аЯрЁБс>ўџ ;=ўџџџ:џџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџьЅСq П4"bjbjt+t+ "2AAз\џџџџџџ]TTTTTTTРРРР8ј $РБ <R:ŒŒŒŒŒŒv x x x x x x $б єХ Іœ TŒŒŒŒŒœ „TTŒŒ<„„„Œ‚TŒTŒv h,”,TTTTŒv „ђ„v TTv Œ(€ѕd˜ёTТРРvv Frequently Asked Questions (or a typical Interoperabilty Dialogue) Why interoperability? Few Colleges want to rely on one supplier for all their electronic materials, learning and administrative systems. Just like the flexibility that hi-fi separates offer, they want to be able to select parts of their Learning Materials Delivery System and Management Information Systems from different suppliers. Lecturers and teachers want the freedom to be able to easily search worldwide repositories to find learning materials that can be delivered by any web based, network based or stand alone computer system. They also want the freedom to build their own notes or online learning ‘experiences’ from a seemingly infinite pot of learning materials. It is crucial that whatever the lecturer has built can be played through any stand alone PC, intranet or the internet. Without interoperability such objectives could not be realised. Why interoperability standards? If I want my TV to interoprate with its environment it needs to conform to certain standards: square pin plugs, 240 volts, PAL etc. etc. In a similar way we need standards to ensure that Managed Learning Environment components can plug and play together with assembled content. I’ve happy with my Managed Learning Environment Supplier. Do I need to bother with interoperability? Yes. For now where the major demand for interoperability will be from the teachers who want to exploit the opportunities that learning technologies can offer to improve the quality of learning....and for the future when vendors offer more component based systems. Lecturers and teachers are beginning to realise that they can improve the effectiveness of their teaching if they can easily find and retrieve additional learning materials from local and international repositories. Whether it’s an interactive simulation that can be played using a data projector in a classroom or a useful set of questions that can be stitched together with their own notes interoperability standards will be required to find, assemble and play the material. Government and its agencies are committed to providing repositories of interoperable content (they can see the possibilities for raising standards) and all colleges will need to interoperate with them. It’s no good having a TV that only shows your own home grown material. (Though, perhaps.............) OK then. What do these standards cover? Here we go. (Some nice technology phrases to impress your colleagues). Finding the Content: Metadata records that describe the content it’s application and ownership. Two overlapping standards: Dublin Core and LOM (Learning Object Metadata). Stitching Content together: Content Packaging. Defines how a ‘piece of learning material’ assembled from different components should be represented so that it can be played through any delivery system. Will also feed the delivery system with the names of the components so that navigation (playing the components in any order) can take place. Tracking Content: SCORM Run Time API/ Content Management. Defines how a piece of content should be ‘wrapped’ so that tracking of its use can be performed by a delivery system like a virtual learning environment. Started, Finished, In Progress and marks are examples of the data that can be accessed from such a ‘wrapped’ piece of content. Playing multi-choice questions through different rendering and delivery sitemaps: Question and Test Interoperability (QTI). Anyone who’s tried to put multi-choice questions together knows how difficult it is to not make the correct answer obvious. You, therefore, would love to have access to repositories of good ones (and don’t want to re-write your questions for a new testing system). It’s also useful to be able to choose how your questions look (are rendered) on the screen. Questions written to QTI will facilitate these objectives. More? Afraid so. Linking a Virtual Learning Environment with a Management Information System: Enterprise. These standards define both the record structure and the communication rules that are required to perform the links. Communicating Lifelong Learning Information: Learner Interface Package (LIP). Defines the structure of a cut down ‘Record of Achievement’. Can support accessibility issues if LIP contains details of tools that are required by individuals to perform necessary customisation of delivery. Repositories: Digital Repositories. Specify the rules for such operations as deposit, store, search etc. One doesn’t want to have to have a different piece of software for each repository one accesses That’s brilliant. Most suppliers do all this, do they? Well, sorry, not yet. For one thing the standards are still specifications and for another for many it doesn’t always make commercial sense to suppliers to enable customers just to ‘cherry pick’ the best of their offerings. On the bright side organisations such as Learndirect, Becta and increasingly the government are trying to draw a line in the sand with standards developments and oblige suppliers to conform. NLN commissioned material will progressively conform to these standards. So, colleges should wait? Not necessarily. Investment in a Virtual Learning Environment is possibly good for staff development. Most importantly remember that over the coming years lots of small re-usable pieces of high quality learning material are going to become available and accessible for lecturers and teachers to use and rather like Lego bricks to stick to their own material. So sorting those existing ‘Word’ notes and student activities into re-usable separately stored chunks for subsequent stitching with this new resource base is a good start. Tools are already available to wrap your content in SCORM Run time API, perform content packaging or to add metadata Some colleges are already involved in national content development projects such as X4L and SWANI. They will have to get to grips with all this straight away. What should I say to vendors? At this stage it would be unfair to ask vendors of systems and content to conform to standards which are currently just specifications. It is important though that chosen vendors are committed to the philosophy of interoprability. Without such a commitment, a college or lecturer won’t be able to progress to having complete flexibility on how they put a delivery system or learning experience together. Just being able to ask them on their progress to standards conformance is useful. Being able to show that you know what the standards are could be UN-nerving! Surely there aren’t other developments? Well ...yes. Really exciting developments on standardising how you define the way a course is to be delivered. A kind of electronic lesson plan which incorporates all the kinds of activities and materials (not necessarily all on line) that take place in a course. It has the benefit that it will automatically, when running, load online tools such as chat. More significantly it will enable the tutor or student to select exemplar ways of teaching particular topics. Mention Learning Design or Educational Modelling Language and you will really impress. I’m really excited about all this. How do I get more involved? Perhaps not too common a question! But if you are interested (or probably are obliged to through a project at your college) then refer to  HYPERLINK http://www.cetis.ac.uk www.cetis.ac.uk where there are details of the HE and FE based communities that are trying to make all of this work. Each community runs regular meetings and will welcome your attendance.  FILENAME \p C:\CETIS\Frequently Asked Questions.doc Page  PAGE 4 of  NUMPAGES 1 CDZ[ХЦоD ] † DKH2Mx—Юј' g ђ ѓ !!!&!'!з!и!х!ц! 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