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11 Jan, 2006
A tool for submitting, searching for and retrieving distributed pedagogical resources.
A summary of the DELTA project funded under the distributed e-learning strand.This description of the DELTA tools takes the form of a questionnaire.

Describe the tool you are building

The DELTA project aims to develop a new range of tools using open standards and specifications that will allow practitioners and learners to share e-learning resources. The project will use some of the techniques from the emerging 'Semantic web'. Rather than just searching for resources using simple keywords, such as in Yahoo and Google, the system will be able to reason about these resources and provide much more sophisticated search and retrieval mechanisms. Ultimately, users should be able to search for any type of e-learning resource by either following a structured question/answer dialogue or by browsing a 'graph' for the domain that they are searching within.

What problem do you see the development of this tool helping to address? (ie the rationale for your project)

Increasingly the issue is not more or even better technology but how to utilize in the most effective way what we already have. A new breed of tools are required that help teachers and learners to access distributed resources on the Internet. However, many resources that students and teachers find useful such as case studies of best practice, or student feedback on their e-learning experiences are not readily accessible. This is because there are very few standards and tools that help users to capture, share and search for this type of material. Our aim is to build a generic resource sharing architecture, which although could be applied to a wide range of possible resources, will be particularly suited to communities of teachers and learners sharing their experiences with one another on the Internet.

Who do you see the being the primary user(s) of this tool?

Teaching and learning practitioners, Quality assurance, Teaching Services, e-learning researchers and developers, and edicational standards bodies

How do you see your tool being used?

Initially the project will focus on the sharing of teaching and learning case studies but the system will be designed to support the sharing of any type of online resource, such as teaching plans. The project is also considering the challenge of 'growing context', whereby users will also be able to comment on and annotate any of the resources in the system, and these comments and annotations are then made available to the rest of the user community.'

To use your tool, what infrastructure etc (if any) will be needed? (ie - could it be used stand-alone? Would it need a VLE/other system to be in place?)

The DELTA system can be used stand-alone. However, it will initially have limited user authentication and registration facilities and we are planning to do further work in the future to integrate DELTA with a more sophisticated user authentication system such as Shiboleth. We are also planning to extend DELTA to enable it to access e-learning resources contained in VLE repositories.


Supported by JISC Supported by CETIS
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