New JISC projects to look at cross-sector interoperability
Scott Wilson, CETIS staff
July 19, 2002

Two new projects funded by JISC are taking the "Managed Learning Environment" (MLE) programme to a new level, by trying to create interoperability not only between systems, but between systems in different institutions in both higher and further education.

The JISC programme "Building Managed Learning Environments across HE and FE" is funding two projects, SHELL in south-west England, and NIIMLE in Northern Ireland.

SHELL is based at the University of Plymouth and includes partners from (in the first phase) The Cornwall College Group, North Devon College, Exeter College, and Somerset College of Arts and Technology. In a second phase, other further education colleges will become partners in the project.

The objective of SHELL is to create a common registration process across the region, allowing students to move between colleges and the university. There is also the intention to provide to all students a permanent transcript of their achievement available over the web.

To make this happen, SHELL are using a variant of the HE Transcript developed by the CETIS LIPSIG and the Centre for Recording Achievement; this transcript has been mapped to the IMS Learner Information Package (LIP) specification.

NIIMLE (Northern Ireland Integrated Managed Learning Environment) is comprised of Belfast Institute, North Down & Ards Institute, North West Institute, Queen's University, and the University of Ulster.

Like SHELL, the Northern Ireland project aims to provide a consistent approach to student achievement and enrolment across both sectors in the region. The project also intends to support for learners including online access to personal tutors.

To share information about learners and courses, the consortium is looking at common data structures, perhaps using the IMS Enterprise and LIP specifications. As in SHELL, the concept of a single student transcript is considered a key component.

A key challenge addressed by both the SHELL and NIIMLE projects is the integration of disparate systems and business processes across both the HE and FE sectors, and the findings of the projects will be of tremendous interest to both sectors.

To find out more about the programme, visit the JISC programme website.

JISC is the UK's Joint Information Systems Committee. For more information