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  1. 1. A Roadmap for e-Learning Service Provisioning Table of Contents The Transition to Services and Components 4 1. IT-Business Alignment 4 A Service-Oriented Component-Based Enterprise Architecture 4 The Need for a Service Provisioning Framework 5 Model Driven and Requirements Driven Development 5 The Role of the Service Provisioning Framework 6 The Service Provisioning Framework Elements 6 1.1 QA Mechanisms 6 1.2 Metadata Builders 7 1.3 Models and Patterns 7 1.4 Standards 7 1.5 Guidelines and Best Practices 7 The market for the Service Provisioning Framework 7 Roadmap for Service Provisioning Framework Development 7 1.6 Principal Components 7 1.7 Fitting the framework to the e-learning lifecycle 10 1.8 Supporting aspects that influence the lifecycle processes 11
  2. 2. The e-Learning Research Centre , University of Manchester 1.9 E-Learning support using the framework 11 1.10 Workflow examples 12 Glossary 14 References 14 1. Brockbank, J.B.: Built-to-Change, Expert Magazine, http://www.expertmagazine.com/artman/publish/article_114.shtml (2002) 14 2. Nortel Networks: Engaged Campus Vision, http://www.nortel.com/solutions/education/collateral/nn109580-091404.pdf (2004) 14 3. G r a y, C., Beckman, A.: Technology for the Process-Centric Enterprise, Indus white paper, http://www.indus.com/pdf/ifa-technology-white-paper.pdf (2004) 14 4. Buchanan R.D., Soley M.: Aligning Enterprise Architecture and IT Investments with Corporate Goals http://www.omg.org/registration/META-OMG-WP-Public.pdf (2001) 14 5. Robert Frances Group: Aligning IT with Business Strategy and Corporate Culture, http://www.rfgonline.com/subsforum/archive/daily/030600/030800nt.html (2000) 14 6. Knight W.: Marrying technology and the business, Computing, http://www.computeractive.co.uk/features/1156352 (2004) 14 7. Moore P.A.: Characteristics of a Service Oriented Architecture, Iryx White Paper, http://hosteddocs.ittoolbox.com/PM043004.pdf (2002) 14 8. Linkin P.: The Convergence of Application Development and Integration, Business Integration, http://www.bijonline.com/PDF/linkin%20may.pdf (2004) 14 9. Object Management Group (OMG):Introduction to UML, http://www.omg.org/gettingstarted/what_is_uml.htm (2004) 15 10. Styles P.W.: A Practical Approach to MDA, Compuware workshop, http://www.omg.org/news/meetings/workshops/MDA_Wksp_Manual/01-2_Styles.pd f (2003) 15 11. Kruchten P.: What Is the Rational Unified Process? The Rational Edge, , http://www.therationaledge.com/content/jan_01/f_rup_pk.html (2001) 15 12. Cantor C. RUP SE: The Rational Unified Process for Systems Engineering, The Rational Edge, http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/rational/library/content/RationalEdge/nov0 serviceroadmapdoc4975.doc Page 2 of 15 Accessed: 5/6/2010 Created : 7 July 2003
  3. 3. The e-Learning Research Centre , University of Manchester 1/RUPSENov01.pdf (2001) 15 13. Olivier B.: Application & Tool Component Frameworks, JISC Distributed e- Learning Programme http://www.jisc.ac.uk/index.cfm? name=programme_edistributed (2004) 15 14. Laudati P.: Enterprise Development Reference Architecture, Microsoft, http://njmsdev.org/Meetings/2005/1-6-2005/Enterprise%20Development %20Reference%20Architecture-Peterlau.ppt (2005) 15 serviceroadmapdoc4975.doc Page 3 of 15 Accessed: 5/6/2010 Created : 7 July 2003
  4. 4. The e-Learning Research Centre , University of Manchester The Transition to Services and Components The commercial sector is experiencing radical and far reaching changes in thinking about how enterprises are run and how the challenges of technology-led business operations can be met. The emerging requirements point to an end-to-end view of business processes and to a service view of what an organisation offers. The question is what kind of organisational and technical architecture can support this view? The services provided by the organisation need to stand up to a highly competitive and potentially massive market in which changing requirements and shifting business emphasis are the norm. If the organisation wants to succeed in a global market it needs scalability, adaptability, agility and the establishment of a brand [1,2]. To achieve these qualities the enterprise needs a particular approach, and informed thinking indicates a service-oriented, component-based architecture [3]. 1.IT-Business Alignment Delivering enterprise architecture is not about delivering IT strategies. Nor equally is it about delivering a business strategy. The key is aligning strategies both at a high level and functionally [4,5]. The enterprise needs to arrive at service creation and delivery processes and systems that are both open and connected, in which there is no discontinuity between the business and IT. It should be building services from the business processes and then looking to IT with other organisational elements to provide the needed component parts. The IT strategy should be aligned with the business strategy neither bolted on to it nor driving it. A service-oriented, business requirements driven approach ensures greater alliance between IT and the business. A Service-Oriented Component-Based Enterprise Architecture Enterprise architecture comprises standards, policy and procedures, methodology, tools, and infrastructure. It addresses people, processes and technology. In the search for appropriate enterprise architecture all the above aspects must be taken into consideration. There seems to be general consensus that in the near future, the heart of all large organisations’ capabilities will be a broad layer of services provided by both business and technical components, constructed within a variety of development environments, and operating in a collaborative manner that preserves the organisation’s investments by incorporating componentisation of legacy functionality [6]. Implementation of the envisaged service-oriented architecture requires a clear understanding of what is meant by the term ‘service’. A service is an implementation of a business function and thus the concept applies equally to software development and to other operations within the serviceroadmapdoc4975.doc Page 4 of 15 Accessed: 5/6/2010 Created : 7 July 2003
  5. 5. The e-Learning Research Centre , University of Manchester business. A service has meaningful business value and is aligned with the concept of a ‘unit of work’. A service is a composite of collaborating, large-granularity, autonomous components [7]. These components and services, including some provided by external entities, will be pulled together in a dynamic manner to support both the enterprise's internal and e-business processes, and provide the required quality of service. The Need for a Service Provisioning Framework Moving to a new enterprise architecture is a process affecting organisational as well as technical aspects. The new roles, concepts and techniques may form a barrier to successful transition and it is necessary to help people adopt and use the architecture by providing a framework of guidelines, best practices, templates and tools. These are actively integrated into the work processes rather than being merely reference documents. The Framework is essentially a quality assurance tool that addresses the end-to-end business processes, their context, requirements and implementation. Organisations have to learn to build ever more complex and flexible applications and products from a reservoir of reusable components. Reusable business components may include software but are just as likely to be people-based artefacts such as elements of procedures, good practices, patterns and templates. Current methods and technology cannot guarantee successful development of high-performance, flexible, distributed systems and much has to be un-learned prior to adopting the new concepts. The solution to these issues lies in complementing and enhancing the current development environments with a Service Provisioning Framework for the construction and use of autonomous large-granularity components that may be composed into services [8]. Model Driven and Requirements Driven Development All the organisation’s services development should be model-driven, that is, all the business logic should be expressed in a platform independent set of UML (Unified Modelling Language) [9] models, which can be used for simulation and testing, and then translated into UML models intended for a specific target implementation. Platform and technology independence are maintained far into the development process, enabling rapid response to technology changes [10]. The development process always begins with requirements analysis. The tools available in the integrated development environment enable the business or systems analyst to map these requirements into a set of units of functionality (Use Cases) [11,12]. Any changes needed in services are entered into the UML models by analysts who are able to express the business requirements, or by designers who will answer technical issues, serviceroadmapdoc4975.doc Page 5 of 15 Accessed: 5/6/2010 Created : 7 July 2003
  6. 6. The e-Learning Research Centre , University of Manchester and the service artefacts are then generated accordingly. The Service Provisioning Framework should provide methodology, guidelines, wizards, utilities, templates and tools for model driven development and for prototyping and testing the artefacts. This will lead to assisted construction of autonomously executable components completely from UML models and metadata. In addition the Framework provides the methods and tools to test the application’s coverage of the business requirements very early on in the process and maintains traceability to requirements. The requirements and model driven framework-assisted process thus enables the enterprise to develop reliable, high-performance, flexible services in response to rapidly changing business requirements. The Role of the Service Provisioning Framework The Framework will allow management of the stages in the transition to the new architecture, aiding in operation of existing resources while moving towards the developing service-oriented and component-based regime. The Framework must provide a coherent set of mechanisms by which business requirements are modelled, their logic is turned into a flow of activities, which is then executed by a set of components, and their performance is monitored and evaluated. The Service Provisioning Framework Elements The Framework is a model of how the organisation wishes to run its business of providing services to its market and meeting stakeholder requirements. Thus, the Framework comprises all the required people, policies and processes, in addition to a repository of reusable components. The Framework manages the business processes, serves the business requirements and is made up of autonomous components that may contain executable software. The Framework deliverables are provided in the form of models, documents, metadata and software components. The following are examples of some of the Service Provisioning Framework functions, divided into five principal groups: 1.1QA Mechanisms QA mechanisms, such as checklists, are wizards or utilities that are active running services provided by the Framework in a format and language appropriate to the working context. • Checklists for service provision planning • Checklists for service lifecycle management • Checklists for project management • Checklists for staff development serviceroadmapdoc4975.doc Page 6 of 15 Accessed: 5/6/2010 Created : 7 July 2003
  7. 7. The e-Learning Research Centre , University of Manchester • Checklists for Requirements and Change Management. 1.2Metadata Builders • Metadata for structural patterns realisation • Metadata for behavioural patterns realisation • Process director 1.3Models and Patterns • Structural /Architectural • Process Flow and Workflow • Sequencing, Composing and Orchestrating • Service provisioning and Consumption 1.4Standards • Reference documents with links to usage. • Standards enforcement mechanisms 1.5Guidelines and Best Practices • Requirements Analysis • Product Lifecycle Management • Model Driven Development • Component Based Development Process • Service oriented Architecture The market for the Service Provisioning Framework The Service Provisioning Framework is targeted at clients who need to develop flexible, robust distributed applications, particularly those required for distributed learning [13]. These clients fall into four groups: • HE Institutions • Non-HEI e-Learning Providers • CPD and Lifelong learning providers • Systems developers Roadmap for Service Provisioning Framework Development 1.6Principal Components The framework should enforce the architecture that is most suitable for the dynamic construction of enterprise-scale services [14]. For clarity and ease of use, the components, which are developed for a specific business area, together with those more general components brought in from other sources, are arranged in layers according to the following categorisation: 1. e-Learning (Specific Business Area) Components 2. Service Provisioning Framework Components 3. General Purpose Components serviceroadmapdoc4975.doc Page 7 of 15 Accessed: 5/6/2010 Created : 7 July 2003
  8. 8. The e-Learning Research Centre , University of Manchester 4. Mechanisms and Utilities 5. Runtime Environment and Data Management The components are independent and may request each other's functions according to the needs of a given service. Figure 1: Layering of Components in the Service Provisioning Framework The following is a list of the principal components of Service Provisioning. This list is evolving as the research continues: A) e-Learning (Specific Business Area) Components These are the most specialised components in the framework and serve the specific business areas of e-learning and its supporting software development. • Project management checklist • Service maintenance checklist • Requirements management checklist • Change management checklist • Staff development checklist • Framework requirements-to-Use Case Linkage • Learning Design Specification • Componentisation in e-learning materials guidelines serviceroadmapdoc4975.doc Page 8 of 15 Accessed: 5/6/2010 Created : 7 July 2003
  9. 9. The e-Learning Research Centre , University of Manchester • Componentisation in software development guidelines B) Service Provisioning Framework Components These are the components that enable the correct functioning of the Service Provisioning Framework in a given context. • Service and Component Builder • Service and Component Model Composer • Service Composer • Process Flow Controller • Workflow Controller • Pattern manager • Rule repository • Framework maintenance • Component lifecycle maintenance • Wizard Manager • Process Mentor • UML Profile Manager • UML Pattern Library C) General Purpose Services These components serve and support the specific business functions. They are, in some cases, specialisations of mechanisms and utilities. • Portal • QA Checklist Wizard • Requirements Manager • Standards and Links Manager • Standards Metadata Manager • Guideline Links Manager • Traceability Matrix • Session and Context Manager • Event Manger • Security Services (Authentication, Authorisation, Single Sign On) • Personal Folder and Portfolio • Secure Payment • UML Specification • MOF Specification for MDA • RUP-CBD Specification • Contract • Involved Party serviceroadmapdoc4975.doc Page 9 of 15 Accessed: 5/6/2010 Created : 7 July 2003
  10. 10. The e-Learning Research Centre , University of Manchester D) Mechanisms and Utilities Technical components make up the toolset and infrastructure for operating Service Provisioning Framework. Usually they will be purchased from tool vendors. • Portal (OASIS WSRP) • UML modelling tool • Requirements Analysis tool • Documentation tool • VLE • IDE • Integration Adapter • User Management • Security • Metadata Editor • Event-Action engine • Code Template Editor • Document Manager • Web Services generator • Web Services locator and integrator • Component Repository • Service Registry (UDDI) E) Runtime Environment and Data Management CEE is the specific socket technology or container for the component type e.g. J2EE and .NET • Component Container • Structured Data Management System • Unstructured Data Management System 1.7Fitting the framework to the e-learning lifecycle The e-learning lifecycle may be divided into phases along its time axis and these phases are divided into iterations. The lifecycle is divided along a second axis into practices which are aggregations of activities or workflows, roles and artefacts. A third dimension in the view of the lifecycle is the importance or degree of effort expended on a workflow or activity during an iteration in one a phase. Thus all activities occur during a number of iterations in different phases of the lifecycle, with a varying degree of investment of effort and resources [11]. The following list is one possible set of practices that may be serviceroadmapdoc4975.doc Page 10 of 15 Accessed: 5/6/2010 Created : 7 July 2003
  11. 11. The e-Learning Research Centre , University of Manchester supported by the framework: • Business Modelling • Business Analysis and Planning • Requirements Analysis • Activity Planning • Project Management • Change Management • Design • Development • Deployment • Evaluation • Testing • Teaching • Learning • Environmental refinement • Staff Development • Research 1.8Supporting aspects that influence the lifecycle processes The framework will provide the mechanism for modelling and implementing interactions between processes. There are a number of aspects that influence the lifecycle process. Each of these is a process that interacts with the process activities of the elearning lifecycle: 1. Quality Assurance 2. Monitoring and Evaluation 3. Staff Development 4. Research 5. Project Management 6. Communications between involved parties 1.9E-Learning support using the framework The services provided by an institution’s e-learning support unit will serve a variety of e-learning processes and work together in the manner defined by the particular process activity design. The following is a preliminary set e-learning support services: • Planning and design of e- learning materials. • Managing the development process of e-learning. serviceroadmapdoc4975.doc Page 11 of 15 Accessed: 5/6/2010 Created : 7 July 2003
  12. 12. The e-Learning Research Centre , University of Manchester • Infrastructure provision and e-learning environment design. • Quality Assurance advice to designers and developers. • Monitoring and Evaluation within the lifecycle management process. • e-Learning evaluation advice. • Assessment advice • Access and disabilities advice • Staff development • Research and innovation support • Resource provision to faculty groups • Technology advice • Help desk 1.10Workflow examples The following are two examples of workflow in provision of e-learning showing the use of components from the framework. Each example is described in a UML Activity Diagram showing the sequence of activities as ovals connected by transition arrows and with the use of components from the framework shown as rectangles. Example1: Use Case “Set up new WebCT module” serviceroadmapdoc4975.doc Page 12 of 15 Accessed: 5/6/2010 Created : 7 July 2003
  13. 13. The e-Learning Research Centre , University of Manchester Example 2: Use Case “Provide Staff Development” serviceroadmapdoc4975.doc Page 13 of 15 Accessed: 5/6/2010 Created : 7 July 2003
  14. 14. The e-Learning Research Centre , University of Manchester Glossary T Definition C Component Based Development I Integrated Development Environment M Model Driven Architecture M Meta Object Facility R Rational Unified Process U Universal Discovery Description and Integration U Unified Modelling Language V Virtual Learning Environment References 1.Brockbank, J.B.: Built-to-Change, Expert Magazine, http://www.expertmagazine.com/artman/publish/article_114.shtml (2002) 2.Nortel Networks: Engaged Campus Vision, http://www.nortel.com/solutions/education/collateral/nn109580-091404.pdf (2004) 3.G r a y, C., Beckman, A.: Technology for the Process-Centric Enterprise, Indus white paper, http://www.indus.com/pdf/ifa-technology-white-paper.pdf (2004) 4.Buchanan R.D., Soley M.: Aligning Enterprise Architecture and IT Investments with Corporate Goals http://www.omg.org/registration/META-OMG-WP-Public.pdf (2001) 5.Robert Frances Group: Aligning IT with Business Strategy and Corporate Culture, http://www.rfgonline.com/subsforum/archive/daily/030600/030800nt.html (2000) 6.Knight W.: Marrying technology and the business, Computing, http://www.computeractive.co.uk/ features/1156352 (2004) 7.Moore P.A.: Characteristics of a Service Oriented Architecture, Iryx White Paper, http://hosteddocs.ittoolbox.com/PM043004.pdf (2002) 8.Linkin P.: The Convergence of Application Development and Integration, Business Integration, serviceroadmapdoc4975.doc Page 14 of 15 Accessed: 5/6/2010 Created : 7 July 2003
  15. 15. The e-Learning Research Centre , University of Manchester http://www.bijonline.com/PDF/linkin%20may.pdf (2004) 9.Object Management Group (OMG):Introduction to UML, http://www.omg.org/gettingstarted/what_is_uml.htm (2004) 10.Styles P.W.: A Practical Approach to MDA, Compuware workshop, http://www.omg.org/news/ meetings/workshops/MDA_Wksp_Manual/01-2_Styles.pdf (2003) 11.Kruchten P.: What Is the Rational Unified Process? The Rational Edge, , http://www.therationaledge.com/content/jan_01/f_rup_pk.html (2001) 12.Cantor C. RUP SE: The Rational Unified Process for Systems Engineering, The Rational Edge, http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/rational/library/content/RationalEdge/nov01/RUPSEN ov01.pdf (2001) 13.Olivier B.: Application & Tool Component Frameworks, JISC Distributed e-Learning Programme http://www.jisc.ac.uk/index.cfm?name=programme_edistributed (2004) 14.Laudati P.: Enterprise Development Reference Architecture, Microsoft, http://njmsdev.org/Meetings/2005/1-6-2005/Enterprise%20Development%20Reference %20Architecture-Peterlau.ppt (2005) serviceroadmapdoc4975.doc Page 15 of 15 Accessed: 5/6/2010 Created : 7 July 2003

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