What is Schema.org?

Link: What is schema.org  (PDF)

Schema.org is a joint initiative of the search engines Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yandex aimed at making it easier to index web pages in such a way that facilitates the building of sophisticated search services. Schema.org metadata may also be used for other applications e.g. in eBooks and as stand-alone metadata records.

This briefing describes schema.org for a technical audience. It is aimed at people who may want to implement schema.org markup in websites or other tools they build but who wish to know more about the technical approach behind schema.org and how to implement it. We also hope that this briefing will be useful to those who are evaluating whether to implement schema.org to meet the requirements of their own organization.

This briefing has been produced as part of the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI), which is concerned with extending and applying schema.org to the description of educationally relevant properties of resources. Other briefings in this series will provide an in-depth overview of LRMI.

[If you wish to take advantage of the CC-By licence and edit your version, there is a copy on Google docs that you may clone, or you may download a zip archive of the files used to create the PDF in Scribus, this archive includes the plain text and the images.]

 

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Activity Data and Paradata

Illustration of activity data and paradataLink: Activity Data and Paradata (pdf)
Link: Activity Data and Paradata (MS Word .docx)

This briefing introduces a range of approaches and specifications for recording and exchanging data generated by the interactions of users with resources.

Such data is a form of Activity Data, which can be defined as “the record of any user action that can be logged on a computer”. Meaning can be derived from Activity Data by querying it to reveal patterns and context, this is often referred to as Analytics. Activity Data can be shared as an Activity Stream, a list of recent activities performed by an individual. Initiatives such as OpenSocial, ActivityStreams and TinCan API have produced specifications and APIs to share Activity Data across platforms and applications.

While Activity Streams record the actions of individual users and their interactions with multiple resources and services, other specifications have been developed to record the actions of multiple users on individual resources. This data about how and in what context resources are used is often referred to as Paradata. A specification for recording and exchanging paradata has been developed by the Learning Registry, an open source content-distribution network for storing and sharing information about learning resources.
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CETIS Analytics Series: Analytics; what is changing and why does it matter?

Link: CETIS Analytics Series Vol 1, No 1. Analytics; What is Changing and Why Does it Matter? (pdf)

This paper provides a high level overview to the CETIS Analytics Series. The series explores a number of key issues around the potential strategic advantages and insights which the increased attention on, and use of, analytics is bringing to the education sector. It is aimed primarily at managers and early adopters in Further and Higher Education who have a strategic role in developing the use of analytics in the following areas:

  • Whole Institutional Issues,
  • Ethical and Legal Issues,
  • Learning and Teaching,
  • Research Management,
  • Technology and Infrastructure.

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IMS Learning Tools Interoperability Briefing paper

Link: http://publications.cetis.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/LTI-Briefing-Paper.pdf (pdf)

The IMS Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) specification provides a standard mechanism for seamlessly connecting Interoperability learning applications and remote content to virtual learning environments (VLEs) and enterprise portals.

It is increasing in popularity as a method for providing integrations which are not dependent upon a particular VLE.

This briefing paper provides an overview of the LTI specification and illustrates the benefits for developers, VLE administrators, teachers and learners.
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Cloud Computing in Institutions

Link: Cloud Computing in Institutions (pdf).

Summary: The term “Cloud Computing” refers to any “computing capability that is delivered as a service over the Internet. While there is no authoritatively accredited definition of the concept, one of the most frequently used definitions is the one given by Gartner, who describe cloud computing as “a style of computing where massively scalable IT-related capabilities are provided ‘as a service’ across the Internet to multiple external
customers.”

This briefing paper will explain some of the key characteristics and delivery levels of current development and implementations that provide a basis for understanding cloud computing and the ongoing discussion about it.

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IMS Question and Test Interoperability v2.1

Link: IMS Question and Test Interoperability v2.1 (pdf).

Providing a decade of interoperable assessment, IMS Question and Test Interoperability is a widely used specification for managing and sharing assessment material. Now that we are near the release of the final version of QTI v2.1 this paper provides an overview of the specification, outlining some of the key features of QTI v2.1 and its value for developers and educators. The intended audience for this paper is managers, learning technologists and developers interested in online and electronic assessment and new to QTI.

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Mobile Web Apps

Link: Mobile Web Apps (pdf).

With today’s students carrying a vast array of mobile devices that operate across a massively fragmented and shifting market, institutions can find themselves wondering how to deliver content and services specifically designed for mobile use most effectively. Apple’s App Store? Android? Blackberry or Microsoft Phone? Each has created their own app ecosystems.

The aim of this briefing paper is to give institutions an overview of the mobile web space and an understanding of why developing hosted, mobile web applications can offer an attractive and viable solution that can overcome the fragmentation and deliver crossplatform services.

Service Design in Higher and Further Education

Link: Service design in Higher and Further Education (pdf).

Summary: This guide is an introduction to service design and improvement methodology and its application in Higher and Further Education. It introduces a key technique service blueprinting – which has been used successfully at the University of Derby in the Development and Review of Business Interfaces (DERBI) project to improve the transition stage from applicant to registered student, with a specific focus on the university enrolment process. Together with a theoretical introduction to service design, the guide provides illustrative examples (coloured boxes) of how service blueprinting can be applied.

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The Semantic Web, Linked and Open Data

Link: Download PDF

Summary: This briefing paper provides a high level overview of key concepts relating to the Semantic Web, semantic technologies, linked and open data; along with references to relevant examples and standards. The briefing is intended to provide a starting point for those within the teaching and learning community who may have come across the concept of semantic technologies and the Semantic Web but who do not regard themselves as experts and wish to learn more. The examples and links are intended as starting points for further exploration.

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Enabling e-portfolio portability (Leap2A)

Link: Enabling e-portfolio portability (Leap2A) (html).
Link: Enabling e-portfolio portability (Leap2A) (pdf).

Leap2A is an open specification for transferring learner-owned information between different systems. e-Portfolio tools and systems are now widely used by learners to present evidence of learning, achievements and abilities for many purposes, including application for a job or university, assessment or professional accreditation. During their studies, these learners may invest significant time and effort in collecting, selecting, reflecting on and presenting the information included in their e-portfolios, so it is vital that their work doesn’t disappear or become unusable as learners move to another college, university or into the workplace.

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