[Portfolio] your input needed on matrix/wizard consolidation project

Ward, Lynn E. leward at iupui.edu
Tue Mar 31 01:56:53 PDT 2009

Hello friends.

For many years, the OSP community has been talking about consolidating Matrices and Wizards into a single tool.  As I understand it, this was always part of the original plan, but it was difficult for the community to rally around a project that wouldn't yield significant new functionality.   Meanwhile, the feature gap between matrices and wizards has widened because Matrices, as the more commonly used tool, has received more developer attention than wizards.  This has become a problem at Indiana University, where we have a number of projects using hierarchical wizards (the wizard framework is a better match for the conceptual design of these projects).  So, for us this is an opportune time to face the problem head on.  Our next major OSP development effort will focus on consolidating the two tools.  We think the benefits of this work will be felt across the community.  First, it will make it easier to support different OSP scaffolding types, because they will look and behave more or less identically at the page/cell level.  As it stands now, IU has separate KB documents these tools because there are subtle differences between what users see and do.  Secondly, the features that are currently available only in matrices (including IU's recent work) will also be available in wizards.  Finally, we're rebuilding the tool from the ground up, including the data structures.  This should not only result in improved performance, but will also make the application code more consistent and comprehensible to developers new to the OSP community.

We're trying to keep our ambitions fairly modest for the first iteration of the tool.  The focus will be consolidation, cleanup, and reconciling functional and/UI differences between the current matrices and wizards tools.  But at the same time, we want to be mindful of where the community would like to see these tools go in the future so we can take this information into account as we rebuild them.  So, this is the first of what I am sure will be a number of requests for your ideas and feedback during the requirements and design phase of the project.  Hopefully, in addition to communicating online, we'll be able to spend some time on our Monday calls to explore specific issues.  To get the conversation rolling, I'd like to invite you  to record your responses to a couple of questions on the following Confluence page:


Questions for Your Consideration:

1.       OSP currently offers three scaffolding options for representing a guided portfolio experience: matrix, hierarchical wizard, and sequential wizard.  Are there other forms or visual/organizational models that should be considered as new scaffolding types? As an example, a colleague recently suggested including an option for representing a guided portfolio as a concept map with nodes representing each page and connectors indicating various types of relationships among the pages.  Something like this,  I think, could be very powerful, if each participant had the freedom to design their own or follow the paths that are most meaningful to them.

2.       What are the top 5 changes or enhancements your institution would like to see in the matrices and/or wizards tools?   Focus your list on features or behaviors needed at your institution that aren't available in the current tools.  If there's consensus are a few key functionalities, we can try to incorporate them into the first or an early iteration of the tool.

Kristol Hancock and I will be working together on initial requirements and design documents.   As soon as we have something ready to share, I will post them to a feature template in Confluence.    In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns about this project, please feel free to contact me.

Best regards,


Lynn Ward, Principal Systems Analyst, Community Source Collaboration and Learning
University Information Technology Services<http://uits.iu.edu/>
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Information Technology and Communications Complex (IT 218S)
535 West Michigan Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202
Phone: 317-278-5713  E-mail: leward at iupui.edu<mailto:leward at iupui.edu>

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