Tuesday 19 July 2011

Massey University Bolster's MUSAC's Board

I heard an incredibly strange comment the other day about what Massey was doing with MUSAC. The comment was the exact opposite to the reality.

Anyway, Massey University is committed to MUSAC and has been working to ensure MUSAC's long term success. One of the initiatives has been to bolster the MUSAC Advisory Board. The Board now consists of:
  • Mark Cleaver (Chair). Mark is Massey University's Director of research management services and has accountabilities around commercialisation activities. Mark also has a strong background in educational governance having served on Boards for schools, kindergarten associations and sports bodies.
  • Professor James Chapman. Pro-vice Chancellor of the College of Education and an international reputation in literacy research. Professor Chapman has also done the hard yards in the classroom.
  • Terry Allen. Is a director at Massey University's business incubator the e-centre and extensive experience in strategic planning and IT
  • Grant Travis. Grant is an accountant by trade with particular strengths in strategic thinking bringing a steady, pragmatic and forward focus perspective to Board meetings and discussions. Grant is an independent director on other commercial Boards and a successful businessman in his own right.
  • Yours truly

Monday 4 July 2011

MUSAC Commits to SMS-LMSv2.2

Following the beta release of our SMS-LMS v2 implementation (incorporated into MICC) has been the requirement to address a number of issues:
  • Data validation
  • Performance
  • Batch uploads
  • Scheduling
Underlying those issues (which are MUSAC ones) has been a couple of more fundamental ones associated with the schema which doesn't allow for 2 degrees cellphone numbers, for example. These are addressed in v2.2 of the SMS-LMS interoperability schema. MUSAC has committed to making the necessary software changes to comply with version 2.2. We're going to kick the additional development work off shortly, but to provide better assurance the teams from KnowledgeNET and UltraNET will work closely with us to enable a stronger end-to-end test bed. We expect to do the integration testing within a month.

Thanks also to Paul from the Ministry for providing enabling assistance.

Some schools are probably asking why it has "taken so long". The short answer was that MUSAC deliberately did not take a leading edge position with version SMS-LMS v2 interoperability. MUSAC did so with KnowledgeNET with version 1 of the schema and rewrote a lot of software many times. While the Ministry provided some assistance we absorbed a lot of cost to, in hindsight, essentially develop a proof of concept.

This iteration we waited until the dust had settled a bit, but even then an update of schema v2 was released about a month after we'd pushed it out to all MUSAC schools. The feedback I've been getting is that you would prefer us to take a more leading role. So we shall.