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IMS Accessibility charter approved

In a just-in-time vote, the IMS Accessibility for Learner Information Profile (ACC LIP) group charter was approved today. Right after the moment the charter was passed, the project group that is now gathered in Sheffield was able to start designing the accessibility extensions to LIP. These extensions will enable users of managed learning environments to store their technology access preferences in a central place.

What the accessibility LIP will do specifically is provide a network service that makes users' preferences for technologies like braille terminals or screen zoom factors available to other connected services like Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs). The goal of the project is to enable all learners to use learning resources and services in a device independent way in a variety of contexts. This includes taking care of traditional individual needs with regard to preferences for visual over auditory channels, but also includes covering functions like adapting learning content delivery to small devices via slow connections to noisy or low light environments.

The existing LIP version 1.0 was always intended to store the resource access preferences of users, but its specific design and inclusion has had to wait until now. With the charter passed, the project group will embark on an ambitious track that will lead to a projected release of the new LIP 1.1 specification around January. This 1.1 spec will be backwards compatible with LIP 1.0, and differs only from the existing spec in the 'filling in' of the accessibility slots that were left blank in 1.0. As is the present policy of IMS, the new spec will be bound to the more flexible XMLSchema, rather than DTD. Also, accessibility for LIP will be one of the first IMS projects to consciously be designed as an online service with specific behaviour, rather than just a specification of data form. This is a clear sign of the IMS trend towards dynamic, behavioural specifications signaled in our report from earlier IMS meetings.

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