Over the years that WebPA has developed, at Loughborough University, the users have always requested new features to be added. This developed into a long list of academic wishes, but it has so far not been evaluated to show if the whole user community requires the features listed. Now, seems an appropriate time as the project are looking to update the road map.
The road map document lets the projects community members see where the project is intending to go for the next phase of work. WebPA tries to update the road map every six months of the projects current funding period. I hope that in this phase the community needs for WebPA will be more clearly reflected in the development to take place.
In order to ensure that the community needs are reflected the current wish list was sent to all active users at Loughborough University. The community where sent a list of requirements that had previously be gathered and asked to select their top three. If their most important requirements where not on the list the community was asked to feed back what they needed. From all the emails sent there has been a 23% response rate. While this is not wonderful it is sufficient, well we aren't going to statistically analyse the information. From this I have identified a list of requirements to take the development of WebPA forward while ensuring the users needs are met. These requirements may not be pedagogically sound in most cases, but as an open source project I think that we can be forgiven this if we are meeting user need.
I do think that it will be interesting to re do this task as the project community grows. But in that growth I feel that more work will be needed to ensure that the community of users are aware of the WebPA sourceforge area, and how features can be requested.