the Syllabus Viewing Application
Dismayed by the lack of standardization and usability among the various SIMS professors' syllabi, Lisa de Larios-Heiman and Carolyn Cracraft have been working together to create SylViA, the Syllabus Viewing Application. SylViA is comprised of a model and an application that would not only capture all essential information about a syllabus but also present various views of both a single class and combinations of classes.
Our masters project started out as Lisa's final project for Alex Milowski's XML Technologies class in the Spring of 2004. Carolyn was very impressed by the ingenuity and utility of the project and asked Lisa if she'd be interested in continuing development together as the basis for their SIMS masters project. Since then, we have reworked Lisa's original data model before moving forward with the application Under the guidance of Bob Glushko, we applied document engineering techniques to create a conceptual model of a syllabus, analyzing at least one syllabus from each SIMS faculty member along the way. We used this model as a basis for fleshing out and improving the prototype application, and we had it up and running in time for a serious round of testing by the beginning of the Fall 2004 semester. Development and refinement of both model and application continued throughout the Fall semester and into the Spring 2005. In order for SylViA to succeed and be widely adopted at SIMS, as many professors as possible must be won over to our format and contribute syllabi each semester. To that end, we are developing a user interface for syllabus information input in Marti Hearst's User Interface Design and Development.
One of our main goals with SylViA is to develop a fully functional, usable, and robust application in hopes that it can be deployed and become part of every day life at SIMS, in the spirit of eDecisions. Fondly known as eD, eDecisions is the only SIMS masters project that has continues to be used after the graduation of its creators, and we hope that SylViA will be the second. By the end of the semester, SylViA will be complete, unleashing SIMS' first syllabus management system on unsuspecting professors and students.