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E-Framework Reference Models Projects meet in London

Sarah Holyfield
Last modified 04 Oct, 2005
Published 28 Sep, 2005
A meeting of the JISC funded E-Framework Reference Models Projects took place at Imperial College London on 15th Sept

Those who attended included representatives of the five reference model projects currently underway and also colleagues involved in the new e-Framework who were also meeting the following day.

‘Reference Models play a key role in bridging the world of users with the underlying invisible world of services’ [1]. They involve developing models of how people work, or want to work, in a particular domain, and identifying those services that are already available to achieve this, or where new ones might be necessary, and are concerned with finding common solutions to recurring problems. They enable practitioners and developers to work more closely together, and mean that ultimately institutions will be better able to exploit a service oriented approach. However the precise shape they should take is still under discussion as is clear from the questions the meeting was asked to address.

Bill Olivier, the JISC Development Director for Systems and Technology, chaired the meeting and presented a set of questions including – What kinds of reference models do we need to build? Who are they for and what are they for? Can we develop guidance on how they should be developed? How should they best be presented and how can they be maintained, updated and evolved? And how can this experience inform future development work?

Discussion was wide ranging and included themes such as finding a common language, the need for specification and standardisation at a technical level, yet dynamism and flexibility at a practitioner and institutional level, and the question of how they should be presented and made available to different communities.

Ideas for further work included looking at overlapping areas (there was often ‘leakage’ across areas), exploring a common terminology project, developing cross domain reference models and interoperating web services across these. It was generally accepted that ‘Creative Commons with producer ownership’ was an appropriate model.

The first five projects have been making progress in domains which vary widely both in scope and maturity including assessment, course validation, learning activity design, e-portfolio for lifelong learning and course specification(more on these in a forthcoming article). These projects will be able to move our thinking forward in terms of the role reference models can play in the development and adoption of a service oriented approach and there will be further calls for projects in the near future.

Further reading:

[1] The e-Framework for Education and Research: An Overview Bill Olivier Tish Roberts Kerry Blinco Version R1 July 2005

Workflow and web services Scott Wilson, CETIS, 2005

Reference models - the next important step Sarah Holyfield Augut 2005

Circular 10/04: Specification of e-Learning Framework Reference Models Jan 2005


Supported by JISC Supported by CETIS
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