WebLearn and Turnitin: Apr 2012 – Oct 2012

I forgot to post this last October, better late than never!

The headline news is that Old WebLearn (aka Bodington) is no more: it was decommissioned on 18th September and its demise seems to have cause very little impact indeed.

Whilst one WebLearn system steps back out of the spotlight so the other moves forward. After a great deal of effort and many delays due to QA issues, (New) WebLearn was moved to v2.8-ox1 at the end of May and is now up to 2.8-ox3. Many improvements have been made and details are given at the end of this document, however, some of the highlights are

  • OXAM tool
  • Brand new much-improved integration between WebLearn and Turnitin, (this was not without issue but most of the problems were quickly solved)
  • Create sites from template

Other work in this period includes the paid-for project to provide an enhanced web service interfaces for the Blavatnik School Of Government (BSG) as part of their project to provide their students with an iPad App interface to their learning material; the provision of a web services API to the Resources tool (paid for by Medical Sciences) and preparatory work on the JISC-funded OXCAP project (see below).

We continue to experience reliability issues but such problems are usually restricted to one of the 3 WebLearn nodes. These issues are generally caused by WebLearn’s search module, however, this module is due to be completely replaced in time for next year.

There are 3 pilots of Turnitin-related software services: Assignments 2 tool in WebLearn and PeerMark and GradeMark which are 2 tools available on the Turnitin website (submit.ac.uk).

Training and Guidance

There are 4 new WebLearn “Bytes”  courses, these are lunchtime sessions about Assignments, Resources, Surveys and Site Info.


The OXAM Migration project formally finished at Christmas – the software is has passed user acceptance testing and is now live. The old OXAM service has been turned off. (The new WebLearn tool replicates and improves upon the incumbent OXAM service.)

Funding for a Student Enrolment System (SES) III project has been obtained and work will start in December. This project will further improve the SES tool within WebLearn in the areas of user interface, searching, course administration and mapping courses to Vitae’s Researcher Development Framework.

OxCAP Phase II started (in January 2012) and will run until March 2013. This is a JISC funded initiative to expose data (as a public XML feed) about graduate training courses at Oxford. OxCAP II addresses local needs: the project will develop an internal protected feed, improvements to the SES tool WebLearn tool which will allow a search of all graduate skills training courses at Oxford to be performed, a Share Point site for entering courses data and a JavaScript library to allow display 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.

Progress has been a little slower than hoped for but so far data from most of the training providers exists and is stored in Oxford Open Data (OOD) and XCRI-CAP XML feeds are being generated. Data entered into Share Point is not yet being consumed by OOD and the SES tool needs to be updated. The updated SES tool complete with a collation of all graduate training should go live on 18 December 2012.

The SIPA project works with academic and administrative staff members across the university to investigate assessment and feedback practices and to invite user input. The project promotes and supports the use of the external Turnitin plagiarism detection and prevention service and allied products GradeMark (online marking and annotations) and PeerMark (student peer marking and assessment). Turnitin is integrated into the WebLearn Assignments tool (version 1) and the newly Assignments2 tool which is being piloted. Version 2.8-ox3 of WebLearn switched to completely new Turnitin integration code in WebLearn – this code has many improvements: it now submits work using the account of the person that set up the assignment, multiple attachments  and resubmissions are now possible, whether to place submissions into the Turnitin repository.

New WebLearn Features

In addition to that mentioned above.

  • Big improvements to Sign-up tool based on user feedback (categories, change organiser, auto create groups, prevent withdrawing when closed, better export (compatible with OXCORT)
  • Many improvements to the Forums tool (including better user interface (UI), photos of author)
  • Improved webservices interface which can be exploited by Mobile Oxford
  • New Profile tool with Social networking facilities
  • New improved Email Sender tool (replaces Mailtool)
  • Improved wiki UI
  • Improved tool permissions ‘widget’
  • SES tool bug fixes
  • Short URLs
  • Site templates facility – it will be possible to base a new site upon a selection made from a choice of templates each tailored for a specific situation and each containing their own help and guidance.

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