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Drag and drop with HTML 5 and Wookie
There are a lot of cool things about HTML 5, the standard for the next generation of the web, but drag and drop is one of those obvious ideas that makes you wonder why we've never had it before. So I've put together a quick demo to show how HTML 5 drag and drop works.

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.

Blackboard to acquire WebCT
For the academic sector, this looks like the final act of consolidation in the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) market. The two former rivals will officially merge, but much larger Blackboard will provide the brand name for the resulting company.

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.

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.

Digesting Alt-I-Lab 2005
Since it is the biggest e-learning interoperability do on the calendar, alt-i-lab is both a good bellwether for new trends, and a bit of a powerpoint blizzard. From Professor Laurillard's high level and wide ranging vision of the UK e-learning strategy, to the pithy pronouncements of Sakai's Brad Wheeler, we pick some highlights.

It's a LOM binding, Jim, but not as we know it
For most people who have to describe digital learning resources, IMS Meta-Data is just the ticket. It provides almost everything: the model for the record, the method of encoding it and the means of checking the record. With the new IEEE LOM XML binding, that will change in some subtle ways.

OKI and IMS, wires and sockets revisited
Two years ago, at the alt-i-lab conference in Boston, the relation of the Open Knowledge Initiative's (OKI) Open Service Interface Definitions (OSIDs) with IMS's specifications was discussed at length. Now, just before this year's alt-i-lab conference, the OKI - IMS relation is finalised at the process and part of the spec level. One the wider, technical level, the merits of combining OSIDs with web services will be demonstrated during alt-i-lab in Sheffield.

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.

From RDF to Topic Maps and back again
If you want to share not just content, but your knowledge of a particular domain, there's two standards that can provide the means: RDF and Topic Maps. The two developed independent of each other, but the first survey of how to map knowledge in the one standard to the other has now been published. It'll be the first step to a standardised RDF - Topic Map interoperability guideline.

How to let educational systems talk
The public draft release of the new IMS General Web Services spec, is both a relatively simple and pragmatic guide as well as a milestone of some import for educational technology. It essentially sets out how systems on a network can have a webservice conversation. It doesn't determine what the conversation is about, and the language is from somewhere else, but it does set the basic template of how to do web services in the e-learning domain.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

IMS publishes service oriented architecture whitepaper
The paper is a revised version of a document presented during last year's alt-i-lab conference (the old version date is still on it), and is indeed well worth revisiting. In it, Four experts from IMS, Sun, Microsoft and the Open Knowledge Ininiative (OKI) consider the fundamentals of the approach as applied to the learning, education and training sector.

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.

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.

Zeroes and Ones
I've had quite a few conversations along the lines of "XML is great but are all these angle brackets really necessary or just a waste of bandwidth?"

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.

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.

Bashers and Pluggers fix IMS Content Packaging spec
There's nothing quite like a bunch of developers with their tools to iron out the pesky little bugs in a spec. That's what participants to the ADL plugfests and CETIS codebashes did, and fixing the bugs that they found took Content Packaging from 1.1.3 to 1.1.4.

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.

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.

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.

Redwood group maps Managed Learning Environments
When any new technology comes on the scene, there's always a scramble of people figuring out methods, and trying stuff that'll work for them. Service oriented approaches (soa) to Managed Learning Environments (MLEs) are no different. Just as certain, however,is the point at which some structure and coherence is brought to bear. For service oriented MLEs, that is exactly what the Redwood Group is planning to do.

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.

IMS Question and Test Interoperability gets major make-over
The public beta of the venerable, comprehensive and increasingly popular IMS Question and Test Interoperability (QTI) specification has been released. Age, popularity and size played a major part in the decision to give it a thorough overhaul: the world has moved on quite a bit from its first appearance in 2000, and the many implementors found some aspects that can be done better.

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.

Transferring resourcelists from a VLE to a library (and back again)
In the notoriously unresolvable discussion over what a learning object is, one category that's easily overlooked is the traditional academic article or monograph. Printed or otherwise, these are bread and butter learning resources in many a course, and constitute one of the main intersections between the e-learning and library worlds. Hence the need to exhange lists of such resources between virtual learnign environments and (digital) library systems, which is now addressed by the new public draft of IMS Resource List Interoperability.

Matching content to learners
The one year old IMS Accessibility for Learner Information Profile (ACCLIP) specification allows you to store the accessibility preferences of learners in a flexible way. Which is handy, but a less than complete solution until the content a learner wants to look at can be matched to those preferences. With the new IMS Accessibility for Meta-Data (ACCMD) spec, that circle is now being closed.

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...

Sticking a layer of CORDRA on top
The Carnegie Mellon Learning Systems Architecture Lab (LSAL) published a new paper on ADL's new Content Object Repository Discovery and Registration/Resolution Architecture (CORDRA) initiative. It comes with a major health warning to the effect that it represents nothing but the authors' opinion, but it certainly clarifies what CORDRA is meant to do, and how it could go about doing it.

IMS revs Meta-data spec
But hang on, wasn't IMS Meta-Data supposed to be succeeded by the IEEE LOM standard? Indeed it is, and that is exactly what the new revision of IMS Meta-Data is mostly about: how to get to IEEE LOM 1.0 from IMS Meta-data 1.1.2. More than that, it is a pretty comprehensive, up to date and accessible guide for anyone who wants to implement the LOM.

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 version of UK education metadata profile released
A new draft of the UK Learning Object Metadata Core (UK LOM Core) profile has just been made public. This version of the IEEE LOM standard is scheduled to become a full release in the summer, after a consultation period.

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.

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.

Canadian ADL Partnership Lab opens
With the new ADL Lab in Ottawa, Canada will be the second non-US site in the ADL co-lab network. In a sense, it is a return to base, as the Canadian forces had quite an input in the early development of the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) e-learning format.

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.

IMS specifies buckets
Data buckets, that is, in the public draft of the new Sharable State Persistence specification. Its function is as simple as it is useful: it provides a means for learning objects (specifically of the SCORM persuasion) to store data about the state they were left in. These buckets can then accessed by other objects, who can act on the data.

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.

Flagship UKeU e-learning project faces major restructuring
Following disappointing student numbers and serious difficulty in raising private finance, the UK e-Universities has been asked by government funders to come up with a restructuring plan before April. The emphasis should shift from commercial provision of courses to supporting e-learning development in the state universities.

The cockroach of repository interoperability: Simple Query Interface
The European educational interoperability standards agency, the CEN-ISSS Learning Technologies Workshop, recently started specification and experimentation work on the Simple Query Interface (SQI). The specification candidate is based on work by a range of European and international projects and agencies. Given the plethora of digital repository interoperability specifications that already exist, we asked editors Erik Duval and Frans van Assche about the reasoning behind this one.

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.

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.

ADL to make a 'repository SCORM'
Having safely delivered the SCORM 2004 (aka SCORM 1.3) e-learning content format, ADL outlined its plans for the Content Object Repository Discovery and Resolution Architecture (CORDRA) at the first ADL international plugfest in Zurich, Switserland. Like SCORM, the lovely named CORDRA will not be a new specification, but a reference model that combines a number of existing standards and specifications.

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.

W3C releases major Semantic Web building blocks
The ambitious, five year old vision of the Semantic Web is a major step closer following the release of the Resource Description Framework (RDF) and the Ontology Web Language (OWL) as full World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) recommendations. We assess what it is and what it might mean for e-elearning.

IMS presents public draft of Enterprise Services, reference implementation to follow soon
IMS Enterprise Services for Web Services is in effect a successor to Enterprise; IMS' venerable spec for person and group management. Where the old one was just a data format, the new provides a means to exchange, say, enrollment data between a VLE and student record system dynamically. A reference implementation was developed by CETIS at the same time, and will be available at the same time as the full release.

SCORM and the art of specification maintenance
SCORM 1.3 is dead, long live SCORM 2004! It is pretty much the same thing, but the name change indicates some hectic manoeuvering to satisfy the conflicting demands of stability and predictability versus the need to fix issues. The new version is out now. Also, the first public indications of ADL's desire to hand the present SCORM 'to the community' have surfaced in last week's co-located CEN/ISSS and IEEE LTSC meeting.

Consultation about UK e-Government meta-data standard starts
The snazzily titled Office of the E-Envoy (the cabinet office bit responsible for online government stuff) has put out version 4 of its e-Government Metadata Standard (e-GMS) for public consultation. New features include a way of integrating e-GMS metadata in webpages.

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.

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.

Suite of QTI development tools completed
The CETIS assessment SIG has coordinated the development of a set of three tools that helps developers implement IMS' Question and Test Interoperability specification.

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.

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.

US universities consortium starts OKI and Portlet implementation project
Updated. After the release of the first batch of Open Knowledge Iniative (OKI) Open Service Interface Definitions (OSIDs), and the release of the new JSR 168 Portlet specification, the Universities of Indiana, Michigan, MIT and Stanford and the uPortal consortium set up a project that will implement and integrate the lot: SAKAI. The idea behind SAKAI is to build a framework where MLE compontents can be plugged and played in a wide variety of institutional networks.

IMS Abstract Framework names parts
Though it may look like a kind of architecture, IMS' newly released Abstract Framework is more of a reference work. Designed to map out what has already been done and could be done in the eLearning specification world, it provides a guide to the kinds of things that make up eLearning practice. We talk to the principal author, Colin Smythe.

IEEE approves the CMI / SCORM JavaScript API as a standard.
Though approved as a formal standard in August, the formal acceptance of the "Standard for Learning Technology, ECMAScript Application Programming Interface for Content to Runtime Services Communication," has just been formally announced. The wieldy title of the standard refers to what's affectionally known as the SCORM JavaScript API: a widely used way of letting content talk to a VLE.

Using SHAME to fill your SCAM
The deadly serious people at the Knowledge Management Research group at Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology just released their open source Standardized Hyper Adaptable Metadata Editor (SHAME). The editor is designed to be used in conjunction wih the equally open source, RDF-based Standardised Content Archive Management (SCAM) system. The pair are meant to kick start eLearning on the semantic web.

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.

Reusable Competencies moves from IMS to IEEE
In a move that is meant to be the first more, IMS donated the Reusable Definition of Competency or Educational Objective (RDCEO) specification to the IEEE Learning Technology Standards Committee (LTSC) for development as a standard. Apart from enabling wider adoption of RDCEO, the decision represents a streamlining of the specification-to-standard process that has been widely touted for many years.

UK Learner Profile components to form core of European standard
With the official acceptance of the CEN/ISSS "Guidelines for the production of learner information standards and specifications" workshop agreement, the first steps have been taken to establish a European standard for the transfer of learner information. The agreement will make it easier for learners of all descriptions to present their educational credentials and achievements to employers and colleges both nationally and at the European level.

Future of SCORM 1.x guide published, services top of the menu
It's not a roadmap. It's not, in theory, exhaustive. It doesn't recommend anything in particular. It's not even from ADL itself, so it is not normative in any way. Yet Carnegie-Mellon Learning Systems Architecture Lab's "Technical Evolution of SCORM" probably is the most definitive guide to what could happen to the present form of SCORM. We talk to the author, Dan Rehak.

Update: ISO emphasises free-of-charge use of its country, currency and language codes.
In a further clarification of its position, ISO now emphasises the free use of its country, currency and language codes, even by commercial software developers.

SCORM Dynamic Appearance Model white paper released
In a bid to make learning objects of the SCORM variety truly re-useable, Sun and the Canadian Department of National Defence have released a white paper on the Dynamic Appearance Model (DAM).

WebCT 4.1 adds further IMS Content Packaging support
The latest version of the popular VLE makes it easier for users to add course material in IMS Content Packaging format. Export is a slightly different matter, however.

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.

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.

The Open Source Portfolio Initiative releases 1.0
Earlier this year, the university of Minnesota realised that its well regarded and mature e-portfolio system would have a much better chance of reaching its full potential by open sourcing it, and getting others involved. The first fruits of that decision are now available for demo and download. Next stop: OKI and IMS "compliance"...

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.

Blackboard and SCT link up
The VLE maker Blackboard, and information systems maker SCT announced an agreement to smooth integration between two of their main products.

'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.

UKCMF becomes the UK LOM Core
After some soul searching, the name of the Learning Object Meta-Data standard as applied to the UK has changed from UK Core Metadata Framework (UKCMF) to the UK LOM Core.

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.

New Australian e-learning centre of excellence starts work
The Macquarie e-learning centre of excellence (MELCOE) has just been launched onto the world. Though the centre is new, they are the stewards of the existing COLIS reference implementation of a number of IMS interoperability specifications.

Course identifier standardisation work started
Before you can say or do anything with a course, you have to be sure which one you're talking about. Since most institutions, or even departments, refer to courses in different ways, this leads to problems when sharing access.

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.

IMS and OKI, the wire and the socket
There was a reason last week's alt-i-lab e-learning standards conference took place at MIT in Boston: OKI's main developers are there, and their baby is just about ready to stand on its own two feet. The OKI specifications are not very sexy of themselves, and they are surrounded by a fair amount of confusion, but it is well worth exploring what it can do for your institution's MLE.

The dynamic appearance model and implementing SCORM 1.3
About a year ago, the Canadian Department of National Defense presented a white paper about means to make SCORM type content truly re-useable by separating content from presentation. Now they've followed up with another white paper that gets into the nitty gritty of implementing the model while working around a number of SCORM 1.3 issues.

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.

QTI meets LOM
The COLA project, run by the Scottish Colleges Open Learning Exchange Group (COLEG), has developed one of the first applications of the IEEE Learing Object Metadata (LOM) standard to online assessment.

OKI releases first batch of specs
The Open Knowledge Initiative (OKI) publicly released the first of the long awaited Open Service Interface Definitions (OSIDs)- the connecting bits for the OKI managed learning environment architecture. With these OSIDs, adopters can string together student records systems, virtual learning environments, management information systems and other enterprise applications with a minimum of customisation.

OASIS portal spec approved
With the technical committee approval and the endorsement of the usual major IT vendors, Web Services for Remote Portlets is a mere weeks away from being an OASIS standard. That should make it easier to configure portals, and also make more portal content readily available for compliant systems.

CETIS makes online documentation system for QTI ASI available
CETIS Assessment SIG member Niall Barr of Strathclyde University has developed a rather nifty system to browse the many elements of QTI as well as a list of possible response types. Not just that, you can discuss them as well.

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.

Big vendors reaffirm commitment to standards
Which is nice, but what does that mean outside of their marketing departments? For a start, a promise to hold them against. But there's more.

No one standard will suit all
Not a new sentiment, really, but one worth repeating. And it was repeated, in many different ways across a rather wide spectrum of speakers at the eLearning Results conference in Sestri Levante, Italy, yesterday.

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."

IMS ACCLIP is a public draft
The IMS Accessibility for the Learner Information Profile has entered the public draft stage. Barring some very unusual happenings, the document will provide the basis for a means of storing learner's preferences for how they want or need to access learning content.

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.

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.

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.

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.

IEEE LTSC and ISO SC36 seek to prevent LOM split
Standards are as much process as they are product, and that means they need to move from one organisation to another. Occassionally that goes wrong, with a split standard as the imminent danger. IEEE LTSC and ISO SC36 are now working hard to prevent that from happening to the LOM metadata standard.

Major SCORM stakeholders unify message
In a bid to clarify one part of the elearning content field, the IEEE LTSC that is now meeting in Paris will take the initiative to set up both an overarching SCORM / CMI advisory group and a one-stop website for everything you always wanted to know about SCORM and all the specifications and standards it profiles.

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.

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.

Learning Design eyes implementation, about to release architecture
After the end of the IMS meetings in Vancouver, the Valkenburg group of IMS Learning Design implementers got together to see where things stand with the spec and its predecessor; Educational Modelling Language. The first glimpses of LD tools are there, but this is just the beginning of a long process.

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.

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.

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.

ISO SC36 'Metadata for Learning Resources' working group approved
Following a ballot of its national members, the ISO JTC1 SC36 educational standards body will set up a working group for "Metadata for Learning Resources". But hang on, didn't we already have IEEE's LOM as a standard for data about learning objects? We do, and how IEEE's LOM and ISO's LRM will relate is going to be interesting.

IEEE to lift SCORM, IMS Content Packaging to standard status, clarifies LOM future.
Though proper standards bodies like IEEE are supposed to be more cautious and slow than specification bodies, IEEE's Learning and Teaching Sub Committee (LTSC) is anouncing a raft of new standards and initiatives for 2003. LOM will get new bindings, the Architecture and Reference Model and the gubbins that define SCORM are nearly standards, Competency Definitions and Digital Rights Expression Language are in various stages of completion and with a bit of luck, the ongoing copyright issue over IEEE standards might get resolved.

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.

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?

Athens under attack
The security of the UK's de facto education standard for federated web access, Athens, is the target of a scam. A bogus email that purports to come from Athens administrators tries to fool users into submitting usernames and passwords.

Granada make QTI Assessment previewer available
In a bid to help development and implementation of the IMS Question and Test Interoperability (QTI) spec, Granada Learning have made a test previewer available online. It allows content developers to upload QTI assessments, and check how they're rendered in Granada's Testwise tool.

IMS Simple Sequencing approved
After some delay, IMS members have voted for Simple Sequencing; a means of describing how a learner can progress through on-line learning activities. The idea is that it will provide a means of choreographing learning objects in a few simple ways. The spec will be part of the forthcoming version of SCORM (1.3) for precisely that reason.

JISC calls for new round of MLE and Lifelong Learning projects
The UK's JISC has just sent round Circular 01/03, which calls for project proposals in the field of MLEs and lifelong learning. Successful projects will be part of phase 2 of a programme that explores how digitised learner information can be made interoperable, how it impacts within and across organisations and tests the personal development planning section of the UK's learner profile. Practically all projects are expected to use IMS LIP.

OpenEAI educational middleware launch imminent
The University of Illinois, SCT Corp. and Open Integration, Inc. are about to unveil the open source Enterprise Application Integration (OpenEAI) project. The project will define an XML based message format and a message protocol with standardised APIs in Java for enterprise integration purposes. Certainly sounds like OKI...

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.

ADL takes first step to repository profile
With the publication of a report on "Emerging and Enabling Technologies for the Design of Learning Object Repositories", ADL is taking the first tentative steps to designing a learning object repository application profile to complement its existing learning object reference model, SCORM.

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.

IEEE explores Digital Rights Expression Language Standards
The continued, global wrangling over intellectual property in the digital age does not just pass the elearning world by. Whichever position you take on the sort of policy that should dominate, there needs to be some means to assert policies over educational content and applications. Which is exactly what the IEEE is starting to explore in a new draft white paper.

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.

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.

Z39.50 search and retrieve turned into simpler web service
With the launch of version 1.0 of Search and Retrieve Webservice/URL access mechanism (SRW/U) and the Common Query Language (CQL), webservice implementors of various hue now have a handier way to either expose their own databases, or search others'.

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.

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.

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.

OKI, IMS, ADL and SIF join up
The four main US-based educational technology specification bodies are to formalise their ties, set up coordinated activities and provide joint support for developers.

Objective: Re-usable competency
After some extensive technical finetuning, IMS just made version 1.0 of the Re-useable Definition of Competency or Educational Objective (RDCEO) spec available. The purpose of this spec is to make it easy to refer to things like learning outcomes, skills, knowledge and tasks. This is particularly useful when information is required for career plans or when refering to course prerequisites or course outcomes.

LSC's Distributed and Electronic Learning Group looks to beef up e-learning support post 16
In a pretty substantial report, the distance and electronic learning group (DELG) of the UK's prime further education body (the Learning and Skills Council, LSC) outline their vision of e-learning post 16 in a series of 154 key issues and recommendations. In very general terms, the aim is to achieve a robust, targeted and comprehensive framework for the whole sector.

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.

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.

"SCORM is not for everyone"- ADL responds
Our 'Dan Rehak: "SCORM is not for everyone"' article provoked quite a few reactions around the web; both positive and negative. But we wanted to give ADL itself an opportunity, and Mark Oehlert, ADL's communications officer, was kind enough to take up the gauntlet and respond to some of the main points reported in the article.

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.

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.

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.

EU e-Accessibility network underway.
The European Design for All e-Accessibility Network (EDeAN) is now well underway with more than 90 organisations represented already. The network was set up as part of the eEurope 2002 Action Plan, and particularly the Design for All approach that was set up to ensure that mainstream information technology is accessible to as many different groups as possible.

Dublin Core Initiative proposes library application profile
In an effort to achieve better, more seamless exchange of metadata between libraries and related applications, Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) proposes a new application profile.

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.

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.

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.

Dan Rehak: "SCORM is not for everyone"
One the 'chief architects' of ADL's SCORM, Dan Rehak of Carnegie Mellon's Learning Systems Architecture Lab, outlined the future of the widely used elearning specification at the IMS special briefing for implementers on Friday. SCORM is about to gain more flexibility in sequencing, and wider system capabilities further down the line. Strategically, he clarified which pedagogies the model supports well, and which not, and emphasised that ADL ultimately wants to hand over SCORM to the community.

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.

DfES' e-learning guru: Learning Design is the way ahead.
In her keynote speech to the IMS Open Technical Forum, Professor Diana Laurillard, the head of the e-Learning Strategy Unit of the UK Department for Education and Skills (DfES), called for the widespread adoption of Learning Design. The specification still needs to be formally adopted by IMS, but was hailed for its ability to allow easy re-use of successful learning models, without straightjacketing adopters into one single pedagogical approach.

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.

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

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.

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.

Consolidation continues: Skillsoft and Smartforce merge
In the widely predicted period of consolidation in the e-learning software market, two of the largest vendors have just completed a merger.

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.

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.

DCMI release paper on records management / recordkeeping metadata
The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) have released a discussion paper on records management / recordkeeping metadata, and invites responses. The paper provides an overview of current initiatives in the field of record keeping preservation, and outlines ways in which DCMI can contribute.

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.

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.

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

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.

Lancaster team present evaluation engine for e-learning resource brokerage platform.
A team from the Department of Communication systems at Lancaster University developed an evaluation engine that helps rank e-learning resources in the "Universal Brokerage Platform for Learning Resources".

The Institute of Physics adopts OAI technical framework
The Institute of Physics has recently implemented the Open Archives Initiative technical framework for its Electronic Journals service.

W3C releases a raft of new XQuery and XPath documents.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has updated draft specs for XML Path and XML Query language specs, data models and use cases.

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.

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.

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.

SCORM 1.3 development update.
Following plugfest 6, Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL), the custodians of the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM), revealed a few more details of what will be included in the SCORM version 1.3 application profile.

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.

IMS releases public draft version 1.0 of the Digital Repositories Interoperability specification.
The Digital Repositories Interoperability (DRI) spec allows Managed Learning System (MLE) users to search, gather and expose various learning objects that are stored in repositories. It also allows people to submit, store and request them, and the resources delivered. And all of this from a spec that doesn't actually specify very much.

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.

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.

Dublin Core Metadata anounces new usage documents
The Dublin Core Metada Initiative (DCMI) anounced a new set of usage documents that will incorporate the recent changes to the way DCMI handles new additions to the namespaces it maintains.

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".

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.

IBM demos SCORM 1.3 sequencing engine

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.

DCMI release new XML Schema proposal for Dublin Core metadata specification
The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) have released a proposed new XML Schema for Qualified Dublin Core metadata.

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.

IMS release Enterprise v1.1 specification
The IMS Global Learning Consortium have released version 1.1 of the Enterprise specification, designed to allow systems to exchange information about learners, courses, and groups.

CEN presentations now available
The presentations from the CEN open meeting last month have now been published on their website.

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

New mobile communication standards alliance forms
The Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) formed on the 12th of June, bringing together operators, networks and content providers with the aim of achieving open standards and interoperability. The Alliance brings together a number of existing mobile communications consortia under one organisation.

Open Archives Initiative release version 2.0 of the Metadata Harvesting Protocol
The Open Archives Initiative (OAI) has published the second major release of their protocol for harvesting metadata from digital repositories.

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.

IMS Learning Design specification clears first hurdle
The IMS Learning Design specification has passed the first stage in the process of being released by IMS.

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.

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).

Blackboard to adopt OKI specifications
Blackboard have announced their intention to adopt the specifications of MIT's Open Knowledge Initiative.

IMS Release Simple Sequencing Specification
The IMS Global Learning Consortium (IMS) have released a new specification tackling the issue of connecting learning objects using sequencing rules.

OAI release beta version of metadata harvesting protocol
The Open Archives Initiative (OAI) has released a beta version of the next major release of their Protocol for Metadata Harvesting.

UK Colleges report on interoperability pilot projects
The final reports from the Further Education colleges participating in a set of JISC-funded interoperability pilot projects have been published.

Berners-Lee: Keep web standards royalty-free
In his opening keynote at the World Wide Web Conference in Hawaii, Tim Berners-Lee has spoken out in favour of keeping standards royalty-free.

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.

IMS release updated Enterprise specification
The IMS Global Learning Consortium have released version 1.1 of the Enterprise specification.

CanCore release new metadata guidelines
CanCore, the Canadian metadata profile, has two new documents providing guidelines on how to use the Lifecycle and General element groupings in the IMS Metadata specification.

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).

More OKI interfaces from MIT
The Open Knowledge Initiative (OKI) has released more specifications on its website.

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.

Wolverhampton-based Learning Lab to establish ADL partnered laboratory in UK
The Learning Lab at the University of Wolverhampton has completed a deal to establish an eLearning laboratory in partnership with the National Guard Bureau and ADL, the Advanced Distributed Learning Network responsible for the SCORM specification.

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.

MIT's Open Knowledge Initiative releases first APIs
MIT have released the first set of Application Programming Interfaces for the Open Knowledge Initiative - a project aiming to produce an open architecture for educational software.

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.

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.

IMS seek feedback on Digital Rights Management
The IMS Global Learning Consortium has opened a forum to gather opinions on digital rights management. The focus of debate is a briefing paper submitted by IPR Systems and the Australian IMS Centre.

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.

IMS presentations now online
The IMS Global Learning Consortium (IMS) have published presentations made at the IMS Open Technical Forum in Sydney, Australia last week.

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.

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).

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

IMS release QTI v1.2
The IMS Global Learning Consortium have released version 1.2 of the QTI (Question and Test Interoperability) specification.

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.

CEN report progress towards a standardised Educational Modelling Language (EML)
CEN, the European Committee For Standardization, has released the second of its "eBrochures" on learning technology, describing European progress towards a standard markup language to describe learning activities.

Major players come together on Web Services
IBM and Microsoft, together with some fifty additional industry leaders, have formed a new Web Services Interoperability Organization "committed to promoting interoperability among Web services based on common, industry-accepted definitions and related XML standards support."

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

Dublin Core education group propose qualifier for 'Audience' metadata element
The education working group of the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) have proposed a new qualifier for the 'Audience' element for the Dublin Core Metatada Element Set DCMES)

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.

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.

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.

OKI to release common service layer definitions
Last month, MIT announced significant progress has been made in the Open Knowledge Intitiative, a project to define open architectural specifications for educational systems. The first public fruits of the endeavour, in the form of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) for a common service layer, are due for public release over the next two months.

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

Sun release XML pack for Java
At the end of December Sun released a 'Java XML Pack', an 'all-in-one' download for developers of Java technologies for XML. The pack includes API's (Application Programming Interfaces) for web services technology such as SOAP, UDDI, and ebXML Registry, as well as the XML construction and transformation technologies SAX, DOM and XSLT.

Click2Learn update Aspen, add SCORM 1.2 support
Click2Learn have released Aspen 1.1. Among other changes, the new version of the "Enterprise Learning Platform" claims support for version 1.2 of the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) specification.

QuestionMark, Blackboard build bridges with Building Blocks
QuestionMark, vendors of the Perception assessment suite, announced an agreement with Blackboard to provide interoperability between their respective products using Blackboard's Building Blocks programme.

Dublin Core release new RDF binding
The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) have released a new version of the RDF binding for both Simple and Qualified Dublin Core metadata.

Click2Learn support SCORM 1.2
Click2Learn have announced their support for the latest version of ADL's Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) specification in its Aspen and ToolBook products.

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.

ADL release conformance test suite for SCORM 1.2
The Advanced Distributed Learning Network (ADLNet) have released a beta version of its conformance test suite for SCORM 1.2.

WebCT supports open portal standard
WebCT have announced support for uPortal, an open standard for campus portals.

Macromedia assist developers with accessibility resources
Macromedia have released a free Accessibility and e-Learning Solutions Kit for Flash, eLearning Studio and Dreamweaver.

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.

IMS release Content Packaging, Metadata errata updates
IMS Global Learning Consortium have released two minor updates to their Content Packaging and Metadata specifications to correct minor schema discrepancies and other bugs.

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.

IMS QTI group go graphical
At its Open Technical Forum in San Francisco, IMS gave a presentation of its progress in Question and Test Interoperability.

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

IMS Enterprise group considers move to transactions model
The IMS Enterprise working group outline future move away from information models to a transaction-based specification.

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.

Simple Sequencing is 'no longer simple'
Brandt Darque of Boeing reports on the progress of the Simple Sequencing working group at IMS San Francisco.

Questionmark improve Perception
Questionmark has released version 3 of its Perception assessment solution.

SCORM self-test upgrade
ADL have released a new version (1.1.2) of the self-test conformance suite for SCORM 1.1.

Cisco to work with OUNL on EML, eLearning research
The Open University of the Netherlands (OUNL) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Cisco Systems, Inc. to "build a string strategic relationship for developing and deploying e-learning environments".

THINQ and Macromedia integrate products using AICC, SCORM
THINQ have announced a new partnership with Macromedia to ensure content created using CourseBuilder for Dreamweaver can be used in its TrainingServer learning management system (LMS).

IBM, Microsoft issue Web Services Inspection specification
In a joint statement, IBM and Microsoft announced Web Services Inspection specification (WS-Inspection), defining "how an application can discover an XML Web service description on a Web server".

Knowledgelinx announces new authoring tool
Knowledgelinx have announced the release of its ROCKET Builder authoring software, a browser-based application for developing content.

Saba submits extension to IMS specifications for LMS-VLE communication
Saba has submitted a specification to the IMS Global Learning Consortium for data transfer and communication between a Learning Management System (LMS) and Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

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.

CampusPipeline release Luminus Integration Suite with IMS support
As part of their new Luminus product line, CampusPipeline have released the Luminus Integration Suite, incorporating support for the IMS Enterprise specification.

Microsoft unveil new specification for web services architecture
Microsoft have released a new set of specification for XML-based web services, building on existing SOAP, WSDL and UDDI specifications to provide additional standards for security and message routing.

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.

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.

New QTI release from IMS
IMS Global Learning Consortium have released the public draft of Question and Test Interoperability version 1.2.

IMS Metadata 1.2.1 released
IMS has released version 1.2.1 of its metadata specification. This point release is designed to correct "minor discrepancies between element descriptions in [the information model document] and the IMS Meta-Data XML Binding."

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).

Plateau upgrades LMS
Plateau Systems released version 4 of their Learning Management System, incorporating AICC and SCORM support.

ADL release SCORM v1.2
The Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Co-Laboratory have released version 1.2 of SCORM, the reference specification for sharable content objects for learning. The new release incorporates IMS Content Packaging and IEEE Learning Object Metadata.

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.

Dublin Core provide RDF binding
The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) have released two new documents describing how Dublin Core metadata elements can be used with the Resource Description Framework (RDF).

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.

Digital repositories: IMS releases white paper
The IMS Global Learning Consortium has published a white paper on digital repositories for learning objects and other assets. The paper, by the IMS Digital Repositories working group, describes the digital repositories "problem space", and takes a look at some of the implementations of repositories from around the world.

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.

ISO cancels SC36 Plenary in Denmark
The International Standards Organisation (ISO) has cancelled the Plenary of SC36, the committee responsible for standards in learning technology. The event was due to have taken place in Denmark this week.

New SCORM release will incorporate IMS specifications
The Advanced Distributed Learning Network (ADL) is due to release a new version of the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) in the next few weeks, incorporating two IMS specifications.

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.

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.

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".

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.

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.

New SCORM self-test suite released
ADL have released a new version of its conformance-testing suite. The suite enables organisations to test their own applications and content for SCORM 1.1 compatibility.

IMS, DCMI, IEEE to work together on metadata issues
Organisations working on standards for educational metadata have issued a communique setting out how they plan to work together to solve issues affecting the education and training communities.

Evaluators sought for new content packaging tutorial
The JISC funded IMS Content Packaging and Management Project are seeking volunteers to evaluate their online tutorial on the development of reusable educational resources.

Dublin Core releases draft of government metadata extensions
The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) has revealed its proposed set of extensions to its metadata standard.

Canadian Forces ADL lab to investigate look-and-feel issues in SCORM
The Canadian Department of National Defence announce the setting up of a test laboratory to conduct research and development on SCORM.

IMS and ADL to collaborate on sequencing, provide free software
IMS announces the setting up of a new fast-track working group to tackle sequencing. ADL promise free compliant sequencing software to follow.

CanCore strip down IMS metadata specification for easier implementation
In a speech by Norm Friesen at the IMS e-Learning Specifications and Standards Symposium, CanCore outlined their stripped-down version of the IMS metadata specification.

IMS Working Groups Report Progress
The symposium provided IMS with an opportunity to report on the progress made on specifications by its working groups.

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

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.

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.

IMS Releases Content Packaging 1.1.2 specification
This month the IMS Global Learning Consortium released version 1.1.2 of its content packaging specification.

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.

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."

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