This project aims to bring some of the affordances of consumer social networks to teaching and learning, and will deliver applications within CamTools, our Sakai-based VLE. This is an informal blog by the project team at CARET, University of Cambridge.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Academic Networking within your Virtual Learning Environment

As mentioned before, one of the outcomes of the JISC Academic Networking project is that the results of the project will be integrated in future releases of the open source Collaboration and Learning Environment Sakai.

For those who haven't heard about Sakai before: Sakai is a Collaboration and Learning Environment platform for making teaching, learning and academic collaboration easier by meeting the needs of today's learners, instructors and researchers.
Soon, Sakai 3 will be launched, which will be a much more interactive web 2.0 version, and on top of that enabling the nicest facets of Social Networking.

Many of the ideas which will appear in Sakai3 are in a way based on the User Research from the Academic Networking Project, as well as definitely having been a great inspiration in making decisions whilst creating Sakai3.
We do intend to integrate more of the outcomes of the project in later versions of Sakai3 as well.

Interested in watching the Sakai3 code repositories?
Then don't hesitate to have a look around in the Kernel code repository or the UX code repository .

Monday, 8 March 2010

Assembly on personas and user testing

On Friday 5th of March we hosted an Assembly on how to create personas and how to do user testing.
During our project we learned a lot about these topics so we thought it would definitely be useful sharing it with other projects in this way.

The assembly was in fact a hands-on workshop with first a case study on how we went about creating personas and doing user testing, then some general theory with hints and tips if you want to do it yourself, and afterwards the participants got the possibility to try creating personas and doing user testing themselves.

Unfortunately, some people who wanted to come along couldn’t attend after all. We might organise another workshop in the future, as the people who could attend it, seemed to find it interesting.

An example - use case

Showing how to do user testing

Participants looking at information to start creating their own personas

Participants preparing for a user testing session, looking at wire frames

Trying out a behavioural axes exercise

Materials used during workshop
The documents below are those we used during the workshop. Feel free to have a look at them!
Couldn't attend the workshop while you desperately wanted to find out how to create personas or do user testing? No worries - these materials should give you a start on trying it out yourself.

> PowerPoint used during workshop

Persona materials
> Persona template – what information should go in your persona for sure?
> Examples of personas 1 – these are the personas we created during our project, here used as inspiration during the workshop
> Description of fictive users – you could use this set of ‘fictive users’ as set of data when creating personas yourself as an exercise
> Pictures which you can use when creating personas

User testing materials
> General list of tips when creating a set of questions for your user testing session
> Short example of a user testing session
> Example of a list of questions 1 – we used this during our first user testing session. You can use this set of questions as example when creating a list yourself.
> Example of a list of questions 2 – we used this during our second user testing session. You can use this set of questions as example when creating a list yourself.
> Paper prototypes and wire frames you could use when trying out user testing: Paper prototype green concept, paper prototype blue concept, paper prototype red concept, wire frames