British Standards in ICT for Learning Education and Training – What of it?

The British Standards Institute committee IST/43 – ICT for Learning, Education and Training (“LET”) – has been in existence for about 10 years. What does IST/43 do? What follows is my response as an individual who happens to be chair of IST/43.

In the first few years, IST/43 had a number of sub-groups (“panels”) involved in the creation of British Standards. It was a time when there was a lot of activity worldwide and many new groups created. What became clear to many people in IST/43 was that a much larger number of stakeholders had to be marshalled in order to achieve sucess than we had thought. In essence: we generally have to work at international scale if focussed on standards specific to LET and otherwise appropriate generic web standards. At present there are no standards under development in IST/43 and all previous panels have been disbanded.

So: where does this leave IST/43? In addition to creating British Standards, IST/43 is the shadow committee for European and international standardisation in ICT for Learning, Education and Training. These are known as TC353 and SC36 respectively. IST/43 effectively controls the vote at these committees on behalf of the United Kingdom. Full European Standards are called “European Norms” (ENs) and automatically become national standards. International standards created in SC36 do not automatically become British Standards; IST/43 decides one way or the other.

I will continue with a summary of current work programmes in TC353 (European) and SC36 (international) and indicate for each work item what the current position of IST/43 is. If you are interested in any of these areas, whether agreeing or disagreeing with the position that IST/43 takes as the “UK position”, you can nominate yourself for membership of the committee (email addresses at the end). Strictly speaking, it is an organisation that nominates; committee members represent that organisation. Comments below on the members of the committee should generally be understood to be representative of nominating organisations.

European

Work item:

BS EN 15943 Curriculum Exchange Format (CEF) Data Model

Comment:

This work, which allows for the exchange of subjects/topics covered in a curriculum, originated from work undertaken in the UK with support from BECTa and has had active support from IST/43 during its standardisation. Voting on the final standard is underway (Feb 2011).

Work item:

BS EN 15981 European Learner Mobility Model

Comment:

Members IST/43 and others in their nominating organisations have been significant contributors to this EN, which matches the requirements of the Bologna Process and European Union treaties on recognition of qualifications across the EU. A formal vote on the final draft standard will end in February 2011.

Work item:

BS EN 15982 Metadata for Learning Opportunities (MLO) – Advertising

Comment:

Members IST/43 and others in their nominating organisations have been significant contributors to this EN, which harmonises a number of nationally-developed specifications for exchanging course information (XCRI in the UK). A final draft has recently been submitted to the secretariat of TC353 and should be out for ballot later in 2011.

International

There are three broad classes of activity in SC36: those that create full International Standards (denoted “IS”), those that produce lower-status Technical Reports (denoted “TR”) and study periods. Study periods are not enumerated below.

WG1 Vocabulary

Work items:

ISO/IEC 2382-36:2008/Cor.1:2010(E)
ISO/IEC 2382-36:2008/Amd.1:2010(E)

Comment:

ISO/IEC 2382-36 is “Information technology — Vocabulary — Part 36: Learning, education and training”. These are corrections and amendments. There is little interest from IST/43 but a “yes” was registered at the last vote.

WG2 Collaborative technology

Work item:

ISO/IEC 19778-4 (TR), Collaborative technology – Collaborative workplace – Part 4: User guide for implementing, facilitating and improving collaborative applications

Comment:

There is no participation from IST/43.

WG3 Learner information

Work item:

ISO/IEC 29187-1 (IS), Identification of Privacy Protection requirements pertaining to Learning, Education and Training (ITLET) – Part 1

Comment:

There is no participation from IST/43.

Work items:

ISO/IEC 20006-1 (IS), Information Model for Competency — Part 1: Competency General Framework and Information Model
ISO/IEC 20006-2 (IS), Information Model for Competency — Part 2: Proficiency Information Model
ISO/IEC 20006-3 (TR), Information Model for Competency — Part 3: Guidelines for the Aggregation of Competency Information and Data

ISO/IEC 24763 (TR), Conceptual Reference Model for Competencies and Related Objects

ISO/IEC 20013 (TR), e-Portfolio Reference Model

Comment:

This collection of work items is of interest to IST/43 and has attracted new committee members during the last year or so. Substantial engagement and commenting on drafts has occurred and it has been proposed to convene a panel under IST/43 to coordinate UK engagement and make voting recommendations to IST/43.

The Conceptual Reference Model is near completion but the other work items are in the earlier stages of drafting. At present there are areas where consensus has not yet been reached in addition to a substantial amount of work being required in drafting and editorial.

Work items:

ISO/IEC 29140-1 (TR), Nomadicity and Mobility Part 1 – Part 1: Nomadicity Reference Model
ISO/IEC 29140-2 (TR), Nomadicity and Mobility – Part 2 – Learner Information Model for Mobile Learning

Comment:

There is no participation from IST/43.

WG4 Management and delivery of learning, education and training

Work items:

ISO/IEC 19788-1 (IS), Metadata for Learning Resources – Part 1: Framework
ISO/IEC 19788-2 (IS), Metadata for Learning Resources – Part 2: Dublin Core Elements
ISO/IEC 19788-3 (IS), Metadata for Learning Resources – Part 3: Basic Application Profile
ISO/IEC 19788-4 (IS), Metadata for Learning Resources – Part 4: Technical Elements
ISO/IEC 19788-5 (IS), Metadata for Learning Resources – Part 5: Educational Elements
ISO/IEC 19788-6 (IS), Metadata for Learning Resources – Part 6: Availability, Distribution, and Intellectual Property Elements

Comment:

The essence of “Metadata for Learning Resources” (MLR) is an international standard that over-arches Dublin Core metadata (which is already an ISO standard in an older version than the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative currently recommends) and IEEE LOM (Learning Object Metadata).

Opinions on the MLR work vary in the UK and it has been the subject of many discussions over the last few years. A series of comments and criticisms have been submitted to the working group on part 1 and dealt with to the satisfaction of IST/43 such that a “yes” vote was registered for the final vote on part 1. Parts 2 and 3 are at earlier stages and have also attracted recent “yes” votes (although “abstain” has been registered in the past when no views were presented to IST/43). It does not follow that “yes” votes will be registered for all parts.

Work items:

ISO/IEC 12785-2 (IS),  Content Packaging – Part 2: XML Binding
ISO/IEC 12785-3 (IS),  Content Packaging – Part 3: Best Practice and Implementation Guide

Comment:

This work is effectively standardising IMS Content Packaging. IST/43 supports the work and has adopted Part 1 (the information model) as a British Standard (BS ISO/IEC 12785-1:2009). Extended comments have been submitted into the working group.

WG5 Quality assurance and descriptive frameworks

Work items:

ISO/IEC 19796-1 (IS), Quality Management, Assurance, and Metrics – Part 1: General Approach
ISO/IEC 19796-2 (IS), Quality Management, Assurance, and Metrics – Part 2: Quality Model
ISO/IEC 19796-4 (TR), Quality Management, Assurance, and Metrics – Part 4: Best Practice and Implementation Guide
ISO/IEC 19796-5 (TR), Quality Management, Assurance, and Metrics – Part 5: Guide “How to use ISO/IEC 19796-1″

Comment:

The position taken by IST/43 on these pieces of work is largely passive; there is not strong interest but they are recognised as being of potential interest to some in the UK and it is believed that they are not in conflict with UK requirements. Parts 1 and 3 have been adopted as a British Standard.

Work items:

[not yet approved] Quality Standard for the Creation and Delivery of Fair, Valid and Reliable e-Tests

Comment:

This item has not yet been voted on by participating members of SC36 but the work item proposal is well developed and has been championed by a member of IST/43. This will be a proposal from the UK to SC36. See also a previous article I wrote.

WG6 Supportive technology and specification integration

Work items:

ISO/IEC 24725-1 (TR), supportive technology and specification integration – Part 001: Framework
ISO/IEC 24725-2 (TR), supportive technology and specification integration – Part 002: Rights Expression Language (REL) – Commercial Applications
ISO/IEC 24725-3 (TR), supportive technology and specification integration – Part 003: Platform and Media Taxonomy

Comment:

There is no participation from IST/43.

WG7 Culture, language and individual needs

Work items:

ISO/IEC 24751 Part-9 (IS): Access for All Personal User Interface Preferences
ISO/IEC 24751 Part-10 (IS): Access for All User Interface Characteristics
ISO/IEC 24751 Part-11 (IS): Access For All Preferences for Non- digital Resources (PNP-ND)
ISO/IEC 24751 Part-12 (IS): Access For All Non-digital Resource Description (NDRD)
ISO/IEC 24751 Part-13 (IS): Access For All Personal Needs and Preferences for LET Events and Venues (PNP-EV)
ISO/IEC 24751 Part-14 (IS): Access For All LET Events and Venues Description (EVD)

Comment:

This work has many roots in older IMS work on accessibility and the revisions are being fed back into IMS. Access for All has been actively contributed to be a member of IST/43, although his continued participation is in jeopardy due to lack of funding. Other members of IST/43 support the work but are unlikely to have the capacity to directly contribute.

Work item:

ISO/IEC 20016-1, ITLET – Language Accessibility and Human Interface Equivalencies (HIEs) in e-Learning applications: Part-1: Principles, Rules and Semantic Data Attributes

Comment:

There has been little participation from IST/43. A “no” vote with strong comments was agreed at the last IST/43.

Any work where “no participation” is stated will attract abstain votes without comment from IST/43 and is unlikely even to be discussed at committee meetings.

Tailpiece

Although the above indicates that there is currently no work on a British Standard in IST/43, the committee has discussed a new work item to create a British Standard that implements “BS EN 15982 Metadata for Learning Opportunities (MLO) – Advertising” along with an XML binding and vocabularies for use in the UK. This completes a cycle where the work of the JISC-funded XCRI projects was contributed into the EN process; the EN represents a core common language that each member state can conform with and extend for its local needs. Once the EN is approved, an “acceptance case” will be presented to BSI for this new work.

For more information:

This article is my own words and, although I believe it to be accurate, I ask readers to recognise that it is not approved by IST/43.

Anyone interested in joining IST/43 should contact the committee chair (me, a.r.cooper@bolton.ac.uk) or committee secretary (alex.price@bsigroup.com).