinth and EROS
  • Decommissioning of PathCAL, Labyrinth, EROS, eeMec and potentially eeMec 2017
  • Flash content in the CALs to be replaced where an owner has been identified and has confirmed the content is still valid and required.
  • Governance arrangements for content in replacement application(s)
  • Governance arrangements for replacement application(s)
  • Access requirements for replacement application(s) and content therein

Objectives and Deliverables Achieved

No. Description Priority Objective/Deliverable Met? (Yes / No) Comments
O1 Fit-for-purpose application that enables the use of CALs (replacing PathCAL, EROS, JISC PathCAL and dependency on eeMec and eeMec 2017)      
O1D1 Analysis of requirements for future state application, including access arrangements internally and externally to the University, assessment of Pathologia or MedCAL Website  as a possible solution, linkages to Learn Must Yes

Requirements gathering carried out in February-March 2021. 

BRD approved in April 2021. This included approval for turning off  the JISC PathCAL system, which was no longer funded via JISC Collections.

O1D2 Analysis of CAL content - ownership, need to migrate, need to decommission Must Yes

Prior to this project, some of the CALs did not  have an "active" owner  and many of the authors credited on the CAL title pages had left the University; there was no process in place to check that CAL content was maintained regularly.

Academic staff were provided with a list of all CALs and asked to add their name next to any CALs that they would like take ownership of, as only CALs with a named owner would be migrated to the new system. This process identified owners for around 380 CALs.

O1D3 Development and testing of replacement application (this might be further enhancing Pathologia) Must Yes

Development and testing of Phase 1 (view access to migrated CALs) was completed in September 2021. 

Development and testing of Phase 2 (functionality to create and edit CALs) was completed in December 2021.

O1D4 Migration of content to new application Must Yes All CALs where an owner had been identified prior to August 2021 were migrated to Pathways as part of Phase 1 deployment.  Following discussion with owners 380 CALs were migrated (and 2,500 were not as no owner was identified).  If further requests are made, these will be migrated on an ad hoc basis e.g. an academic identified 4 Metabolic CALs that were missing, and those 4 CALs were subsequently migrated
O1D5 Links in Learn to be updated to new application/content Must Yes CAL owners were asked to update any links in the Learn materials as it was not possible to automatically redirect links. 
O1D6 Communications and training in University for content owners and for users Must yes The user help guidance was made available from 25th April 22 and a number of individual user scenarios have been considered and resolved. 
O1D7 Communications  and guidance for external users Should - if external users being granted access No Not delivered within the scope of this project, but the normal Visitor process would allow this type of access if required
O1D8 Governance arrangements for ongoing support and maintenance of the application Must Yes

The application will be supported by DLAM on an ongoing basis. 

To request access log the call using the IS Helpline form > "Other" and in the Other subject enter "Pathways Request"

O2 Replacement of  Flash content       
O2D1 Analysis of which Flash objects are associated with the CALs that are in use and are to be migrated (NB some Flash items are used by many CALs there isn't a one-one relationship) Must Yes Academic staff were provided with a list of all CALs containing Flash objects and asked to identify any that they are using so that these could be converted to a new format. However, the process used to find CALs with Flash objects was not 100% accurate, so some were only identified later in the project.
O2D1 Replacement of Flash content determined as still required and prioritised by when needed for teaching Must Yes

Conversion of simple Flash objects was carried out by student workers during summer 2021. 

Conversion of the more complex objects  started in April 22.

Any remaining flash conversions will be completed as part of BAU.  This will be ongoing.

O3 Fit-for-purpose application that enables branching, allowing the user to determine their pathway through the CAL      
O3D1 Analysis of requirements for future state application, including access arrangements, assessment of Articulate Storyline, Articulate 360 and Xerte as a possible solution, linkages to Learn Must Yes

Branching CAL functionality was included in the BRD. It was decided that linear and branching CALs should be provided through a single solution. 

O3D2 Development and testing of replacement application Must Yes

Phase 1 included development and testing of functionality to view migrated branching CALs.

Phase 2 included development and testing of functionality to create and edit branching CALs

O3D3 Communications and training in University for content owners and for users Must Yes See O1D6
O4D4 Communications  and guidance for external users Should - if external users being granted access No Not delivered within the scope of this project, but the normal Visitor process would allow this type of access if required.
O4D5 Governance arrangements for ongoing support and maintenance of the application Must Yes See O1D8
O4 Governance arrangements for content       
O4D1 Ownership for all migrated or newly created content to be documented Must Yes

Only CALs with a named owner were migrated to Pathways. 

When a new CAL is created in Pathways, the user who creates the CAL is automatically identified as the owner. This responsibility can be transferred to another user if required. 

O4D2 Review cycle to be determined to ensure material does not become medically out of date and that owners are kept up as staffing changes over time Should Yes

There will be an annual process to remind CAL owners to check their content is valid.  CAL owners receive an automated notification one year after the last review of their CAL. This prompts them to review the CAL and either update it or confirm no changes needed.

An initial report of CALs that have not been marked as checked will be shared with Directors of Teaching (estimated January/February) and a period until May to identify and update CALs and owners where relevant. Any CALs not updated or without an owner will be identified in a report to CULT & PGLTC (around May) and the content will be unpublished for such CALs. The content owners will still be able to go in to update and republish content, unpublished content will only be hidden from students.

O5 Decommissioning of Obsolete systems      
O5D1 Decommissioning of PathCAL Must Yes No student access from Apr 22 onwards and full decommission before the start of the new academic year.
O5D2 Decommissioning of EROS Must Yes No student access from Apr 22 onwards and full decommission before the start of the new academic year.
O5D3 Decommissioning of Labyrinth Must Yes No student access from Apr 22 onwards and full decommission before the start of the new academic year
O5D4 Decommissioning of eeMec Must Yes Full decommission later as part of BAU 
O5D5 Decommissioning of eeMec 2017 TBC Yes 2017 has been turned off
O5D6 JISC PathCAL turned off Must Yes Jisc have decommissioned the version of PathCAL that was available to external users; Jisc Collections (managed the charging mechanism) are no longer in operation and there was no alternative mechanism offered. 
O5D7 Communications with all users of systems (internal and external) that are being decommissioned Must Yes The full stakeholder Communication list has received all the formal update and Decommission communications ( 21/1/22, 16/2/22 & final communications 25/4/22). Additionally CULT & PGLTC have received updates verbally as the project has progressed.
O5D8 Decommissioning of Pathologia and MedCAL Website if replicating new solution(s) Should No Both sets of users could in the future migrate to Pathways if required.   Both owners have been asked to consider this as an option. 

 

 

 

Analysis of Resource Usage:

Staff Usage Estimate: 95 days

Staff Usage Actual: 95 days

20/21 - 54 day

21/22 - 41 days 

 

KEY BENEFITS 

The key  benefits are  improving the CMVM student learning experience, being able to access relevant up-to-date learning materials through one application.

For CMVM academics and L&T support staff

  • The reduction in the number of available applications reduces confusion and cost of maintenance.  
  • The improved governance of content ownership ensures students have up-to-date learning materials.
  • The endorsement by CULT(18/5/22) for this improved learning content governance was of particular significance, due to the benefits it will deliver.

 

Key Learning Points

This project took the unusual approach to go live with known issues, to get the majority of the functionality to users as early as possible as time was pressing. The known bugs were identified via email when inviting users to start using the system, and users were encouraged to highlight additional issues they found while the fixes to the known issues took place. While very few users came forward for formal User Acceptance Testing, this approach encouraged more users to 'user test' the system and to identify issues which were able to be recitified quickly, as the development team were still developing fixes for the known issues. This was highly successful, in that users accepted the system was not perfect, suggested improvements that would enable it to work better for them, and received updates quickly wherever they were possible. This approach will be taken again for future projects as it was beneficial for engagement with real users to the development team, to the users themselves in getting updates that were able to be actioned, and to the team in making progress together quickly.

A key lessons learned from this project has been the approach to communication to the users and various stakeholder groups, particularly during the final six months of the project.  The deliberate approach of being very clear about what had been completed versus what still to be completed was very well received.  At PGLTC(9/3/22) Simon Riley commented that communications over the past 6 months had been really good and everyone was well briefed and knew what was happening.

Outstanding Issues

1. Any outstanding Flash conversion work will be completed as part of BAU.

2. Final system decommission of EROS/PathCAL & Labyrinth & EEMeC - access has now been restricted and the final decommission will happen as part of BAU.

3. Ophthalmology future system choice - this team are currently considering whether to fully adopt Pathways going forward, this discussion will be ongoing/BAU.

4. The potential to consider Pathologia and MedCAL Website decommission is still being considered (note the separate MedCAL application will be retained) - this discussion will be ongoing/BAU. 

5.Minor bug fix for ordering will be fixed as part of BAU.

 

Project Info

Project
Replacement for PathCAL/EROS and Labyrinth
Code
MVM141
Programme
MVM Learning and Teaching (MVMLAT)
Management Office
ISG PMO
Project Manager
Gail Redford
Project Sponsor
David Kluth
Current Stage
Close
Status
Closed
Project Classification
Run
Start Date
02-Oct-2020
Planning Date
29-Jan-2021
Delivery Date
31-Jan-2022
Close Date
14-Jun-2022
Overall Priority
Normal
Category
Discretionary

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