Completion Report

Project Summary:


Project Overview


Blackboard Collaborate is the University-supported virtual classroom and virtual meeting space technology. It is integrated with MyEd, Moodle and Learn. MyEd is the most popular integration for staff to create Collaborate sessions, and the only integration where students may create a Collaborate session. 

Blackboard Collaborate have upgraded their product (to Collaborate Ultra) with release at the University set for summer 2016. The new release changes core functionality and will require a new Collaborate API to allow users to access Collaborate Ultra. This new API (which uses REST APIs) will thus necessitate the development of a new channel in MyEd to replace the current one.

This project was initiated to  

  • Build and user test the replacement channel
  • Deployment of the new channel and any new features
  • Withdrawal of the 'retired' channel from MyEd


Project Goals


  • Full analysis of new MyEd channel documentation resulting in comprehensive set of requirements detailing the new functionality 
  • System Design Documentation to be produced
  • The new MyEd channel to meet Business Requirements
  • Successful deployment of channel allowing users to access Collaborate Ultra and other new features


Were the project goals met?   Yes


Objectives and Deliverables:



Deliverable/Objective Details


Objective   1     To determine what is required for inclusion in the development of the new MyEd channel  


Analysis of the new API, Blackboard's Integration Guide and related documentation




A set of requirements detailing the new functionality to be included




System design documentation for the replacement channel





Approval from Blackboard for solution design


Objective 2To develop and implement the new MyEd channel  


Channel, as developed, signed off by Blackboard


D2-2Successful user testing of channel that meets business requirementsMustYes

A new MyEd channel that allows user access to Collaborate Ultra and any new features


Analysis of Resource Usage:

Staff Usage Estimate: 47 days

Staff Usage Actual: 54 days

Staff Usage Variance: 15%

Other Resource Estimate: days

Other Resource Actual: days

Other Resource Variance: 0%

Explanation for variance:

The project used more days due to completion. There are a number of reasons for this variance:

  • A contractor was brought in to do the development as the original developer was required on a higher priority project. The required some application and procedure training / familiarisation time.
  • On performing user acceptance testing there were a number of JIRAs raised that required attention. With the contractor now finished and the original developer on annual leave, this requried someone else to take on the task of fixing the issues.
  • More project management time was required as the original deployment / closure dates had to change as the contractor was unavailable to start within our allocated time period, and we needed extra time to fix and test the JIRAs that were raised. There was also delays in getting information back from Blackboard that added some time to the project.This has pushed out the project delivery and closure milestones


Key Learning Points:

a) What went well:

  • New Collaborate channel was deployed before the end of Summer 2016. (Kelly)
  • We have delivered all the aspects of the previous channel and an improved process for retrieving recordings (Steph)
  • Hiring a contractor to specifically focus on this project for a month and get the channel built quickly (Kelly & Steph)
  • Communication with Blackboard was productive and helpful in the main (Kelly & Steph)
  • The project approach (especially Michael) to JIRAs - the constanting updating and ongoing, rather than delayed, bulk, testing (especially during UAT) - was invaluable (Kelly & Steph)
  • Advance preperation work (Richard) ensured a smooth build. (Steph)


b) What did not go so well?

  • Despite repeated requests, the API was delivered too late by Blackboard. Supplier should have been more responsive to our needs. (Kelly)
  • Forward planning re resource booking - annual leave not accounted for, e.g. no immediate cover for Richard's holiday. Especially affected UAT. (Kelly & Steph)
  • There were certain communication problems throughout the project (Steph)
  • Sporadic & patchy responses from Blackboard at times. This meant some dev time was lost. (Steph)


Lessons Learned

 The project went very well and delivered succesful results, however there are some lessons which can be carried forward: 

  • Ensure resources are booked as early as possible. In particular annual leave needs to be tracked well in advance so that we don’t lose a resource at a critical stage. (Kelly & Steph)
  • Weekly communications, including actions and issues, to be sent around the project team to ensure everyone knows where the project is at (Steph)
  • More regular meetings between the PM and business stakeholders (Steph)
  • Business stakeholders to arrange fortnightly meetings with vendor (in this case Blackboard) to update on progress and ask questions (Steph)
  • During the build phase get dedicated time from the vendor to speak to developers in case queries need answered (Steph)


Outstanding issues:

Ongoing JIRAs as at 07/09/16

  1. TEL032-21 - Can the non Ultra collaborate tables be deleted

The table deletion script is to be run by Applications Management when required on the Live database.

Project Info

BlackBoard Collaborate MyEd Channel Refresh
ISG - Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL)
Management Office
Project Manager
Chris Konczak
Project Sponsor
Anne-Marie Scott
Current Stage
Start Date
Planning Date
Delivery Date
Close Date
Programme Priority
Overall Priority