Opening up the IMS

Via Stephen Downes OL Daily I came across this post by Michael Feldstein about his recent experiences in IMS and around the contradiction of IMS being a subscription organisation producing so called open standards. This issue has been highlighted over the last 2 years or so with the changes in access to to public versions of specs.

Michael puts forward three proposals to help IMS in becoming more open:

    “Eliminate altogether the distinction between the members-only CM/DN draft and the one available to the general public. IMS members who want an early-adopter advantage should join the working groups.”

    Create a clear policy that individual working groups are free to release public general updates and solicit public input on specific issues prior to release of the public draft as they see fit.

    Begin a conversation with the IMS membership about the possibility of opening up the working group discussion areas and document libraries to the general public on a read-only basis.”

Getting sustained involvement in any kind of specification process is very difficult. I know I wouldn’t have much to do with IMS unless I was paid to do it :-) Thankfully here in the UK JISC has recognised that have an organisation like CETIS can have an impact on standards development and uptake. But the world is changing particularly around the means and access to educational content. Who needs standards compliant content when you can just rip and mix off the web as the edupunkers have been showing us over the last few weeks. I don’t think they are at all “bovvered” about needing for example to convert their videos to Common Cartridges when they can just stick them onto Youtube.

Here at CETIS we have been working closely with IMS to allow JISC projects access to specifications but the suggestions Michael makes would certainly help broaden out the reach of the organisation and hopefully help provide the development of useful, relevant (international) standards.

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