Student developers demonstrate how deep integration with the rest of the university is one of the real benefits of a local developer.
In this DevCSI case study, Michelle Pauli interviews Joss Winn and Alex Bilbie to find out more about the impact student developers are having at the University of Lincoln?
Read the case study: Dev CSI
We are writing a case study for UKOLN, a JISC-funded "centre of excellence in digital information management, providing advice and services to the library, information and cultural heritage communities". The case study will discuss our use of the new HTML5 standard for web authoring. This is in response to a call for case studies made in July 2011, which asked for:
HTML5 case studies and demonstrators which describe best practices and scenarios for making use of HTML5 and related Open Web Platform standards for supporting activities of relevance to those working in the higher and further education sectors.
In April 2010, Alex Bilbie, an undergraduate student working part-time in ICT, began to develop a 'Common Web Design' for the university's web services. At that time, Alex and a recent graduate, Nick Jackson, were developing Posters at Lincoln, a repository and showcase for posters displayed around the university. The decision to develop this service came out of a student focus group about improving student communications. The Online Services Team recognised that the development of Posters at Lincoln provided an opportunity to develop a common platform for a new HTML/CSS presentation framework that would gradually unify the look and feel of all internal web offerings.
Over the last year, the CWD has been gradually deployed across the university: e.g. The University Gateway, Posters at Lincoln, it is the default theme for the University Blogs platform, the MyPlayer streaming media service, Print from My PC, My Calendar/Total Recal, Jerome, Linking You, lncn.eu URL shortener, the staff directory, the mobile gateway, our in-house mobile Blackboard app, our internal access control website for student halls, Student as Producer, and the university Careers website . The CWD has been of particular benefit for our mobile/blended learning project, providing a ready-made mobile presentation framework for us to rapidly develop with.
Writing the case study gives us an opportunity to reflect on our use of HTML5 and inform the overall use of the HTML5 standard across the university sector. It also puts us in touch with others working in this area who we can learn from.
This is a small on-going project that will produce a case study relevant to people working in the university sector and beyond.
September - November 2011
We have been awarded £5000 to cover staff time to write the case study.
As part of open education week, JISC commissioned a series of case studies on ?institutional approaches to openness?. At Lincoln, such an approach can be best understood in relation to our Student as Producer initiative.
Read the case study: Hacking the university
The University of Lincoln has created a range of APIs for specific systems such as their "Nucleus" endpoints for Calendars, Events, People and Print services, and the datasets provided through these APIs are used to drive sections of the University's corporate Website and phone directory (Bilbie, 2012), albeit sometimes with intermediate parsing.
Our data-driven approach was recognised in a report by JISC's Observatory: Data-driven Infrastructure.
Lincoln developed a staff directory that took advantage of APIs to create a client-facing corporate service based on existing data. On account of their work over recent years to develop a large pool of API-exposed datasets, they were able to prototype a new staff directory in less than 48 hours, using APIs to pull data from disparate sources within the institution.
Read the The Advantages of APIs report which discusses our work.