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Acronyms and Glossary

API: Application Programming Interface.
An API is a set of instructions or rules that enable two operating systems or software applications to communicate or interface together.

Binding document:
See the CETIS reference entry for Binding: "The Binding document describes the syntax or machine readable language that applies to the specification, and how it shoud be used." The Enterprise Binding Model contains the XML encoding formats for Enterprise data.

ELF:
The e-Learning Framework developed by JISC, in collaboration with DEST (Australia) and Industry Canada. The ELF breaks up educational functions (such as timetabling, assessment, etc) required by educational institutions into separate "services" rather than combining and replicating these functions in large "monolithic" systems (VLEs, Student Record Systems, etc). The idea is that using an SOA (Services Oriented Approach) like this enables colleges to change and develop their educational technology more swiftly, cheaper, and in response to pedagogical needs; as it is easier to remove, alter and add new services than to alter the large systems. ELF website.

Enterprise Specification:
An IMS Specification defining data formats for exchanging basic student, course and membership (of courses) data between educational enterprise systems (VLE, Student Records, Library Management System, etc).IMS Enterprise Specification.

Enterprise Services Specification:
Enterprise Services is a new IMS Specification (released in July 2004). The Enterprise Speciation defined the data formats for exchanging basic student and course data between systems, but did not specify how to exchange information. The Enterprise Services Specification defines how to manage the exchange of information between systems. IMS Enterprise Services Specification.

Enterprise systems:
Educational enterprise systems include VLEs (Virtual Learning Environments), Human Resource Systems, Library Management Systems and Student Record Systems.

GUID: Globally Unique Identifier.
A GUID is a string of numbers and/or letters allocated to each individual piece of data within a system, to uniquely differentiate it from other pieces of data.

IMS:
IMS (the initials no longer stand for anything) is a global consortium of vendors, institutions, technical developers and others, developing specifications to enable learning technology to be interoperable.

Interoperability:
Enabling different systems to work together and exchange data. Interoperability between different systems is achieved by using common standards and specifications.
Examples of e-learning interoperability:

    1. Passing information about a student and their educational qualifications from a Student Record System in one college to a Student Record System in another college.
    2. Creating educational content in one VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) and passing it to another VLE to be reused.

See Interoperability: What is it and Why should I want it? by Paul Millar, for Ariadne, Issue 24; which goes beyond technical definitions of interoperability.

JISC;
The UK's Joint Information Systems Committee which "supports further and higher education by providing strategic guidance, advice and opportunities to use Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to support teaching, learning, research and administration". JISC website.

LIP: Learner Information Packages.
LIP is an IMS specification for compiling a set of information about a learner, their learning achievements and their learning preferences. The Profile enables learners, institutions and employers to build up a picture of learner's abilities and aptitudes. The specification sets out common data formats for describing learners, which enable Profiles to be exchanged between systems.
See the CETIS Learner Information Packages SIG.

LMS: Learning Management System.
The US equivalent of the UK MLE (Managed Learning Environment).

LMS: Library Management System.
The initials LMS are also used to refer to Learning Management Systems (see above entry).

Mapping:
Matching data formats from different systems. E.g. comparing the data formats used to describe a learner in the Enterprise specification against the data formats used to describe a learner in an institution's SRS (Student Record System), and matching similar data headings together. This enables data from the SRS to be passed to another enterprise system using Enterprise data formats.

MIS: Management Information System.

MLE: Managed Learning Environment.
JISC defines an MLE as "the whole range of information systems and processes of a college (including its VLE if it has one) that contribute directly, or indirectly, to learning and the management of that learning."
A Managed Learning Environment, therefore, can include Student Record Systems, VLEs, Library Management Systems and other college systems. In the US, the term LMS (Learning Management System) is often used to describe the same type of overall system.

OASIS:: Open Architecture and Schools in Society.
OASIS is a project to support the development of interoperable educational networks in schools.

OKI: Open Knowledge Initiative.
OKI is an initiative defining open architectural specifications to support the development of educational software.

PDP: Personal Development Planning.
A process which enables learners to reflect on their learning experiences and plan how to further develop their learning potential (i.e. planning their personal development).

SAS: Student Administration System.
Systems which hold administrative information about students.

SIF: Schools Interoperability Framework.
SIF is a US based initiative developing models and specifications for interoperable school systems which can exchange and share data.

SIG: Special Interest Group.
See document: The CETIS Special Interest Groups, for more information about SIGs.

SIS: Student Information System.
SIS is the US equivalent of SRS (Student Record Systems) in the UK.
However, there are differences. In the UK, Student Record Systems tend to do a wide variety of administrative tasks, from bus pass allocation to course enrolment. In the US, Student Information Systems just tend to be responsible for class attendance and enrolment, and there are lots of different systems for other things such as bus passes.

SOAP: Simple Object Access Protocol.
SOAP is an XML/HTTP based protocol for exchanging information. See the W3C Technical Report on SOAP.

Specification:
A specification is a recommendation for a set of procedures to be followed in order for a variety of products to be developed according to common principles and standardizations. This enables the products to work together.

SRS: Student Record System.
An administrative system holding information on students, including addresses, and course enrolments. The Enterprise specification provides a data format for transferring data on exam results to Student Record Systems, and transferring information on course enrolments from the SRS to the college VLE (Virtual Learning Environment).

UML: Unified Modeling Language.
See the UML website.

URI: Uniform Resource Identifier.

VLE: Virtual Learning Environment.
A VLE is an online learning environment, with features such as learning resources, assessments, course information and email discussion lists. A VLE facillitates synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous (not in real time) communication between learners and tutors.

WSDL: Web Services Definition Language.
"WSDL is an XML format for describing network services as a set of endpoints operating on messages containing either document-oriented or procedure-oriented information." (W3C WSDL 1.1).

XML: eXtensible Mark-up Language.

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Address: Vashti Zarach, CETIS Enterprise SIG Coordinator, Research Institute for Enhancing Learning, Padarn, School of Education, University of Wales Bangor, Normal Site, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2PX. Tel: 01248 388384. Email: v.zarach@bangor.ac.uk.