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The JISC e-learning framework Sarah Porter, Head of Development, JISC and Scott Wilson, Centre The JISC e-learning framework Sarah Porter, Head of Development, JISC and Scott Wilson, Centre for Educational Technology Interoperability Standards Supporting further and higher education

JISC Strategic Aims • To enable UK education and research to keep their activities JISC Strategic Aims • To enable UK education and research to keep their activities world-class through the innovative use of ICT • To provide advice to institutions enabling them to make economic, efficient and legally compliant use of ICT • To help the sector provide a positive, personalised user experience • To develop mutually advantageous partnerships with organisations in the UK and abroad • To advise, inform and implement the strategies of government, funding councils and research councils. Supporting further and higher education

JISC’s Activities Supporting further and higher education JISC’s Activities Supporting further and higher education

A ride in the TARDIS … A typical college or University in 1984 • A ride in the TARDIS … A typical college or University in 1984 • Limited use of computers for specialist applications • No widespread internet, LANs, graphical user interfaces • Few desk-top PCs • Mostly paper-based financial systems, administrative systems • Limited computerised library catalogues • Limited interest in computers • Very few ‘users’! Supporting further and higher education

Brave New World 2005 • Look how far we’ve come … • Substantial proportion Brave New World 2005 • Look how far we’ve come … • Substantial proportion of capital and recurrent budgets spent on ICT • Every learner, teacher and researcher has access to a computer • Some new processes – Communication by email obligatory in some organisations • Multiple systems for administration, resource management, digital resources, teaching, research, etc … • E-learning increasingly popular, but quality variable; ‘best’ models unclear Supporting further and higher education

Key questions • Where are we going with e-learning? • Are we in control? Key questions • Where are we going with e-learning? • Are we in control? • Who should be in control – Teacher – Learner – ‘experts’? Supporting further and higher education

Questions • Complex relationship between people and technology – Is technology changing practice? – Questions • Complex relationship between people and technology – Is technology changing practice? – Is it improving learning experiences for students? – Do we have the balance right – is technology driving practice or is practice limiting technology? Supporting further and higher education

Supporting further and higher education Supporting further and higher education

Is technology changing practice? • Practice has been changed: systemic use of technologies • Is technology changing practice? • Practice has been changed: systemic use of technologies • Large scale use of ‘accepted’ technologies e. g. commercial VLEs • Approaches to encouraging use, staff development, sharing practice • Using one system in systemic way has implications for lots of other systems and processes – E. g. SMS server needs to interoperate with library system Supporting further and higher education

Innovation • ‘Technology doesn’t just allow students to answers questions more quickly, but to Innovation • ‘Technology doesn’t just allow students to answers questions more quickly, but to ask new questions’ (Vijay Kumar) • Mobile technologies allow ‘populist and personal approach’ (Terry Keefe) Supporting further and higher education

Key issues –Creativity –Choice Supporting further and higher education Key issues –Creativity –Choice Supporting further and higher education

Questions for you • Who has a VLE or LMS? • Which? • Are Questions for you • Who has a VLE or LMS? • Which? • Are you considering changing it in the next 3 years? • Why? (5 mins) Supporting further and higher education

JISC activities 1999 -2004 • To explore the concept of Managed Learning Environments (MLEs) JISC activities 1999 -2004 • To explore the concept of Managed Learning Environments (MLEs) • To share effective practice • Managed Learning Environment programmes – Programmes in UK Higher Ed, Further Ed, across sectors • Awareness-raising; guides to good practice (MLE Info. Kit) • Surveys and studies Advisory service (JISC Info. Net) Supporting further and higher education

? Managed Learning Environment Virtual Learning Environment Curriculum Mapping ? ? ? Delivery ? ? Managed Learning Environment Virtual Learning Environment Curriculum Mapping ? ? ? Delivery ? Business Systems Assessment Tracking Learning Resources Tutor Support Communication Quality Process ? ? Off-Line Learning Registers Student Record System Other Agencies Reproduced by kind permission of BECTa Other Colleges

JISC interoperability projects (1999 – 2003) • Lots of projects funded under MLE programmes JISC interoperability projects (1999 – 2003) • Lots of projects funded under MLE programmes to integrate systems to support business functions – E-learning – Management of student information – Collaboration with other organisations • Content-oriented projects were generally successful • Integration projects were generally less successful • Where integration projects were successful, they were not repeatable outside the project Supporting further and higher education

Why unrepeatable? • Various projects along lines of “Integrate System X with System Y” Why unrepeatable? • Various projects along lines of “Integrate System X with System Y” • Eventually everything talks to everything else? • But actually “Integrate X with Y in environment Z” • So even replicating a previous pairwise integration often meant starting from scratch (c. f. Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland programme) Supporting further and higher education

JISC e-Learning Programme • e. Learning and pedagogy – Guide to Effective Practice published JISC e-Learning Programme • e. Learning and pedagogy – Guide to Effective Practice published recently – Numerous studies – Beetham article in March 2005 ALT-J • • Technical framework and tools Innovative technologies Distributed e. Learning (regional projects for FE/HE) Coherent activities that fit together and inform each other – Bringing together technologists and practitioners – Using short-term projects to test and develop and feed back into new phases of activity Supporting further and higher education

E-learning programme Model to inform e-learning programme Teacher sets up activities after discussion with E-learning programme Model to inform e-learning programme Teacher sets up activities after discussion with learner(s) Sequence of learning activities (learning design) E-learning and pedagogy Learning activity Learning activity L profile portfolio assessment Technical interface between as many systems as possible (Frameworks) MLEs for LLL Learning resources X 4 L Accredits learner Learner Organisation may be local, regional or education Supporting further and highernational

What is the JISC framework? • A service-oriented analysis of the educational problem space What is the JISC framework? • A service-oriented analysis of the educational problem space • Backed up with technical specifications, development projects, and toolkits • A place for the partners to work together, to identify issues, opportunities, priorities • A palette from which to select service definitions and locate tools and expertise to support implementation • A model and methodology for planning systems integration. Supporting further and higher education

ELF Today Supporting further and higher education ELF Today Supporting further and higher education

How will it be used? • Three ‘faces’: – Planning and strategy – Standards, How will it be used? • Three ‘faces’: – Planning and strategy – Standards, service descriptions and protocols – Tools and projects Supporting further and higher education

Why create a framework for linking systems? • Black-box solutions for e-learning are inflexible Why create a framework for linking systems? • Black-box solutions for e-learning are inflexible and difficult to adapt to their context • What we thought would be basic integration tasks have often proved intractable and expensive, with solutions that are unrepeatable • Duplication and waste in development efforts, and difficulty in exploiting development outputs outside the incubation projects Supporting further and higher education

Objectives • New synergies from the combination of tools and functions • Efficiencies gained Objectives • New synergies from the combination of tools and functions • Efficiencies gained from linking together processes and using automation • Flexibility in the configuration of functions to match our objectives and priorities, strategic and pedagogic Supporting further and higher education

What does this mean for elearning? – Moving away from single large-scale systems to What does this mean for elearning? – Moving away from single large-scale systems to give users more choice – Easier use and re-use of ‘content’ (may include e-portfolios, learning objects, research resources …) between systems – More choice for learners; more creativity for teachers? Supporting further and higher education

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 • ‘integrate into schemes of work’ • ‘Be very sure that the whole • ‘integrate into schemes of work’ • ‘Be very sure that the whole class is contributing, record their activities’ • ‘important that they can reflect on their learning at the end of a session’ • ‘couldn’t replicate that kind of learning environment any other way …within an hour’s lesson’ • ‘Enables the students to take more of an active role in their learning process’ • ‘Will improve their discussion skills and consequently their learning’ • ‘With good teachers, LAMS can actually, we think, have a real impact’ • ‘Different opinions from different people’ • ‘You can talk to other pupils about what YOU think’ Supporting further and higher education

Tara Brabazon, Digital Hemlock • ‘Teaching well is ruthlessly corrosive of innovation’ Digital Hemlock: Tara Brabazon, Digital Hemlock • ‘Teaching well is ruthlessly corrosive of innovation’ Digital Hemlock: Internet education and the poisoning of teaching (2004) Tara Brabazon Supporting further and higher education

Questions for you • Do your current systems allow your learners and teachers (or Questions for you • Do your current systems allow your learners and teachers (or yourself) to be as creative as you would like? • Do they offer the right amount of choice? Supporting further and higher education

International Frameworks’ programme • Builds upon other, similar efforts, such as the IMS Abstract International Frameworks’ programme • Builds upon other, similar efforts, such as the IMS Abstract Framework, MIT’s Open Knowledge Initiative, Sun e. Learning Architecture, work of the Carnegie Mellon Learning Systems Architecture Laboratory etc. • Collecting together agreements on, and experiences of, using services into a common structure. • Partnership between the JISC and the Department of Education, Science and Training, Australia • Other contributors from US and Canada • Lots of interest from other countries, esp. Canada and New Zealand the European Commission Supporting further and higher education

Desirable outcomes • Flexible solutions that can be suited to individual institutions without causing Desirable outcomes • Flexible solutions that can be suited to individual institutions without causing interoperability problems • Integration that is affordable and repeatable • Research and development outcomes that can be shared outside their incubator projects Supporting further and higher education

Supporting further and higher education Supporting further and higher education

Integration Choices • So how can we achieve integration? • What does each approach Integration Choices • So how can we achieve integration? • What does each approach afford us? • Well, there are some common patterns… Supporting further and higher education

Information Portal • Aggregate information from multiple sources into a single display • Display Information Portal • Aggregate information from multiple sources into a single display • Display divided into multiple zones each displaying information from different system • Limited interaction between zones • Enables ‘shallow’ rather than ‘deep’ integration Supporting further and higher education

Data Replication: Enterprise Application Integration • Data is replicated between multiple systems • Business Data Replication: Enterprise Application Integration • Data is replicated between multiple systems • Business logic and presentation remains independent • Typical VLE / LMS linked to Management Information Systems scenario • Not very flexible Supporting further and higher education

Service Oriented Architecture • Presentation and workflow constructed from multiple shared services • Data Service Oriented Architecture • Presentation and workflow constructed from multiple shared services • Data and business function encapsulated in services • Also known as “Enterprise service bus” architecture Supporting further and higher education

Data Warehouse • Integrate many data sources to provide enterprise-wide reporting • Business and Data Warehouse • Integrate many data sources to provide enterprise-wide reporting • Business and presentation remain independent • Strategic but not operational integration Supporting further and higher education

Mix and match: Service Oriented Architecture Portal • Using a Service Oriented Architecture to Mix and match: Service Oriented Architecture Portal • Using a Service Oriented Architecture to implement teaching and administration workflows as Distributed Business Processes, presented using an Information Portal Supporting further and higher education

Service Orientation • A popular way to look at systems integration • Concentrates on Service Orientation • A popular way to look at systems integration • Concentrates on contracts between service Providers and service Consumers • Separates service from implementation • Many functions within an e-learning system can be ‘exported’ to services offered by the environment to applications Supporting further and higher education

Benefits • Platform vendor buy-in, with plenty of class libraries and infrastructure ‘pieces’ • Benefits • Platform vendor buy-in, with plenty of class libraries and infrastructure ‘pieces’ • Lends itself easily to abstraction • Enables flexibility, even with legacy assets (e. g. management information systems) • Neutral with regard to platforms and languages • Relatively intuitive Supporting further and higher education

Frameworks • Some critieria for a successful framework: – Must be based on practical Frameworks • Some critieria for a successful framework: – Must be based on practical experience – Must evolve in response to experiences and reflection – Must support partial implementation and not require complete adoption of the whole framework to achieve anything – Must not mandate a single development environment (e. g. Java) – Must support a range of implementation patterns and as wide a variety of designs as possible Supporting further and higher education

Myths and misconceptions • The Framework is an open-source VLE or LMS – The Myths and misconceptions • The Framework is an open-source VLE or LMS – The ELF provides a framework that can help when developing any kind of e-learning application, commercial or open-source • Using ELF means buying all new Web Services-capable systems – SOA enables existing investments in systems to be used, regardless of their platform, by exposing functions as services • ELF will give you everything you need – You still need applications – Workflow? Security? Management? Supporting further and higher education

Supporting further and higher education Supporting further and higher education

ELF Today Supporting further and higher education ELF Today Supporting further and higher education

What are Services? • Functionally discrete patterns – Scope and definition – Patterns of What are Services? • Functionally discrete patterns – Scope and definition – Patterns of implementation • Port definitions – Abstract contract (UML) – API – Service bindings (WSDL, XML-RPC, HTTP+XML…) Supporting further and higher education

Learning Domain Services • Functions that at the moment seem unique to the learning Learning Domain Services • Functions that at the moment seem unique to the learning and teaching domain • Each function expressed as a service analysis, with links to specification and R&D activity • Eventually, each service will have toolkits, specifications and implementation patterns Supporting further and higher education

Learning Domain Services Supporting further and higher education Learning Domain Services Supporting further and higher education

Common Services • Functions that at this time seem to be shared by other Common Services • Functions that at this time seem to be shared by other domains, such as IT services, information environment, and e-science • Effort may be lead by the e-learning sector, follow efforts lead by other sectors, or investigate in collaboration Supporting further and higher education

Supporting further and higher education Supporting further and higher education

Common Services • Wide range of functions: administrative, collaboration, information management, and some core Common Services • Wide range of functions: administrative, collaboration, information management, and some core middleware functions • List is being discussed and refined through consultation with those supporting other business functions e. g. research, administration, Grid technologies Supporting further and higher education

What are the bricks? • Each ‘brick’ represents a discrete set of functions that What are the bricks? • Each ‘brick’ represents a discrete set of functions that can be exposed within an environment, so that applications such as authoring tools, learning tools etc can make use of them • Each ‘brick’ defines one or more service ports Supporting further and higher education

Standards • Standards already exist for some services • Where standards do exist, they Standards • Standards already exist for some services • Where standards do exist, they aren’t always suited to a service-oriented approach • Standards don’t exist for many services • Where standards don’t exist, there may be insufficient experience yet to create them Supporting further and higher education

What isn’t on the ELF diagram? • Applications - there are no applications here. What isn’t on the ELF diagram? • Applications - there are no applications here. Just services that support applications • ‘Fabric’ - some things are common to a whole swathe of services and cannot be easily encapsulated into discrete functions – Workflow – Security – Management Supporting further and higher education

Workflow • How services fit within a flow of activity • How services need Workflow • How services fit within a flow of activity • How services need to be able to respond to flows of action (‘workflow-aware’) • Some services need pretty complex workflow behaviour: – – Activation Closedown Monitoring Intervention • BPEL 4 WS, IMS Learning Design(? )… Supporting further and higher education

Challenges Ahead • We’ve made a pretty good start • There’s a lot of Challenges Ahead • We’ve made a pretty good start • There’s a lot of work we could do - but what would be really useful? Supporting further and higher education

ELF plans • • • Identify the most critical services Build toolkits Develop capacity ELF plans • • • Identify the most critical services Build toolkits Develop capacity Demonstrate practical use Contribute to standards Work with the developer community both commercial vendors and open source Supporting further and higher education

Toolkits and demonstrators • Developed a range of web service toolkits for integration of Toolkits and demonstrators • Developed a range of web service toolkits for integration of some functions • Will be tested through ‘demonstrator’ projects during 2005 • Second phase of toolkits under development • See Supporting further and higher education

Challenges • Get the basic technology right – Make things simple, but not simplistic Challenges • Get the basic technology right – Make things simple, but not simplistic – Enable different levels of technical sophistication, from very easy HTTP+XML to very tricky SOAP+WS-* as needed • Show some of this stuff really working – Compelling and interesting demonstrators – Persuading vendors and OSS projects to take advantage of ELF toolkits Supporting further and higher education

Challenges (cont’d) • Communicate the ideas – Developers mostly get it … some managers Challenges (cont’d) • Communicate the ideas – Developers mostly get it … some managers get it… but a lot of people don’t • Get the factoring of services right – Need for community involvement in getting broad consensus • Start working on the hard problems – Security, workflow, management are all issues that aren’t going away! Supporting further and higher education

How will we know if we have succeeded? • Deployment within institutions leads to: How will we know if we have succeeded? • Deployment within institutions leads to: • More choice for learners and teachers – More appropriate use of technology • More options for technologist and developers • Less redundancy, better value from systems • Active engagement of open source community and commercial companies. Supporting further and higher education

Sources of information • JISC e-learning web site – www. elearning. ac. uk • Sources of information • JISC e-learning web site – www. elearning. ac. uk • E-learning framework web site – www. elframework. org • Email: s. [email protected] ac. uk or t. [email protected] ac. uk Supporting further and higher education