Significant events

A significant event happened today, well, a few significant events:

  1. One of our student developers fixed his course by authoring the code and saw the change reflected in his course while taking it
  2. We have 0 issues that the team marked as blocking issues for us to bump up a minor version to 0.1.0 which will push at 12:00am 2/18/16
  3. I upgraded 8 live deployments of ELMSLN while having meetings; I queued them up and Jenkins did all the work
  4. We now have a live demo, something that (oddly) we've never had before. So why?
  5. We have a lot more people contributing issues, ideas, and code then we did even 2 months ago

Let's stop and take that in for a minute, one at a time.


Our student developer @mmilutinovic13 fixed this issue that he reported while taking a science course powered by ELMS Learning Network. So he noticed an issue with his learning management system, reported the issue, we talked through what the best way to resolve it is, he tested the change, submitted a pull request (to have his code merged into the system) and then a few days later his LMS is enhanced. Now yes, Mark works for Arts & Architecture and I dedicate his time towards fixing issues in ELMSLN but still, it's awesome what is possible when we empower all users to enact change.

Now, on to the 0 issue blocks on 0.1.0. What does that mean for the project. Well, it means that we've been able to make a reasonable amount of progress against the goals outlined as 0.1.0 to say that it's something more stable then it was previously. We started into numbered versions right at the end of 2015. We've gone through 10 point releases in the 0.0.x release cycle mostly to test out our infrastructures ability to upgrade itself. Well, it's getting very stable and able to upgrade successfully with little to no issues. The other major issue knocked out was a secure, self organizing single-sign on system. This is not to suggest there isn't more work to be done (there's tons) but we're reaching a level of stability that people can play with things and start to build against the world that the 4 colleges at Penn State and Buttercups training are actively using and growing up with.

In the 8 deployments upgraded today there were 2 issues. 1 was a link that the deployment specifically deletes (and I know to do this) which is what powers the ELMSLN instance at and the other had to do with VERY old courses that were the first 5 made in the infrastructure on my own setup (now going on 1.5 years ago) which again was effectively a handful of links. In each case it took about 5 minutes to fix all issues, combined and they are outliers.

Because of these things, we now have a demo (staff / staff). It may seem odd to not have a demo previously but I refuse to do something unless it can be self sustaining. For example, this is the first time I've written that we have a copy of ELMSLN that upgrades itself based on feedback from Travis CI, our automation testing robot. You can see this here (though you'd never know it's happening), and that's the point. If we are seeking to build system that mirror life, they must have methods in place to be self-sustaining. Automatic upgrading, refined "one line" installers (we have 4 now) and other infrastructure improvements are a MUST. Walk before you can crawl and you'll fail quickly.

Lastly, and I can't thank people enough for believing in this idea, our community is growing. We now have 2 core developers, access to a UX designer who informs the pedagogy of the project, 3 student developers, and now multiple learning designers, faculty members,  and graphic designers across multiple disciplines that have contributed to our issue queues. We've got training, K-12, Business, Arts, and Sciences contexts all represented across multiple issues and we'll only have more people in the queues soon as we are making it policy to have IDs associated with ELMSLN to communicate needs in this open format.

Thank you all so much for what we've done to get here and what we are about to do. Never, stop, innovating. Happy birthday to me.