Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Increasing access to Education

2011 is a year for shipping software. It is the professional alignment of my passion for technology (particularly Internet technology) with my love for teaching and adult learning. I've been a technology professional for over 25 years and a teacher for over 15 years. I honestly believe much of what we learn as adults will have an online component, either through full engagement (including augmentation) or just simple reading / viewing and research. I also believe the idea of blended learning has changed from blending online with the classroom to blending informal learning with the formal approaches.

Most of the projects I have been involved with over the last 2 years will be going live during 2011. They are a mix of projects which include, implementing a federated search, through building web services for content authorization to leveraging online video within a progressive inquiry approach. The project successes include the following (as more of these sites go live I'll make updates to this post with their live URL's) ;
  1. Progressive Video Assessment: LIVE January 2011
  2. This is one of my favorites as it brings together technology, pedagogy, professional development, innovation, video and communities of practice. The idea of progressive video assessment was born out of; my experience with WikiEducator, a belief of video as a good tool for communication, a deepening belief in progressive inquiry as a pedagogical approach and discussions with Neil Hammond of AIM language learning. The design for this website is well described in a blog post from a while back.
  3. Federated & Faceted Search: LIVE February 2011
  4. We had the requirement to upgrade an existing search engine due to performance reasons and the need to have the indexing federated over multiple information silos. The silos also exist within the legal space and needed to be optimized for the legal language. LexUM provided excellent solution design and software construction services, and the insights from the senior staff at CLEBC brought the user design to fit very well into the BC legal community.
  5. Taxonomy Mapping: LIVE February 2011
  6. This application you can't see directly, though the results are a part of search. We had an issue with our federated search in that not all the silos information taxonomies were aligned, so instead of the effort of cleaning up the source systems (which would have been a Herculean effort) we built a taxonomy mapping tool that gets picked up during the re-indexation of the federated search.
  7. Content Level Single Sign-On: LIVE March 2011
  8. Content level single sign-on goes one step further than cross server single sign-on. This approach enforces content access to the server level without being dependent upon the remote and partner servers authorization system. This solution architecture and derived service is the subject of a paper and another post... stay tuned.
  9. Migration and refactoring of legacy site(s): LIVE June 2011
  10. When building new services the hard part becomes integrating with the old sites and services, and supporting your existing customer base. Refactoring is a solid approach for you minimize the change, and focusing on ONLY what needs to be done to go live. Once everything in the new integrated solution has stabilized, then customer facing and feature changes can begin.
  11. Practice Manuals (with commenting): LIVE June 2011
  12. Adding Web2.0 features to existing services, particularly those with a successful history and continuing utilization in traditional publishing is hard. And getting it right requires boldness and a willingness to experiment. The publishing team at CLEBC has both the boldness and willingness combined with the rigorous approach you'd expect from legal editors.
  13. Document builder, An Online Precedents service: LIVE Spring 2012
  14. The ability to easily introduce new services integrated with an existing infrastructure shows the strength of the infrastructure. The ability for these new services to be integrated with the new CLEOnline and authorization web service test this ability. Even though I have long completed this project and am no longer contracting with CLEBC to see other projects go live within six months of my departure is a great thing.
  15. Engagement Questions: LIVE Fall 2011
  16. Leveraging video resources and remixing them with other pedagogical approaches creates new opportunities for professional development organizations.
I'd also like to thank many groups and individuals for making all these projects a success;
  • I'd like to give much thanks to the senior CLEBC management team for having the boldness, courage and patience for allowing these projects to germinate and get to completion.
  • I'd like to give equal thanks to all the senior staff at CLEBC for providing excellent guidance, leadership and design insight into shipping software to the legal community.
  • I'd like to thank AIM Language Learning for trusting my experience and taking action in building the AIM language professional.
  • I'd like to thank LexUM for always exceeding our expections in building an exemplary federated search and accompanying application solutions.
  • I'd like to thank Softlanding for their software engineering expertise, design suggestions and support in getting us to completion.
  • I'd like to thank AppNovation for thinking different and focusing on new media and building embedded video into their core competency
Needless to say, I am very chuffed about having shipped all this software. And having completed implementations as a Personal KPI I feel a great sense of accomplishment. I am looking for more projects to Sheppard to completion. If you have information technology based projects and need a proven and senior individual to get these projects to completion, don't hesitate to contact me.