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Articles for educators

Joint CETIS-TechDis Accessibility and CETIS Assessment SIG Meeting
The meeting will have the theme of "Accessible Assessment" and will seek to raise the issues, which still need to be addressed in this area.

Portfolio reference models and interoperability
This meeting of the Portfolio SIG will discuss interoperability and related issues directly and in some detail. It will be informed by the discussions on Jiscmail's CETIS-PORTFOLIO and CETIS-PORTFOLIO-DEV.

ePortfolio 2006: Fourth International ePortfolio Conference
The ePortfolio 2006 conference organisers have the pleasure to invite all policy makers, human resource managers, teachers, trainers, education managers, school heads, school administrators, ICT providers, and members of organisations promoting the use of ePortfolio to submit their contribution to the 4th International ePortfolio conference - Oxford, 11-13 October 2006. The main theme for the 2006 conference is: "eStrategies for Empowering Learners."

CETIS wins new JISC interoperability service contract
You might well wonder if providing a service about interoperability standards for JISC isn't what CETIS has been doing for quite a while now; you'd be right, it has. The new contract means a step change in the way CETIS will fulfill that service to the community, though.

Plex beta available
The Plex beta is available for download.

UCISA workshop slides
The slides and the audio for a talk I gave recently entitled "Challenges for Institutions in Adapting to the Global Information Infrastructure" at the joint ULKON/UCISA/CETIS workshop "Initiatives & Innovation: Managing Disruptive Technologies" are linked from this page.

Joint Portfolio SIG & Lifelong Learning Group Meeting

Joint Accessibility and Portfolio SIG Meeting
The meeting will centre around on-going work connecting e-portfolios with accessibility, in the contexts both of e-portfolio usability and enhancing access to higher education.

Tech-Ed Funding to be Tied to Copyright-Ed?
Bit of a parochial US issue (I hope), but interesting nonetheless. A california assemblyman wants any funding for educational technology to require teaching students how bad copyright infringement is. Obvious responses include a) he's been bought and b) cash for teaching my message is not a good idea. Beyond that, however, it shows the fairly extraordinary lenghts the copyright cartels are prepared to go to in order to convince the rest of us that making a copy of something is a crime. It looks as if the punishment part of the campaign is working in that fewer people use the p2p networks for fear of prosecution, but moves like the californian assemblyman's show that they're not making a lot of headway in making the public believe that it's wrong.

CETIS Assessment SIG meeting
The next CETIS Assessment SIG meeting will focus on issues around eassessment policy and practice, and look at likely future developments.

Call for papers - 6th IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT2006)
Theme: "Advanced Technologies for Life-Long Learning". Life-long learning becomes much more achievable as versatile infrastructures for mobile communication and portable Web access emerge. Supplementary to this, social software for supporting learners in sharing common views and actually build authentic understanding on relevant themes for learning needs to be conceptualized and experimented with.

Next generation activity based eLearning
The Communities of Practice meeting in Berlin is the FINAL UNFOLD CoP meeting and provides a unique opportunity to participate in a working meeting whose goals are to “map out the requirements for the next generation of Learning Design based systems”. The meeting will be led by Rob Koper of the OUNL.

PLE Reference Model Presentation
Fresh from the CETIS Conference yesterday where our Reference Model presentation sparked off a lively debate. Thanks to all those who contributed and helped take these ideas on. Several people asked for the slides so here they are.

PLE project at CETIS conference
The PLE project will be presenting its work at the CETIS conference on November 15/16 in Edinburgh.

UNFOLD Communities of Practice meeting
The Communities of Practice meeting in Glasgow provides a unique opportunity to spend three days talking with others who are working with the IMS LD specification, and participating in practical workshops.

New CETIS briefings available
The ever-popular series of CETIS briefings on e-learning standards just received two new additions, two major updates, and some tweaking on others.

e-learning tech that is fit for purpose, innovative and sustainable
Educational technology interoperability standards are at something of a crossroads; the first generation of them are either in wide use, superceded, or in the process of final maturation. In the mean time, open source and service oriented architectures have changed the landscape considerably. Time, then, to re-examine the place of these specs in the wider development of e-learning technology.

ALT-C 2005: Exploring the Frontiers of e-Learning - Borders, Outposts and Migration
The ALT-C Conference has a number of themes relating to the e-learning - including: Architectures and Infrastructures, Collaboration, Design and Development, and Implementation.

Libraries Without Walls 6: Evaluating the Distributed Delivery of Library Services
An international conference organised by CERLIM (Centre for Research in Library and Information Management) with the theme of whether new services are having an impact on users.

Bodington Buzz - making learning more effective
The LAMS learning design package has recently been released as Open Source; TOIA is a highly regarded assessment engine free to UK Education institutions; Personal Development Planning is becoming increasingly required for institutional assessments either using blogging, e-portfolios or other methods; institutions are increasingly looking to share data in a secure way with other collaborating institutions with Shibboleth technology being favoured. All these topics are addressed in the JISC e-learning framework, and all have been integrated using the Bodington VLE.

ePortfolio 2005
the 3rd International Conference on the electronic portfolio

JISC Legal Conference: Legal Aspects of Online Learning
The JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) Legal Conference will be covering a variety of legal issues regarding online learning.

Next EC-SIG meeting
The next EC- SIG meeting will take place on Monday, 13th June at the University of Bolton

LAMS is open source
As promised by the roadmap that was presented last summer, the IMS Learning Design 'inspired' Learning Activity Management System (LAMS) is now available as open source software. In a ceremony at Macquarie University, a LAMS launch CD with the system, documentation and case studies was presented, and is now available as a free download.

CETIS Assessment SIG meeting
The sixteenth CETIS Assessment SIG meeting will cover a range of issues around CAA and interoperability standards.

VideoActive Workshop
This two day hands-on workshop will include the use of video and audio for learning and teaching as well as accessiblity requirements.

The Case for Creative Commons Textbooks
According to a recent survey, University of California students now spend 40 percent more on textbooks than they did six years ago. We argue that colleges and universities may be able to significantly reduce these costs by creating a coalition for the acquisition and distribution of electronic textbooks.

Assistive Technology Conference - Balancing the Equation
This conference will provide a platform for Assistive Technologists and academics with an interest in the role of technology in learner support for students with disabilities or learning differences.

Accessible Design in the Digital World
This conference will explore inclusive design in the real world and the challenges in implementing guidelines and meeting legal responsibilities.

CAL 05 - Virtual Learning?
The CAL Conference covers a number of topics including: Play and Experimentation; Dialogues, Communication and Learning; Education and Network Societies; and Educational Design and Pedagogical Research.

CORDRA or reconciling local repositories and global federations
These days, many elearning community virtually define themselves by setting up their own repositories, each with its own technology choices, metadata and content. Which is fine, but it can mean that the community can miss out on great resources made elsewhere. The CORDRA (Content Object Repository Discovery and Registration/Resolution Architecture) initiative seeks to reconcile these local concerns with global reach. A report of a two day workshop on the topic is now available.

NLN material plugs OK
*update* Prototype materials for the latest round of National Learning Network (NLN) content development have been successfully tested. After a round of trialling and testing by a number of different colleges and educational centres, the interoperable packages were presented in Birmingham by the five content vendors. Unlike previous batches, this round of content procurement by the NLN is aimed exclusively at Adult and Community Learning (ACL).

Beyond the Red Tape, Are the needs of governments, institutions, and learners inherently at odds with e-learning?
Why do many teachers and lecturers feel reluctant to use IT in their courses? Is it just an aversion to trying out new things, are they afraid of technology, or do they have justifiable reasons based on their teaching practices? Are the Government and educational institutions doing enough to support and promote e-learning, or do they actually hinder its adoption? Are things like traditional exam methods to blame? Or is it the measures by which teachers are externally audited?

Getting to grips with Learning Design
The IMS Learning Design workshop in Valkenburg is well under way now, with the first real life experiences of authoring and running Units of Learning (UoL) being uploaded for other people to test. We chatted with a couple of participants.

Educational Metadata FAQ launched
Everything you always wanted to know about data about educational data, maintained in a Wiki, with an initial kernel of answers by a roll-call of experts in the field.

Learning Design tool bash in Valkenburg
It's like the buses; you wait for one for ages, and then several come along at once. The IMS Learning Design specification was finalised in 2002, and about four implementations are getting ready now. A good time, then, to start playing around with them, exploring what they can do, and seeing whether they interoperate.

Joint Pedagogy and EC SIG meeting on Learning Design
Update on learning design meeting

Games help you 'learn and play'
BBC report on research findings that specific kinds of games can help learning. While that may not be shocking news, the game and the domain of learning the research focussed on is: language learning via the Sims. The argument is that, rather than rote learn vocabulary and abstract structure, modified versions of the Sims allow learners to explore and acquire the language in a context. Also notable is the indication that it is getting easier to modify existing games for such educational purposes, which addresses the old gap in production values between commercial and educational games.

Sentient launch repository with Word interface
In a bid to make the authoring part of learning object lifecycle easier for non-specialists, Sentient has anounced the availability of a new repository on the UK market, LearnBase.

From individualisation to co-creation
Typically free form musing of Jay Cross, the well-known e-learning guru, about how "learner centric" has been well and truly dealt with, and how it's time to start focussing on things like collaboration, forging connections and other 'co-'s. What's notable is that Jay's thought seems to connect with a general shift in more than one way: it's not just that personalised content is bad, and collaboration good, it's more that we've done enough on the former, and need to focus on the latter.
"Learning isn’t content. Learning isn’t infrastructure. Learning is a process of forging neural links."
Thanks to elearnspace for the link.

Joint CETIS Pedagogy Forum and Accessibility SIG Meeting
A joint meeting for the Pedagogy Forum and Accessibility SIG with the theme of accessibility and pedagogy.

The state of standards at Online Educa 2004
In amongst many, many other things, Berlin's Online Educa 2004 conference had almost a full day's worth of events on the topic of educational interoperability standards. Since the morning's session was mostly about content interoperability, and the afternoon session about collaborative technology, the panel discussion at the end made for some pretty clear contrasts about where different people think interoperability standards are.

Exam in Hull, results from Glasgow
The TOIA (Technologies for Online Interoperable Assessment) project has successfully run a formative maths exam that took place in Hull on a TOIA server in Glasgow. The hosted service for the QTI compliant system is designed to make it easier to use for those (UK) institutions that don't have the resources or inclination to run a TOIA server of their own.

Fifteenth CETIS Assessment SIG Meeting
The fifteenth CETIS Assessment SIG meeting will take place on Wednesday 26 January 2005 at the University of York.

Two-part Series on Specifications for Increasing Online Learning Accessibility - Part 2
This live web conference takes place in two parts on 2nd December and 16th December 2004 at 16:00 Eastern Standard Time (around 21:00 in the UK).

Two-part Series on Specifications for Increasing Online Learning Accessibility - Part 1
This live web conference takes place in two parts on 2nd December and 16th December 2004 at 16:00 Eastern Standard Time (around 21:00 in the UK).

Designs for Learning: Finding and reusing learning objects and learning activity management (LAMS) in basic number and statistics
This workshop will demonstrate how simple it is to create sequences of learning activities incorporating reusable learning objects (RLO) using freely available tools. You will have the opportunity to use some of these interoperable tools developed by the JISC to support e-learning and explore Learning Activity Management Software (LAMS) to create sequences of learning activities. The session will focus on teaching basic data interpretation and statistics.

Filling out the E-Learning Framework boxes
The results of the first JISC/CETIS conference in Oxford are now available online. The conference brought together specialists from a number of international e-learning initiatives with all current JISC sponsored e-learning technology development projects. Purpose: to start filling out all those boxes in the E-Learning Framework (ELF), but also to give geeks and regular people an opportunity to explore trends in e-learning technology in general.

Second National Workshop and Tutorial on Handheld Computers in Universities and Colleges
This event will focus on handheld computers and mobile learning. It is aimed at lecturers, teachers, staff developers and learning technologists.

How Technology Will Destroy Schools
This will have the Ivan Ilich crowd sniggering in their beards: a bunch of luminaries from the received elearning crowd (David Wiley, Dan Rehak, Erik Duval, Wayne Hodgins) have arrived at the same conclusion as the hippy learning guru did thirty years ago: technology will allow us to blow up schools. What's more, the how is also quite similar: by shifting the focus from rote learning to the critical, social skills needed to deal with information. As with many of David Wiley's posts, the comments are at least as valuable as the post itself.

Interoperability in action video
The eXchange for Learning (X4L) programme has released a video on the web about the practicalities of making interoperable learning content. While there's plenty to read about the pros and cons of standards, this video shows an actual scenario of finding, creating and enhancing learning objects using a variety of tools.

IMS releases ePortfolio spec
*updated* Most of the guts of the public draft of the spec aren't entirely new, but it does draw together parts from a number of existing IMS specs, and shows how they can be used to contruct a variety of different kinds of ePortfolio that can be exchanged between different systems. Significant potential gotcha: there's a known licensed patent on part of the spec.

Bodington Buzz: Introduction to the Bodington VLE System
With the growing interest in open source solutions for Virtual Learning Environments, the Bodington team would like to invite you to a free one-day seminar demonstrating the Bodington Open Source VLE system.

UK Creative Commons licence announced
From November 1st, the UK will have its own version of the popular Creative Commons licences. The basic idea of making sharing work easy without getting ripped off is the same, but the legalese behind these licences are expressed in UK, rather than US terms.

Learning Object Metadata use survey: sticking the short and wide in the long and thin
The recently revamped CanCore initiative, with assistance from the Finnish delegation to ISO SC36, completed a survey of the widely used IEEE standard for Learning Object Metadata (LOM). The findings paint a picture of communities using relatively small parts of the long list of elements that the LOM provides, but do use their own vocabularies for the elements that are used.

Computers 'do not boost learning'
But the sting is in the subtitle of this BBC story: "Efforts to promote "lifelong learning" using computers have done little to increase the number of adults in education" The operative word being "education". People do learn using computers, or, more specifically, the internet, but they don't necessarily want to sign themselves up for a formal course. What would be really interesting is a survey that would look at people "googling x"- not something usually thought of as learning, but that's what it really is.

When metadata becomes content, and authoring learning
and the result an assessment method and part of a learner's/learning profile, you have something like Topic Maps. One of a number of emerging semantic web standards, it is the subject of quite a bit of research and development. The Norwegian estandard project and its members are busy working on educational applications of the technology.

Intrallect wins JORUM UK national repository contract
With the awarding of the 250.000 GBP contract, the JISC sponsored JORUM project will start the transition to a national repository of learning materials, to be made available to the UK Further and Higher Education by August 2005.

LAMS to be open sourced, partnership programme announced
After an announcement of the imminent open sourcing of the Learning Design 'inspired' Learning Activity Management System (LAMS) at a special meeting held by the Department for Education and Skills in London last week, LAMS lead developer James Dalziel announced the beta partnership programme at the Alt-I-lab interoperability conference in Redwood City, California. Both moves are designed the make the popular and pedagogically innovative tool readily accessible, sustainable and convergent with the IMS Learning Design interoperability specification.

Learning Design communities UNFOLD
Not even Einstein could have conjured up something like the theory of relativity in isolation. For that, you need a community of practice. In that respect, implementing, teaching with or authoring Learning Design is no different. The EU sponsored UNFOLD project aims to provide the infrastructure and the expertise to help people form just such communities. The aim: the collaborative building of best practice in the Learning Design area.

Most effective pedagogic technique ever or 21st century cannon fodder processor?
As Centre for Recording Achievement (CRA) director Rob Ward reminded the audience, the dream of a lifelong learning record is hardly new. Yet considerable political will at the national and European level, combined with an increasingly networked world and maturing technical standards mean that the dream is getting rather closer now. But what about the nightmare scenarios of invaded privacy, litigated universities, and co-erced or apathetic learners? The CETIS pedagogy forum organised a debate to consider the consequences.

Is IT Accessible?
This one-day conference covers a variety of issues relating to accessibility and I T (Information Technology) including legislation, assisitive technology, and V L Es (Virtual Learning Environments).

4th DIVERSE International Conference on Video and Videoconferencing in Education
DIVERSE covers all aspects of video and videoconferencing in education, such as teaching, research, and management.

Supporting Students with Disabilities in the Physical Sciences
This workshop will look at the implications of SENDA for the physical sciences and at the "reasonable adjustments" that can be made.

A British Standard for the Accessibility of e-Learning Systems and Content
This is an open meeting to discuss the requirements for the British Standard for the Accessibility of e-Learning Systems and Content.

Learning Lab 4th Annual Conference and Exhibition
"The focus of this year's conference will be to look beyond e-learning rhetoric and offer delegates the opportunity to hear how organisations have used technology to improve the quality of learning."

Framework for the Pedagogical Evaluation of eLearning Environments
(652 Kb, MS Word) A restructuring and update of an influential JISC report on pedagogic aspects of virtual learning environments. Authors Sandy Britain and Oleg Liber take both an organisational and educational theoretic approach to the subject, informed though Stafford Beer's cybernetic perspective. The VLEs that are evaluated include WebCT Vista, Blackboard Academic Suite, Granada Learnwise, FirstClass, LAMS, COSE and Moodle. Link via EdtechPost

OLS Pilot Goes Live
David Wiley's Open Learning Support project has launched with about seven communities grouped around MIT's OpenCourseWare (OCW) materials. The project aims to transform the OCW from a pile of static content to a dynamic learning experience by facilitating communities to form around the subjects.

Blackboard, OUNL deal widens Learning Design access
IMS Learning Design and Educational Modelling Language (EML) pioneers the Open University of the Netherlands (OUNL) and Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) makers Blackboard inc. have inked a strategic alliance that allows the OUNL's Edubox player to be integrated with the Blackboard VLE and portal. The deal will make it easier for institutions with Blackboard installations to take advantage of the pedagogic flexibility and power of EML, or, in the near future, IMS Learning Design.

JISC sponsored assessment management software beta released
The TOIA (Technologies for Online Interoperable Assessment) project is a JISC sponsored software development collaboration with Freedom2Learn Ltd. Together, the two have developed a server based system that manages questions and tests from just display to a fully managed high stakes test. The service is free for UK institutions, and available to buy for everyone else.

Eduplone reveals initial IMS Learning Design support
And very initial it is too: current material does not go far beyond what's possible with conventional learning objects. But the idea of welding the pedagogic flexibility of Learning Design to the flexibility of the open source Zope/Plone web content management system is intriguing, and the support for basic e-learning standards in Plone useful.

Live Satellite Broadcast - "Untangling the Web: Making Online Teaching and Learning Accessible"
A satellite broadcast by the University of Maryland University College on the implications of accessibility for online education (video streaming is also available).

Learning @ its Best?
This free one-day conference will focus on the impact of e-learning on widening participation to lifelong learning.

Learning Design Listing
No, not the IMS spec, but a sign of an impending terminological confusion: in this sense it means an approach to e-learning pedagogy that goes beyond traditional instructional design. Which is indeed very much what IMS Learning Design sets out to facilitate, but it is a spec, not an approach. This post at elearningpost coins the term Learning eXperience Design (LXD) for the approach, and solicits comments about what such a holistic approach to learning might look like.

JISC programme to foster the pick 'n mix MLE
The concept of an institutional learning environment that provides the information that people need, when and where they want it has been around for a while, but has not been easy to realise. The JISC's new e-learning programme includes the e-learning technical framework strand, that is designed to make it more do-able. Now that the first call for technical framework projects is out, we look at what the framework sets out to achieve and how it intends to get there.

WONDER (Widening Opportunities in Educational Resources) Conference
This is a one-day event aimed at promoting discussion and information exchange among local groups of disabled people, businesses and further education establishments.

CSUN (California State University Northridge) International Conference "Technology and Persons with Disabilities"
This is a comprehensive, international conference, where all technologies across all ages; disabilities; levels of education and training; employment; and independent living are addressed.

Fifth CETIS-TechDis Accessibility Special Interest Group (SIG) Partnership Meeting
The Fifth CETIS-TechDis Accessibility Special Interest Group (SIG) Partnership Meeting will cover a number of issues relating to accessibility and e-learning in the Further and Higher Education environment.

CopperCore to power Learning Design implementations
The Open University of the Netherlands (OUNL) has just released CopperCore: an IMS Learning Design engine, the first of its kind. Rather than provide a complete take-it-or-leave-it Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), the open source package is designed to be integrated into a range of existing e-learning infrastructures.

JISC Conference 2004
Delegates will be given opportunities to learn about the full range of JISC’s work by participating in seminars, debates, workshops and demonstrations. In the exhibition area, JISC services and initiatives will be able to provide you with advice and guidance on a range of support and resources available to your institution.

The Shock of the Old 4: "e-Learning, The Student Experience"
The fourth in The Learning Technologies Group at Oxford University Computing Services' educational technology conference. This one will focus on the problems and issues involved in designing and developing learning technologies with a focus on current and future needs of the student e-Learner.

ePortfolio London 2004
Following the success of the first international conference wholly devoted to the ePortfolio (electronic or digital portfolio) in Poitiers, the European Institute for ELearning (EIfEL) and the Cass Business School have great pleasure in inviting you to a follow-up event in London, to move the agenda forwards.

A National Workshop and Tutorial on Handheld Computers in Universities and Colleges
The day will focus on giving delegates the necessary background to make informed decisions about using handheld computers in departments, classes and courses.

New Research Reveals That Over 85% Of Lecturers Believe e-Learning Improves Teaching Creativity And Student Learning Success
A survey of 150 UK lecturers by WebCT. The most notable other finding is that "94% of lecturers stated that classroom-based teaching and online learning is more effective than classroom-based teaching alone." Though this is clearly not independent research, it certainly indicates that elearning is well and truly mainstream now.

The E-Learning Conference: Collaboration in Practice
This conference aims to raise awareness of the benefits of using on-line technologies in teaching, learning and assessment.

Joint CETIS Assessment SIG/SURF SiX meeting
The 11th Assessment SIG meeting will be a joint event with the Dutch SURF SiX Expert Group.

It's Official
This is definitely one to watch: after quite some time spent trying, it looks like David Wiley has some funding for his EduCommons "SourceForge for educational materials". Not just that, the same Hewlett grant will allow him to establish a global community of practice around MIT's Open CourseWare (OCW) initiative. If this works out, collaboratively developed, freely available content could really start rolling out. OCW could provide the focus and the name recognition, EduCommons the collaborative authoring OCW always lacked.

Supporting Blind and Partially Sighted Students in Higher Education
This course has been specially designed to give support and advisory staff a hands-on knowledge of when and how to provide accessible materials, and of the range of access technology, products and services to support students in studying effectively.

Future Tools of the Trade
A joint FE Focus Group and Becta briefing. Aimed primarily at FE, this FREE event is designed to demonstrate recent advances in elearning tools and to encourage feedback from FE practitioners to inform future developments

Cyber Curricula: The Future of the UK e-Learning Market
In this one-day conference, over experts from education and industry debate the issues, and explore how commercial suppliers and education professionals can work together to develop new pedagogies - and successful products - for e-learning.

Dyslexia: The Dividends from Research to Practice
This is the 6th International Conference of the British Dyslexia Association in Warwick and will provide a forum for discussion and debate on a broad range of topics. It will also present a state of the art series of snapshots of developments in dyslexia.

Implementing LAMS to Improve Teaching and Learning

Accessibility and Inclusion in e-Learning
This conference will review the process by which the expectations, demands, and legislative requirements can be converted into e-learning systems that respond to the needs of all learners and students.

Online Conference - VLEs: Beyond The Fringe... And Into The Mainstream
Ferl is staging an online conference on VLEs (Virtual Learning Environments), which will help practitioners develop an approach to mainstreaming VLEs in their college, and to share good practice.

Rethinking the Curriculum for 21st Century Students
A one day conference with a focus on the curriculum issues and cultural changes that need to be addressed to provide a successful student learning experience for all those who now participate in our mass higher education system.

The WebCT Community Forum Event
The 6th WebCT Community Forum will provide an opportunity for academics, educational developers, learning technologists and WebCT administrators to meet and exchange ideas and experiences of using WebCT.

LionShare peer-to-peer project kicks off
When the Visual User Image Study at Penn State looked at the use of images by students and staff they discovered a good many hidden treasure troves. How, then, to share these and other digital assets without taking control away from the owners? The LionShare peer-to-peer project aims to reconcile the two. We talk to the project's lead, Penn State's Mike Halm.

Difficulties Dyslexics have when Learning Statistics: An Initial Study of Computer-Based Media Effects on Learners who have Dyslexia
This workshop run by DDIG (Dyscalculia and Dyslexia Interest Group) will cover the study into the effects that computer-based media can have on learners who are dyslexic.

Learning Design inspiration
After months of demos, talks and an increasing buzz, WebMCQ and MELCOE have made the Learning Activity Management System (LAMS) public. The IMS Learning Design "inspired" editing and playback system is said to revolutionise the way eLearning is done: by focussing on the process of learning, rather than just shovelling content.

Online Educa Berlin - 9th International Conference on Technology Supported Learning and Training
The Online Educa Conference has several themes including: Learning in Enterprises, E-Learning Policies in Practice, New Roles for Teachers and Trainers, Managing Change in Higher Education, Innovative Learning Approaches, Learning in Distributed Environments, Quality Issues and Management, and Future Technologies for Learning.

Closing The Gap 21st Annual Conference
This conference has many presentations on the topic of computer technology in special education and rehabilitation.

A recipe for interoperability in practice
At the 8th CETIS Educational Content SIG meeting held in Glasgow on 28th August, Colin Milligan (RELOAD), Martin Morrey (Intrallect) and Gerry Graham (Learning and Teaching Scotland) presented a demonstration of practical interoperability between a content repository (the JORUM Intralibrary) and a virtual learning environment (PIONEER), mediated by the RELOAD Editor. For full meeting minutes and presentations, see the EC-SIG web page at:

Assistive Technology and Accessible Media in Higher Education - Sixth Annual Accessing Higher Ground Conference
The Accessing Higher Ground Conference focuses on the implementation and benefits of Assistive Technology in the university and college setting. Other topics include legal and policy issues, and making media and information resources (such as web pages and library resources) accessible.

Dyslexia and e-Learning
This TechDis workshop offers an overview of the issues that students with dyslexia may encounter when using e-learning materials.

SMIRK (Simple Media-Integrating Resource Creator)
This TechDis workshop introduces SMIRK, which enables academics to produce multimedia presentations that can be loaded into a virtual learning environment.

CETIS Learning Design Workshop
*** This Workshop is now full. Registrations are closed *** This two day workshop organised by the CETIS Educational Content Special Interest Group (EC SIG) and the CETIS Pedagogy Forum will be held on Tuesday 28th October and Wednesday 29th October 2003, at Learning and Teaching Scotland, Glasgow.

9th CETIS Educational Content SIG Meeting
*** This meeting is now full. Registrations are closed *** The 9th CETIS Educational Content SIG (EC SIG) Meeting will be held on Friday 12th December 2003, at the Dept. of Computer Science, Manchester University.

David Wiley's outline for a new online, peer reviewed journal that will facilitate discussion of open, sustainable learning opportunities. The journal will focus on the pedagogic, technical, legal and moral implications of making learning as widely available as possible. Being online, the review process should be quick, yet provide a decent filter.

IMS Vocabulary Definition EXchange (VDEX) is a public draft.
IMS have just released a rather handy, small and general purpose specification for the exchange of vocabularies. There are a good many potential uses for the spec, but one of the main ones is as a means to facilitate interoperability between different application profiles of existing IMS and other learning technology specifications.

Learning Design and reuseability
A recent article by Stephen Downes about the reuseability of instructional or learning designs in general, and those compliant with IMS Learning Design in particular, caused rather a response in the CETIS Educational Content Special Interest Group (EC SIG). We examine the issue and summarise the discussion.

Distance Learning and Disabled Students Workshop
This workshop run by TechDis will outline the various modes of course delivery employed in distance learning and will examine some of the issues surrounding distance learning and disabled students.

CETIS briefing on Simple Sequencing published
The latest in the CETIS series of "What is ..." briefings about e-learning interoperability standards deals with IMS Simple Sequencing. Written by Warwick Bailey of Cambridge University, it is a four page introduction to the e-learning content specification.

RELOAD editor adds Content Packaging and SCORM authoring
Following a comprehensive rewrite, the 1.1 version of the RELOAD e-learning content authoring tool can now be used to edit both plain IMS as well as SCORM content packages.

Dyslexia Friendly, User Friendly ICT Conference
The Conference aims to illustrate where teaching in a dyslexia friendly, user friendly way will benefit, not only dyslexics, but disaffected learners, people with other disabilities and older learners.

Dyslexia Friendly, User Friendly ICT Conference
The Conference aims to illustrate where teaching in a dyslexia friendly, user friendly way will benefit, not only dyslexics, but disaffected learners, people with other disabilities and older learners.

Dyslexia Friendly, User Friendly ICT Conference
The Conference aims to illustrate where teaching in a dyslexia friendly, user friendly way will benefit, not only dyslexics, but disaffected learners, people with other disabilities and older learners.

Conformance programmes gather momentum
For as long as we've been talking about standards and specifications the issue of conformance has kept cropping up. The lack of any sort of trusted agencies bestowing the Official Stamp of Approval on e-learning products brought us to a state where the claims of vendors regarding standards compliance are treated as highly suspicious - and rightly so. However, this year we've seen several strides forward, and some hints of better times to come.

Courseware Management Systems, Accessibility versus Usability
This presentation, by EASI (Equal Access to Software and Information), takes the form of a Web-based, interactive, voice conference and provides skills to make online educational content more accessible.

IMS release specification for storing accessibility preferences
What once started as the "disability" placeholder in the Learner Information Profile (LIP) has grown into a fully fledged specification for storing access preferences. With it, learners can specify how they'd like interact with e-learning content in whatever context they find themselves.

The advantage of a standardised, structured data format is not limited to data exchange with other systems that understand the same format. Some cool work with XSLT by Raymond Yee and also the Digital University (DU) of the Netherlands demonstrates that content in one standard format can be transformed into another in practice.

Beyond Labels: Working Towards Equality and Diversity Through ICT Conference
This conference will focus on the development of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) initiatives that directly support social inclusion in teaching and learning.

ALT-C 2003: Communities of Practice
ALT-C 2003 is aimed at practitioners, researchers and those interested in the application of learning technology in further and higher education.

Have your say on your rights
The rumbling conflict over intellectual property rights in the digital age has reached e-learning. Whether you primarily produce learning content or consume it, ways of expressing your rights are going to be defined, most likely by the language that the IEEE LTSC Digitial Rights Expression Language (DREL) workgroup will be working on. Fortunately, they are gathering requirements now to make sure that language expresses what you need it to express.

8th CETIS Educational Content SIG Meeting
*** This meeting is now full *** The 8th EC SIG Meeting is a free all-day workshop and discussion event, with reports on the latest in content-related standards and specs, and demos and presentations on new developments. This meeting is being held in tandem with the CETIS Assessment SIG Meeting on August 29th; go to the Assessment SIG website to register for that one.

Olympus comes to Snowdon: Transforming Teaching and Learning in Wales
To celebrate the successful completion of the project, seminars and workshops to showcase the bilingual Learnwise Olympus system are being presented.

Next CETIS Assessment SIG meeting - 29 August 2003

7th International Computer Assisted Assessment (CAA) Conference
This conference focuses on the use of I.T in the assessment process in HE (Higher Education). CAA (Computer Assisted Assessment) is becoming increasingly common and this event will be of interest to new practitioners, academic enthusiasts as well as policy makers and administrators.

INTERACT 2003 - Bringing the Bits Together
The ninth IFIP Technical Committee 13 (TC13) international conference on Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) will act as a platform for HCI research and practice.

First draft of UK Common Metadata Framework released
CETIS has released the first draft of the UK Common Metadata Framework, providing practitioners in the UK with guidelines for using learning object metadata.

5th International Conference on New Educational Environments (ICNEE): The Know-how Hub for Blended Learning
The 5th ICNEE Conference focuses on the results and experiences of international research in methodology and technology related to blended learning, teaching and distance collaboration.

Use and Access
This course examines some of the accessibility issues regarding the use of ICT in Libraries.

Use and Access
This course examines some of the accessibility issues regarding the use of ICT in Libraries.

IADIS International Conference e-Society 2003
The IADIS (International Association for Development of the Information Society) e-Society 2003 Conference aims to address both the technical and non-technical aspects of the information society - E-Commerce, E-Learning and E-Government.

7th Educational Content SIG Meeting
This meeting is now full. Special pleadings and offers of good quality chocolate may be sent to the EC SIG Coordinator at

Three Objections to Learning Objects
A thoughtful and thorough critique of the learning object concept. Particularly notable about it is Norm Friesen's tracing of the learning object's provenance in the training and military world. i.e. context is demonstrated to be the problem at two levels: that of a learning object itself, as well as the concept of them. Also notable is his contrast between the specifity of the technical domain from which the 'object' concept came, and the inherent ambiguity and vagueness of 'learning' or 'pedagogy'. The paper does not outline an alternative to replace learning objects, however.

Blackboard, Students and Publishing on the Web
Link via Serious Instructional Technology about why Blackboard doesn't have a feature that easily allows students to publish material. The rant goes a little further than that, and touches on a common failing of VLEs: "There is no technological explanation for why they give students a Discussion Board, but not a documents folder. The reason seems to be this: Blackboard mimics the classroom."

Third CETIS-TechDis Accessibility Special Interest Group (SIG) Meeting
The Third CETIS-TechDis Accessibility SIG (Special Interest Group) Partnership Meeting will take place at the University of Central Lancashire.

The teachers teach the techies
The launch of the new CETIS Pedagogy Forum yesterday is a strong indication of a shift in the way e-learning (content) interoperability standards are developed. The techies got the standards out there, but now it's the teachers' turn to drive the agenda and get their concerns heard. And people sit up and take notice; both the DfES and ADL had representatives eager to learn what educators might bring to their organisations' plans.

Creating Accessible Multimedia
This event will explore the issues surrounding the creation of accessible multimedia and will also act as a swap shop of solutions.

Using Information Technology in support of Personal Development Planning
A major conference on PDP and IT, co-organised by Thames Valley University, Oxford Brookes University and The Centre for Recording Achievement.

Challenging Ocularcentricity in the Museum - Translating Vision
Is visual knowledge radically untranslatable or can it be made accessible to blind people? In either case what educational models exist that can potentially bring art and artefacts within the meaningful reach of blind visitors to museums?

Multimedia Information & Technology Group (North West) Seminar: Technology Without Barriers: Putting Disability Awareness into Practice
Duties under the Disability Discrimination Act require providers and facilitators of public services, and most recently of education and learning, to take reasonable steps to ensure that disabled people are not treated less favourably or placed at a substantial disadvantage. The seminar will address both strategic and action plans for library and information services.

NILTA Technical Conference - Practical Steps to Accessibility
This conference focuses on the practical steps that the post-16 sector can take to implement quality provision. The speakers have been involved in the everyday battle to strive for the best for the students requiring services from the sector. Keynote speakers will provide briefings on current issues which will be supported by practical examples and solutions.

Challenging Ocularcentricity in the Museum - New Strategies for Learning
In what ways would a thorough rethinking of ocularcentricity impact upon museum space and educational provision? Where do we go from here in relation to educational approaches, policy and institutional aspirations?

European electronic collaborative learning resource launched
To support the growing interest in the Communication bit of ICT in education, the EU funded ITCOLE (Innovative Technologies for Collaborative Learning and Knowledge Building) project opened a site that agregates practice, resources, ideas and discussion about on-line collaborative learning. Not surprisingly, they want you to chip in.

Open Source Content in Education
In a vivid illustration of what difference being connected makes, I came to this article via a link on Elearning Space to the new Object Learning blog which had a belated link back to an earlier post on George Siemens' Elearn Space, which was written in collaboration with Stephen Downes of Oldaily. It is this interconnection and collaboration that the authors seek to harness in a educational content development initiative, that will be presented formally on May 30th. "The DOSC concept is captured by two statements of learning objects/content: open access, continual improvement."

Use and Abuse of Reusable Learning Objects
Peer reviewed paper in the Journal of Digital information that takes stock of the never ending discussion about what a learning object is. As such, it provides a good overview, even if the proposed definition may not be that much more enlightening. Essentially, the author bases the definition on learning intention, operationalised as form (i.e. the context of a course), relation (to some kind of exposition) and re-useability.

Professors Laurillard, Liber, Conole and Stiles to speak at CETIS pedagogy forum launch.
Now that the initial push for educational technology interoperability standards is taking effect, CETIS is turning its attention to their pedagogical ramifications by setting up the CETIS pedagogy forum. Unlike the well known CETIS Special Interest Groups (SIGs), the pedagogy forum will not just concentrate on one particular set of standards, but focus on the teaching and learning implications of all of them.

Canvas Learning release QTI, SCORM Player and Author tools
What's more, there's demos for everyone and the Canvas Learner Player is free for educational usage while the Author has a 50% introductory price. So what does the goody bag contain? Essentially, a simple, slick-looking, accessible and low cost question-and-test module.

Techshare 2003
Techshare is for professionals who work in the field of visual impairment, or have an interest in technology and how it facilitates independent access to education, employment, lifelong learning and society for people with sight problems.

CETIS Pedagogy Forum - Launch event
The Pedagogy Forum is a new group within CETIS and aims to provide a forum to examine and discuss the pedagogic implications of interoperability standards and identify requirements that can be input into the specification process.

Clarke: Demonstrate what ICT can do for teaching and learning post 16
In the keynote to the annual JISC Conference at The International Convention Centre in Birmingham, UK education secretary Charles Clarke outlined his priorities for elearning in the Further / Higher Education sector. In essence: make sure everyone is on board first, then move forward.

We've got the tech, lets build some communities
At the quarterly IMS meetings, the open technical forum is often the one to watch for the latest trends in elearning. The tech forum that is taking place in Vancouver, Canada right now is no exception, and the next priority is clear: building communities.

Second CETIS-TechDis Accessibility Special Interest Group (SIG) Partnership Meeting
Accessibility issues are of importance to all those involved in developing learning technology or creating content for it. The SIG (Special Interest Group) focuses on creation and implementation (i.e. on content authors and on developers) and is open to anyone interested in interoperability standards and accessibility.

IMS Learning Design a full specification
After a fairly smooth period as a public draft, IMS Learning Design has now been accepted as a full specification by a 94% majority of IMS members. In a sense, the real deal starts now, as the specification is now stable enough for the vendors to develop.

Northern Ireland students will 'access the data they need, when they need it'
The Northern Ireland Integrated Learning Environment (NIIMLE) project has just been formally presented at a well received launch. The idea is to provide all FE and HE students in the region with a single, secure access point for all study information from whichever FE or HE institution they are at, have been to, or might go to in the future.

New Web Will Enable Scientists to Share Data Across Disciplines
Article in the Chronicle of Higher Education about a status update Tim Berners-Lee did on the semantic web. Offers a slim but useful outline of the (very) big idea. "dentifying and using data hidden inside complex databases is a tricky problem. But Mr. Berners-Lee believes that solving it could accelerate the pace of discovery in science and engineering, especially in areas of interdisciplinary research that draw data from disciplines other than the researcher's primary areas of expertise."

BrailleNet 2003 Workshop
This workshop will reinforce the links between the scientific and technical community and will demonstrate that research and development in the field of new technologies can generate helpful digital services for handicapped people. It will also help to integrate the basic concepts of Accessibility and Design for All into any digital product conception.

Open Access Journal Business Guides
Link via OLDaily: a couple of business guides by the Budapest Open Access Initiative for either converting an existing subscription journal or starting a new open access journal. Useful even for those just contemplating the switch to open access. Definition of open access: "...its free availability on the public Internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of (peer-reviewed or pre-print) articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the Internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited..."

The encyclopedia of informal education
For everything you always wanted to know about non-institutional learning, as outlined by, for example, Ivan Ilich. Learning from the encyclopedia as part of my blogging task, informal learning is the unplanned, open ended education that takes place in specific, task oriented contexts.

Digital Repositories Interoperability spec approved by IMS
The latest IMS spec to reach 'final' status deals with ways to store learning objects and make them available to other people. There are quite a few specs out there that will help systems do that already, but none specifically geared to make use of the IMS Meta-Data spec. Fortunately, IMS is not in the mood to start re-inventing the wheel, and has therefore liberally borrowed from existing specs.

Artificial, uh, Intelligence?
This was bound to happen at some point: an artificially intelligent agent as a learning technology. Perhaps just as inevitably, this one is out of the US military. "Like it or not, this is the face of your future online mentor."

UK higher education reform: the implications for educational technology
The impact of the UK government's 'The future of Higher Education' white paper is still reverberating around the system. We know about the tuition fees, and the 50% participation rate, but what's the role of e-learning in all of this?

Not Your Father's Encyclopedia
Wired article carried by a lot of blogs around the web, but for good reason. The wikipedia, an online collaboratively built encyclopedia has published its 100.000th article. Though not rivalling venerable tomes like the Encyclopedia Brittanica just yet, it's a powerful reminder of what can happen when you pool limited resources: a fantastic learning resource. ""I decided to contribute because I think I have a lot of general knowledge, and I like being part of an online community," he said. "I was astounded to discover that anybody could change any page, at any time.""

5th Meeting- British Standards LT Committee panel (IST/43/-/2)
Fifth meeting: British Standards Learning Technology Committee panel (IST/43/-/2) on a standard for a "Code of Practice in the area of standardising eSupport for eLearning" (BS8426)

Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education International Conference 2003
This annual conference offers opportunities to share ideas and expertise on all topics related to the use of information technology in teacher education and instruction about information technology for all disciplines in preservice, inservice, and graduate teacher education as well as faculty and staff development.

AUA Annual Conference - Supporting Success
The conference covers many of the administrative functions of an institution and there is a a wide choice of sessions - communications and information technology, marketing, estates, human resources, finance, and student services.

6th CETIS Educational Content SIG Meeting
This meeting is now full: registrations closed.

Designing Instruction with Learning Objects
Checklist of dos and don'ts when developing learning objects. Though useful, it suffers from some contradictions: on the one hand, Principle 3 says that learning objects must be small to be reuseable, while Principle 1 says that Learning Objects Must Be Units of Instruction That Stand Alone. i.e."Create the content of a learning object to be similar in scope and nature to the content of a typical "lesson" so as to create instruction, not merely information (Downes, 2000)." Also, Principle 4 holds that A Sequence of Learning Objects Must Have a Context, but "instructional content designed as context-independent chunks in an object-oriented programming environment can be shared with other users, recombined with other objects, or redesigned by other instructional developers with reasonable expectations of cost savings"

The main topic will be: Information Policy and the European Union. It is aimed at information specialists, students, and professors in the field of Library and Information Education and Research, employees of libraries and information departments.

Vison 2005 London
This conference is sponsored by the International Society for Low Vision Research and Rehabilitation (ISLRR). It will include a large exhibition, speakers, key people in the field from across the world and seminars.

Vision Loss in the 21st Century - Everybody's Business
This is the second International Symposium: Vision Loss in the 21st Century - Everybody's Business, co-sponsored by the American Foundation for the Blind and the Foundation for the Junior Blind.

Personal Digital Assistants and Disabled Students
This TechDis workshop will examine the use of Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and issues that arise for disabled students. Emphasis will be placed on how PDAs can benefit disabled students, and issues of usability and accessibility will also be covered. The workshop will also report on how the Internet, VLEs and other technologies can be accessed using PDAs.

Sit Back and Relax
This TechDis workshop looks at the use, creation and accessibility of electronic books.

eLearnExpo Paris 2003
The Sixth International E Learning Expo & Conference, is being held in Paris. It will include an exhibition demonstrating the latest products and techniques in on-line conferencing and collaboration tools, an international “eLearning Master Class”, hands-on learning experiences, demonstrations and workshops.

19th Annual Conference on Teaching and Learning
The Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning provides a forum for the exchange of information on distance education and training. The conference addresses the needs of educators, trainers, managers and designers from throughout the world who are involved in the application of technology to the teaching and learning process and in the planning, administration, and management of distance education programs.

Annual Convention of the International Association for Educational Communications & Technology
"Surfing New Waves of Innovation, Leadership and Learning". A research oriented conference for both the practice and theory of electronically enhanced learning.

Faculty Development and the Diffusion of Innovations
A timely contribution to the rising emphasis on faculty development as an integrated aspect of learning technology deployment. Particularly useful in its outline of a framework that can accommodate various interests and moviations. "Why would some faculty be so skeptical when others have achieved great success and discovered new ways to increase learning outcomes? Why would faculty resist tools that can help them simplify their work? The answer is that not all believe in the inherent ability of technology to achieve these outcomes."

Connexions on the Creative Commons
Fine grained learning objects? Check. Separation of content from presentation via XML? Check. Storage in a repository? Check. Open Source tools? Check. Free content? Check. Collaborative content development? Check. Standard compliant? kind of. So what is new about Rice University's Connexions? Its all of these things in one well funded project.

Stretching and squeezing (X)HTML to your needs
At the bottom of the pile of educational technology specifications sits (X)HTML; common as grass and about as worthy of comment. Or is it? With new working drafts for Modularization of XHTML in XML Schema and XHTML 2.0, the W3C is squeezing the ubiquitous web language onto more devices and stretching it to cover more functions. Some web geeks can't wait, and have already begun to make XHTML do weird and wonderful things.

MLEARN 2003 Learning with Mobile Devices
m-Learning and MOBIlearn are two mobile learning projects supported by the European Commission, and which are collaborating to organise MLEARN 2003 in London. A similar event will be held in 2004 in Rome.

4th International Conference on Information Communication Technologies in Education
The fourth International Conference on Information Communication Technologies in Education (ICICTE) will offer collaborative opportunities to educators, administrators, IT specialists, and others from all levels of education, from primary through to post-secondary.

More Journals to your desktop, courtesy of the British Library, Adobe and Elsevier
[updated] Article search and delivery services aren't exactly new, but one of the biggest and most respected, inside from The British Library, is to provide easy, direct-to-desktop access to its treasure trove of research. The catch? Considerable cost and some use restrictions that will please publishers more than users.

BETT 2003 - The Leading Light for Teaching and Learning
The British Educational Technology and Training Show (BETT) 2003 covers educational technology and ICT related products and services for all subjects and levels of education and training. Some of the seminars cover special educational needs and ICT.

Institutional Challenges in the Creation and Delivery of an Online Degree Program
An article from The Technology Source that deals with a fairly conventional e-learning program delivered in a fairly standard way. The substance is in the detailed overview of the kinds of purely institutional obstacles e-elearning practitioners in HE may need to overcome. Right down to promotion policies and salary scales.

The Electronic Portfolio Boom: What's it All About?
Syllabus article linked via Serious Instructional Technology. Slightly over-excited but informative article on e-portfolios. The interest here's in the author's perspective: that of a writing programme educationalist who's been doing portfolios-as-collections-of-work on the web for years. "Experience on one campus shows that, even though 100 percent of the faculty in a program have adopted ePortfolios, students still may not see their value because the faculty have not re-thought their courses to accommodate electronic portfolios"

ADL release new implementation guide, conformance test suite almost final version 1.3 of SCORM
Just ahead of the forthcoming plugfest, Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) release a new implementation guide of the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM), as well as an updated conformance test-suite for self-testing content and systems. All of these are for version 1.2; 1.3 is edging closer to 'final' status with a new working draft.

4th International Conference on Information Communication Technologies in Education
The aims of the conference are to provide education and training to practitioners in social, industrial, and economic areas; to provide practitioners in these areas with ideas on integrating technology into all facets of education; and to provide a forum for intensive interaction. Encouraging high levels of academic rigour, the conference will offer keynote and plenary sessions, and workshops with internationally recognized educators and researchers in the theoretical and practical applications of technology in education. ICICTE 2003 will be an integrated event offering collaborative opportunities to educators, administrators, IT specialists, and others from all levels of education, from primary through post secondary. The deadline for proposals of papers is January 6, 2003. The early registration deadline is April 30, 2003.

Smart Machines, Dumb People?
With the proliferation of ICT, will we not only learn in different ways, but also learn different things? Put differently; the augmentation of thinking by machines may very well both affect how much and what kind of things humans generally learn. Linked via elearningpost. "With machines assuming more mental work, humans will store fewer facts—and learning requirements will change radically. If so, our old-fashioned 20th century perspective may consider people of the future dumb."

Preparing Teachers To Use Learning Objects
Not a ground breaking article, but a very useful collection for introducing post secondary teachers to learning objects. The value lies in being very precisely aimed at helping e-learning champions convince their colleagues why they may want to roll their own objects. "It would be foolish for every teacher to write his or her own textbooks. Similarly, it is not feasible for every teacher to create all of the learning objects for a course."

Developers content to bash code at CETIS
In the interest of science, about twenty-five developers were happy to have their precious programs maltreated during the CETIS content package codebash. Under the good offices of Learning and Teaching Scotland's (LTScotland) Gerry Graham CETIS' Lorna Campbell, IMS content packages were freely swapped between systems. Conclusion: getting wrapped-up learning objects from one system to another is getting a lot smoother, but we're not quite there yet.

ED-Media 2003 Conference
This conference covers a range of topics relating to the educational and developmental aspects of multimedia, including a section on Universal Web Accessibility.

Alternative Architectural Concept 2 - Federated Integration
This is the second in a series of articles discussing possible variations to the Learning Technology Systems Architecture (LTSA) model delineated by the IEEE Learning Technology Standards Committee (LTSC) working group. In a previous article I covered one of the core structural issues / content object taxonomy. With the taxonomy I implied some deeper philosophical predispositions which I feel are vital to the success of any potential learning architecture.

Collaborative Tools for e-Learning
A link from a thorough outline why the focus is shifting to collaborative technologies and why that is a good thing. It does mention some technologies, but not Colloquia- of which it is pretty much a blueprint. "As Peter Drucker often points out, we need knowledge workers who are skilled in problem-solving, collaboration and learning. Therefore, education must prepare workers for these environments. Collaborative technologies have emerged to offer a way to familiarize learners with these new expectations and experiences."

Major Copyright Bill Affecting Distance Education Becomes Law
One of the most readable yet comprehensive overviews of the controversial new TEACH act that just came into force. The act may not have immediate consequences outside the US, but, like so much else, it could have repercussions for the way copyrighted material is used in elearning elsewhere.

Student-Centered Teaching Meets New Media: Concept and Case Study
Thorough case study of Student Centred E-learning. Results indicate that it is possible to retain the advantages of a very student centred approach but keep costs manageable by using elearning. "the computer takes over the task of providing information, while presence phases can be used for giving the content more meaning by means of transparent, open, respectful and empathic interactions within the group."

Impact of "Too Much Information"
Sound advice for any knowledgeworker from an elearning specialist. "The information worker's dilemma: "What do I have to know, and how do I know I have to know it?" This question is asked with each email, website, article, conversation, phone call."

First Accessibility SIG Partnership Meeting publishes results
The First CETIS Techdis accessibility Special Interest Group (SIG) get-together was held Tuesday last week. The Manchester meeting brought together, for the first time in the UK, e-learning vendors and specialists, academics from the FE and HE sectors and representatives from disability groups. As the feedback indicates, the opportunity was not wasted to discuss the challenges and opportunities of making e-learning accessible to everyone.

Seminar4web make new SCORM authoring tool and outline available
Seminar is an older, Computer-Based Training (CBT) authoring tool that has recently been rewritten to facilitate web-based output. The package aims to make it easy to author SCORM and AICC compliant learning objects, and the vendor has even made a handy article available that introduces SCORM to new content authors.

University of Washington Creates Online Portfolios for Students
Brief outline of a project at the University of Washington that implements fairly comprehensive student portfolios. The crux is that it utilizes a tool that makes it easy for students to build and publish on the web collections of their work.

The European Conference on e-Learning (ECEL) is an opportunity for academics, practitioners and consultants from Europe and elsewhere who are involved in the study, management, development and implementation of web enabled and ICT initiatives in the learning and teaching sectors as well as the professions to come together and exchange ideas and examples of best practice.

An essential resource for HE learning technology has been relaunched. Edutools is the most comprehensive database of LMS software reviews, with many features that allow users to compare and contrast different packages. The site is run cooperatively by two independent academic educational technology centres, sponsored by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

TechDIS FE coordinator receives Chair's Award at NILTA conference
Allan Sutherland, the Further Education (FE) coordinator at TechDIS (JISC's technology and disability service) picked up the prestigious Chair's Award at the National Information and Learning Technologies Association (NILTA) Annual Conference Dinner on behalf of the whole service. They earned the honour for their work on the accessibility of e-learning.

Effective e-Learning with VLEs
This workshop is aimed at individuals who are either currently delivering or are preparing to deliver some aspect of their current teaching provision using a VLE.

Effective e-Learning with VLEs
This workshop is aimed at individuals who are either currently delivering or are preparing to deliver some aspect of their current teaching provision using a VLE.

First CETIS briefing on current standards: IMS LIP
The first of a series of CETIS briefings about current e-learning standards is now available. The briefing is a concise overview of IMS Learner Information Packaging, a specification for a standard means of recording information about learners. Future versions of these general outlines will be added to the different standards' entries in the CETIS reference section.

JISC publishes MLE briefing, supports new MLE projects
The UK's JISC demonstrates its ongoing commitment to technology awareness raising by releasing a comprehensive briefing about the future of MLEs in Further Education, starting a new series of interoperability pilot tests and supporting a project that will research the pedagogical implications of new elearning standards.

Wireless Interactive Teaching Simulations
A report on a pioneering attempt at wireless elearning- or 'mlearning'. The project seems a little too focussed on trying to save money by lecturing very large numbers of students with mobile tech, but the report pulls no punches in self-criticism. "These tools tend to have the same overall structure; they allow students to externalize their thinking by “playing” some value or inputting some variable into a system."

IMS Learning Design reaches public draft stage
In a close vote, members of IMS accepted Learning Design as a public draft. Now that it can be implemented, the specification promises to be a comprehensive and powerful way to design learning experiences on-line. Not just that, it aims to allow educators the greatest possible freedom in designing these experiences, while still promoting content re-use and exchange.

Creating Environments for Learning: VLEs, MLEs, digital libraries and middleware

Prometeus in transition
With the two year European Commission funding contract for its support service at an end, PROMETEUS is in the process of mapping out its future as a self funded association with a new board. As the discussion continues, we asked a few stakeholders about their view of the associations' role in elearning.

IMS member exchange: Conformance Now!
Two topics were billed for the IMS Open Technical Forum: conformance issues and e-Learning Implementation in the UK. As it turned out, specification conformance was the main topic of practically all presentations. The why and how as well as the why not was illuminated by representatives from a wide variety of organisations.

First CETIS-TechDis Accessibility SIG Partnership Meeting

Carnegie Mellon release SCORM best practices guide for developers.
One of the main contributors to the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) specification, The Carnegie Mellon Learning Systems Architecture Lab, have made a draft version of the SCORM best practices guide for developers available on their website. The guide is neither normative, nor particularly detailed technically, but is intended to get content developers up to speed on SCORM 1.3 instead.

Learning content. Theirs, yours, mine and ours.
On the 30th of September, MIT's Open Course Ware (OCW) initiative will make the first batch of MIT learning resources available to the world. Free of charge. On the other side of the pond, the CELEBRATE project has just started to establish a digital repository to see, among many other things, what kind of model will generate a viable stock of learning objects for Europe's schools. Meanwhile, projects like the universal brokerage project and the UK's National Learning Network (NLN) are maturing nicely. The question that arises, then, is where all that learning content is going to come from, and, more importantly, who is going to make it.

Demystifying Metadata
Clear and concise exposition of the 'metadata' concept. Well worth reading if you're new to the field. "Metadata is often described as "information about information" but I prefer to think of it as another layer of information - simplified, distilled, made orderly - created to help people use an information source."

Being Objective
Not one but two compelling entries on Jay Cross' blog (there's also The Business of learning objects. He's been to the Learning Object Symposium, and reports on the pretty fundamental discussions on the wisdom of learning objects that took place there. "NETg's Brendon Towle noted that SCORM is inadquate because, among other things

  • SCORM only supports single learner/single LO configs,
  • No way to produce complex sequences of LOs (yet)
  • No inter-LO communications (sims)
  • No concept of pedagogy at all

JISC project looks at academics' digital rights
Rights MEtadata for Open archiving (RoMEO) is a one year JISC funded project that will research ways in which the rights of academics over papers they "self-submit" to on-line repositories can be managed.

Learnwise 2 VLE presented at ALT-C conference
Granada Learning announced the availability of LearnWise 2 server --a new virtual learning environment (VLE)-- at the ALT-C 2002 conference in Sunderland.

Macromedia presents Authorware 6.5, cuts education pricing in the US
Macromedia will make a new version of Authorware available at the end of September. Main changes include better accessibility tools and extensive XML support. Meanwhile, deeper discounts are offered to US educational volume buyers.

Hard Bargains and Software Licenses
Solid and useful guide to the perils of managing software licences in education. "All sizes of colleges and universities report struggling with asset management in IT--the challenge of knowing how many computers they have, where they are, and who is using them."

Technologies for Education: Potential, Parameters and Prospects
Important link picked up from Stephen's Web. It is a UNESCO online book on technology and education in its broadest sense, with articles on topics ranging from deploying interactive radio to wide range ICT for education trend analysis. "This monograph is firmly rooted in a vision of education that begins with the learner and attempts to understand how technological tools can better contribute to educational goals."

Personal toolkit: Knowledge tools need to be personal, not personalized
Article at KMWorld about the value of truly personal, artisanal knowledge tools. "Satisfaction: bonding with our machines These are irrational, emotional sentiments but they won't go away, so we might as well turn them to our advantage."

Software for Online Courses?
Query and discussion on Slashdot about learning management systems. Simply essential reading. "I'd rather go with something open-source, especially since proprietary software seems to come and go, but the best open-source code is forever -- who wants to waste their time building a whole course around the flavor-of-the-month software?"

Call for nomination of candidates as Officers of the PROMETEUS Association
PROMETEUS (PROmoting Multimedia in Education and Training in EUropean Society) is inviting applications for the positions of President, Vice-President, Treasurer and Secretary of the PROMETEUS Association.

Bringing Affective Behavior to e-Learning
Thorough essay on Technology Source about the role of affective factors in on-line learning. The piece also outlines a project that attempts to improve the affective aspect by integrating static and synchronous media in to the 'unibrowser'. "Unfortunately, CMSs have few features to 3upport the affective role. How can the twinkle in your eye be transmitted via text?"

Simulation may be the e-learning "killer app"
Summary of a Gartner report into the use of simulations in e-learning. "By 2006, 70 percent of all off-the-shelf and custom e-learning content will include some application of simulations (0.8 probability). "

Middleware The New Frontier
Solid and readable overview of the 'middleware' buzzword. "Perhaps the best way to define middle-ware is to look at how it functions in two different examples: (1) leading e-science activities, and (2) production-level campus support and service."

The Year Ahead:
Useful and timely attempt at disentangling e-learning terminology. "This confusion, in part, is the result of new terms, which have brought into discourse about distance education, and have received uncritical acceptance by us."

The Next Killer App in Education: An Interview with Michigan's Carl Berger
Interview with a veteran of e-elearning about the future; its mostly a combination of portals and wireless networks. ''Many universities have already installed the first piece, the technology for wireless communication, on their campuses. In addition, some institutions are beginning to develop "push" and "pull" technology.''

Bridging the Tech-Education Gap
Wired article on the potential gap between parents' and educators' enthusiasm for computer technology in schools. "It takes a lot more than computers to make a good classroom. Parents, unfortunately, still don't have the message."

Q&A with Don Norman
Extensive elearningmagazine interview with Don Norman, the useability guru. "Instructional design refers to a particular philosophy of setting your goals upfront and making sure there are various metrics. And what I’ve seen is very uninspiring. It’s all very logical-- and the courses are horrible."

Theory & Practice: Learning Content Management Systems
Straightforward and concise article on the benefits of using LCMS. " To fully realize the benefits of e-learning, many companies have found "a better way" by using a Learning Content Management System (LCMS) to rapidly author, deploy and manage e-learning content."

Techdis publishes VLE accessibility survey.
Techdis, the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) e-learning technology accessibility service, has published the results of its VLE accessibility survey. This is rather timely, as legislation will come into effect in September 2002 that will mandate inclusive access across the UK further and higher education sector

Is our children learning?
Sharp critique of the ongoing focus on technology in education. ""Getting money for technology is not a problem around here--they'd probably cut the electricity before they'd cut that," says one teacher at Marymount School"

IMS Special Briefing: Standards & Specifications in E-learning
Following the Open Technical Forum on Thursday the 26th of September, IMS will organise two open sessions on e-learning standards on Friday 27th. The morning track is intended for managers and end users and the afternoon track is aimed at developers.

An Educator's Guide To Access Issues
Comprehensive and very readable literature review about accessibility in its wider sense, divided in handy subtopics. The focus is pretty exclusively American, but the fact that it follows up on a similar exercise done in 1999 makes it worthwhile.

Evaluating the usability of Web-based learning tools
Solid useability study of commonly used VLEs. "However, the simplicity of use for novice users has significant drawbacks. For example, these systems force instructors and course administrators to use predetermined navigation models and course formats."

Building Communities--Strategies for Collaborative Learning
Practical how-to on the importance of community in e-learning. "Communities are a way to elicit and share practical know-how that would otherwise remain untapped."

Using HTML Email to Deliver High-Impact Episodic Training
A practical guide to using a zero-cost e-learning tool: email. Learners or sysadmins may not always appreciate being spammed with html emails, however...

Study shows no demonstrable link between choice of MLE and educational approach.
A team of Dutch researchers investigated the relation between various educational approaches (e.g. traditional, guided learning, active learning and experience-based learning) and the design and use of different virtual learning environments (VLE). Conclusion: it's not really possible to map an educational approach to a specific type of VLE.

JISC invitation to tender; technical review of portals
JISC is inviting tenders to review systems developed by the JISC 'Building MLEs in HE' (7/99) programme. The review will consider so-called Campus or Educational portals and similar systems.

CertMag's Guide to e-Learning
Basic, but useful introduction to the e-learning industry. "Confusion concerning e-learning comes from using the word “e-learning” to describe anything and everything within this very young industry."

elearnspace Interview Stephen Downes
Interview with Stephen Downes, which outlines a number of his refreshing ideas. "If you look at the field of standards you have the same thing. IMS thinks that it will be the standard for elearning. But IMS isn’t everything. There are initiatives in Europe."

The Open-Source Movement; Despite many obstacles, open-source has the potential to strongly influence the future of software development and support in the academic world
Balanced and focused assessment of the potential value of open source software to the HE sector. "The greatest benefit in open-source could be the opportunity to realize the best promise (and original purpose) of the Web: to make an extended working environment where information is accessible to all those involved in collaborations."

A D-Minus for Computer Exams
A Wired article that outlines the perils of on-line examinations. "Three years after they phased out paper and pencils and began administering computerized versions of the Graduate Record Examination, officials are going back to paper in some overseas regions."

MS Word to SCORM converter tool demonstrated
At ADL's plugfest 6, Recombo inc successfully demonstrated Convertor for Word; a tool that helps convert MS Word or .rtf documents into SCORM 1.2 compliant sharable content.

Wanted: Web-Savvy Schooling
Report of a study that shows that US high schoolers want teaching to be more web-aware. "Restrictive content filters, usage policies and time constraints discourage Internet use at school."

UK learning and skills council report on elearning released
The Distributed and Electronic Learning Group (DELG) has published a final report into the role of the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) in relation to e-learning. The report was commissioned by the LSC.

A Moving Target: eLearning Vendors Take Aim in a Changing Environment
Slightly oversimplified, but useful overview of what kinds of e-learning systems are available. "In many cases, the true value of the new alliances cannot be fully realized unless an institution decides to wholly embrace a particular product or product line."

What Is "Usable" e-Learning?
In depth, thought provoking article on usability. It considers learning in relation to different task goals. I.e. it goes much further than just good interface design.

5th Educational Content SIG Meeting

Course management software transforms higher education
Interesting angle: institutions making their own MLEs are portrayed as the main competitors to commercial offerings. "''Things like Blackboard and WebCT are sort of the AOL in education,'' Schilling said. ''They're really the lowest common denominator approach.''"
A newish one-man site on e-learning. Sound practical advice in the main story.

Who Needs Paper? Not Iowa College
Interesting outline at Wired of an attempt to create a paperless college. "But in reality, students often print articles for their class, preferring to read on paper rather than on the computer –- especially if they are in a hurry"

New OU Access Centre Makes Learning Easier For Disabled Students
Staff at the centre, at the university's main campus in Milton Keynes, will carry out needs assessments for disabled students and those in training to identify the specialist technology and other support they may need.

PROMETEUS Conference
The Prometeus conference in Paris has two major aims: 'Improving Learning through Technology' and 'Opportunities for All'.

Your content in DSpace.
MIT and HP are working together on a new content repository system. The idea is that large numbers of research institutes will federate all the data that they currently hold locally and make it available online.

Experts question SCORM's pedagogic value
Is the underlying model behind SCORM actually useful for teaching and learning? This is the question raised in an article at Online Learning Magazine, with input from a number of US learning experts.

7th Assessment SIG Meeting

IMS outline future plans at London meeting
At a meeting of vendors in London organised by JISC, Colin Smythe of IMS outlined some of the specification consortium's plans for the coming year, including recommendation on transport protocols, and a brand new content specification.

ALT Workshop 'Using XML for Educational Content Management'

New JISC projects to look at cross-sector interoperability
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.

Content Interoperability Conference
The National Learning Network and the University of East London will be holding an interoperability conference on the 11th and 12th of July 2002. The event will focus on the practical implications of adopting IMS and ADL (SCORM) specifications for the development of learning materials. There will be time to try out learning materials within a Virtual Learning Environment and discuss the implementation of the specifications.

IMS release updated white paper on accessibility
The IMS Global Learning Consortium have released an updated set of guidelines on accessibility.

Canvas Learning: New website, improved demo now online
Canvas Learning - formerly a part of Can Studios - have updated the online demonstration version of Canvas Learning Author on their new website.

CampusSource - a European OKI?
CampusSource is an open-source initiative from Germany, with strong parallels with MIT's Open Knowledge Initiative.

CanCore produce survey of learning object metadata implementations
CanCore, the producers of a profile of IMS Metadata for use in Canada, have released a survey of metadata implementations. The survey covers application profiles (like CanCore itself), metadata creation tools, and repositories.

UKOLN Institutional Web Management Conference
In addition to sessions on various web technologies and related issues, CETIS' Lorna Campbell and Niall Sclater of the CETIS Assessment SIG will be giving a briefing on learning technology standards, and UKOLN's Brian Kelly will be holding a briefing session on web standards such as SVG, SMIL and RDF.

JISC announce new round of FE college interoperability projects
JISC, the UK's Joint Information Systems Committee, has published an invitation for proposals to conduct interoperability projects in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The projects will use IMS specifications to provide interoperability between components of college Managed Learning Environments (MLEs), for example between a student record system and a virtual learning environment.

Can Studios demo new authoring tool and player
Can Studios are providing an online preview of their new Canvas Learning suite, comprising a visual editor (Canvas Learning Author) and a player for browser-based or standalone delivery of IMS QTI content (Canvas Learning Player).

Learning Lab 2nd Annual Conference and Exhibition
The Learning Lab firmly believes that successful use of ICT (Information & Communication Technology) in education and training relies upon technology not only meeting the needs of those using it, but also by enhancing the learning experience...

Dutch event shows way forward for authoring EML
A few weeks ago a conference was held in the Netherlands attended by various educational and commercial organisations interested in the Educational Modelling Language, developed by the Open University of the Netherlands.

New Sequencing specification imminent - Open Source tools to follow
Phil Dodds of ADL announced yesterday that a new specification for sequencing content would soon be released by IMS.

Questionmark announce SCORM 1.2 compliance for Perception
Questionmark have announced that their Perception assessment product is now compliant with version 1.2 of the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM).

Open Archives Initiative to release new Metadata Harvesting specification
The Open Archives Initiative (OAI) has announced that Version 2.0 of the Metadata Harvesting Protocol will be released on June 1st, 2002.

Syllabus Interviews IMS CEO
Syllabus magazine this month features an interview with Ed Walker, CEO of the IMS Global Learning Consortium.

Making SCORM objects truly sharable - the Dynamic Appearance Model
Canada's Department of National Defence (DND) have released a white paper proposing methods for reusing content while retaining the organisation's "house style". The intention is that sharing SCORM objects between different organisations is made easier and more effective by dynamically altering the appearance of the material without changing its content.

K-12 and Rights Management take Centre Stage at IMS Forum
The first IMS open technical forum meeting for 2002 was held on February 27 in Sydney, Australia. Among the issues brought to the fore included interoperability in schools or in the K-12 sector, and rights management for digital resources.

Best of the blogs
Weblogs - personal web journals - are the hot new thing on the web these days. Some of these sites are even talking about standards in learning technology. We take a look around at some of the best standards-related 'blogs on the web.

Technology Source interviews MIT's Phil Long on the Open Knowledge and Open Courseware Initiatives
The Technology Source website recently carried an interview with Phil Long - "the senior strategist for the Academic Computing Enterprise at MIT" - about the Open Knowledge and Open Courseware initiatives at MIT.

CETIS Assessment Roadshow - Oxford Brookes University

CETIS Assessment Roadshow - ALT eContent Conference

University of Michigan unearths digital 'pearls' with OAIster
The University of Michigan has begun work on a project to make previously difficult-to-access digital resources easily available - and the project will use the metadata harvesting specification produced by the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) to make it happen.

IMS Enterprise workshop
This is a small-group interactive workshop, aimed at people currently developing Enterprise applications. It will attempt to bring together some example implementations and identify the common aspects, and areas of divergence.

Finnish universities release free VLE with support for Educational Modelling Language (EML)
Fle3 is a new open-source web-based learning environment. FLE builds upon the open-source content management platform ZOPE (the platform used to deliver the CETIS website). Fle3 is also notable for being one of the first third-party applications to develop support for the Educational Modeling Language (EML) developed by the Open University of the Netherlands

ePrints release update of free self-archiving software
ePrints, the self-archiving software that uses the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) metadata-harvesting standards, has a new version released this month.

Open Archives Initiative gathers momentum
The Open Archives Initiative (OAI) have announced new features for Version 2 of its Metadata Harvesting Protocol, while adoption of the existing protocol has been boosted by a new JISC program.

Macromedia to support .NET and XML-based web services in next generation of products
Macromedia has announced broad support for Web services and Microsoft's .NET architecture. This support will feature in new releases of its DreamWeaver UltraDev and ColdFusion products.

Yahoo! enter the VLE market
Yahoo! have entered the VLE market, developing their Yahoo!Groups service into a course development and student communication tool.

CETIS Assessment Roadshow kicks off
The CETIS Assessment Roadshow kicked off a tour of the UK this month with its first workshop at Herriot-Watt University.

6th International Computer Aided Assessment (CAA) Conference
This refereed conference focuses on the use of I.T in the assessment process in Higher Education. CAA is becoming increasingly common and this event will be of interest to new practitioners, academic enthusiasts as well as policy makers and administrators.

CHEST compares Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs)
CHEST, the UK education sector's group purchasing organisation, has published a chart comparing some of the more popular Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs).

Xtend release SCORM-compliant Learning Management System
US company Xtend have released Xtention, a Learning Management System (LMS) that complies with ADLNet's Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) specification.

JISC to fund standards-compliant tools and services as part of X4L programme
The UK's Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) has issued a call for proposals under its Exchange For Learning (X4L) programme, including development of tools that support specifications such as IMS and SCORM.

IMS Open Technical Forum
IMS is holding an Open Technical Forum after the working group meetings in Australia.

OUNL conference on EML authoring and content management
The Educational Technology Expertise Centre of the Dutch Open University is staging a three-day conference on EML authoring and content management environments. This is in response to interest shown in EML since the public release of EML v1.0 in December 2000.

Microsoft release LRN 3.0 Toolkit, supporting IMS Content Packaging, IMS Metadata and SCORM
Microsoft has released a new Toolkit for working with content packages and metadata, and initial reactions by users have been very positive.

Perot Systems to release EML Player in Q3
Perot Systems is planning to launch a player for courses developed using the EML (Educational Modelling Language) in the second half of 2002.

Authoring EML: OUNL announces conference
In response to the widespread interest shown in its Educational Modelling Language (EML), the Open University of the Netherlands (OUNL) have announced a conference on authoring courseware in EML.

Progress on standards predicted for 2002
eLearn Magazine's predictions for 2002 include progress on standards - according to some contributors, at least.

Universities face profiles challenge
Representatives including principals and registrars from many UK universities attended a special event last week on the subject of transcripts and personal development planning in UK education.

University of Glasgow release IMS report
A report entitled "Testing IMS in Real Contexts: Implementing IMS Specifications, Implications and Best Practice" has been published by the University of Glasgow.

New BSI guidelines 'herald coming of age' of computer-assisted assessment
The increased use of computers in assessment has brought with it new concerns over issues such as fairness and security. Responding to these and other concerns, the British Standards Institute (BSI) has issued a new draft set of guidelines that provide a minimum set of requirements for organisations making assessments using computers.

Take an online course in SCORM
An online course by Edward Jones covering ADL' Sharable Content Object Reference Model specification is available for free online.

Repositories open up to web crawlers
A new gateway service allows web crawlers – the programs that index web pages for search engine sites like Google – to access metadata in repositories that implement the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) protocol.

Can Studios preview Canvas, an IMS QTI editor and renderer
Can Studios preview their Canvas content development system, a visual layout tool for building courseware compliant with the IMS QTI specification.

Common Behaviour: IMS and OKI consider architecture issues
At the IMS Open Technical Forum in San Francisco, a panel of representatives from Carnegie-Mellon, MIT and IMS discussed using layered architectures to simplify the process of developing software and content for learning.

IMS Learning Design considers EML-IMS hybrid
The IMS Learning Design Working Group report on their progress, including the consideration of a new integrated EML-IMS proposal.

New IMS Content Package Editor update
The University of Edinburgh have released version 1.1 of their IMS Content Package Editor.

CEN/ISSS Issue 'eBrochure' on European standards activities
The CEN/ISSS Learning Technology Workshop has issued the first in a series of 'eBrochures' on the subject of learning technology standards.

IMS Open Technical Forum
IMS Open event at Palo Alto, California.

NYUOnline release SCORM-compliant learning content management system
iAuthor is the new learning content management system (LCMS) from NYUOnline. iAuthor publishes learning objects on the web using customisable "skins" and templates to create consistent look-and-feel.

Giunti announce new learning content management platform with strong emphasis on standards
Italian publisher Giunti Interactive Labs have announced a new learning content management system (LCMS) conforming to IMS, SCORM, and other specifications.

IMS release white paper on accessibility
Reflecting renewed international interest in issues of access to eLearning - inspired at least partly by legislative changes in the US - the IMS Global Learning Consortium has released a white paper on accessibility for learning applications.

Europe focuses on EML
Delegates from around Europe converged on Turin, northern Italy this month to discuss educational modelling languages (EMLs): technologies that attempt to model the learning process and not just learning content.

Education community advises European Commission on standards, open source, and learner profiles
The European Commission's IST Programme has launched an open consultation process to discuss the research and policy priorities in the area of "technology supported learning". So where do standards and specifications fit in?

Dublin Core becomes ANSI standard
NISO, the National Information Standards Organization and the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) have announced the approval by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) of the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set (Z39.85-2001).

The next wave: CETIS interviews Mikael Nilsson about the Edutella project
We are in the midst, it seems, of a quiet revolution in computing. The technologies that built the internet, with its giant server farms and gigabyte databases, are giving way to a new wave of distributed technologies. After the furore over music network Napster dies down, we are seeing a new generation of projects in the education field taking up the peer-to-peer challenge of building distributed, "democratic" learning technology. One of the most interesting new projects out there is Edutella, an attempt to create a distributed web for learning metadata making use of emerging standards. We talked to Mikael Nilsson about the project, and what the future holds.

Web Based Learning Environment
Three-day conference on web-based learning in Sweden, stressing e-Learning in a life-long learning, continuous education and vocational training perspective. One of the four conference themes is standardisation and harmonisation, and looks like it will contain some interesting material on standards.

Centra upgrades CentraOne, adds SCORM content
Centra have released version 5.2 of its eLearning system CentraOne. One of the key features of the new release is support for Centra Knowledge Catalog, a content repository solution that can be used with SCORM-compliant learning resources.

New vocabulary for describing educational audiences from a UK perspective
The Metadata for Education Group (MEG) has produced a new draft document that provides a comparison of different education schemes in the UK, making it easier to classify the educational level of learning resources for UK practitioners.

IMS Meta-data, Content Packaging & Enterprise: An introductory course
An introductory course by IMS on specifications that support the exchange of content and course information.

Macromedia announces availability of eLearning Studio, Authorware 6
Macromedia's latest eLearning content development solutions, offering compliance with ADL, IMS and AICC specifications, are now available for purchase.

IMS takes EML as starting point for new specification
The IMS Global Consortium has approved a document defining the scope of its Learning Design working group, with Educational Modelling Language (EML) as the possible basis for a future IMS Learning Design specification.

OUNL spins off EML player to Perot Systems
The Open University of the Netherlands (OUNL) has awarded a tender for the "further deployment and commercialisation" of Edubox, its EML rendering software, to Perot Systems.

Click2Learn unveils Aspen
Click2Learn have released the Aspen Enterprise Learning Platform, what it is heralding as "the industry's first comprehensive and unified e-Learning infrastructure".

Standards bodies face call for more language codes
The standard language taxonomies used widely today are coming under increasing criticism from a number of industries. Existing schemes support only a fraction of the languages and dialects in use around the world, which poses a problem for many applications, including learning technology.

Educational Modelling Languages on the European agenda
CEN/ISSS have commissioned a survey of Educational Modelling Languages (EMLs), with the possible eventual intention of proposing a European standard.

CEN/ISSS workshop on learning technologies
At the beginning of October, a CEN/ISSS workshop on learning technologies is being held in Turin. One of the key events at this meeting will be work on Educational Modelling Languages (EMLs).

IMS Meta-data, Content Packaging & Enterprise: An introductory course
Course for managers and users on IMS metadata, content packaging and enterprise.

New IMS-compliant assessment creator
Russian software company xDLSoft have released a new version of their shareware utility IMS Assest Designer, which helps users create IMS-compliant assessment materials.

EU Open Consultation on technology-supported learning
Workshop for the EU Open Consultation process to discuss the Research and Policy challenges and priorities in the area of "technology supported learning". The aim of the Workshop is to animate the discussion among the participants on the topics of the Consultation.

The next big thing? Three architectural frameworks for learning technologies
A key event at the IMS symposium in Ottawa on August 2001 was a panel on Architectural Frameworks. Representatives from IMS, MIT’s Open Knowledge Initiative, and Carnegie Mellon University put forward three ways that learning systems of the future could be designed.

Comment & Analysis: Why Context Is King
While the delivery of content to the learner continues to be a major theme at IMS, last week’s IMS events saw the emergence of learning context as its counterpoint. This feature takes a look at some of the ways educational context is making an impact on the development of learning technology.

CeLT announces new content packaging tool
The Centre For Learning Technology (CeLT) announced this week that they will release PackageIt!, a new IMS-compliant content packaging tool in the coming months.

IMS, Oracle announce free iLearning classes
IMS and Oracle are making freely available three online courses covering IMS standards.

Blackboard and Datatel announce integrated online campus solution
Blackboard and Datatel have announced that they are developing a unified solution for online campus environments, bringing together learning systems and administrative systems such as student information and financial systems.

Macromedia releases eLearning Studio with support for LT standards
Macromedia, creators of popular web content creation tools Dreamweaver and Flash, today announced the release of eLearning Studio. The new package combines version 6 of learning content creation tool Authorware with Dreamweaver 4 and Flash 5, and claims support for ADL, AICC and IMS standards.

CETIS special interest groups meet in Bangor
On the 23rd and 24th of July, representatives of the CETIS Special Interest Groups (SIGs) met at the University of Wales, Bangor. The meeting allowed SIGs to report on what has been happening in their areas of interest, and to discuss ideas with other CETIS members.

CETIS Workshop at ALT-C 2001
On Monday 10 September CETIS will be holding a one day pre-conference workshop at the ALT-C 2001 conference in Edinburgh.

New utility helps WebCT users share learning content
Vendors of integrated learning systems WebCT have released a new utility that allows users to import or export content from WebCT's e-learning system in an IMS-compliant format.

IMS, ADL and MIT agree to work together
On July 11, 2001 - Leaders of the MIT's Open Knowledge Initiative (OKI), the Advanced Distributed Learning Co-Lab (ADL), and the IMS Global Learning Consortium (IMS) issued a joint press release announcing their intention to cooperate to "close the gap between innovative pedagogical technology and production learning resources."

MIT and the Open Courseware Initiative
MIT make their materials freely available and begin to develop Open Source tools for learning.

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