09 October 2006

The Cartridge Standard: Common, but how Open?

Defining industry-wide standards is usually good news - if they are open, that is. So when I heard abou the Common Cartridge Standard for digital educational content, my immediate thought was: is it open? It's hard to tell from the press release:

The IMS Global Learning Consortium announced today that a new standard for digital educational content and e-Learning systems will soon be available in products in the marketplace. Digital educational content, learning management systems, and learning software tools incorporating the new Common Cartridge interoperability standard will be available from some IMS members as early as the Spring of 2007. Demonstrated in June of 2006 by IMS Contributing Members ANGEL Learning, Blackboard Inc, McGraw-Hill Education, Pearson Education, and the University of Michigan (the Sakai Project), the specifications will soon be released to the IMS Developers Network.

So the standard will be "released to the IMS Developers Network": but what does that mean? The only thing that gives me hope is the fact that alongside all the usual fat cats of educational content, there are two open source projects: Sakai and Moodle. Given their presence I can only presume it's all above board and open. I hope. (Via Open Access News.)


Anonymous said...

I contacted IMS about the availability of the draft specification. I was basically told that it was being circulated privately to members and that it wouldn't be released publicly until after there were implementations by members of the spec and the establishment of a "test-based certification programme" to verify implementations of hte product. They were guessing Dec 2007 for a public release. So on the one hand, this seems like a good thing, for there to be working implementations of the spec before all the hoopla hits and everyone is running around trying to implement a moving target, and also that there will be some ways to verify claims about the implementation of the spec. When I'm feeling good natured, this feels like IMS trying to address some of the problems in real world implementation that past specs have had. On the other hand, sure doesn't feel like a very "open" process, and while Sakai and Moodle are at the table, there there with some 800 pound gorillas who have had there way before in those forums. Guess we shall see.

Glyn Moody said...

Many thanks for posting that update: it's not as bad as I feared - nor as good as I'd hoped....