Developments in the e-Learning Programme were well represented at last week's JISC conference. Of particular interest was the announcement of a JISC Enterprise Working Group to evaluate The Open Group Architecture Framework for HE and FE.
Steve Lay talks about the PyAssess project in the e-assessment domain which aimed to create an IMS QTI v2 compliant assessment system using Python and a means of migrating content between QTI versions 1 and 2. In the article Steve details the language incompatibilities that arose during the project and suggests that web services may provide the answer allowing: "better defined web services may help applications to break out of their language community silos".
We spoke to Patrick Masson former Director of Technology for the SUNY Learning Network about what happened when they tried to implement a Service Oriented Architecture at the State University of New York, an institution with 64 campuses, 30,000 faculty and 414,000 students. Patrick reflects on the lessons he’s learned and how he plans to implement Service Oriented Architectures in his new role as CIO at SUNY Delhi College of Technology. It’s quite a long interview but will be of great interest to anyone thinking about implementing SOA in their institution.
Michael Gardner describes the development of DELTA, a tool for practitioners which enables them to submit, search and retrieve distributed resources, based on standardized metadata and identified pedagogical contexts. This article will be of interest to those following the current debates around pedagogic ontologies versus folksonomies.
In this article Brian Clark and Andrew Booth of the SOCKET toolkit project introduce the concept of the Service Oriented Learning Architecture (SOLA). "the vision of a SOLA presented here is one with a large number of diverse services that are micro-managed in an academic domain structure that is integrated using federated Web service registries. The means to quickly introduce and edit, new service compositions must be readily available with close working relationships between academics and developers."
In this article Steve Bennett describes the Smirkboard to Perception toolkit demonstrator project which used Enterprise web services and the Sweet.net toolkit to transfer student and group data between Smirkboard (presentation software) and Question Mark Perception.
Alex Little introduces the JoinIn project which has developed a toolkit which enables groups to be shared between the Moodle and LAMS open source VLEs.
Alexis O'Connor and Adam Marshall introduce the TReCX (Tracking and Reporting in e-Learning Contexts) toolkit project which has developed interfaces and libraries to allow educators to gather tracking data from a range of e-learning toolks including blogs and wikis.
A report from the JISC-CETIS conference held in Salford on the 14th and 15th November. This year, the focus was on "the gap between learning within the (fire)wall of a well-established institution and learning on the wild web and beyond."
For the last 18 months a group of six JISC funded projects have been mapping and modelling a number of e-learning domains to provide a link between the e-Framework for Education and Research services and users. On the 10th October these projects gathered at Aston University to share and reflect on those experiences and to pass on their wisdom to those wishing to bid into the next round of funding.
Gary Wills and Lester Gilbert explain the R2Q2 toolkit project which has built web services to display and process questions using version 2 of the IMS Question and Test Interoperability specification.
In this article Brian Clark and Andrew Booth give a non-technical introduction to the SOCKET (Service Oriented Consumer Kit for ELF tools) project which enables external resources to be plugged in to an existing VLE.
The exchanging course related information (XCRI) project has produced a prototype web service aggregator which will allow students to locate courses they’re interested in through a Google Maps like interface.
A brief report from the Joint meeting of the JISC-CETIS Enterprise and Portfolio Special Interest Groups where the LIPID, SUNIWE and XCRI projects reported on the highs and lows of using web services.
Last week was the 13th International ALT conference held in Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. There was a lot of interest in personal learning environments and what effect their widespread use will have on institutions.