See an overview of some highlights of the conference for you, depending on your role and your interests.
Not many of you would have time to attend all 16 sessions running this year, from 7th-11th November – here are some sessions you may like to join, depending on your interests.
Clinical colleagues and colleagues who don’t teach often
Spend Monday catching up on developments and reminding yourself of university systems by attending the Welcome and Keynote, and boost engagement with accessibility and Canvas overviews. Dip into Lightning Talks on Tuesday and Friday for bite-size guides to our current technology and teaching practice.
As the newest member of FMS TEL. I get the chance to see the products offered by the unit from a different perspective compared to the end user and the existing development colleagues.
As the newest member of FMS TEL. I get the chance to see the products offered by the unit from a different perspective compared to the end user and the existing development colleagues. Talking about my first project, a redevelopment of a system designed and launched around 8 years ago. I can see that the current system although designed well at the time, a large part of it is no longer used or fit for purpose given growth and process changes during that period.
Part of the investigation process of any existing project is looking back at what the clients have been using and how they have been using it. This gives you insight into what’s being used and what’s not, where the priority new functionality needs to be focussed. Engagement with the previous developer adds to this an understanding of what the purpose of the system and what business needs took priority.
In defence of the previous system; I have been reaching many of the same conclusion in my development processes. Many of the ongoing issues raised by the client; at one point or another were solved and that got me thinking about what the priority was now.
At times we are our own worst enemy when it comes to systems and processes that are no longer serving us. For example, the project I am working on is getting a new tagging system to help organise the systems content. The tags can be attached too many different items to help describe the object.
The tag can also filter the data display, such as being able to select everything with a specific tag in the database. Tags will likely reduce the frequency of updates required too by giving the user the ability to add new database queries by adding a tag to the objects.
This is quite a simple yet powerful feature to put in place for a developer and one that many systems use to provide similar functionality for the end user. But nothing is perfect and as much as I love the tagging system there’s one issue.
The more flexible the system is, the more discipline the end user needs to have to maintain its usefulness. There needs to be a unified effort by the client and the development team which ensures the integrity of the system and limits the fragmentation of the data.
How can we solve this? Well, the end user needs to ensure they are naming the tags something that best matches what they are aiming to do. On top of that everyone in the team need to follow the agreed guidelines too.
For example, say we have event 1,2 and 3. I want to use a tag that best describes them so let’s make a tag called ‘Numerical event’. We tag all three of them. Now I go on holiday and event 4 happens and someone who is covering for me tags this event ‘Numbered Event’. We now have two tags that are similar that are describing two different sets of events, not ideal.
A conscious effort to review what we are achieving during development, but also once in the open with the end user will be crucial to keeping this kind of system working for us.
We will wait and see after the system is handed to the client in December, what worked and what didn’t. Review, enhancements and re-development are inevitable to limit this becoming another system that works against you!.
How to manage and track your downloads from Microsoft Teams.
Video content created for the e-learning modules in FMS is often shared between colleagues in Teams. A problem I have come across is the lack of a progress bar within Teams for downloads.
When downloading a small file, such as an image or a document, it is not really a problem. You get a pop up notification of the download starting and shortly after a similar pop up notification saying the download is complete.
If you are downloading a larger file such as 1 hour+ videos, which may take a while to download, you are left in limbo for how long it will take and if you move away from your screen you may miss the pop up notification entirely.
One solution is to keep an eye on the files icon on the teams navigation pane. It will be blank by default, show a downward arrow when downloading and briefly show a green tick when downloads are complete.
A second solution is to download the file from SharePoint instead. If you right click the file you should see an option to Open in SharePoint (this only works in teams areas, not chats). From SharePoint, select your file and click download. Your download will be controlled by your chosen browser.
In Chrome the progress bar displays the size and time limit left and the icon on the task bar turns into a progress bar as well. With this method I can get on with other tasks while the file downloads and be aware of its progress as well. I can also cancel the download if I need to.