The project produced several new state-of-the-art products and provided Counterpoint MTC Ltd. with a market leading solution that addressed some key needs identified by teachers.
Work initially focused on entering a prototype product (eSAAMS) into the Microsoft Tablet PC competition, setting up new Microsoft SQL Servers for development and testing purposes and introducing Visual Studio .NET into the company as an advanced research and development platform. After that, the Associate delivered .NET training to technical staff at the company so that existing projects could be consolidated into a single development platform. Another new product was created (eSAAMS.net) that allowed teachers to record audio and video evidence of students work which was immediately stored against a student record card in a new database. These new Intranet ePortfolio products provided a web based ‘student portal’ that let students view information about their work and monitor their progress. The new product was successfully demonstrated at the BETT Show in January 2005 (the largest UK Education ICT Exhibition) and later released as part of Multi-User eSAAMS suite in May 2005. These products incorporated the new database products.
An updated version of iLessons was then created (the main new product created during the previous projct witht the company) and a new server solution for music systems at the company was created. That eliminated problematic and difficult software that was holding back R & D in the company. The new version of iLessons was installed on approximately 60 computers within the first month. Finally at this stage, a new bi-directional database synchronizer was created with an import tool to read data in to the teacher’s eSAAMS database.
Work then moved to create a new Central Administration Tool (CAT) and a new database product (in parallel with a new .NET version of eSAAMS). That new product incorporated both the new Database and the new CAT on a .Net platform. The new eSAAMS database and CAT system were released in September 2006.
The main company website was updated to include an online store to allow customers to purchase products online and a separate website was created (www.groovit.co.uk) with a new look and feel for private rather than corporate customers. Finally a new version of eSAAMS was created (V4) that was an improvement over previous versions as it also gave schools the ability to administer students and classes centrally.
This success continued after the project finished because the researcher employed by the company and continued work to create other new and novel multi-media and multi-platform support systems to enable teachers to record, collect and assess students work against national curriculum standards. With the support of the University team and an ex-Associate from the previous scheme (Dr Jorge Bergasa), the University and company partnership went on to create new teaching and assessment systems. The work is now investigating advanced approaches to computer aided teaching by introducing artificial intelligence into some of the new systems. Sales at the company fluctuated throughout the scheme but increased overall with profits on sales consistently higher than previous years. The Times Education Supplement placed the products as one of the top 3 ICT products.
Some research money was used to fund time for two academic investigators (Sanders & Tewkesbury) and partly to fund an extra part-time Associate (Tan) to investigate teaching over the Internet and human-computer interface aspects. Collaboration is continuing with the company as the Associate employed on the project (Dr Simon Chester) was funded by the company to complete a Part Time PhD at the University and the addition of Artificial Intelligence is now being investigated. Dr Simon Chester accepted a job as Senior Engineer with Counterpoint MTC and became a member of the BCS.
The part-time Associate (Tan) created new prototype systems, investigated suitable computer programming languages and created new ways of presenting information to a user and they both helped to arrange symposia. Bergasa, Chester and Tan all completed PhDs.
KTP with Counterpoint MTC Ltd for £185,392
New WWW Sites were created and new procedures have been set in place for the distribution of knowledge within the company which have facilitated down-graded human support and increased technology in the company. New quality control systems, R & D and project portfolio management all improved the company’s competitive position.
Improved manufacturing processes were introduced and several new electronic assessment systems created:
• New systems to capture, store and share multi-media student assessment information.
• Expert System Engine and Knowledge base
• Several new products were introduced and more new intelligent products are planned in the future.
• Contact has been made with new teaching organisations in the UK and abroad.
• The new systems have been appraised by teachers and users and rated highly.
• The company has established a reputation for being involved in new technology and R & D.
• Referrals and recommendations have increased.
• Counterpoint MTC has gained knowledge of advanced server side Internet applications.
• Liaison with suppliers took place to resolve production and design problems.
• A cost analysis was completed.
New products are being marketed and sold. The company now has knowledge of .Net, SQL Database design and analysis and other Internet related applications and Object Oriented Programming. Project planning and prototyping techniques have been introduced and international standards are in the process of being gained. The company magazine is printed twice a year with information on the new products.
The project created new knowledge about:
• IT, interfacing and driving Microsoft interfaces.
• Database Design and Microsoft SQL Server programming
• Product development processes, installation and testing procedures.
• Web Servers.
• Test and calibration procedures for new IT and network software.
• New methods of teaching over the Internet and basic Intranet knowledge for the company.
• Quantifying and presenting Human-Computer Interface data.
• Object Oriented Programming and Visual Basic Dot.Net programming skills..
• Writing visual interfaces.
• Design of interface software.
The scheme improved the Company’s understanding of the application of scientific analysis, which led to an enhancement of the product range with the new systems and products and to new intelligent products in the future. The KTP introduced some new computer aided methods and improved aspects of design, quality, programming, software engineering and technical applications.
|Short title||KTP with Counterpoint MTC Ltd|
|Effective start/end date||1/03/04 → 29/02/08|