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XCRI and European partners propose a European Standard for Course Information

Christina Smart
Last modified 29 Jul, 2008
Published 29 Jul, 2008
The JISC funded XCRI (Exchange of Course Related Information) project is working closely with European partners to develop a European standard for course information. The Metadata for Learning Opportunities (MLO) standard they have developed will be submitted to CEN (European Committee for Standardisation) in August.

The MLO work stemmed from the need to harmonise different regimes around Europe which describe and exchange information about courses, e-learning offerings, and learning opportunities [1]. The MLO standard will be submitted as a proposal to the CEN (European Committee for Standardisation) by a working group which includes representatives from 12 countries including the UK (XCRI) , Norway (Course Description Metadata ) , and Sweden (Education Information Markup Language ).

Vendors have also been involved in the development of the standard. Scott Wilson from the XCRI project team said: "The working group developing MLO has included the R3SG vendor community to make sure there is good buy-in from suppliers [2]. The R3SG vendor group is the Rome Student Systems and Standards Group and is made up of vendors of student information systems, including UniSolution, Kion, Digitary, and Oracle."

"In the UK the institutions involved in the XCRI mini projects have found that there is a huge potential for efficiency gains in standardising they way they produce and use course information" said Scott [3].

The CEN Technical Committee (TC353) will consider the proposal to develop MLO into a European Norm (EN) in August, so a decision will be available some time in September. European Norms are formal standards which require all governments to suspend any competing standards development at national level.

"The standards process is a long one and it will probably be 2010 before MLO is ratified in all states (it has to be translated into all EU official languages and the translations agreed, etc)." said Scott. "But the various national specification communities like XCRI, CDM and EMIL are committed to adapting their specs to harmonize with the standard, and may move more quickly to ensure better cross-compatibility of course information between countries." he added. "The Learning Technology group are currently working on the development of a workshop agreement for vocabularies to use in mapping MLO to European Credit Transfer and Accumulation (ECTS) Information Package."


[1] The Metadata for Learning Opportunities proposal

[2] XCRI project blog

[3] XCRI Project web site


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