IMS Tools Interoperability

Completion Date: October 2005


Summary
IMS - Innovation, Adoption, LearningThe IMS Tools Interoperability project demonstrates how web services can be used to achieve interoperability between a Learning Management System (LMS) and an external learning tool. The idea is for a completely separate tool to be launched, allowing the user to perform some activity and the results of that activity to come back to the LMSes gradebook. 

The IMS TI will allow for tools such as assessment engine for tests or Engage's own ConceptTutor to work with an existing LMS (learning management system).  The key technology is Web Services, which allows the tool and the LMS to be "loosely coupled".

This effort is the first attempt by IMS to define a technical standard and as such the first phase will result in a Guideline that is considered a "proof-of-concept".

The project's proof-of-concept will be demonstrated at the 2005 Alt-i-lab (http://www.imsglobal.org/altilab) conference in Sheffield, England in June 2005.  UW Madison is contributing the biochemistry course content, a special server edition of ConceptTutor, and a Moodle LMS for this demonstration.  By late fall 2005, a Guidelines document will be issued by the work group.

In this project, UW-Madison joins WebCT, Blackboard, Sun Microsystems, SAKAI, , QuestionMark, the SAKAI Project, and staff from Stanford, UC Berkeley, MIT, Indiana University, and the University of Michigan. 


Technical
The special server edition of ConceptTutor has several interesting features.

  • ConceptTutors are stored in a modified version of the open source Fedora repository. 
  • To promote accessibility and to demonstrate the use of IMS ACCLIP and ACCMD standards for accessibility, we have modified Fedora to implement an RDF binding of ACCLIP and ACCMD. A student's accessibility preferences are matched to the accessibility characteristics of the content at the time of the request.  Thus, a visually impaired student will receive content tuned to her needs when she requests a ConceptTutor without having to know how to request the specially tuned content.
  • The web services and content delivery components of the server are built on open source foundations from Apache, including Tomcat, Axis and WSS4J.