Archive for the ‘educational-content’ Category
The annual ALT awards recognise good and innovative practice and achievement in learning technology. Entries for this year’s awards open this month in three categories: learning technology practitioners, learning and teaching resources and effective use of video.
- Practitioners who feel they are ‘outstanding in the use of technology to support learning’ may enter the ALT Learning Technologist of the Year Award by Thursday 10 June. The award is split in two streams depending on the status of the nominee.
- The Jorum Learning and Teaching Competition which recognises ‘exciting, innovative learning and teaching resources’ will again be presented at ALT-C.
- Information on the ALT/Epiguem Award for the Most Effective Use of Video will be available on the site shortly.
Awards will be presented at the ALT-C Gala Dinner in Nottingham. Good luck to all who enter!
The standard of entries was excellent, with the winner - LearnHigher’s Making Group-work Work - being an outstanding example of the innovative, engaging and effective resource the judges were seeking. This extensive resource features a series of video ‘episodes’ following a group of five students as they work on a group project and covering many of the issues such activities involve such as personality clashes, reluctance to seek help from their tutor and what to do about the mysterious sixth group member who never turned up… Each episode is supplemented with notes and activities that users can interact with as they choose, and the whole resource is appropriate, reusable and a great deal of fun.
Runner up, Introducing English as a Lingua Franca from the York St John University, and third place Delivering Student Workshops also from LearnHigher, are also well worth checking out. Congratulations to all!
Slideshows and mp3s from last week’s joint JISC CETIS Assessment and Educational Content SIGs meeting are now available on the wiki. It was a lively and interesting day, covering a wide range of topics of relevance to both communities.
Steve Lay of CARET, University of Cambridge, who had kindly offered to host the event, provided an update on the IMS QTI specification. Steve is co-chair of the IMS Assessment SIG which is responsible for the development of the QTI specification, and provided attendees with background information and an update on the current position of QTI v2.1. The specification was released in public draft form in July 2006, and it was hoped that the final version would be released in early 2008. Delays to the interoperability demonstration required before the specification can be released have set back release to later this year, with an addendum to the public draft scheduled to appear earlier.
Steve also described some of the issues around profiling specifications and the role of IMS’s Application Profile Management Group, particularly in relation to the IMS Common Cartridge specification which currently includes a profile of QTI v1.2.1. His examination of the pressures put on the scope of the specification is particularly useful.
Wilbert Kraan from CETIS complemented this with an update on content packaging specifications, covering OAI Object Reuse and Exchange (ORE), Content Packaging v1.2, IEEE RAMLET and a proposed packaging transcoding service. CP v1.2 is still in draft stage and will, like QTI v2.1, be released to the public once IMS members have developed implementations and shown them in interoperability demonstrations. There is quite a lot of updated material in the new version but the lack of current implementations mean that it’s immediate future is uncertain.
RAMLET is an ontology which enables mapping between IMS Content Packaging, METS, MP21 DID and Atom. Wilbert raised the particularly interesting question of the applicability of this approach to question and test materials, not just in QTI but also other formats, potentially including html. Steve confirmed the ease with which content should be able to be transformed to QTI, as well as highlighting the potential value for enhancing accessibility.
CETIS’s Deputy Director Adam Cooper presented a postcard from the IMS Quarterly meeting in Long Beach held the week before. This was an extremely useful update on recent developments within IMS and current work in progress, which includes Enterprise Web Services v2.0, Learning Tools Interoperability v2.0, Common Cartridge and Common Cartridge Schools (CCK12), Digital Interactive Content Exchange and various ‘odds and sods’ including QTI v2.1.
Moving away from the more abstract topic of specification development to their real world uses, Ross Mackenzie and Sarah Wood of the Open University discussed their experiences with creating Common Cartridges for the OU’s Open Learn, releasing free content under a Creative Commons licence for use worldwide. Content, largely drawn from OU archives, was transformed into XML, an approach which allows the subsequent rerendering of material in multiple formats. After hand crafting a small number of cartridges, an automated process was developed which has so far produced around 400 cartridges for download; assessment material has not yet been covered but is of obvious interest. Issues around certification and validation were highlighted, with proposals by some Common Cartridge Alliance members that costs of up to several hundred dollars would be appropriate for cartridge testing being inappropriate for an initiative which aims to give content away for free.
Cartridge creation tools mentioned included OU Publisher (which it’s hoped will be made available in Moodle at some point), eXe and Microsoft Grava; desktop players include UCompass based on Adobe AIR and a Microsoft development based on Silverlight; it’ll be interesting to see how this particular battle works out.
Assessment SIG regulars will be familiar with the work Niall Barr of NB Software has done around assessment and QTI, including some valuable developer resources. He’s now moved into the area of working on the IMS Common Cartridge and Tools Interoperability specifications with particular reference to assessment and the QTI specification, and presented some of his work to the meeting. An mp3 recording of his talk is available and we hope to have the slides available shortly.
Linn van der Zanden of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) closed the meeting with a fascinating look at some of the more innovative assessment activities the SQA have been piloting in recent months. This particular project, led by Mhairi McAlpine, has introduced blogs and wikis to support assessment of a PBNC in Health and Safety. This course places heavy emphasis on collaborative work which raises difficulties in assessing individual contributions. The use of a team wiki enables assessors to evaluate individuals through the use of the history function, with discussion pages providing evidence of debate and dissent. This approach also helps to identify ‘freeloaders’ who contribute little, and stronger personalities within the group which may take over activities. Personal blogs support reflective learning, while traditional eassessment facilities support the submission of project plans. Login requirements provide a degree of authentication of contributions, and students have responded positively to the approach. The current small scale project involving fifty students in two colleges is likely to be scaled up for rollout on a wider scale over the next few years.
Our thanks go to our friendly and helpful hosts at CARET and to all our speakers who helped to make this such a useful and interesting event, and my thanks go to Sheila, our Educational Content SIG coordinator, for collaborating on the event and chairing the meeting so effectively on the day. You can read Sheila’s discussion of some of the issues raised by the meeting on her blog.
The three JISC Capital Programme projects working on assessment will be hosting a dissemination workshop at the University of Cambridge the day before the joint CETIS Assessment and Educational Content SIGs meeting at the same venue. The workshop will feature demonstrations of the tools, discussion on future directions for the programme and explore ways of building an open source development community to support it.
In the morning, participants will have a chance to see the tools demonstrated and the role of web services in delivering an end-to-end assessment process. The afternoon session will split into two tracks. Track I, Building an Open Source Community to support QTI-based tools, will have a technical focus, incorporating discussion on implementation issues and introducing participants to the projects’ open source development support. Track II, Innovation and Interoperability in Assessment, will look at some of the issues around assessment and evaluation software within the community together with more innovative and imaginative uses of QTI.
The projects on display will be of considerable interest. Offering the first implementations of IMS Question and Test Interoperability v2.1 freely available to the community, they provide functionality to support assessment from authoring to delivery. AQuRate, based at Kingston University, supports item authoring, with one particularly notable feature being its attractive and friendly user interface. Minibix, based at the University of Cambridge, provides item banking functionality suitable for both high stakes private item banks for summative assessment and low stakes item banks for resource sharing and formative assessment. The trio is completed by AsDel, based at the University of Southampton, which provides a range of small web-based tools for test delivery, test validation, test management and basic test construction.
As with the SIG meeting, registration is free and open to all.