Friday, 12 June 2009

Preparing for pilot testing

It's been a very busy month or so, with a lot of work going into the design and structure of the TASH resource. It currently looks really nice, albeit with a few rough edges; and we're at a stage now where, by the end of June, we're hoping to pilot test the site with students (more info at the end of the post). The pilot testing should identify issues of structure, content, navigation, and design that will help us develop the resource further, and make sure it meets the needs of its core users, the students. Building on this testing, there will be a student read-through of the revised resource later in July to make sure that the authors haven't come on like disco vicars, trying to be down with the kids, but revealing themselves to be the crusty old men they actually are.

What seems most likely at the moment is that the TASH resource will be launched softly and selectively in September 2009, to key stakeholders such as Level One tutors, learning and teaching advocates, professional services staff involved in induction and transition support, and so on. We'll use the first semester of 09/10 as an extended beta testing phase, gathering feedback and adding resources and materials to the site. We'll then have a more public launch at the start of the second semester, at a time when hopefully students will have more time and space to engage, and perhaps even the direct motivation if their autumn semester experiences haven't been all they expected. We're also clear now, as we have been all along, that the TASH site that gets signed off is only version 1, and it will be expected to develop and grow as more uses and needs are recognised. The aim is to create a simple site with room to grow, and that aim still looks to be achievable in a realistic timeframe.

If you're a Sheffield student and would like to pilot test the resource, some time in the last week of June, please contact us. Your feedback will be essential for making sure we get the look, feel, and content of the resource right, and we will be able to reward you for your time.

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