Semantic technologies: which way now?

Cast your mind back to the CETIS Conference 2007 and you may remember a session on Semantic Technologies for Teaching and Learning. This session sought to introduce current developments in semantic technologies, explore their potential application to the domain of teaching and learning and facilitate discussion between these two apparently disparate communities. The case for the relevance and potential of semantic technologies was ably presented by a range of international experts through a series of short position papers which formed the basis for a wide ranging discussion. Following this discussion there seemed to be general consensus that it would be valuable for JISC to facilitate further exploration of the affordances of semantic technologies to the domain of education.

JISC responded to this requirement by issuing an ITT for a scoping study to:

“…investigate how applications which use semantic technologies can add value to learning and teaching.”

This study was awarded to the SemTech Project at the University of Southampton and at the same time CETIS established the Semantic Technology Working Group. The remit of this group was firstly to act as an expert working group for the SemTech Project, and secondly to develop recommendations for potential future work based on the outputs of the project.

The SemTech project successfully concluded in July 2009 having undertaken an extensive survey of semantic technologies relevant to learning and teaching and an investigation of the use and uptake of related tools and services by UK HE institutions. In addition to producing a comprehensive report the SemTech Project has also drafted a roadmap for semantic technology adoption by the UK F/HE community.

Semantic technologies appeared again at this year’s CETIS Conference, this time in the guise of linked data which was discussed in both the Find and Seek and Giant Global Graph sessions. The latter session has already generated a number of blog posts by Adam Cooper, Paul Walk and Andy Powell.

In order to disseminate and discuss the SemTech roadmap, the outputs of the CETIS conference and potential future activities in the area of semantic technologies for teaching and learning CETIS are holding a public meeting of the Semantic Technologies Working Group on the 10th of December at the University of Strathclyde. This meeting will:

  • Review the outputs of the SemTech project.
  • Consider the roadmap and recommendations to JISC.
  • Respond to these recommendations and explore future directions.
  • Investigate ways that CETIS can raise awareness of the potential affordances of semantic technologies to the teaching and learning sector.
  • Discuss future activities in this areas that CETIS could potentially engage in.

The meeting is open to all those with an interest in semantic technologies and their potential application to the domain of teaching and learning. We will be actively seeking comments and feedback from the community and would encourage colleagues to join the discussion.

To register for this meeting and for further information please visit the CETIS events page.

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