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Toolkit projects

14 Jun, 2005
The e-learning Framework Toolkit projects

The first phase of projects developed "e-Learning Framework Toolkits" to provide software libraries to enable developers (from commercial as well as open-source communities) to create applications that provide and consume services defined within the e-Learning Framework ELF. The call was made in the Spring of 2004. These projects provide resources for software developers, not applications that will be immediately useful for teachers – rather they provide some of the foundations for a new generation of teaching and learning tools.

This pioneering work inevitably has its challenges. Many of the specifications and standards (IMS etc) as well as the ELF which the projects are required to work with are in development and were subject to change during the lifetime of the projects. Also the necessary technical infrastructure to support webservices can constitute a considerable learning curve for those who have never implemented them before.

The experience of the projects showed that the ELF did provide a useful basis for projects to communicate with and understand the positioning of each other’s work. As such it is not simply a technical tool but has benefit in terms of analysing the sphere of e-learning from a management perspective.

Overall the projects achieved a great deal of what they initially set out to do – and it is anticipated that much of the work will be of direct benefit to future JISC-funded projects and provide useful foundations for future e-learning developments. It is also important to note that some of the toolkits are already being used in practice by their host institutions. Valuable lessons have been learned all round – from technical matters to project management and support strategies, all of which will be available to underpin future work.

The next phase of toolkit projects began in April 2005. A number of demonstrator projects also started in April and toolkits are being tested by institutions to develop web services that address local issues.

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A table may be downloaded which shows in summary how this round of projects relate to ELF services, standards and specifications, and CETIS SIGs.

As the eLearning Programme develops this table will show how these projects relate to other projects funded under the Programme; a large table is also under development which will show all the funded projects and their interelationships.

 

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