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Tools for the e-Learning Framework – a workshop from the TELCERT project

Sam Easterby-Smith
Last modified 02 Feb, 2006
Published 01 Feb, 2006
This workshop introduced participants in the e-Learning Framework projects and the broader JISC community to the tools developed by the TELCERT project, and designed to manipulate content and schemas from IMS and other organisations.

The Telcert Project project is funded through the European 6th Framework Programme and concerns itself primarily with the validation of elearning content which makes use of various e-learning specifications and standards, particularly those from IMS Global Learning Consortium. This hands-on workshop , held at the University of Bolton on 26th January 2006, saw participants trying out a range of Open Source tools to manipulate content and schemas from IMS and other organisations.

An important aspect of the project is the concept of Application Profiling - creating and using modified versions of the specifications for specific purposes - but still remaining compliant with the base schema of the specification. To this end a tool called SchemaProf from Koblenz University was demonstrated which enables users to modify all sorts of fine detail of an XML schema (common examples being the multiplicity and mandation of elements, specifying use of extensions or tying down attributes to a limited set of values.

The Content Re-Engineering Tool (based on RELOAD ) was demonstrated - taking such profiled schemas and making use of them to create and edit Content Packaging, Learning Design, Learner Information and e-Portfolio related documents and packages.

The final piece of the jigsaw consists of the Open Group's Test system - for validation and certification of the outputs, and which can of course be used with profiled or un-profiled materials. The test system is not strictly free however an "evaluation licence" is easily available from the Open Group site to try it out.

In terms of practical value the Telcert tools are primarily of use to large-scale content developers/procurers (such as UFI and Becta in the UK) with needs for mass conformance testing and/or needs for control over their specialised metadata requirements. However, it is not unimaginable that such functionality will find its way into future packaging tools and other systems and thence to the end user.

In relation to the e-Framework, the Telcert project promises to have great implications in the future as the profiling and conformance testing approaches will be extended to cover Webservices as well as the file-based materials on show during the workshop. The availability of such tests should be a boon to developers in terms of ensuring interoperability between the "loosely-coupled" systems currently being developed in the e-learning space. There is also potential for the validation, profiling and format conversion aspects of the project to be implemented as services themselves - giving future e-learning systems the ability to perform such operations on-the-fly - for example a future packaging tool which can dynamically profile and validate a package before uploading it to a content repository.

Information on the event

More information about TELCERT

(Both of these links include access to the tools and test-system)

 

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