Guru Development Unit
The Guru Development Unit (GDU) was established in August 2020 and has responsibility for the provision of a range of services to academics, administrators, registry, external examiners and students. These services include student information and analytics tools, management and workflow facilities for examination resources, nomination and report management for external examiners and the provision of past paper archives for students. These services are provided via user-friendly, custom-built software, developed by a team of senior software developers. The current version of Guru 1.0 has been deployed in DCU since 2011 and has digitised and streamlined a range of university processes, as well as providing effective digital tools for staff within DCU. A number of external universities have also deployed Guru services and are supported by the GDU.
The current primary focus of the unit is the development of the next-generation version of Guru (Version 2.0) which is a full rewrite of all existing services to include full business process management, microservices scalable architecture, responsive and accessible user experience, improved data integration and compatibility with the new Student Information System (Banner). This version will also provide the platform for the improvement of existing services and the provision of new services from 2024-2034.
The Guru Development Unit (GDU) provides bespoke development and support for a number of "Guru Modules". A brief description of these modules is listed below:
This service provides user-friendly, bottom-up analysis of students, modules and programmes and is aimed principally at academics and academic administrative teams. This allows these users to access the information they need within seconds through an effective and straightforward web application. This includes full analysis of the corresponding performance of students across their range of programmes and modules allowing early remedial action and response.
University examination processes involve a number of both internal and external quality review checks, including reviews by ‘External Examiners’ who are third party academics responsible for ensuring that academic standards are being met. Guru Exam provides a range of services to ensure that assessment components are consistent, standardised, accessible and can go through all stages of processing and review in a secure and user friendly manner.
External examiners are employed by Universities for the purpose of external quality review. This involves a number of stages including proposal of external examiner, nomination, institutional review and approval, account creation and a subsequent submission of final reports. The Guru Extern module provides a range of digital services to help with all aspects of the management of external examiners and their quality review documentation.
Past exam paper archives have always been made available to students typically via website distribution. These archives have traditionally been very simple with basic module code searching and papers have been commonly inaccessible for students with disabilities. Guru Archive was developed to improve all aspects of archiving, including provision of full meta-data and in-document searching, as well as providing assessment components in fully accessible formats suitable for all students.
David Molloy - Head of the Guru Development Unit
David leads the Guru Development Unit (GDU) and is responsible for the provision of the wide range of services provided by the Guru suite of services. Since Guru was first rolled out in 2011, it has grown significantly in usage and now provides a range of mission-critical services to both DCU and a number of external third-party institutions. David has been working in DCU since 1999 and has a valuable cross-section of experience from teaching, administration, software development and university processes. This diverse background helps narrow the “knowledge gap” commonly encountered between the business and the software development teams and leads to more precise implementations of University business processes.
Tony Ayres - Senior Software Architect
Tony has been a software developer since 2005 and has extensive experience developing web, integration and distributed systems in the financial services, telecoms and education sectors. He joined DCU in 2015 to work on the Guru system.
Ian Harrison - Senior Software Developer
Ian has been working on Guru since graduating from DCU in 2015 with a degree in Electronic and Computer Engineering. He works as a software developer, mostly focused on developing new features for the next generation Guru 2 system.
Katarzyna Fidos - Senior Software Developer
Kasia is a software engineer with over 10 years of hands-on development, design and coding across a full application stack. She joined the Guru team in 2021. Before that she worked across multiple industries including telecom, fintech and banking.