Remote learning management system QA with eCornell University

How Cornell University’s online learning platform manages & acts on 1000s of pages of content...

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The Problem: Internal QA on 1000s of moving parts

Cornell University’s online learning platform, eCornell, provides online professional and executive development training to students around the world.

With 90+ online programs for professional development, they required a cloud-based bug tracking platform for internal QA. A platform that could enhance their workflow for tracking the technical aspects of their STEM courseware.

eCornell provides STEM learning certificates like Python Fundamentals, Machine Learning, Front-End Web Development, and Data Analytics, which are a key and growing part of eCornell's strategy. Time-to-market is always an issue. QA on technical functionality and coding exercises has to be both speedy and accurate.

eCornell required a powerful and flexible tool to facilitate this process and streamline the review cycle during development.

"We needed a tool that would tag and track feedback on specific pages of our Canvas LMS, while providing specific and contextual information. It had to be intuitive and flexible for both admins and reviewers to use."

Ted Blanchard
Instructional Technologist at eCornell

How eCornell uses BugHerd: An ever-evolving project workflow

eCornell uses BugHerd only for the internal feedback stages and technical testing of their STEM-focused courses. Their workflow is furthered via project-management software (like Wrike) for task-tracking, as well as the use of existing QA spreadsheets in Google docs.

Consolidation of the workflow is an ever-evolving process.

Internal QA is performed by a few teams:

  • QA/Copyediting Resources and Content Specialists
  • Instructional Technology Resources
  • Instructional Designers (IDs)

The internal process for QA incorporates BugHerd in two distinct stages for eCornell’s STEM-focused courses:

Stage 1 -  During the initial code exercise development stage, instructional technical resources and instructional designers implement and perform initial testing;

Stage 2 - During the review & QA phases, with additional technical resources, Content Specialists and IDs work on bugs collaboratively.

Using the BugHerd browser extension, eCornell tags and tracks issues on specific pages of the Canvas learning management system as well as the embedded tools like Codio, RStudio, and OmniDB.

A major advantage of BH is that each issue can be linked so closely to a particular location in the course.

Though improvements using BugHerd's software are more qualitative than quantitative, there is no doubt it has become an essential tool to improving eCornell’s workflow and process.

The bug tracking and feedback tool has formed an integral part of the revamped project management process for STEM/coding courses. It has provided a much-needed level of clarity and flexibility to the development and review phases.

It's safe to say that several potential issues on at least one project have been avoided so far. This kind of intervention saves a potential (estimated) several days of back-and-forth communications and extra bug-fixing.

The ease of use, the flexibility and the different ways to tag, categorise and comment on bugs makes BugHerd a game changer.