ICOPER Deliverable D-1.2 Open ICOPER Content Space Implementation of 2nd Generation of Open ICOPER Content Space including Integration Mini Case Studies

Michael Totschnig (Editor)

    Research output: Book/ReportDeliverable


    In the context of the ICOPER project, the Open ICOPER Content Space (OICS) has been defined as the umbrella combining a set of specialised interconnected repositories, content and tools, as a test bed for the specifications and standards that are part of the ICOPER Reference Model (IRM). The OICS has been conceived as an infrastructure for sharing educational resources, with sophisticated services for publication, enrichment, search and retrieval. Additionally the OICS provides the services for the management of learning outcome profiles. This deliverable documents the final status of the OICS as with end of January 2011. For the 1 st generation of the OICS, described in D1.1, we had concentrated on building an infrastructure for harvesting and aggregating content provided by members of the consortium. We are now able to use this infrastructure as the underlying framework for implementing prototypical interfaces that allow learners and learning facilitators to engage in processes of outcome based learning. This deliverables starts with describing the types of shareable educational resources that the OICS deals with and documents the data models implemented by the OICS: for users and groups, for repositories and collections, for learning content and instructional models, for learning outcomes, for achievement profiles and for learning opportunities. These data models have been defined in cooperation with other ICOPER work packages, mainly 2 and 3. For learning content and instructional models, we chose the LOM standard as base, since it provides the most complete set of attributes for describing educational properties of an object. The main challenge consisted in defining, implementing and validating an application profile (AP), which would allow us to capture information about learning content and instructional models needed in the context of processes of outcome-oriented education: The main features of the ICOPER LOM AP that extend the base LOM standard allow  to capture the relationships between instructional models;  to distinguish between different types of comments;  to link instructional models to learning outcome definitions;  to define the type of shareable educational resource according to the ICOPER terminology;  and to provide the packaging format of a learning design. Several technical challenges were met during the implementation of the ICOPER LOM AP, e.g. with respect to validating constraints for vocabularies, implementing persistent, stable and resolvable identifiers, and transforming custom formats used by content providers. In order to make the OICS content accessible from those environments where learning processes are implemented (learning management systems, personal learning environments and social networks), we have defined a Middle Layer API following the design principles of a Service Oriented Architecture. We argue how following these principles allowed us to achieve important quality attributes like interoperability, scalability, reliability, configurability and testability. We present a comprehensive, documentation for the Middle Layer API and three alternative bindings that are optimized for specific client requirements. Section 5 is dedicated to a series of Integration Mini Case Studies which together present the main achievements of WP1:  inclusion of six different sources for learning outcome definitions totalling 3,781 distinct resources;  integration of 19 content providers totalling around 80,000 resources, providing more than 17,500 documented hours of instructional content;  experimental implementation of the Metadata for Learning Opportunities (MLO) specification and import of course catalogues from two universities;  implementation of OICS related functionality into 14 different client environments jointly covering a complex workflow of outcome-oriented education including the definition of learning outcomes, the authoring of instructional models, the delivery of learning designs through a learning management system and learners‘ management of learning needs, achievements and assessment records.  OICS search functionality has been integrated into the ICOPER project website. It allows searching and retrieving of all types of shareable educational resources and display of a user‘s achieved learning outcomes. The problems solved during the development of the OICS infrastructure, and some results of the end user evaluation of the OICS client applications lead us to formulate a set of recommendations (Section 7) that are grouped with respect to the development life cycle phase they address. We have learnt that the following key factors need to be taken into account during the design of a brokerage infrastructure for educational resources:  maintenance of consistent technical information through a registry service;  development of an interface specification through a managed community process that takes into account the requirements of different client contexts;  definition of an application profile and validation of all ingested resources;  user perception of relevancy, copyright and privacy;  integration of repository services with social networks which increasingly become part of educational processes. For the setup of the infrastructure, end-user evaluation showed that quantity and quality of content are most relevant for users. For a successful deployment of the infrastructure, we recommend the use of testing environments and monitoring services and of a service capable of managing persistent and unique identifiers for resources. The complete OICS infrastructure is made available as Open Source software. Installation instructions are provided on the ICOPER web site. The OICS infrastructure has been successfully transferred into a different context within the German SpITKom project as described in Section 6.2.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages129
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2011


    • ICOPER
    • Open ICOPER Content Space
    • OICS
    • Implementation
    • Case-studies


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