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Third round of toolkits and demonstrator projects begin work.

Sarah Holyfield, Sam Easterby-Smith
Last modified 07 Mar, 2006
Published 01 Mar, 2006
Kick off meeting takes place on 6th and 7th February in Birmingham.

A meeting took place at the University of Birmingham to bring all the latest toolkit and demonstrator projects together to share their plans, and brief them on developments taking place and the support available to them.

Background

One of the aims of the Frameworks and Tools Strand of the e-Learning Programme is to develop A technical infrastructure that supports flexibility, diversity and extendability and as part of achieving this aim it is funding a series of technical development projects which will concentrate on providing software libraries that enable developers to create applications that provide and consume services defined within the framework, and a number of demonstrator projects which will be aimed at testing the service definitions and toolkits in actual use within or between institutions

During the life of the programme there are several cycles of these projects which build on previous rounds, and enable developments to be informed by experience. The sequence of demonstrator projects follows the development of toolkits, and means that these toolkits can be tested in real environments other than those where they were developed.

Since the beginning of the e-Learning Programme, the e-Learning Framework (ELF) has provided the service-oriented factoring of the core services required to support e-Learning applications, portals and other user agents and development projects were based on these services. More recently the ELF has evolved into the e-Framework which now includes the research and e-administration domains, and is based on an international collaboration. It is now the intention that the work of these projects will contribute to the development of the e-Framework.

As expected, now that a considerable level of experience has been gained and development has taken place, the question of longer term sustainability is becoming more of a focus as demonstrated by the recent Adopt a brick event and the investigation of models of sustainability that is presently taking place. This experience will also allow a review of the approach to take place and a consideration of the strategic development of toolkits, and how this model may be applied in other areas. The Reference Model projects presently nearing completion will also be able to contribute to this process.

The third set of toolkit and demonstrator projects

The call for these projects appeared in November 2005, and the successful projects will be expected to complete their work by the end of July 2006. At the ‘kick-off’ meeting Tish Roberts, the Programme Manager for the Frameworks and Tools strand of the e-Learning Programme, described developments in the e-Framework, projects then made presentations providing overviews of their proposed work, and these were followed by supporting sessions on Open Source Maturity Model development, Software Quality Assurance and the development of definitions within the e-Framework which is presently taking place.

Some of these projects will bring new functionality to the framework including user tracking, profiling, format conversion and forum services. Others focus on enterprise system integration using the IMS Enterprise Webservices specification, linking student record systems such as SITS and Oracle 9i with other products such as the Moodle VLE and the Pebblepad ePortfolio system. These activities are bringing the prospect of a joined-up yet heterogeneous learning environment - the key promise of the e-framework and SOA - closer to being a workable reality.

Links –

The list of projects with links to their presentations

The previous (second) round of toolkits and demonstrator projects

e-Learning Framework toolkits a table listing these by Service area then alphabetically and including contact details.

 

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