The Learning and Teaching Systems and Services Consultation committee is preparing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for learning and teaching systems and services. Depending on the responses we receive we may upgrade Blackboard or replace it, and may also add other services needed for learning and teaching online. The committee would like to invite you to submit stories (use cases) about how you would like the system to work. Our goal is to incorporate a variety of use cases into the RFP so that we get more information back from vendors about how flexible and usable their software really is than we would get by simply asking them to complete a checklist of features.
One way to write a use case is to imagine one way you would like Blackboard (or other systems you use) to facilitate the work of instructors and students. It could be something Blackboard doesn’t do at all or that it should do differently. The key is to focus on a specific story or scenario that describes how the system would facilitate learning and teaching.
Some Notes on Writing a Use Case
Don’t worry about getting all the details of the story right. If you teach, start by describing a pedagogical scenario, including the objectives and activities or simply outline a process and list the players/actors in the story. For example, the objectives could be to develop student critical thinking and the activities may include peer-review. The players could be instructors, teaching assistants, students, and any others. Actors can also be components of a system like a bulletin board, gradebook, or calendar. If you are a student, you may want to start by describing a learning activity such as the need to submit a e-portfolio assignment, loaded with video, design and graphics. You may then want the instructor to review your project and insert video or other relevant feedback.
Don’t worry about how the system should work when there is a problem. Just focus on how people should work with the system in order to get the job done. Tell a story that ends in success. If we decide to add your use case to the RFP we’ll follow up with you to get more details if they are needed.
Here’s a relatively simple example of a use case followed by questions we are working on including in the RFP:
A professor wishes to add significant events to the online course calendar. The events include assignment release and due dates, extra test preparation seminar dates at times that are not in the official course schedule, test dates, and events that advise students when they should begin working on various stages of an assignment.
In some cases a course shell may include multiple course sections – each with different dates for each event.
In other cases individual students may wish to create events in their own course calendar.
- Describe in detail the options, and any required workarounds, to accomplish all of these scenarios in your system.
- Describe the options and any required workarounds to share this information with the student’s Ryerson Google calendar. Make sure you include as one option how a Google secondary calendar for the course could be populated and made visible to the student.
- Ryerson already populates student’s primary Google calendars with course schedule information. If Ryerson wanted to ensure that the information provided by the LMS would not duplicate this information in a secondary Google calendar but did want the information in the LMS course calendar, how would that be accomplished?
How to Send in a Use Case
Please email your use cases to firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday November 12 and please accept our thanks in advance!
– Learning and Teaching Systems and Services Consultation Committee