DIVERSE updates

Based on previous feedback from students and staff using DIVERSE we have made a number of changes to DIVERSE. So to keep everyone up to speed l decided to write this blog post to keep everyone updated with what has been happening lately.

Firstly DIVERSE is in full swing in terms of its deployment to faculties and is being actively used by computing students currently. The hope is to have classes from other faculties using it regularly in the near future.

From a more technical perspective DIVERSE has seen a number of overhauls aimed at improving usability for users of DIVERSE. These changes have been heavily driven by the feedback we have received from users.

These changes include the new more user friendly and SEO (search engine optimised) links.This means rather than having to go to diverse.lincoln.ac.uk/application/index.php?module=101&topic=hello-world which is difficult to remember and also bad from a security perspective. Instead clouds can be accessed in the following manner: http://diverse.lincoln.ac.uk/module/101/topic/hello-world, which is much cleaner and simpler. This may however change in the near future to become http://diverse.lincoln.ac.uk/101/hello-world, depending on user feedback.

The second usability change is that resource clouds themselves have been made to fit more consistently with the rest of the project website; consistency was an issue raised by many users. This means that all DIVERSE pages share the same header and footer allowing users constant access to key parts of the project website e.g. support, documentation etc.

Following on from this, the add page functionality has also been reworked and updated. The new system involves a 2 step process. Firstly the user fills out the URL as normal:

Step 1 for adding a resource


Then if necessary the user is taken to a second step in which an image selection form is presented, the aim of this is to help reduce the number of default icons being used and to ultimately make resource clouds look more varied and useful to users.

Add a resource step 2

In addition there have also been some smaller additions made to DIVERSE, these include the inclusion of a profile page and cloud list page which allow users to see the clouds they have access to currently. As well as this as part of the research aspect of DIVERSE a statistics page has been created which presents the data  DIVERSE is collecting in a more user friendly manner. An example of part of the stats section can be seen below:


Stay tuned for more updates and news.

Meeting with Business and Law

Just a quick update about our recent meeting with Business and Law. Myself and Ben took part in two lectures (one with first year students, one with third year) to introduce them to the work we’ve been doing on DIVERSE. We went through the steps involved with using DIVERSE and highlighted how we think it can benefit them. The plan for the coming weeks is to get the two groups actively working with DIVERSE and using it as a research aid to the work they are currently undertaking. We’re hoping that through this not only will they benefit but they will also provide us with active feedback regarding DIVERSE.

It shouldn’t be long until DIVERSE is fully underway in both Business and Law and HLSS so keep posted for more updates!

Meeting with Health, Life and Social Sciences

Just a quick update of recent events regarding DIVERSE. The main news for today is that myself and Max took part in a meeting with lectures from the faculty of Health, Life and Social Sciences who are interested in using DIVERSE in their modules. The meeting proved there was a definite interest amongst the lecturers regarding DIVERSE. Furthermore we gathered yet more ideas and opinions on what can be added to DIVERSE in the future; for example one interesting area to consider is the idea of staff creating their own semi private clouds as part of their research, so DIVERSE becomes helpful not only for student research, but also for staff collaboration on research projects. This alongside the other demonstrations of the tool means we have a wealth of ideas to improve DIVERSE.

The current plan is to start integrate DIVERSE with students in HLSS in the coming weeks. More on this will be posted once the timetable for this roll out is finalised.

Finally just to keep you updated with other project goings on, myself and Max have 2 sessions with students from Business & Law tomorrow, so keep your eyes peeled for more news on that shortly.

DIVERSE Workshop

After successfully demonstrating DIVERSE to one the modules within the School of Computer Science we decided to let them get hands on with and see what they actually thought when put into use. We set them up with a cloud relevant to their topic and asked them to search the web to find relevant information to add. Whilst doing this we were also able to get them to carry out a questionnaire highlighting their views on DIVERSE. We found the results extremely useful and will be putting them into practice in the coming weeks to help make DIVERSE even better.

Below we’ve mocked up a word cloud of the most commonly used words to describe DIVERSE; the feedback was great and will be a great help when coming to develop/change our current features!

DIVERSE Word Cloud

DIVERSE Word Cloud

Keep posted for more updates!

Introducing DIVERSE: MHT

Today as part of our on-going work to integrate and launch DIVERSE, we took part in a session introducing computing students to DIVERSE. In this session myself and Max gave a talk to level 3 computing students. This talk consisted of giving students an insight into the on-going development of DIVERSE, as well as highlighting the benefits and changes we hope DIVERSE will have on their own studies. This talk also involved a guided and informative tour of how to use DIVERSE, and also was linked back into the students current studies by introducing DIVERSE as a case study for component based software engineering.

Overall myself and Max believe the session went well and ran smoothly, and hopefully has had a positive impact on students and helped raise their awareness of not only DIVERSE, but also other university projects linked to DIVERSE such as Nucleus, OAuth & Jerome etc. Which students may previously have been unfamiliar with.

The second part of this session consists of a workshop which will take place this Friday. This workshop will involve the 40 or so students who took part today actually using DIVERSE and populating resource clouds for a given topic. In this session we will hand out questionnaires and gather volunteers to gain further feedback on the DIVERSE tool. We hope that this feedback can then be used to enhance and improve DIVERSE overall.

The lecture slides from today’s session can be accessed below.

DIVERSE presentation 26/10/2011