3Case StudyKey Drivers■ Limitations on server capacity.■ Constraints to learningapproaches.■ Limitations of buildings.■ Scarcity of specialist teachers.■ Potential of collaboration.■ Need to integrate informationsystems.■ Need to promote teaching learning using ILT.■ To unburden staff of VLEmaintenance includingsoftware updating tasks, andto mitigate disaster recovery.Intended Beneficiaries■ Learners across the college and in specific subject anddisability areas.■ Staff.■ Partners.SummaryAll of these projects were focused on running Moodle, and in one case Blackboard, in the Cloud,to provide gains for learners in accessing learning resources and collaborative learning. The twocollaborative projects involved sharing of learning resources and scarce teacher expertise betweencolleges. One project uses an FE College’s expertise and resources to support Visually Impaired Learnersin an Independent Specialist College.Colleges and ProjectsExeter CollegeHereford College of Technologywith the Royal National Collegefor the BlindHighbury College(Phase 1 of a larger project)New College DurhamNESCOT and GreenwichPortsmouth Sixth Form College(6 colleges)Swindon CollegeWigan and Leigh CollegeVirtual College in the CloudMoodle Access Across Two Colleges and for Partially SightedLearnersEducation CloudVLE UpgradeVLE Collaborative ProjectSCIP Physics MoodlePutting Moodle in the CloudVLE Cloud Migration Project
4Case StudyImpact to date and anticipatedThe impact of these projects includes increased accessibility to applications tools by learners and staffThese projects are demonstrating that VLE in the Cloud is having, and will have, a positive impactin respect of improved functionality, improved accessibility, greater resilience and reduced overheadon technical staff and servers. One project has demonstrated how VLE in the Cloud is achieving costeffective access for visually impaired students to specialised software. Another project is using a stagedapproach to VLE in the Cloud, first through Eduserve and in the medium term through a private Cloud.The two collaborative projects are demonstrating the value of shared experience, access to a wide set ofproven teaching resources and maximising the value of scarce teaching resources in Physics, Maths andEnglish.Exeter College: “Anticipated impact includes; improved functionality as requested by teachers andlearners, greater resilience and reduced overhead on technical staff.”Hereford College of Technology and the Royal National College for the Blind: “For the partiallysighted, there is now no need to visit every PC to install JAWS. All computers are potentially accessibleto blind users · Users can run JAWS on their own PCs, not just college ones. Other accessibility andgeneral software can be added to the system and made available from the cloud for the hosted Moodle.Performance has improved with no local administration and excellent green credentials”.NESCOT Greenwich College: “Of the students surveyed to date, 75% responded positively that theportal and content were easy to access and made them feel more confident in their skills”.Portsmouth Sixth Form College: “Initial responses from partners indicate a positive outcome with anincrease in success rate as a result of improvements brought about by sharing experience, practice andperformance”.Swindon College “As of September 2013 we expect a large increase of Moodle being used across thecollege for both curriculum and support”.Supplier engagement experiencesThe main issues emerging with supplier selection are:■ The need to consider the whole of the supply chain■ That sometimes the supplier is pre-determined, as in the case of Blackboard■ That after consideration some colleges continue to supply their own services (and to other colleges)■ That rigorous evaluation processes should be used■ That the University of London Computer Services is a strong and experienced player in this field.
5Case StudyExeter college; “In selecting suppliers it is essential to understand the supply chain that exists beyondthe party with which you are contracting and the potential impact of interdependent SLAs”.Hereford College of Technology and Royal National College of the Blind: “The choice was limited sincewe could only find one software vendor who had the technology required for this complex challenge”.Highbury College: ”We are engaging in a 6 month pilot contract with Eduserve”NESCOT Greenwich College: “We incorporated the well-established tendering process used at Nescotto identify and choose a potential partner. This involved a panel with representatives from both colleges.Potential partners were subject to a rigorous selection process before the panel chose the successfulpartner”Portsmouth Sixth Form College: “The project has not used external cloud suppliers – it has built its ownMoodle service on a separate staff access platform”.Swindon College: “We chose ULCC through past experience of using the company at my previouscollege.”Wigan and Leigh College “We started by having conversations with a few colleges regarding theirchoices. They had settled on the ULCC as a provider”.Technical Challenges and Data Security IssuesHereford College of Technology Royal National College of the Blind:” JAWS uses some advanced lowlevel Windows drivers that would normally need to be installed per machine. The virtualisation vendorwas able to work with the JAWS vendor and ourselves to solve this issue”.Portsmouth Sixth Form College: “Problems have arisen through partners using different versions ofMoodle. Transferring content from Moodle 1 to Moodle 2 is not straight forward”.Exeter College: “At present, only low impact data will be cloud hosted. However, we will be using thisproject to assess the security implications for further use of such services”.
6Case StudyChange Management experienceThe key issues emerging here are the need for staff user involvement at an early stage (including bottomup as well as top down processes), well planned user training with practitioner involvement and usingthe opportunity to progress pedagogyExeter College:” This project represents the early stages of a new college strategy for ICT. As such, thereis visibility of the initiative at strategic-levels and progress is reported and reviewed regularly. The workis being promoted across the college and in addition to the core project group, events have been heldto inform and engage as many practitioners as possible. A training programme for practitioners will beoffered in July and the new services will be promoted through the summer and into the start of the newacademic year”.Hereford CT and RNC:” The project worked with test systems and trial users. Once a stable system wasavailable, we supported students to use it on their own PCs and are going to use it on new productionsystems from the summer”.NESCOT Greenwich: “Both colleges have internal VLEs established. Key stakeholders were chosento decide what content was crucial in this shared portal. Stakeholders soon recognised that contentto support English and Maths skills required development in line with the new common inspectionframework. It has been good to have key relationships with senior managers at both colleges who havehelped to identify key stakeholders to support the project. One barrier that arose during key stages of theproject happened when one college were expecting an Ofsted inspection. Nevertheless, the other collegewas able to support development during this busy time for the other college”.Portsmouth Sixth Form College:” Staff from each partner site meet at regular intervals. Meetings areinformal and generally flow to allow open discussion of common issues. This is a project that has beendeveloped to support teaching and learning from a departmental perspective - this is a bottom upprocess. The project involves staff from 6 open access, inclusive sixth form colleges. Colleges have beenpart of a shared service project and there is a culture of sharing information, practice and deep leveldata. Colleges do not see themselves as being in competition with each other and are prepared to worktogether”.Swindon College:” This has brought a new approach to integrating and creating courses. Instead offull migration from 1.9 to 2.2, courses have been copied individually during training and many coursesstarted a fresh, due to the fact we wanted to get away from the repository and introduce a new way iflayout and navigation”.Return on Investment.This can be cost savings or an enhanced learner ExperienceWhilst further time is needed to identify cost savings, some colleges have highlighted specific andgeneral cost savings on servers, licences (although Moodle is open source) and staff time. Collaborativeprojects have identified potential savings in respect of teacher time. Some colleges are focused onproviding enhanced learner experiences at defined costs.
7Case StudyNew College Durham: “Savings of £30,000 server hardware, £10,000 licence, and £5000 associated staffcosts”.NESCOT Greenwich College:” In the long-term the portal will be developed to share existing well-developed courses used by departments at both colleges. Savings will be established through time savedby teachers who will not have to build content from scratch”.Swindon College:” It was never the intention to save money on this project but to achieve ease of usefor the learner and staff. By using ULCC we can see how much annually this is going to cost us, so thathelps us with financial planning”.Wigan and Leigh College:” We anticipate the cost savings of server storage and VLE maintenance to beevident once the system is run standalone for the next academic year”.Lessons learnedHereford CT and RNC:” Dealing with a remote and busy supplier has proved difficult compared topreviously doing it all in-house. There have been lots of telephone calls and e-mails! For the hostedVLE, better project management at the start with a strict project plan and clearer deliverables”.Portsmouth Sixth Form College:” Getting all people together all the time - on specified days - isactually quite difficult. Effective communications are essential and an email group distribution listmakes communications with all members much easier”