UOC Technology

Architecture

The technology architecture of an institution includes all the important decisions on the organization of the software—its interfaces[1], behaviour and interaction—and the selection and make-up of the structural elements (technology infrastructure). Above all, however, the technology architecture is a definition of style: the description of the motives or reasons that determine why a system is designed in the way it is.

An architecture is selected and designed based on objectives and restrictions and is a high level vision. Thus, rather than defining how a system is implemented, it defines concepts, such as its principles and factors, organization, styles, patterns[2], responsibilities, collaborations, connections and motives.

So, the UOC's technology architecture is an abstract or high level reference model and a set of general institutional policies. It aims to define a model for the relation between the diverse technological elements in the UOC and also the mechanisms for constantly updating it.

The Technology Infrastructure section describes the physical architecture and the main elements of the UOC's technology infrastructure. Only the logical architecture is described in this section. The logical architecture gives the institution a framework in terms of patterns and abstractions for constructing new software and for integrating existing tools and services.

The following diagrams illustrate the UOC's logical architecture. Diagram 1 shows the mechanisms for accessing the UOC, which are based on the authentication service[3], one of the most important elements of this architecture.

 


Click on the image to enlarge it.

 

The authentication service lets users access the UOC's environment. Apart from the users, however, it also grants access to applications. For example, an application that is correctly certified and installed in the mobile telephone of a student or a lecturer can also access the UOC. These mechanisms, know as single sign-on (SSO), allow the Campus and other UOC tools to integrate and interact with other systems that are external to the University. Thus, the external systems can authenticate and access the UOC via a range of authentication mechanisms, which includes CAS, Shibboleth, IMS Basic LTI and the OKI OSIDs

 

Diagram 2 provides a detailed illustration of the UOC's logical architecture in layers.

 

Layers