CompProj:393 : Teaching Software 2016 / 2017 - Final Report


This project involves eliciting all software requirements for taught courses 2016/2017, and acquiring, configuring, packaging and distributing the requested software for use across our DICE desktop environment (which includes teaching labs, the desktops of teaching staff, and shared-use compute and login servers).


Informatics Teaching


Lots of software

Very little Documentation


The project took 445.00 FTE of CO and CSO time.

The project was undertaken largely in Aug-Sep (overrunning into the first teaching block) 2017 with a second small peak of activity in Dec 2017 for S2 requirements. There were also snagging issues relating to one or two of the major software requests, due to the fact that the software had not been acceptance tested subsequent to its installation.

There will be significant error in the figures as it's difficult to record where the effort in packaging software might also form part of: a research request, the exam environment, or where requested software is or becomes part of the managed platform for desktops or servers. This results in significant effort savings, since software need only be packaged once for use in any environment, but can result in under-reporting against this project (where software has already been configured, or where effort is allocated against another project) or over-reporting where packaging effort is tracked against this project when it should belong to ongoing operational platform maintenance effort.


This year in particular we noticed issues wrt late requests for software and we changed the timing and wth wording of the initial software request email in order to try and catch courses whilst there was still someone notionally responsible for them.

Timely packaging of the software is usually possible but this is still dependent on teaching allocations being made in a timely fashion.

Although we have a responsibility to pass on requests for teaching software to IS labs in an attempt to improve the usability of such machines for Informatics students, in practice allocations and therefore requests come too late for IS' change management process, and in any event we are better able to support the fallback position of encouraging students to use our resources remotely.


Future Work

repeat next year.

Topic revision: r4 - 19 Sep 2018 - 07:10:29 - IainRae
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