As Learner Progress Systems Manager one of the main aspects of my role is the management and development of ProMonitor and ProPortal within the College, including the management and set up of markbooks on the system.
From the outset of using ProMonitor it was decided that markbook set up would be centralised and tied into the validation quality process. To ensure quality and integrity of the import of qualification data a system was required that would not only import the correct course data but also select the validated units within the ProMonitor student groups in preparation for set up of the Student Group Types.
The Validation Application was developed in-house to enable this.
Originally developed by the MIS Systems Development Manager and more recently by the MIS Senior Developer & Report Writer the system has been incrementally improved upon each year from my written specifications, which are based upon the validation process and a desire to improve both the process and the user interface for the end user.
The validation application has developed from a system used purely to select and import units into ProMonitor into a system that records planned assessment schedules. Last year Andrew and I were able to utilise the data further by importing data directly from the validation application into Moodle and then using the Moodle/ProMonitor plugin to port processed data back to ProMonitor from where I was able to produce the Assessment Schedule Reports.
Due to the success of these reports the College decided this year it wanted to additionally record resubmissions and internal & external verifications. I realised this would require a redesign in the validation app in the way the assessments were recorded, to allow capture of the additional data. Previously assessments had been recorded in a series of date fields but for the additional data I wanted a more sophisticated method and the best solution for this was for the data to be recorded directly into the assessment schedule grid, something we had been hoping to implement previously but had not been able to implement due to time restrictions.
Additionally, to support changes to the validation process, I also had a number of other new features and improvements with my specification. Our MIS team agreed to implement a number of these but, due to other priorities, were not able to commit to all of the requirements. However we were extremely fortunate that for this project we were able to secure additional resources to contract William Bentley, a highly experienced Senior Developer.
As Project Manager for this development I designed the development specifications for both William and our in house Senior Developer & Report writer. The specification for William included the new assessment schedule input grid, allowing the collection of a wider range of data, improving data entry and additionally improving readability of the assessment schedule.
William worked remotely on our development server managed by Andrew, who was able to answer questions and guide the technical development to meet the needs of the College. William built the assessment schedule grid using Ajax, which gave us the features we required and additionally allowing the direct writing of data to the database. Like all good developers, William worked to spec, and this is why it is so important to ensure specifications are always accurate and complete. However, William did also use initiative to add some bonus features that really enhance the system for the end user.
On return of the finished developments from William, I was excited to see my designs come to fruition within the application, and testing has proved extremely successful technically and has improved the process immensely for the end user.
The demonstration of the new features at the Curriculum Managers meeting was extremely well received and I am looking forward to the remaining developments being implemented before launching the new improved system in time for validation.