Online Learning Administration Enhancement
Curtin’s Online Learning Administration System (OLAS) ‘middleware’ software application provides a bridge between student management system StudentOne and Curtin’s online learning environment Blackboard. It provisions student access to Blackboard courses (units) based on availability and ensures that the final grades recorded in Blackboard’s ‘Grade Centre’ are exported back to StudentOne. This middleware is also a feeder to applications such as Echo360, student mobile app elsie, Leganto, and the Unit Outline Builder.
Given its age and the obsolete ColdFusion platform, OLAS is prioritised for a critical improvement to enhance users’ digital experience and associated business processes efficiency. Today, Blackboard has increased functionality that will eliminate reliance on the middleware.
The current middleware application has a number of challenges:
- Administrative undertaking to manually add student enrolments to every Blackboard course (unit) for every study period;
- Loss of learning analytics data due to the current configuration of the middleware where all students are removed from their unit (course) at the end of each study period;
- Redundant learning materials and other information in Blackboard as a result of course content remaining from previous study periods without any clean-up; and
- Software glitches and bugs that are difficult and time-consuming to troubleshoot and support, or not being resolved due to dated technologies.
The Online Learning Administration Enhancement (OLAE) project will allow Curtin to operate more efficiently and improve the student experience.
In 2017 the OLAE project will deliver the following outcomes:
- De-couple the middleware (OLAS) between Student One, Alesco and Blackboard;
- Utilise Curtin Integration Platform to provide a data link from Alesco and Student One with Blackboard;
- Configure Blackboard to utilise its broader administrative functionality;
- Feed downstream systems (e.g. Echo360, Leganto) directly from key sources (e.g. Student One, Blackboard);
- Improve efficiency with the provision of students into units (courses) according to units availability.
- Increased data accuracy (unit availabilities, student enrolments and final grades) between Student One and Blackboard.
- Reduction in students losing access to Backboard due to issues with the middleware.
- Enhanced student experience and ability to access recently completed unit materials.
- Enabling academic and course staff to have access to learning analytics;
- Improved compliance to record management policies and WA State Records Act.