Joint CETIS Assessment and Educational Content SIGs meeting announced

Registrations are now open for our next Assessment SIG meeting, and you’re warmly invited to book your place for this event hosted by the University of Cambridge.  It’s a joint meeting with the CETIS Educational Content SIG, something we’ve been planning to do for some time, looking in particular at two standards of interest to assessment: IMS Common Cartridge and IMS Tools Interoperability.

Common Cartridge hasn’t even been released yet, but has already generated significant interest amongst content vendors and publishers and has been heavily promoted by IMS.  It combines profiles of a number of different standards, including IMS Content Packaging v1.1.4, IMS Question and Test Interoperability v1.2.1, IMS Tools Interoperability Guidelines v1.0, IEEE LOM v1.0 and SCORM v1.2 and 2004.  The resultant learning object package or ‘cartridge’ is intended to be fully interoperable across any compliant system allowing content to be delivered to any authorised individual.

The appeal of Common Cartridge coupled with authentication and digital rights management systems to content publishers is clear, and the specification is particularly suited to the American educational system where there is a closer relationship between content vendor and courses than in UK Higher Education; in the UK, its primary impact may be in the schools and Further Education sectors where there is more of a history of buying content from publishers than HE.  The inclination of many UK HE lecturers to produce their own content and the bespoke nature of many higher level courses are issues we’ve already encountered when looking at topics such as open content and item banking, but there is some interest within UK education, in particular from the Open University.  As a major content producer whose resources are used far beyond their own courses, Common Cartridge has clear potential, and Ross McKenzie and Sarah Wood of OU OpenLearn will offer an insight into their experiences of implementing the specification and developing cartridges.  There has been very little work to date on the delivery of assessment material through Common Cartridge, a topic which will be addressed by Niall Barr of NB Software.  Our own Wilbert Kraan and Adam Cooper will update delegates on the current position of Common Cartridge.

IMS Tools Interoperability has received rather less fanfare, but is a valuable specification which takes a web services approach to seamlessly integrating different tools.  It allows specialist tools to be ‘plugged in’ to a learning management system, such as integrating a sophisticated assessment management system with a VLE which only provides limited native support for assessment, or discipline-specific tools such as simulators.  It also supports accessibility requirements through the (optional) incorporation of the user’s IMS Accessibility Learner Information Package profile to allow silent interface configuration.  Warwick Bailey of Icodeon will be discussing his experiences with the specification.

In the morning, Steve Lay of CARET, University of Cambridge, will be providing an update on the current state of IMS QTI v2.1.  Steve is co-chair of the IMS QTI working group (with Pierre Gorissen of SURF and Fontys University).

The afternoon will feature a presentation by Linn van der Zanden of the Scottish Qualifications Authority on the use of wikis and blogs in education and assessment, picking up on an increasing interest in the use and potential of Web 2.0 technologies in this domain.

The meeting is colocated with a workshop by the three JISC Capital Programme projects focusing on assessment to which you are also invited

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