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VLE Review

Stages of project 

The project was approached through five phases, these were: 

  1. Preparatory Phase: which consisted of the formation of the project board and project working group.  The working group approved the specification documentation that was initially written for OJEU, and was used in the POISE process.  This specification was aligned to the institution’s Learning, Teaching Assessment strategy and will complement the different pedagogical approaches of a diverse academic group.  
  1. Tender and Evaluation Processes: focussed on the extent to which the proposed solutions satisfied the mandatory requirements for the VLE (pedagogical and system functionality) and how it met the ‘highly desirable’ and ‘desirable’ requirements set out in the published specification document.  This process also ensured that the University stayed within the legal procurement frameworks required.  Following the evaluation process the project board ratified the presentation panel’s recommendations.  

This phase included a number of actions: 

  • Identification of purchasing framework: the project made use of the POISE framework which is run through Brunel University London, allowing the avoidance of a full OJEU tender.  A full set of specifications were still produced to ease the process through POISE, the understanding of colleagues and potential suppliers.  The specifications were made available through a dedicated website (https://libguides.uos.ac.uk/digital/vle-specification). 
  • Panel presentations: through the POISE framework a soft market test was initiated with three suppliers coming forward, these were: Blackboard, Canvas, D2L – Brightspace. The three suppliers were invited in to present to the presentation panel, who scored each presentation.  Following scoring, Blackboard were not shortlisted for user testing. 
  • User testing and feedback: the two shortlisted suppliers were invited in to present their platforms at an open invitation show and tell.  Following these sessions test environments of each platforms were provided.  Three categories of user testing sessions were advertised; these were Academic, Student and Course Administration.  User scenarios were created and each tester followed the scenarios and then completed a survey for each environment. In total, 147 members of the University engaged with the process. Feedback from all groups of users, especially students favoured the platform that went on to win the contract. 
  • Scoring: Following completion of user testing, the scores were added together with the scores from the other criteria, giving a total, and therefore winning platform. The project scoring was based on: 

Weighting 

Criteria 

Sub-Criteria 

Sub-Weighting 

15% 

 

 

Quality 

Specification 

 

 

Project management/ implementation plan proposed 

5% 

Post go-live support (e.g. user groups, system support) 

5% 

Demonstration 

5% 

30% 

Technical and Pedagogical Requirements 

Technical and Pedagogical requirements 

30% 

40% 

Usability Testing 

Usability testing 

40% 

15% 

Pricing Proposal 

Platform cost (excluding additional tools) over 5 years (including implementation) 

15% 

 

  • Real Life Testing and Migration: was used to confirm the minimum specification expected of all modules in the VLE.  A pilot group (PgCAP) was selected to test the chosen VLE during Semester 2 of 2017/18 academic year.  This Course was chosen as it was an internal course with the students being made up of University staff.  There were two migration periods during the project.  The first was a ‘lift and shift’ process of historical data (Semester 1/Term 1 2017/18) to allow student access to previous years module content.  The second was for later 2017/18 modules and course areas. 
     
  • Live Roll Out, Monitor and Review: consisted of ensuring the smooth roll out of the live platform, with continued support frameworks for both staff and students.  The project also led to the design of a minimum baseline specification that can be expected in all module areas.  During the life of the project the term VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) has been phased out, to move to a more fitting OLE (Online Learning Environment).