Completion Report

Project Summary:


Moodle is a VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) platform available to use at University of Edinburgh for courses that are taught completely online for distance students.

At present the courses are created and students are added via manual processes, these can be completed either via Moodle Interface or by import of a CSV file. This creates a staff overhead that will be difficult to sustain in the medium to long term if the service is to be expanded to accommodate new and successful Online Distance Learning (ODL) courses, as well as making it impossible to expand the use of the service for blended or on campus courses.

This project fits in with the University's strategy as it will improve the student experience and deliver excellence in education as it will be quicker and more seamless process for students to give them access to their online teaching environment. For ODL students, this is the equivalent to having access to the University campus itself.

It will also make more efficient use of available infrastructure and people resources by automating tasks that are time consuming and manual.

The University needs a scalable technology enhanced learning capability which is well integrated with University processes, lowering barriers to increased usage and supporting a quality student experience.



The scope of this project was to remove the current manual processes to create courses and add students into an automated process.

Out of Scope for this project was the inclusion of any business intelligence or management Information requirements. Please note for disabling of students and staff this will be completed via EASE and for courses these are not currently disabled on Moodle therefore this would remain as is.





Success Criteria

To automate creation of courses and the ability to populate students to these course in Moodle
  • Create courses on request via an interface/webform - Complete
  • Create staff and student users in the system for those courses where Moodle has been selected via an interface / webform - Complete
  • Populate those courses with the students enrolled on these courses, as well as staff members, such as course organiser and secretary - Complete
  • Facility / option to refresh update course / students / staff information would be useful - Complete

Additional deliverables:

  • Grouper training for Service Team and IS Helpdesk
  • Grouper documentation completed for Service Team to use

By automating this process will result in :

  • Free staff resource from completing these tasks manually
  • Courses can be created in a consistent way - removes human error in manually created/populated courses
  • Create users in a consistent way - removes human error in manually created users
  • Create enrolments onto courses from Registry data - avoiding time intensive manual processes
  • Increases the sustainability of the continued expansion of the system to ODL courses
  • Allows the sustainability of increasing access to the service to courses other than ODL, if required / desired
  • Reduction in effort spent on manual configurations, reflected in staff reporting
  • Expediate the time taken to set up courses and users and reduction in errors which should reduce the number of helpdesk calls and negative feedback

These benefits should be realised once all courses have been rolled out currently only 5 courses have been rolled out via soft launch

  • Ability for courses to be created automatically - Complete
  • Ability for students to be added to courses automatically - Complete
  • Reduction in helpdesk calls - This will increase as new courses are rolled out
  • Reduction in manual effort - This will decrease as new courses are rolled out


Analysis of Resource Usage:

Staff Usage Estimate: 50 days

Staff Usage Actual: 88 days

Staff Usage Variance: 76%

Other Resource Estimate: 0 days

Other Resource Actual: 0 days

Other Resource Variance: 0%

Explanation for variance:

  • The original budget for this project of  50 days was allocated via DEI funding, however it was noted at planning stage that the project was more aligned to a 70 day project. It was stated in the project brief that a re-estimation would take place following completion of an Application and Data Architecture document which would confirmed architecture / system to be used for the project. It was confirmed on completiomn of the ADA that Grouper would be suitable to use for the Moodle Course Enrolment Management.
  • A review of the budget was undertaken, and also due to an issue highlighted with course code information as noted under PICCL 4, amd increase in budget was approved of 8 days resulting in an overall budget of 58 days, this was to cover the following areas not previously estimated :

    • Grouper Training - 0.5 days
    • Creation of Data Source - 2 days
    • Architecture discussions, meetings and investigations relating to IDM / Grouper course code information - 3 days
    • Peer review rework - 1 day
    • Additional Build work - 1.5 day
  • A further PICCL 8 was raised on the project following User Acceptance was placed 'on hold' by Project Sponsor at end of March 16 due to concerns around data issues in the test environment and also around the specific issues. This increased project budget by 22 days  to 80 days due to additional effort in resolving UAT data issues and investigations into course code format, this incldued 10 days to cover:

    • Additional 10 days covers:
    • Production Handover = 1.5 days
    • System Documentation = 1 day
    • UAT Rework = 1 day
    • Deployment / DSOR = 4 days
    • Project Management /Closure = 2.5 days
  • PICCL 10 was raised by Stephannie Hay, Service Manager advising that due to the level of test data quality the Service team were not comfortable with the project deploying to live on 29th June. A agreement gained to complete a soft launch with a small number of SEM1 courses (6 courses) whereby the project team could monitor data over 4 week period from live and agree if Deployment review can be signed off and allows project closure. Additional increase of 8 days  with the total budget approved of 88 days covering:
    • 8 days to cover deployment and deployment support 15/17

    • 4 days to cover deployment support and closure 16/17

In summary the overall project budget was 50 days funding via DEI and 38 days via CORE funding.

Key Learning Points:


  • As TEL025 was one of the first projects to use Grouper as a Service there was always the risk that the project would encounter issues not previously seen.
  • The project was instructed to complete an Application and Data Architecture document and was steered in the direction of using Grouper, when possibly this application was not really ready to be used in earnest.
  • There were obvious issues with data inconsistency between environments in IDM which were causing massive issues for the Business for UAT, therefore a clearer understanding of test data requirements should be highlighted earlier in the project
  • Also important to use newly created data than having a reliance on existing test data available in current systems test environments such as IDM which have caused issues on other projects
  • It seems that key services which many applications interface with (like Grouper) are well understood by very few people and that generally it is the interfacing parts which are most complicated and least understood for the services we support. This includes updates being processed by LDAP, timings and exceptions need to be clearly understood.


  • Level of Communication issued out by the project was noted as good by Business Lead even when issues were being encountered they were fully aware of the project status and position/progress
  • Team engagement across Core Project team was noted as managed effectively and also involvement of additional resources who helped to support and supplement the project, this included Hugh Brown & Suran Perera (Application Management), Chris McKay (Service Management) and Student Systems (Karen Osterburg and Luke Manley)

Outstanding issues:

Project Info

Moodle Course Enrolment Management
ISG - Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL)
Management Office
Project Manager
Karen Stirling
Project Sponsor
Anne-Marie Scott
Current Stage
Start Date
Planning Date
Delivery Date
Close Date
Overall Priority