The project is designed to exploit the work done by NIIMLE (Northern Ireland Integrated Managed Learning Environment) as part of the JISC MLEs for Lifelong Learning Programme, and in particular, the work on developing the use of uPortal and the Enterprise web services. The work will be further developed for use with the Staffordshire University Regional Federation (SURF) and the Welsh eTraining Network (WETN).

SUNIWE

Final report available at the bottom of the page

Region: West Midlands (with Wales and Northern Ireland)

Overview

The project is designed to exploit the work done by NIIMLE (Northern Ireland Integrated Managed Learning Environment) as part of the JISC MLEs for Lifelong Learning Programme, and in particular, the work on developing the use of uPortal and the Enterprise web services.  The work will be further developed for use with the Staffordshire University Regional Federation (SURF) and the Welsh eTraining Network (WETN). 

The project’s intentions are best seen by considering the following two scenarios, drawn from the project plan, which envisage what the project will enable if successful: 

I work in a small company and am taking a Staffordshire University foundation degree at SHREWSBURY COLLEGE. I connect to the SURF Portal over the Internet. When I log in, I can see a list of all the degree course modules I have taken so far at the College and the modules I am currently registered for. I can also see the details of a separate Further Education course I am taking at SHREWSBURY COLLEGE and also details of a course I took last year at Burton College. By clicking on an entry, I can see more detail about each course or module.  I can also see my personal details, such as address etc, as held by the College and the University.   I have just changed my job within the company so I click on a button and enter the new details.  (This is sent to the relevant people at the College who change the entry in the MIS system both there and at the University). I can also see which of my modules is using the COSE VLE, and click on one of the entries to launch the VLE so that I can do some work for the module. The Portal also shows me electronic resources held by the University which are relevant to the courses I am taking and allows me to access them.  

I live in Havefordwest in South West Wales and my first language is Welsh. I have recently enrolled on the on-line Foundation Degree in e-Commerce offered by Pembrokeshire College and am pleased that I can select English or Welsh materials as I wish. My preference is to study through the medium of Welsh but complete assessment in English (I worry about the quality of my written Welsh).  I am supported by bilingual tutors at the college and I am able to communicate in Welsh by phone & occasional f2f meetings on campus.  I previously studied an on-line ICT Skills for Business course at Coleg Llandrillo which was also available in Welsh. When I log on to the College Portal, I can see my whole ePortfolio, including the results of this previous course. I am able to update my personal details and gain access to a whole load of resources that support me in my studies. Not only can I switch from Welsh to English at the click of a button, I also have available an on-line Welsh/English dictionary, thesaurus and grammar developed by University of Wales, Lampeter.

Aims and Objectives

This is a cross-regional proposal designed to take the current work of the MLEs for Lifelong Learning Project, NIIMLE, in implementing IMS Enterprise Web Services to provide access to learner information for students across the province using uPortal, and both trial implementing this work within the SURF and WETN consortia, further expand it to provide personalised links to VLEs and other eResources via the portal, and to implement others elements of interoperability.  

Intended deliverables are:
  • Refined and extended Enterprise Web Services tested in use with uPortal, VLEs, MIS systems and eResource systems
  • Further testing of Shibboleth solutions
  • Proof of concept implementations of MLE elements using the above at WETN, SURF and NIIMLE
  • Reports on all key outcomes:

    • The effectiveness of the Web Services Implementations
    • The effectiveness of the uPortal implementations
    • The effectiveness of the Shibboleth implementations
    • The effectiveness of multi-institutional, distributed resources delivery
    • The effectiveness of dynamic student record management

Project Methodology

The project is being developed via scenarios and use case modelling using the Rational Unified Process (RUP) development process.  The project will be using uPortal, the COSE VLE, the WETN Virtual College, Shibboleth, and various MIS systems. Developments are Java based and include use of Tomcat, AXIS and SAML.  The project is committed to interoperability and relevant specifications and standards include WSDL, IMS Enterprise and IMS LIP.

Implications/ Stakeholders

The project will enable other institutions to examine the feasibility of providing personalised information and support to learners in a consortium context, and will provide an enhanced set of open source web services to help other progress. 

The project feels that the project will contribute to a more learner-centred approach to the provision of many aspects of the eLearning experience and that its reports will help inform strategy and local, regional and national levels. 

The project has been awarded a continuation phase, and will now finish on 31 December 2006.

Lead Institution

Staffordshire University

Project Partners

From SURF:  

From WETN:  

Project Staff

Project Manager
  • Vicki Watkin, Learning Development and Innovation, Information Services, Staffordshire University, College Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2DE, Tel: 01782 294957  v.l.watkin@staffs.ac.uk  
Project Team 
  • Prof Mark Stiles (Main contact), Project Director (SUNIWE & SURF), Head of Learning Development and Innovation
    Information Services, Staffordshire University, Beaconside, Stafford ST18 0AD, Tel: 01785 353647, FAX: 01785 353645 m.j.stiles@staffs.ac.uk

  • Sam Rowley, Project Technical Manager, Tel: 01785 353548 c.s.rowley@staffs.ac.uk

  • Vicki Watkin, Project Manager (SURF and overall), Tel: 01782  294957  v.l.watkin@staffs.ac.uk

  • Steve Blakemore, SURF partner college contact, Tel: (01782) 208208 SBLAK1SC@stokecoll.ac.uk

  • Richard Booth, SURF partner college contact, Tel: 01743 342342 richardbo@shrewsbury.ac.uk

  • Dave Shearan, SURF partner college contact, Tel: 01743 342342 daves@shrewsbury.ac.uk

  • Prof Tony Toole, Project Director (WETN), Director of On-line Services, Coleg Sir Gâr, Graig Campus, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire SA15 4DN, Tel: 01554 748347, Fax: 01554 748340  tony.toole@virtualcollege.ac.uk

  • Angelo Conti, WETN partner college contact, Tel: 01792 284022, Fax: 01792 284074  a.conti@swancoll.ac.uk

  • Geoff Elliot, WETN partner college contact, Tel: 01437 753000, Fax: 01437 753001 g.elliot@pembrokeshire.ac.uk

  • Greg McClure, NIIMLE Project Manager, NIIMLE Project, 7 College Park East, Belfast, BT7 1LQ, Tel: +44(0)28 9097 3845 g.m.mcclure@niimle.ac.uk

 

Documents & Multimedia

Summary
Start date
20 January 2005
End date
31 December 2006
Funding programme
Distributed e-Learning programme