DIVERSE: Moving forward

As we draw to the end of this academic year the issue of what happens next needs to be looked at. The current plan is to utilise the DIVERSE in some capacity in classes run in the next academic year. Therefore, from a technical point of view this presents the issue of what to do with existing clouds that where created and used this year.

From feedback from students and lecturers one thing that was made clear is that both groups would like access to previous clouds. Consequently, the need for an archive system was needed for DIVERSE.

I am pleased to announce that such a system is now online and ready. The archiving system has added two key pages. Firstly, the archived cloud list page for each module; this page contains links to the archived clouds. Currently, these pages look like this:

Archived cloud list view

An example of the archived cloud list page

This however will populate with all the current clouds on the 101 module in September when the new academic year begins.

The other aspect to this system is the archived view of the clouds themselves. This view is basically a stripped down version of the standard view, an example can be seen below:

The archive view of the "Another Test" cloud

The archive view of the "DIVERSE Introduction" cloud

As you can see the menus for adding and editing this cloud have been removed. In addition, the voting links have also been removed from each resource so this view is in effect a snapshot of the past cloud.

One of the other additions the introduction of this archiving system has added is cloud types. Cloud types are currently a simple measure for separating academic clouds from those which are more generic and may have a different purpose. The reason for creating this separation is that it means non-academic clouds are not archived at the end of the year. Therefore, it also can be useful for clouds which maybe built upon for longer than an academic year.

Until next time.

DIVERSE: Guest Access

To help demonstrate DIVERSE to a wider audience we have taken the decision to add a guest account to DIVERSE. This guest account allows non UoL students to access and use DIVERSE; albeit in a limited way.

Guests are limited to accessing the public DIVERSE clouds, and are unable to make requests for new clouds like regular users can. The reason for this is to protect DIVERSE from spam and also to ensure academic clouds can be separated for statistics purposes.

As part of this update we have also introduced a new login screen which all users will be presented with when they next try to access DIVERSE.

DIVERSE login splash page

DIVERSE login splash page

This splash page gives a visitor the option of logging in using their UoL account (the traditional login method), or they can use the guest login. There is also an option on this page for UoL students to hide this page for future convenience.

To access this new login system, simply visit the DIVERSE login page or if you want to use the new guest account simply go to the guest page.

Until next time.


DIVERSE heads Mobile!

One of the things we’ve been looking into developing here at DIVERSE is a mobile application. We’re hoping to make it even easier to access and view your clouds while on the move. For now development is underway for an iPhone app but once this is completed we’ll be looking to roll it out to other mobile platforms. On top of the dedicated app we’re also looking at making a mobile version of DIVERSE that can be accessed through your phones web browser, again this will allow for east navigation on mobile platforms..

Check out the current image of the DIVERSE app below!

DIVERSE iPhone App

DIVERSE iPhone App

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.


Just a quick update today. Following on from my previous post last week I am pleased to announce that DIVERSE now has a dedicated support page. This support page can be accessed here and contains a knowledge base and also allows visitors to open support tickets regarding DIVERSE. This allows us to centralise the technical support for DIVERSE and makes it more manageable as we roll out DIVERSE to students.

DIVERSE support

DIVERSE Update: OAuth

Following on from my last post about our meeting with ICT, OAuth is now integrated into DIVERSE; this update was somewhat delayed as a result of the technical issues outlined previously.

As part of OAuths integration a number of changes have been made to DIVERSE so far, with many more planned in the near future.

Currently the changes are centred on the toolbar, for users this means once they have signed in they receive a more personalised content through the toolbar, and so will only get options to add links to clouds that are part of their course. Similarly when a signed in users tries to like/dislike a link it now defaults to relevant clouds that are associated with their course. The concept behind this is that it provides a cleaner user experience for the user.

This change also affects the main DIVERSE application, as introducing course specific content filtering means the structure of the application is undergoing some changes. So this means future clouds addresses will become http://diverse.lincoln.ac.uk/index.php?module=MODCODE&topic=TOPICNAME.

Although the current plan is that these ugly URLs will be turned into more user friendly URLs in the near future. When this happens instead of http://diverse.lincoln.ac.uk/index.php?module=MODCODE&topic=TOPICNAME the link would be http://diverse.lincoln.ac.uk/module/cloudname ; which is much nicer and easier to remember.

However at the same time we want to allow users to experiment and use DIVERSE freely, and so as part of this update a separate sandbox is being created which will allow users to create their own clouds; this sandbox will be reached by users like this http://diverse.lincoln.ac.uk/101/mycloudname.

Other planned updates include a few additions to the toolbar such as the inclusion of the universities link shortening service linking you, as well as the introduction of course sites ahead of DIVERSEs full deployment in the near future.