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Articles about tools

JISC Toolkits - Peer review meeting
The current round of JISC Toolkits will meet to review each others work in progress.

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.

EDF-4 Bolton
The 4th ELF Developers' Forum will cover the latest from Toolkit projects including the re-use of Enterprise toolkits and REST Webservices for Personal Learning Environments.

Plex beta available
The Plex beta is available for download.

InfoCard on the way from Microsoft
It seems Microsoft learned the right lesson from the failure of Passport, its earlier effort in federated authentication. Rather than storing the crucial information about you on a server in Redmond, the new proposal -InfoCard- hands control back to the user. The technology is expected to come out with the new Windows variant (Vista) and its version of the IE browser (7). Says the MS fellow who designed the thing: "It’s important to note that all communications carried out by "InfoCard" use standards-based Web services protocols to ensure interoperability." They're spinning it furiously as the nice friendly interface on a open standards based meta identity system. Let's hope so.

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.

Call for papers: Interoperable e-learning systems in action
The workshop is being organised and funded by the Telcert project and is sponsored by the European eLearning Industry Group, SURF SiX and European IMS Network. The workshop is hosted by the Open University of the Netherlands, one of the Telcert project partners.

TELCERT Workshop; Tools for the e-Learning Framework
This workshop introduce participants in the e-Learning Framework projects and the broader JISC community to the tools developed by the TELCERT project. These tools exploit the IMS Application Profiling Guidelines which offer the prospect of refining (i.e. profiling) a variety of e-Learning technology specifications so as to better meet the needs of a target community, without breaking underlying interoperability.

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

Alt-I-Lab 2005 Demonstrators
The Alt-I-Lab conference has a regular demonstrators session where participants can show off their latest interoperability wares to the assembled crowd. This session tends to be held in an informal market-style which lends itself to a great deal of informed discussion between participants and really is at the core of what the Alt-I-Lab conference is about.

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.

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.

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.

EDF-2 Glasgow
The second ELF Developers' Forum meeting was held on 20-21 July 2005 in conjunction with the CETIS Assessment SIG at the University of Strathclyde.

Third CETIS/LIFE codebash goes public
To test the interoperability of educational content, metadata and services there's nothing like getting files into and out of as many different tools as possible. Better yet, get the developers of those tools into one room, and let them sort out any issues. CETIS codebashes do just that, but the third iteration had some differences: it was co-organised with the European LIFE (Learning Interoperability Framework for Europe) project and some of the files are now public.

LionShare releases personal repository milestone
Born of the recognition that the vast majority of learning and teaching material lives on peoples' PCs, the LionShare project aims to provide a simple and trusted way to share those materials with others. The open source application isn't quite done yet, but a useable beta has just been released.

Software should be stuff that gets you laid...
And inf argues that software is not VLEs or LMSs- its social software such as blogs. It's mostly a rant about the fact that groupware and VLEs are the kinds of things people have to use because they've been told to by management, not because they want to. Its chosen by comparing feature charts, and used as a means of control or saving money.

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.

Interoperability state of play at IMS Melbourne meeting
The open tech forum at an IMS meeting is a public show-and-tell that is occassionally layed on for the benefit of the wider community. The one in Melbourne this week was exemplary in giving a wide variety of people the opportunity to air their views on the state of play in e-learning. The downside is the blizzard of (Power)Points that can unleash. We gather the kernels for your enjoyment.

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.

Look ma, no metadata forms
It's long been recognised that adding meaningful descriptions is one of the more unpopular and error prone aspects of creating learning objects. One solution that has been touted for a pretty long time is to leave the chore to the machines, but practical solutions have been relatively rare. There is now an open source solution from one of the founders of the Learning Object Metadata standard (LOM): Ariadne.

Patents, Open Standards and Open Source
In the last few months, there's been quite a lot to do about software patents: the idea of claiming intellectual property rights over ideas implemented in software, rather than just copyright over the software itself. An issue that used to just exercise corporate lawyers in the US is now starting to hit educational institutions everywhere, including the UK.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Intrallect Developer’s Forum: Repository Interoperability
The purpose of this forum is to discuss potential ways in which other e-learning systems can interoperate with Intralibrary. The day will include demonstrations of intraLibrary’s current modes of interoperability and technical discussions on various system-to-system technologies.

Echopoint components and framework
What looks like a fairly highly developed framework for making stateful web applications- relatively small programmes that work like conventional desktop applications but operate over the web, through your browser. This area of technology is not new (Netscape promised to reduce Windows to a "pile of poorly debugged device drivers" way back when), but has been getting a lot of attention lately.

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.

Microsoft extends webservices, IMS Enterprise and LIP support
The extended support consists of a raft of new, education specific features built on the Microsoft BizTalk 2004 platform. The lot is known as the Enterprise Services Framework (ESF), and essentially aims to be the traffic cop in the heterogenous, multi-platform environment of a typical FE or HE network. It can take information in wide variety of forms, and push it out again in standard and not so standard formats.

Alt-I-Lab results: mind the gap...
between user expectation of interoperability and reality. Or so the University of Waterloo's Tom Carey thought. And repeated it in at least four other varieties of English to make sure the message hit home. Because last week's was the second alt-i-lab, we can begin to look at whether the participants in the interoperability fest are actually closing that gap.

Open source e-learning technology hits prime time
So stand by for the inevitable backlash. But seriously: the relation of open source to open standards was the topic of the opening debate of the big alt-i-lab e-learning technology interoperability do, the open sourcing of LAMS was announced there, the increasingly popular Open Source ePortfolio Initiative (OSPI) held a conference right before it, open source reference implementations were mentioned by nearly everyone there, most of the hotly debated service oriented approaches to MLE design rely wholy or in part on open source components, and even Microsoft announced its inimitable take on the phenomenon by launching a 'shared source' webservices kit for Class server.

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.

UK Ministry of Defence contracts BT for e-learning system
As most large organisations have found at some point, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) found that a) its training requirements can't be met by face to face education alone, and b) its e-learning provision is patchy and disconnected. So a plan was drawn up, and British Telecom awarded about 25 million pounds to provide a system for up to 300.000 users. That's one single system...

Web services stuff we can nick
From an education sector point of view, one of the nice things about a service oriented architecture (SOA) is that the commercial world is heading the same way. IT vendors have seen the signs and have been huddling together in a range of acronyms to bash out service specifications for all sorts of things- and implementing them too. We have a look at some of the latest specs that we could help ourselves to.

New application server marries Java to webservices
With the new, snappily titled Java System Application Server Platform Edition 8, Sun promises to make it easier for Java developers to develop and deploy web services. The new server software is free for both development and deployment, and includes support for the J2EE Connector Architecture to facilitate exposing existing enterprise systems as web services.

HEFCE presents more details of UKeU restructuring plans
Following the restructuring announcement earlier this year, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has announced more details about the future of the troubled UK e-Universities (UKeU) project.

Same area, different goals; Sakai and the JISC Framework Programme
With Managed Learning Environment (MLE) implementation increasingly moving from theory to practice, two major initiatives come along at once. One will deliver a customisable but complete 'community source' MLE, the other a means of stitching together an MLE out of bits you already have or want. We talk to Chuck Severance of Sakai and Tish Roberts and Scott Wilson of the JISC Framework Programme about differences and similarities.

LionShare Wiki
The LionShare peer-to-peer personal respository project had opened a Wiki. For anyone already using LionShare, or interested in it, this is the place to get more info and contribute to its further development.

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.

Community and conformance
It's the quintessential paradox of technology standards: enforcing a technical standard, while supporting the peculiar demands of a specific community. Such an exercise in cake possession and consumption is now undertaken by the EU Framework Programme 6 (FP6) sponsored TELCERT project, who aim to give national and/or occupational communities the tools to define their own application profiles, and the means to test conformance to them.

Major single sign-on work starts in the UK and Australia
It should be so simple: just log in once, then get access to all networks, electronic journals, learning objects, applications and sundry other stuff that you have the right to access. But experience teaches that isn't so easy, yet. Two programmes are addressing this problem of authentication, authorisation and access in truly networked environments. Many more are waiting to see how they could benefit from the outcomes.

Splashing in Ponds and Pools
There's an awful lot going on in the general area of learning resource discovery and management at the moment. Most especialy about finding the right place to store resources, while still making sure that they can be discovered by other people. The Splash peer-to-peer (P2P) personal repository has been around longer than most in this area, and has been connected to nodes at institutional and regional/national level. We look at some of the lessons the developers learned.

Blackboard files for IPO at SEC
Some suit type acronyms for a change: it means that Blackboard the VLE maker will be listed on the stock exchange: as BBBB on Nasdaq, to be precise. Quite an achievement for an almost pure e-learning vendor. Link via Edtechpost and Online Learning Update

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.

Fostering interoperability, Japanese style
Japan's Advanced Learning Infrastructure Consortium (ALIC) has been promoting e-learning interoperability standards in their part of the world, much like Industry Canada, SURF SiX or CETIS. Except that it funds single open source implementations of specifications. By Japan's main educational software vendors themselves. We ask ALIC's Kyoshi Nakabayashi about their experiences with the approach.

eLearning: Strategy, Development and Standards
A workshop about the Open Knowledge Initiative (OKI) e-learning specifications. The workshop will offer two strands. One, aimed at software developers and other information technologists. The second strand is aimed at educational and industry leaders and decision-makers, and will address the overall educational standards and specifications landscape.

eLearning Results 2004
This is the second of the standards focussed e-learning conference organised by VLE maker Giunti. This edition focusses on implementation and streamlining rather than new specs and practices. The conference will be preceded by workshops on IMS Learning Design, SCORM 2004, OKI, and SCORM and AICC Certification.

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.

Sakai formally announces partnership programme
The standards based, open source Managed Learning Environment (MLE) development project has started its Sakai Educational Partners Programme (SEPP). The programme is run by Jim Farmer of Ja-SIG fame.

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.

UCISA Management Conference 2004
The Conference is aimed at senior staff with a responsibility for the strategic planning of information and computing services within a changing university information services environment. The focus of the conference is on putting customers first.

Microsoft Files for Patents Related to XML Parsing and Word Processing.
In a sense, this was predictable: Microsoft's empire is largely built on locking the world into its proprietary document formats (MS Office). World moves to interoperability by adopting an open data interchange standard: XML. MS needs to interoperate with XML, but doesn't want to loose the lock-in. Result: Office has XML interoperability, but MS files a raft of patents to prevent anyone else offering an alternative to Office.

ADL releases new SCORM test suite
One of the strengths of ADL's Sharable Content Reference Model (SCORM) is that the set of integrated e-learning specifications comes with a do-it-yourself test suite. The new version of the suite fixes bugs in the previous versions, so that people can test their SCORM 1.2 e-learning content and tools with more confidence.

'Institutional Digital Repositories' and 'Learning Object Repositories' - What's the Difference?
Quick and dirty survey-on-a-blog at Scott Leslie's EdTEchPost. The purpose is to help him make a comparison between various repository software packages. It is an interesting question in its own right, though.

More Sakai details revealed and partner programme presented
The Sakai consortium of US universities and the OKI and JASIG standards bodies have revealed more detailed plans for the open source, standard compliant Managed Learning Environment (MLE) that they are building. Most notable is a partner programme by which organisations other than the founding members can join in, and get support- for a fee.

IntraLibrary slots into Australian interoperability research project
The Collaborative Online and Information Services (COLIS) interoperability demonstrator project, now continued as the Interaction of IT Systems and Repositories (IISR) project, is to swap out its existing learning object repository with Intrallect's IntraLibrary.

OSS Watch survey findings: interoperability a major factor in educational Open Source adoption.
JISC's new Open Source Software Watch (OSS Watch) pilot advisory service was formally launched last week with a conference and the presentation of a scoping study of free and open source use in UK Further and Higher Education. In the study, the single biggest factor that Higher Education respondents mentioned as a motive to choose open source was interoperability through better standards support. Intriguingly, the single biggest factor holding back open source software adoption is ... interoperability and migration concerns.

Reload releases SCORM e-learning content player
Now that the open source Reload content package editor is maturing and in pretty widespread use and development, the team have added a content player to the toolkit. It plays SCORM 1.2 in a pretty straightforward fashion, but is mainly meant to help content developers understand and control what is going on behind the scenes.

Blackboard Looks Likely To Go Public
Article in the Washington Post (requires a little registration) about the future plans of the 800lb gorilla in the elearning jungle. Note that it all looks quite tentative, with a take-over by Microsoft not ruled out either. This would make technological sense, as Blackboard has moved a lot of its code to MS's .net framework. Note that a subsidiary of the Washington Post has invested in Blackboard, so there maybe some axe-grinding going on.
Thanks to Ray Schroeder at Online learning update for the link

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

Implementing LAMS to Improve Teaching and Learning

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.

Open Source Deployment and Development
This is the inaugural conference of the new OSS Watch, JISC's open source software advisory service for UK HE and FE. The conference is intended for the service's three main audiences: developers, IT and senior managers and anyone with an interest in free and open source software.

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.

LOM/CanCore Open-Source Software Components released
Rather than building a complete metadata application that only meets one set of current needs, the CanCore people built a set of components that can be re-used in many digital library applications that suit your requirements. It's an approach to open source educational software development that we're going to hear much more about.

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:

ISO wants to charge vendors for use of country, language and currency codes
In a recent 'clarification' of its policy, the International Standards Organisation (ISO) has decided to start charging commercial vendors for the use of the ubiquitous country, language and currency code standards that it publishes. These standards are directly normative for half of all IMS specifications and the IEEE LOM, and indirectly normative, via the W3C's XML, for all of them.

Open Source IMS VDEX authoring tool available
Hot on the heels of the spec itself is a first public beta of the first VDEX compliant authoring tool. With it, users can make VDEX encoded vocabularies and explore them for inclusion in IEEE LOM compliant metadata.

Educational Plone-Sprint
The open source Zope application server tends to get developed in 'sprints', and the tradition continues for the newer Plone content management system that runs on top of it. This particular sprint is intended to add virtual learning environment functionality to Plone, including support for a number of IMS specs.

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.

'QTI Ready' almost ready
Adding to the growing pile of IMS QTI compliant software is a new server side plug-in: QTI Ready. Following the emerging trend of supplying applications that are meant to do only one thing, and do it well, QTI Ready allows you to edit and play QTI based quizzes and tests on any J2EE aware webserver. Your existing VLE should be able to take care of the rest.

MIT alt-i-lab Day One
David Whiley's quick but comprehensive overview of the first day of last week's alt-i-lab: a more or less closed get together of essentially all the interoperability specification bodies, and their various representatives. The page also links to David's and Raymond Yee's report on the session on tools at the conference.

Interoperability in practice at the CETIS / LTScotland codebash
Bangor, Wednesday, July 2, 2003. 46 participants from 26 organisations from 4 countries came to the second CETIS / Learning and Teaching Scotland codebash in Glasgow last week, with 2 participants joining in online.

Next CETIS Assessment SIG meeting - 29 August 2003

Homebrew MLE with a difference
There are plenty of home-grown VLEs. There are even a few MLEs built in-house. But not quite so many with their own XML e-portfolio format, and extending into blogging and/or peer-to-peer software. Why do it that way? Because "In a school, the creation of meaningful data is a social process."

Smarter, Simpler, Social
Link via elearningspace to a white paper on social software by a new consultancy on knowledge management and e-learning. The interest here is that it strongly suggests that the trend away from monolithic, technology focussed systems to smaller, more flexible applications that are designed to fit into people's social networks is getting into the e-learning sphere from both the commercial and the education domains. "If we recognise that organisations and communities are not simply reducible to their component parts – if they behave like complex systems – then surely the applications we use to connect people must reflect this?"

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."

RELOAD releases beta of open source Metadata editor
One issue that keeps popping up in debates about learning objects is the metadata question; how are educators supposed to make an interoperable description of a learning object that will allow it to be found by others? The Reload elarning tool development project decided to attack that problem before any others, with the first results already appearing.

Harvard's H20 project
The goal of Harvard Law School's h20 project is to build "an interlocking collection of communities based on the free creation and exchange of ideas.", motivated by an even loftier ideal of maintaining the original idea of academe. In practice, the core of the project is a piece of open sourced software, Rotisserie, that manages group discussions. The difference with traditional discussion boards is that a) it compels everyone to respond to an initial question, before all responses are published b) in the second round every participant is assigned a response from the first round that they have to comment on c) it allows multiple courses/rotisseries to be linked. See for a wide ranging debate about the pros and cons.

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.

Saba donates free SCORM testing tool to community.
Now this is the sort of thing that benefits everyone. Saba's decision to release the SCORM Detective tool basically means three things: it demonstrates industry support for standards in general -and those of specific players in particular!- it directly helps achieve interoperability and promotes understanding of the specs in the community too.

Online assessment and professional development
A presentation by Granada on its latest testtool and by FD Learning about their professional development tools.

SiX plugfest report: encouraging, but could do better
Dutch educational standards working group SiX just published the results of its plugfest. Over the day, various managed/virtual learning environments were required to import, export and display a standardised set of ADL SCORM 1.2, IMS Content packaging 1.3, IMS QTI 1.2 and IMS Enterprise 1.1 data. Result: familiar problems and remarkable differences between products.

Current snapshot on Open Standards - Status Report #2
Link via Elearnspaces to Marc's [loud] Voice. It's a small snippet with a personal connections diagram (blogs, IM, webservices) that in itself doesn't describe anything very new, but for the observation that they are indeed getting integrated into a 'mesh'. "That mesh is being formed by a loosely coupled conflagration of an open source community of developers building something great. It's a decentralized infrastructure, currently based on nothing but chutzpah and instinct."

TouchGraph GoogleBrowser V1.01
This one is straight from the cool-web-toys-department: a java applet that visually represents the result from a Google 'what's related' query. Enjoy your wanderings through topic clusters!

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."

Scientists Giddy About the Grid
Short and lightweight Wired article about the benefits of grid computing. "By using [open source] Globus software that is quickly becoming the world standard, earthquake centers can link their computers to each other through one technological language. Voilà! No more bickering and much more collaboration (if all goes well, of course)."

IMS Open Technical Forum and Special Briefing
The Open Technical Forum event is open to anyone interested in the latest developments around elearning interoperability standards. The Special Briefing is more in-depth about the IMS specifications.

Where oh Where is Plug & Play?
Thought provoking and well argued rant about the lack of attention to basic interoperability in elearning standard implementation. Particular ire is reserved for student performance tracking. "...disgruntled customers like Buckman's Ellis don't want to listen to any more visionary talk about reusable content objects until they're satisfied that the basic plumbing works."

Nobody expects the spontaneous integration
Or: how to integrate web-borne systems without even trying. Quite a rollicking read for anyone interested in web services. "By Thursday, the vendor of the library software had withdrawn the Web page on which I'd found the 900 URLs. What had seemed to be an informational Web page had turned out, to the vendor's surprise, to be a directory of Web services. Oops."

Teamrooms: Tapping the Collaborative Learning Advantage
Practical as well as (unintentionally?) thought provoking article on how to implement web-based colloborative software (aka 'teamrooms'). The point is that few organisations seem to have made a good go of it, I suspect because of the pervasiveness of email. "In order for behavioral change to occur, the current ways of working must become so ineffective that we are forced to overcome our resistance to change and experiment with the new processes, as mentioned before. We are nearing that stage with email, particularly as complex, cross-functional teams become the norm for project work."

World Education Market
A networking, buying and selling event of about 2000 participants in 2002. Given those numbers, the audience involves almost anyone who has something to do with education and training. As of last year, however, an 'eVillage' is set up with the European Institute for e-Learning (EIFEL).

The Evolving Role of Course Management System Providers in the Transformation of Education: An Interview with Blackboard's Matthew Pittinsky
Crystal clear outline of Blackboard's intentions: they'll own and monetise the platform, everyone else can supply the value added. Really good question: "By considering itself an OS and by requiring external developers to adhere to its own Building Blocks development protocol, is Blackboard trumping the evolving industry standards in favor of its own proprietary one?"

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.

I/ITSEC showcases military educational technology, SCORM
The annual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) is a large get-together that deals with the training and education of the -mainly US- military. Though a specialised sector -mass destruction simulations, anyone?-, it is one where learning technologies like SCORM are most widely deployed.

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.

Open uPortal technology gains ground in the UK
Over a series of meetings, US representatives of the Java in Administration Special Interest Group (JA SIG) outlined their open source university portal technology to a diverse sample of UK HE representatives. Result: intriguing points of contact between UK educational software projects and uPortal have been identified, and a UK JA SIG has been set up.

Open-source CMS: On the rise
Content management systems are still a rising meme, but people have less budget to play with these days. Hence this useful overview of the main open source CMS packages. "The tough economic times make open-source CMS look even more appealing, but the ability to customize the code is also a driving force."

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.

Problems and Issues in Online Learning, October 2002
The title maybe a bit expansive, but this is a taut and to the point state-of-the-art article by Stephen Downes. Because it is by Stephen, it is not just a list of issues either; he argues consistently against monolithic, separate learning systems on both technical, functional and economic grounds. "The silo model is dysfunctional because it prevents, in some essential way, the location and sharing of learning resources."

Open Platforms and Tools for Personalised Learning: an overview for potential end-users
A PROACTe paper on a survey of a number of EU funded projects under the Education and Training Action Line of the Information Society Technologies Programme. These projects are "aimed at developing the building blocks for the underlying support services needed to build distributed learning systems in such a way that learning objects (courses, modules etc.) can be flexibly archived, described and retrieved for re-use."

The EU's new research plan and eLearning: open source and multilingualism
Now that the sixth research Framework Plan for the EU and associated nations (FP 6) is about to start, the priorities for eLearning research and development in Europe are becoming clearer. According to Luis Rodriguez-Rosello of the European Commission, there are two keywords: open source and multilingualism.

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."

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.

Eduzope initiative seeks to combine standards support with open source
Two trends are starting to dominate IT government policy making in Europe: standard compliance and open source licensing. E-learning is no exception there, and the Eduzope initiative has sprung up to cover both bases.

W3C promotes XML 1.1 to Candidate Recommendation.
The technology that most current elearning standards are based on, eXtensible Markup Language (XML), is slowly advancing to a new version. Version 1.1 will be different mostly in how restrictive the spec is with regard to what is allowed, how newer or as yet undefined Unicode characters are handled in names and older linebreak codes more generally.

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.

Blackboard releases version 6, announces SCORM compliance, signs nation wide deal in the Netherlands
Blackboard systems, the dominant learning management system (LMS) vendor in higher education, announced new versions of their Learning System and Community Portal System products, and inked a nation wide licence deal with SURFDiensten- an IT services organisation for the Dutch education sector.

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.

Quality and eLearning in Europe
An interesting, if not entirely scientific, survey of mainly European educators and trainers. Main finding: "61% of all respondents rated the overall quality of eLearning negatively - as ‘fair’ or ‘poor’." Mostly because of poor experiences with technical interoperability. The report is a free summary pdf of a more extensive, paid-for report.

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.

IST 2002 – Partnerships for the Future
A major event of the European Union's Information Society Technology programme. The main goal of the conference is to function as a networking event for researchers.

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."


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

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.

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.

OAI based federated search service open sourced
The Digital Library Group of Old Dominion University has made the source code for its Arc federated metadata search service available. This will enable developers from a variety of communities to develop their own versions, as well as help improve the features and stability of the software itself.

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."

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?"

Find The Experts
Transform Magazine article on expertise management (as opposed to knowledge management). Thoughtprovoking on quite a few levels, particularly with regard to the fact that none of the expertise management system users even consider editing metadata manually. The article should be read with Stephen's Web commentary

W3C releases working draft of Architectural Principles of the World Wide Web
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) released the first public Working Draft of "Architectural Principles of the World Wide Web." The document describes all the fundamental rules of exchanging information on the web, and, at least as importantly how web technology should be deployed and used.

Getting smart with e-learning
Article at the Sydney Morning Herald that outlines an intriguing elearning system that focusses on flexibility and AI in delivery, sequencing and file formats. The Java software has been trialled in a few places, so it doesn't seem complete vaporware.

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."

Survey of Learning Object Metadata Implementations
Useful overview of the work that's in LOM implementations. The list is divided in application profiles, metadata creation tools and repositories.

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."

Jones e-education Course Management Platform Open Sourced
As part of a move out of the Managed Learning Environment (MLE) software market, the Jones Knowledge group has decided to open source a basic version of its e-education package.

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."

CAMPUS CARDS: The Power of Plastic
Short but comprehensive overview of developments in campus ID cards, and how they are getting tied in with portals. "Now that colleges and universities are tying cards to Web pages that track on- and off-campus purchases, the campus ID card is becoming an e-card, says campus card analyst Bob Huber"

NSF Middleware Initiative Release 1.0
The US National Science Foundation (NSF) just released version 1.0 of their Middleware Initiative project. The project and the software is intended to make colloboration and integration of resources easier on the Internet and the Grid: a network of high capacity networks and computers that is used by American research institutions.

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"

Ed-Tech Crusaders Seek D.C. Bucks
Article at Wired about a very ambitious iniative to set up a federal investment trust for education along the lines of the NSF or DARPA: the Digital Opportunity Investment Trust. "It would also pay for the digitizing of all materials in the country's museums, libraries and universities, and would make these resources more available to the general public"

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.

E-learning comes to CRM
Research from the METAgroup about e-learning trends in the private sector. Like other commentators, the expectation is that corporate e-learning will be integrated into ERP systems within a few years.

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."

ERP + eLearning
Short and sharp argument why specialised e-learning vendors could easily be swamped by the big Enterprise Resource Planning conglomerates in the business e-elearning sphere

Doing It with Meaning
It appears that corporate America is beginning to discover the advantages of the semantic web. "Yet the potential payoff—a Web that acts like a single giant database—would be worth all the effort."

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...

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.

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."

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.

Many Outputs — Many Inputs: XML for Publishers and E-book Designers
Thorough essay on the XML assumption of one content, many formats. "The specific design principles of different media often give characteristic texts, which mean one cannot use these texts in just any environment without changing them."

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."

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.''"

Frames to be sorted
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has released a first public working draft spec for XFrames, an XML replacement for HTML 4.x frameset. It is primarily designed to address the useability issues that many developers and users associate with HTML frames.
A newish one-man site on e-learning. Sound practical advice in the main story.

New UK governmental e-learning standards body proposed.
An initiative to set up a new e-learning standards conformance authority for the UK has been launched. The authority's remit would consist of the drawing up of application profiles that are based on a core of international e-learning interoperability specifications and the testing of applications' conformance to these profiles.

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.

The bottom line: effective learning versus low per unit cost.
In a scathing article at E-learning magazine, consultant Frank L. Greenagel attacks the current state of the art in e-learning. He argues that an obsession with low unit cost and a disregard for learning effectiveness has led to courses that are interoperable but "puerile, boring and of unknown or doubtful effectiveness".

ALT Workshop 'Using XML for Educational Content Management'

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.

ADL release updated sample run-time environment for SCORM 1.2
The Advanced Distributed Learning Network (ADLNet) have released a new version of its Sample Run-Time Environment (RTE) for SCORM 1.2.

Update to SCORM Conformance Self-Test released
The Advanced Distributed Learning Network (ADLNet) have released an update to the SCORM 1.2 conformance self-test suite.

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).

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.

Content Packaging interoperability tests reveal room for improvement
The CETIS Educational Content Special Interest Group (EC-SIG) recently carried out a set of interoperability experiments to see how well different tools handled IMS Content Packages.

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).

New version of WebCT Campus Edition released
WebCT announced this week the release of WebCT Campus Edition 3.7. The new version features improved performance, support for a MathML-based equation editor, and "enhanced support" for IMS Enterprise.

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

SCORM 1.2 Conformance Test Suite released
The self-testing suite for conformance to SCORM version 1.2 has been released by the Advanced Distributed Learning Network (ADLNet).

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.

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.

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).

Tools for implementors
A good way to get an understanding of standards and specifications in eLearning is to try using them - and for that you need some tools to work with. Thankfully, there are other universities and colleges doing exactly the same thing, and have built their own toolkits you can use to get you started.

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.

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.

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.

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

Edinburgh team release open-source IMS content package editor
Earlier this month the UK IMS Content Packaging and Management project at the University of Edinburgh released an editor for working with IMS Content Packages.

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.

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.

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