Under development: VWVLE

The VWVLE project, or Supporting Education in Virtual Worlds with Virtual Learning Environments to give it its full name, has been funded as part of the JISC Learning and Teaching Innovation Grants round 5 to examine the wide range of emerging pedagogical opportunities offered through the integration of virtual worlds and web-based virtual learning environments.

Led by the University of the West of Scotland, with partners including Imperial College London, The Open University and the University of Ulster, the project builds on the considerable experience and expertise the project team have developed through their work on SLOODLE and the use of games for learning within virtual environments.  SLOODLE (Simulation Linked Object Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment) provides seamless integration between the virtual world Second Life and Moodle, the popular open source VLE.  Pilot courses will see students in engineering, computing and medicine explore aspects of the core question of how web-based virtual learning environments can effectively support learning and teaching in virtual worlds, particularly focusing on personalisation and reuse of content, and gaming in VWs, and demonstrating the applicability of such technologies across different institutional and disciplinary contexts.

A number of outputs will be produced, including guidance for practitioners, a range of extensions or plug-ins for Moodle/SLOODLE, and a guide to producing reusable content in virtual worlds which will attempt to address some of the issues that present a significant barrier to the easy and effective exchange of such resources.  The emphasis on the integration of VWs and games with educational systems such as VLEs will both highlight the pedagogic benefits of such integration and attempt to clarify and address the challenges of doing so.  By making explicit the range of technologies and support resources relied upon by educators working with VWs, and identifying and sharing good practice, the project can make a real impact on practice in this area and future activities.

ReLIVE11 call for abstracts open

The dates and call for abstracts for Researching Learning in Immersive Virtual Environments 2011: Creative Solutions for New Futures (ReLIVE11) have now been released. Running at the Open University in Milton Keynes on 21 and 22 September, the conference will explore issues around innovation in teaching and learning through immersive virtual worlds, building on the outcomes of and lessons learned since the previous ReLIVE conference in 2008.

The call for abstracts is now open, with submissions due to be submitted by 21 May 2011. Proposals will be considered within three core themes:

  • Concepts: conceptual and explanatory frameworks for research processes and outcomes;
  • Methods: opportunities and challenges around researching learning in immersive environments;
  • Implementations: the technical aspects and challenges in the implementation of VWs in learning, teaching and research.

The Implementations theme is being run in conjunction with us here at JISC CETIS, with Paul Hollins and myself leading our input to it. We’d love to see papers or workshops addressing issues such as the challenges of the integration of VEs with other institutional systems, the interoperability of content and avatars across different VWs, open v proprietary platforms and content, and the use of technical standards within VWs. This isn’t an exhaustive list, and any relevant proposals are welcome!

Registration for the conference opens on 21 June and it’s likely to be a popular and well-attended event. An inworld Virtual Festival on 20 September will similarly feature a range of workshops, symposia, poster sessions and other events. ReLIVE11 is also linked to the Virtual World Conference taking place in Second Life on 14 September.

Under development: QTI-IPS

A couple of months ago, JISC released an Invitiation to Tender for a QTI v2.1 implementation and profiling support project.  A consortium of experts produced the successful bid, bringing together some of the leading experts on QTI in UK HE, and the project formally kicked off this week.  It concludes in mid-September this year.

The consortium is led by the University of Glasgow, and includes experts from the University of Edinburgh and Kingston University, contributions from the IMS QTI working group chairs and tool developers, independent consultants Sue Milne, Graham Smith and Dick Bacon, and input from us here at JISC CETIS.  QTI experts at the University of Southampton are advisors to the project.

A project blog has been set up  which will provide a central point for dissemination to the wider QTI community.  Information on how to get involved with the QTI interoperability testing process is also available there.

The project aims include:

  • Contributing to the definition of the main profile of QTI 2.1;
  • Implementation of the main profile in at least one existing open source test rendering/responding system;
  • Providing support in the use of QTI 2.1 and the conversion of other question and test formats to QTI 2.1 to those developing assessment tools and authoring questions;
  • Providing a publicly available reference implementation of the QTI main profile that will enable question and test item authors to test whether their material is valid, and how it renders and responds.

Follow the project blog for future developments!

CAA Conference 2011 call for papers out now

The 2011 International Computer Assisted Assessment (CAA) Conference: Research into eAssessment will be held on 5 and 6 July 2011 at the DeVere Grand Harbour Hotel, Southampton.  Jointly hosted by the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton and the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University, this is a two day research-led conference which aims to advance the understanding and application of information technology to the assessment process through rigorous peer-reviewed research.

The 2011 Call for Papers is now available, together with detailed guidance on conference themes and the proposal submission process.  The deadline for receipt of submissions through the conference’s EasyChair web interface is Friday 15 April 2011.

Papers from the 2010 conference and earlier are also available.

Draft briefing paper on IMS Question and Test Interoperability v2.1 now available

With IMS Question and Test Interoperability v2.1 almost ready for final release, this draft briefing paper provides an introduction to the specification based on the most recent public draft available.  It covers the structure and purpose of the specification, and looks at the history and background to it as well as reasons for its adoption and some common concerns and criticisms.  A final version will be released with the final version of the specification; in the meantime, we hope this paper will provide a useful guide to this significantly improved specification.  It is likely to be of particular interest to IT managers, learning technologists and developers interested in online and electronic assessment and new to QTI.

Any comments, corrections or requests for additional content are very welcome, either by commenting here on this blog or by email.