Florida Virtual School (FLVS), one of the largest, most recognized Internet-based public schools in the United States, was faced with the challenge of adapting the Blackboard Learn™ LMS platform to a unique set of requirements covering diverse functional areas. Our team implemented an overhauled alerts and notifications system; developed a completely new, guided learning path for students; revamped the grading interface; and developed customized usage and tracking reports. FLVS turned to BlueFletch Consulting and Edify, working alongside Blackboard’s own in-house consulting team, to fulfill a key role in the development of these customizations to the Blackboard product.
The main challenges for this project stemmed from the design, development and stabilization of Blackboard extensions that interact deeply with (and in some cases even replace) out-of-the-box functionality. From a student perspective, FLVS envisioned a powerful Adaptive Learning Path that provides an intelligent, individualized and student-centric approach to course content and outcomes. Teachers were given enhanced control and visibility into their student’s progress by means of specialized course tools and modules. Administrative users benefited from specialized reporting and data integration capabilities as well.
BlueFletch and Edify helped bring FLVS’s vision to life by creating and deploying a set of Building Block extensions that harnessed Blackboard’s pluggable architecture and API, in turn providing a customized LMS user experience. To achieve this, our team applied our deep knowledge of the Blackboard platform and the mechanisms through which the tool can be shaped according to our customer’s specific requirements. Additionally, we were able to integrate and interact fluidly with a multi-company, internationally distributed team.
As a result of our collaborative effort, our client was able to fully utilize the off-the-shelf Blackboard platform and revolutionize their e-learning product offering.
Knowledge Elements (KE) partners with and advises US Christian Colleges and Universities on various areas such as accreditation, compliance, training, mentoring, online learning and course creation, to name a few.
Edify started working with Knowledge Elements in 2010, as their technology adviser and programming and development team. As a consequence of working with other providers, KE didn’t have a development process in place, was not making scalable applications, and was not able to integrate well with other teams or customers. Edify worked with KE to define a plan to solve these known problems. As a result, Knowledge Elements now has an efficient, versioned and strong workflow that goes from conception of an idea to product deployment. This has allowed them to integrate with their customers much more succinctly and efficiently.
With KE’s trust, Edify has become a proactive partner, extending their product portfolio with two new services based on open source solutions for their customers’ students: ScreenPadPad, a real time, collaborative tool for notes and drafts, and Connection Mine, a video conference environment for instructors and students. These tools integrated well with KE’s key software offerings Atheneo and iCourseCreator, which are also maintained and enhanced by the Edify Team.
Thanks to our partnership and their expertise, Knowledge Elements remains a leading education network in their marketplace.
Doug Blumhardt, Chief Operations Officer of Knowledge Elements, has this to say about Edify:
"I have been particularly impressed with Edify's knowledge and skill in open source development. There are so many possibilities that exist via open source that would simply be impractical or overly cost-prohibitive in a ground-up development process. As phenomenal as those possibilities are, you can't tap that potential unless you have sharp developers who are on the leading edge in that world. We have found that Edify knows how to integrate frameworks and open source objects in a very effective way. They also touch the resultant apps with a lot of creativity and finesse. It would be very costly for us to replicate Edify's skill set via an on-shore development group. We are thankful for everything Edify does to lift our business model to another level!"
Kaplan is a pioneer in online education, providing services to students of all ages—from first-graders learning to read to professionals seeking postgraduate training. With over 500 locations in more than 30 countries, they educate more than one million students each year. Edify helped Kaplan design and develop new features and products for their k8-Precollege LMS (Smart Track). Under the Smart Track umbrella, Edify also helped create a web-based Content Delivery Engine for students and a rich media Educator Portal for students, parents and teachers.
Kaplan Test Prep & Admissions (KTPA) is a market-leading provider of tutoring services and preparation materials for standardized tests. As a complement to their existing product portfolio targeting institutional students who wish to prepare for the SAT and ACT tests, KTPA wanted to provide a toolset for institutional administrators and educators to help improve classroom performance. Edify and BlueFletch Consulting (our partner company) responded to this need by creating a Web application known as the Educator Portal.
Edify’s challenge was to design and implement the server-side batch processing tools that generate data for several system usage and student performance reports. These data processing tools were required to handle large quantities of complex information, including content usage, lesson outcomes and test performance at various levels of aggregation. As a result of our collaboration, KTPA successfully deployed their vision of the Educator Portal as a valuable addition to their product lineup.
Measured Progress, an industry leader in the development of customized, K-12 student assessments for schools, districts and states, was faced with the need to integrate some of their legacy systems with a user-friendly application that could more easily be used by their employees. Measured Progress turned to Pure Source (our partner company) and Edify to create a team to help realize their goals. We built a web Portal application based on a Liferay Enterprise instance and used web services to remotely access their existing data. As a result, we created an elegant and solidly designed application that was adopted by their in-house IT department after a knowledge transfer hand-off.
Athlete Information System (ATHIS) is one of Edify's in-house projects. A robust and innovative software system for the professional sports industry, ATHIS allows organizations to analyze data and statistics of players and results to make better decisions. It can be configured by the user for any type of sport or competition.
Specifically, the creation of this system was done in conjunction with “Liga Deportiva Alajuelense", one of the premier soccer teams in Costa Rica. Liga Deportiva Alajuelense is currently the three-peat national champion, has won 26 national championships and two major international tournaments, and is recognized as one of the most important teams in the country.
ATHIS is Liga Deportiva Alajuelense's backbone of analysis and we expect it to soon be used by several other professional soccer teams. Further, we hope to roll out the system to other sports worldwide.