WebLearn report: May 2011- Oct 2011

Period: May 2011- Oct 2011


New WebLearn was upgraded for times between May and Oct 2011 – it now stands at v2.6-0x9.1. For more detailed information please looked at the relevant blog posts:

Old WebLearn became read-only on 27th September: ‘Floor Managers’ still retain create permissions but all other users have had such privileges removed.

We had hoped to move to Sakai 2.8 in October but it was not possible to do this in time.

Improvements & Bug Fixes

  • When sites are copied, a simple search and replace of references to the old site are replaced with references to the new site.
  • Many surveys improvements, eg, MSIE bugs fixed, My Scales now appear, the participant count now accurate, PDF report has been tidied up
  • Reading lists: notes and edition always appear, MSIE bugs fixed, availability information for more books now appears and all known problems stemming from introduction of Aleph now fixed.
  • Many Student Enrolment System (SES) improvements.
  • WebLearn-Nexus integration: ability to subscribe to non-public calendars in MS outlook (& other email clients)
  • Two factor authentication is now available (see later)

Training and Guidance

The revamped Guidance Site is just about ready to go live. The “Using technology tools” course ran last term but had poor attendance.


Old WebLearn usage is declining rapidly; most departments and colleges have now moved to new WebLearn. Usage of new WebLearn is increasing.

Figure 1: Use of old WebLearn

Figure 2: Pages Requests in Week 1 of Trinity Term (old + new WebLearn)


The Student Enrolment System II project started in February. This project builds upon the very successful initial phase and adds new features and for both students and administrators. It will finish at Christmas.

The OXAM Migration project runs from October to December, we will replicate and improve upon the incumbent OXAM service and deploy within WebLearn.

The Nexus-WebLearn integration project has made slow progress, next on the hit list is insertion of (Tutorial) sign-up events in personal calendars.

The WebLearn contribution to the Janus project has now finished: (two factor authentication in WebLearn) . It is now possible to use SAML to protect a WebLearn site with an extra “password” which is sent as an SMS. Work has been undertaken to ensure that there are no “back doors” into such a site, eg, webDAV access has been disabled.

The Blavatnik School of Government is expected to fund development work as part of their project to prove their students with an iPad App interface to their learning material.

The OxCAP Phase I project started in September and will run for 3 months – during this phase we will develop an implementation plan to be submitted for funding under phase II. This is a JISC funded initiative to expose data (as a public XML feed) about graduate training courses at Oxford. The implementation plan will also address local needs: we will bid to develop a new WebLearn tool  which will allow a search of all graduate skills training courses at Oxford to be performed; we will also develop a JavaScript library to allow basic searching on institutional websites. This project offers a solution to a problem that students (and staff) have been demanding for a while now; this project has the explicit backing of the PVC for Education and the Registrar.

No further work has been carried out on integrating with the forthcoming Oak Groups Store service.


A new member of staff, Roger Pearson, will start work in the WebLearn team on Nov 1st. he will be working on the “assessment and feedback” project known as SIPA, he will be reviewing and developing our support of Turnitin, investigating GradeMark and PeerMark (which will also be piloted), and recommending improvements to the WebLearn Assignments tool.

We should soon start advertising for a new WebLearn developer. This person will also work on the SIPA project but will also do general WebLearn development work.


  • Improvements to SES tool
  • Move to Sakai 2.8 (incl. collapsible LHS menus, academic network creation, improved WYSIWYG editor plus lots more)
  • Sign-up tool enhancements (categories, change organiser, auto create groups, prevent withdrawing when closed, better export)
  • The OXAM database of past exam papers will soon be housed within WebLearn.


Adam Marshall attended and gave multiple presentations at the Sakai Conference in LA in June. Fawei Geng, Marc Savitsky and Adam Marshall attended and presented at the EuroSakai Conference in Amsterdam. Next year’s EuroSakai may be in Oxford and will be held in Feb 2012.

Jill Fresen attended and presented at the UAS conference.]Adam Marshall presented at the ICTF conference.

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