This is an informal list of items that were discussed during recent VMT meetings. Once we flesh out these ideas further and prioritize them, we can organize them into formal development tasks at the [JIRA]
system. Please feel free to modify these items and/or add your own ideas to the list.
Note: the page we put together last year also includes relevant information: [Personas, Scenarios and Issues for VMT 2008]
- Collect all source code: Concert Chat, wiki configuration, Lobby, database
- Set up installation procedures for development, testing and production systems
- Document system software, installation, repository, etc.
- Establish unit and integration testing for all system software
- Organize all source code in repository
- Every six months release a new Open Source version at Source Forge
- Allow selection of tabs, + button, tab names and tab contents when a Topic is defined
- Define a Geo-board version of Whiteboard for Geometer's Sketchpad functionality
- [Notes] from the meeting with Scott Steketee on May 5th about incorporating GSP functionality to VMT
- Create a menu system, based largely on the whiteboard and chat icon functionality (see RoomsDev6)
- Include some new features, such as archiving chats to .JNO and .XLS files
- Associate some menu items with certain user roles (e.g., admin, mentor)
- Define a Geo-board menu and perhaps a toolbox and other palettes or sub-menus in the Geo-board tab
- Common usability issues to be resolved:
- Overlapping textbox editing
- Occurs when users A and B start editing an existing textbox on the whiteboard at the same time. The system only reflects the changes made by the person who commits his/her changes the last. This erases the changes made by the other user.
- Possible solution: implement a transaction protocol that locks the textbox (hardly ideal, but at least avoids the inconvenience involved with the scenario above)
- Grayed out whiteboard controls
- Occurs when a user's whiteboard scrollbar points to a previous state. Can be initiated by dragging the scrollbar or by clicking on small boxes that display whiteboard actions in the chat stream
- Possible solution: make it visually evident that the user is looking at a prior state of the whiteboard (e.g. dim the whiteboard, show watermarked timestamps in a visible way)
- Keeping track of actions across tabs
- If a user makes a reference from a chat message to a tab different from the one you are currently viewing, then you will see a broken arrow attached to that message. You will also see a green screen name briefly appearing under the relevant tab.
- The broken arrow gives the impression that there is a bug in the tool. We may consider making the arrow pointing at the tab itself (which may not be that easy though since the window size allocated to the chat application can be different at each terminal).
- We may consider displaying who is viewing which tab in the list of current users in the room (displayed on the top right corner of the room)
- Difficulties involved with copy/paste chat messages
- In the existing system you need to press ALT as you select text by dragging the mouse. Then you need to do CTRL-C (without releasing ALT) to copy that text to the clipboard. This is overly cumbersome and makes it difficult for users to reuse the content already in chat as they are summarizing their work
- Possible solution(s):
- implement a context menu (e.g. right click on a message displays an option copy-text, which can be then posted in a textbox on the summary tab). in this case we may need a way to select multiple chat posts (e.g. pressing SHIFT as you click on messages to select multiple chat messages)
- or allow chat messages to be dragged into the w.b. which would either (a) create a new textbox including the dragged text or (b) append the text to an existing box if the user drags the chat message on top of that textbox.
VMT Chat & VMT Wiki
- Support for transferring the contents of the summary tab to the wiki page reserved for that room.
- Simplest way: Implement a button that would allow user to save a snapshot of the summary tab in jpeg or gif mode. This will at least give the user the chance to upload an image to the wiki without the need to reconstruct it with MS Paint.
- Automated approach: implement a servlet that would communicate a screen shot of the summary tab and the text included in each textbox to the wiki. The wiki side then can post the image and the text on the room's wiki page.
- Exploit the shared browser: investigate if the team can compose and monitor their wiki summaries by using the browser tab. They will still need some support to copy/paste what they drew and formulated in the chat room to the wiki page.
VMT Chat & VMT Lobby
- There are a few features that were lost when we got the tabbed version. This is just intended as a reminder in case we want to add these features back in the system.
- Kick and Ban
- In the 2006 version of VMT double clicking on a user names triggered the kick and ban mechanism. The owners of the room and admins could decide that. The code that facilitates this interaction between the lobby and the chat application is still present, but the mechanism that triggers the action in the chat application is not included in the tabbed version
- Alert Math Forum administrator
- Again, the 2006 version had a special feature that allowed a user to send a message to the administrators. The code that transforms the message into an email and sends it to a specific list should be still in the repository, but the tabbed version does not have the button included in the 2006 version.
- Add Table object with rows and columns. Can add row, add column, edit each grid square
- [JSpreadsheet] A simple, open-source, java-based spreadsheet tool that we may consider adding to VMT
- All users
- Improved profiles for personalized access to content (e.g. list of recently joined/favorite rooms, projects I am involved with)
- Buddy list
- Coordination support for scheduling sessions
- two scenarios are particularly relevant: (a) a tutor who wants to set up rooms for his/her class (b) a user who wants to reach out others to schedule a session
- invitations through messaging system and/or a shared calendar can be used to support (b)
- an announcement section displayed on the profile page of targeted users (e.g. like the wall in facebook) can be used to support (a)
- Support for monitoring activities within their projects
- Support for room/topic creation
- Customize which tabs should appear and where they should point at (e.g. in the case of shared browsers)
- Support for defining the order in which topics and rooms should be displayed under a project
- Support for batch creation of rooms (e,g. create 5 rooms under this topic with a generic name Room 1,2,3,4)
- Gather basic descriptive statistics about sessions under a given project
- Inform students about their upcoming sessions - a little announcement with a link to the room can be posted on each user's profile to help them orient themselves
- Monitor activity in the whole system. Active rooms and alerts should be flagged so that the admin can locate them easily.
- Ability to shut down rooms, suspend users, change their user accounts (this is available, but it is a flat list. we should organize this by letters for easy browsing)
- Fix the html transcriber included in the existing admin interface (this can be used to get a quick peek at a room without entering it)
- Host different versions -- to support older sessions
- An offline version? (to eliminate the need to be online to make it work; JNLP protocol supports this possibility)
- Incorporate transcriber (to allow researchers save a jno as html, csv)
- Ability to select date and interval for transcription production?
- Gather basic descriptive statistics?
- Quick tutorial (highlight main features, like step through, opening up multiple rooms, saving screen shots)
- Look into bugs -- message with a reference freezes at the bottom of the chat window sometimes, there is probably something about that reference
- Check if shared tabs are recorded adequately (e.g. changes on the shared browsers)