Clive 1st June 2007

It has been some times since I ‘blogged’

Since I last ‘put fingers to keyboard’ I have been boring folk with my view that over the last year the ‘centre of gravity’ of learning technology standards developments have moved to the schools and FE sectors from HE. Driven by the e-Strategy and other governemnt schools based agendas such as ‘Every Child Matters’, Becta, MIAP and others have been obliged to deliver solutions. to strictly imposed deadlines. The focus so far has been in two areas: joining social service systems up with school administration systems and learning platforms for schools. Both have required standards based developments: the Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF) underpinned by the adoption of a Unique learner Number (ULN) has been adopted for the former and Becta has produced specifications (all around standards and extendability) that suppliers of learning platforms have to satisfy. Additionally, the Qualification and Curriculum Authority, in order to meet the requirements of the new vocational Specilaised Diploma will have to produce data standards by the Autumn for course details and qualification achievements.

Obviously such developments will have an impact for the JISC communities. Firstly, there will be a concentration  of minds around where standards are really needed (rather than ‘could be useful’) and there will be a requirement for JISC to focus on those areas of detail which could impede national projects if not attended to. Solutions to the problems of Identity Management and the scalability of SOA implementations are just two that need urgent attention.

So to survive , JISC has to be sufficiently engaged in influencing and engaging with learning technology based solutions in the schools and tertiary sector in order to anticpate those areas that need the efforts and expertise of our community?

So what have I been doing for my one day per week in addition to boring my colleagues at mangement meetings with the above?

Well I have been supportng Peter with ePortfolio develovepment (around assessment) and with the help of Nottingham University finding out about Lifelong Learning Networks, 

This week

  • Liaised with Lisa re VLE programme.
  • Contributed to ‘Community Conference Call’
  • Attended OU/ Becta meeting re Moodle with Peter and Scott


  • Having monitored the JISC VLE List, the lack of clarity as to whether schools want VLEs and whether the staff have the time to get trained up to use them.
  • Moodle not on Becta’s approved Learning Platform list: reason for list…to ensure school consortia purchasing sytems do not come up against EU bidding/ procurement issues. Problem still is that many agencies purchasing systems on behalf of schools/ LEAs etc may ignore Moodle.
  • Role of NAA Minerva system for vocational achievement data and links with HE requirement for applications, vocational education credits, potfolios etc.  Meeting set up with peter and Rob (ePortfolio developments)

Next week

  • presentation assessment SIG, Southampton

Clive 2/2/07 -9/2/07

This Week

  • Visit to OU to discuss Moddle developments
  • Discussion Rowin: input on new DfES developments for vocational eductaion at assessment SIG
  • Agreement to support Lisa with DEL work (Diana Laurillard)
  • Conference Call: Eportfolios with Simon, Helen, Peter, Lisa Gray and Sarah Davies

Issues from OU visit

  • Moodle scalable and working well (including links to databases and rights management)
  • Developments driven by ‘buisess needs’. Standards only applied where appropriate (assessment not a bigp riority)
  • SOA approach only applied at the micro level (too risky at higher levels)
  • Moodle becoming more rugged (partly due to contribution from OU of open source solutions)

Issues Conference call

  • LEAP2 needs wider community
  • JISC developments needed to be rooted in the national agenda (e.g. QCF, new Diplomas)

Next Week

  • Visit to OU with Becta (ePortfolios)