Developing a social collaborative platform for a curriculum review process: A case study of an iterative component based method

Alisdair Smithies, Chris Banks

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


    This paper explores the use of a development method, designed for use in educational technology projects, to build a Web-based collaborative toolset from a 'mash-up' of existing Open Source components. A funding requirement for this project was to employ the Users and Innovation Development Method (UIDM) 1 and use existing Open Source building blocks. Similarly to other agile development methods, UIDM specifies short-cycle design, implement and review iterations. The project's aims were to develop a system that supports the founding and evolution of a community of distributed work-place tutors and actively involve them in the process of curriculum review. Here, we present the challenges and opportunities encountered through the iterative development cycles of the system. The UIDM method focuses on user engagement throughout the project lifecycle. Several different groups of stakeholders were identified, each with particular requirements. During the early stages of the project, the design of the system focussed on the provision of services and features that would benefit key stakeholders within the organisation. As the project gained momentum, engaging stakeholders from the wider user community, a further set of requirements emerged. These varied significantly from the initial set of requirements, but added value for the user community and were felt to be necessary for engagement with the target audience. Consequently, the services offered by the system changed significantly from the original plans. Using a mature content management platform with a modular architecture gave access to a library of preexisting modules, already tested with an active and supportive user base. Consequently, new features could be added as requirements emerged with little or no time required for development or customisation. The combination of an existing mature Open Source system with a bespoke collaborative authoring component has provided the degree of versatility and reliability required in this enterprise-level development endeavour.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication8th European Conference on eLearning 2009, ECEL 2009|Eur. Conf. eLearn., ECEL
    PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International Ltd
    Number of pages7
    ISBN (Print)9781622767076
    Publication statusPublished - 2009
    Event8th European Conference on eLearning 2009, ECEL 2009 - Bari
    Duration: 1 Jul 2009 → …


    Conference8th European Conference on eLearning 2009, ECEL 2009
    Period1/07/09 → …


    • Collaborative authoring
    • Open source
    • UIDM
    • Web 2.0


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