An online seminar on Approaches To Web Development was given
at the VLS (Virtual Learning Space)
on Thursday 2nd August and Wednesday 8th August 2001 from 1-2 pm.
Note that access to the VLS
The following topic were covered:
Thursday 2nd August 2001
- 1. Standards Versus Proprietary Solutions
- What should our attitude be to the use of standards when we are developing
networked services, online learning environments, etc.?
What standards are relevant?
Why do we believe standards are important, if this is what we believe?
Who wants standards?
What's wrong with simply getting a solution from our favourite vendor and forgetting
- 2. Open Sources Versus Licensed Solutions
- Open source solutions are currently very fashionable. Some would argue that
involvement in developing home-grown solutions or participation in open source
projects is simply a way of ensuring that programmers keep their jobs?
Others feel that the educational community, in particular, should make use of
open source solutions whenever possible.
What do you think?
- 3. Tools
- What type of tools are required to develop rich virtual learning environments?
What functionality is required? What tools and applications have people used?
Which tools are people happy with and would recommend to other? Which tools have
- 4. The Potential For "Web Services"
- Are we being too short-sighted if we simply install a VLE and start developing our
courses? Should we be looking at the use of centralised "Web Services" to support
core interests? What do we mean by "Web services"? Who should be providing them?
Wednesday 8th August 2001
- 5. Constraints In The Real World
- It's all very well Web developers of virtual learning environments evaluating
standards and applications. But back within our institutions you may face
difficulties in deploying your preferred solutions:
You may find that the IT Services department has concerns over the security implications
for your preferred solution.
You may find that you are not allowed to install CGI scripts.
You may have difficulties with your institution's firewall.
You may find that your institution's policy on browsers (IE / Netscape, version,
plugins, security settings, etc.) conflicts with the functionality you would like to provide.
You may find it difficult to recruit and retrain good technical staff.
Have you experienced these difficulties? Have you come across other problems?
How should these difficulties be addressed?
- 6. Support For Web Developers
- One important barrier to deployment of our solutions is lack of resources?
How can Web developers get extra resources?
- It can be difficult keeping up-to-date with Web developments. Web developers
need to be aware of the development of new standards and protocols and their relevance
and applicability, new applications and tools, architectural approaches, etc.
How should Web developers keep up-to-date?
What resources are the most useful?
Which books and periodicals are worth reading?
What events should developers attend?
What training courses may be of interest?
- Would an FAQ for Web developers be of use covering, say, the typical
questions that new Web developers ask?
- We have several JISCMail lists which provide support. Would a regular realtime
chat be of use?
The following timetable is proposed.
It is suggested that participants log on the the forum between 12:30 and 13:00.
During this time participants should feel free to introduce themselves.
To participate in this online forum please go to the
VLS Web site and register.
Then experiment with the realtime chat in the Cafe area. Note that you may
wish to install a chat client.
Then register for the Web Development forum. This is the location for
the online forum. It also contains links to relevant resources and details about the members.
Feel free to add details about yourself.
Guidelines For Usage Of The Forum
The following guidelines are provided.
Suggestions for participants:
- You may find it useful to prepare any contributions you wish to make in advance
of the workshop. For example, you could store an introduction to the session, an
introduction about yourself, key points you wish to make, etc. in a text file.
You can then copy and paste these comments into your text window. Please note that
not all chat clients allow you to copy and paste - so experiment first.
- Remember to resize the chat frame to the best size for you.
- Participants should try to include a person's name, if replying to a particular
point raised by an individual.
- If you wish to make a substantive point which may take time to compose, you may
wish to send a brief message saying that you are composing a reply.
Suggestions for moderators:
- The moderator will attempt to signal changes of topics by adding dividers into
the transcript window:
- The moderator will attempt to give timestamps, to help to make the transcript more
- The moderator will repeat key comments when new members join, to bring them
- The moderator will inform participants if the transcripts of the session are to be
made publicly available.