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Showing posts from February, 2013

Enhancing Student Support

I had a couple of illuminating meetings with Prof Ian Pirie, who is leading a university-wide project to improve how we support students and help them take more control of their learning within the university.  Ian has a bold and wide-ranging plan, of which the Personal Tutors system that we implemented over the summer is just the beginning.  He has been working with sample groups of up to 100 students, of all subjects, years and backgrounds, to find what works for them and where the university falls short.  Key to the project will be improving feedback, while other elements will include giving them a "one-stop shop" for inquiries and giving them better information about their course options.  Existing initiatives such as the Personalised Timetabling project also form part of the vision.

To date, I've been somewhat on the periphery of this, although some of my staff have implemented the IT systems.  So I found it really helpful to learn how the work we have done so far w…

Four Principles to Succeed at SOA (jdubray)

We are still near the beginning of our journey into a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) although the pace is growing.  This is why I find succinct blog posts from others about their SOA experience to be very helpful.   An example is this one from jdubray.

I particularly like his observation about reuse.  He suggests that you won't implement an interface now that accurately guesses what everybody else will want in three years' time.  Instead, people who use the interface now will benefit from the changes and improvements that are made in newer versions over the next three years.

New office plans

We have a date for our move to new offices.  On April 18th, most of Applications Division will be moving from Old College to two refurbished floors above the Moray House Library, between Holyrood House and the Royal Mile.  The new space will be better equipped than our rather dated offices and will even include a staff room where people can eat their lunch, a luxury that we currently lack.

The planning has reached an advanced stage.  Last week we reviewed the specs for the audio-visual kit.  Our new meeting rooms will have wall-mounted display screens, which will make a pleasant change from having to book and set up our portable data projector.  We will also be able to use the displays to join video conferencing calls using Collaborate or Skype.

In addition, we will have wall-mounted displays in some of the team areas.  In Development Services, we will use these to show live database and system monitoring, which will help us visualise the behaviour of our servers.  We will also displa…

Applications Architecture

For a change, I had a week with very few meetings, which allowed me to progress some of the items on my long list of outstanding actions.  One of the things I spent some time on was the reorganisation of our Applications Architecture wiki pages, which have been ably improved over recent weeks by   Richard Good.

This work has had rather a long gestation and remains a work in progress but we have reached the stage where we have circulated the link and asked our colleagues for feedback on the formats.   At the current time we are particularly looking to confirm the format for the Data and Service Registry, and for the list of External Standards.

We have simplified the top level page, which now links to the following sub-pages:
Introduction: What is an “Applications Architecture”, and information about the Governance Group.Principles and Patterns: The core principles of the group and “patterns” of how interfaces should be designed.Data and Service Registry:  In some sense the core of the …