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  • 1. Spark Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration David Grogan Manager, Curricular Technology Group UIT Academic Technology • Tufts University
    • What is Spark?
    • What do we hope it will be?
    • How is it used?
    • What’s under the hood?
    • What’s next?
    • Questions
  • 2. What is Spark?
    • An extensible suite of highly flexible, web-based tools for communication and collaboration that support teaching, learning, research, and other co-curricular activities.
    • A little history … APT Grants
    Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 3. What is Spark?
    • Freely available to entire community.
    • Tool set currently includes:
      • Wikis (Confluence)
      • Blogs (MovableType)
      • Podcast Publisher (homegrown)
      • Forums (JForum)
      • Maps (Google Maps/homegrown)
      • Media Annotator (homegrown)
      • Coming Fall ‘09: SparkMeeting
    Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 4. What is Spark?
    • Launched in August 2006.
    • Continues to grow in features and use.
    • Won a Campus Technology Innovators Award in 2007.
    • Core project team includes:
      • Project manager
      • Lead developer
      • Interactive media designer
      • All sharing support roles
    Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 5. What is Spark?
    • Baseline features of the commercial/opensource products we use:
      • Must allow for LDAP integration.
      • Must allow for customization of interface.
      • Must have robust API.
      • Must have access to source code and database.
    Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 6. What is Spark?
    • Common features across tools as implemented in Spark:
      • Single sign on using Tufts LDAP directory.
      • Easy one-click creation of new items.
      • Tufts directory integrated for setting individual permissions.
      • World, Tufts-wide, and private permissioning.
      • Tagging
    Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 7. What is Spark? Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 8. What do we hope Spark will be?
    • A Tufts-based localized network of people and ideas.
    • (getting there slowly)
    Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 9. How is Spark being used? Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 10. How is Spark being used? Wikis
    • As of 6/13/08
      • 688 Wikis
      • 9787 Pages
      • 3945 Users
      • 19.31 gigs of attachments.
    Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 11. How is Spark being used? Wikis
      • Rate of New Wiki Creation
    Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 12. How is Spark being used? Wikis
      • Wiki Page Edits
    Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 13. How is Spark being used? Wikis
      • # of Unique Users Making Edits
    Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 14. How is Spark being used? Blogs
    • As of 6/13/08
      • 352 Blogs
      • 3568 Entries
      • 2061 Authors
    Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 15. How is Spark being used? Blogs
      • # of new blogs
    Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 16. How is Spark being used? Blogs
      • # of new entries
    Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 17. How is Spark being used? Blogs
      • # of new authors
    Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 18. How is Spark being used? Podcasts
    • As of 6/13/08
      • 53 Channels
      • 226 Episodes
      • 47 Authors
    Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 19. How is Spark being used? Podcasts
      • # of new channels and episodes
    Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 20. How is Spark being used?
    • Forums use is negligible.
    • Maps and MediaMarkups are new tools with little data as yet.
    Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 21. What is under the hood?
    • Evolution of our systems infrastructure
      • We started small, using VMWare for 3 development systems and 3 production systems (wikis, blogs, spark)
      • We expanded incrementally, adding development and production VMs for new services (forums, pod/vodcasts, maps, media-markup) as needed
      • We've used central resources whenever viable (network storage, authentication)
      • We've upgraded cautiously (creating just-in-time staging clones for upgrades) with end-user involvement and careful consideration of tradeoffs
    Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 22. What is under the hood?
    • Virtualization is one of our keys to staying agile, keeping costs low, and maximizing scalability within our constraints.
    Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 23. What is under the hood?
    • Next generation infrastructure:
      • Greater utilization of central resources
      • Better support for dev-test-staging-production workflow and automation
      • Explore opportunities for improvements in performance, load balancing, availability, change management using advanced VMWare functionality
    Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 24. What is under the hood?
    • Typical Tool Development Effort:
      • 5 Pages, 3500 Lines of Code
    Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 25. What is under the hood?
    • Development Approach
      • 1.5 Programmers, Designer, Manager, Sys. Admin Support.
      • 2 Calendar Months
      • Dev server, Test server
      • JSP, Tomcat, MySQL, YUI, JIRA, SVN, etc.
      • Secret release
    Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 26. What is under the hood?
    • Development Challenge: Always Something New!
      • MediaMarkup uses Adobe Flex
      • SparkMaps uses Google Map API.
      • Always incorporating JavaScript libraries.
        • Drag and drop, Ajax tables, etc.
      • Impacts: Schedule, Plan, Design, Staff
    Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 27. What is under the hood?
    • Future Directions
      • Ajax is good
        • For the user and the code.
      • Focus on reducing LOC for tools.
        • Shared Java database layer.
        • Shared JSP files.
      • Stick with existing technology suite.
      • Automated testing?
    Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 28. What’s difficult?
    • Supporting people beyond the basics.
    • Finding ways to market the site to students.
    • Competition from freely available 3 rd party sites (e.g. Google, Wordpress etc.)
    Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 29. What’s Next for Spark?
    • A new user interface.
    • Bring activity to the front.
    • Start connecting people and content.
    • Better communication and outreach.
    Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 30. What’s Next for Spark? Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration
  • 31. Any Questions?
    • Contact: David Grogan ( [email_address] )
    • Some of my own
      • What are you doing with these tools?
      • How have you been successful in marketing tools to your students?
      • How have you been successful in scaling support?
    Spark: Web 2.0 Tools for Communication and Collaboration