A Recipe for Interoperability in Practice

Colin Milligan, CETIS, Nov 05, 2003
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Demonstration of practical interoperability between a learning object content repository (the JORUM Intralibrary) and a virtual learning environment (PIONEER), mediated by the RELOAD Editor, with a walk-though of the steps involved. This is what I call the 'library' or 'CD-ROM' model of learning object distribution and reuse, and exemplifies what are to me are many bad practices, beginning with the closed-access repository, continuing through the use of content packages for simple tasks, the manual classification requirement... and the zillion-step process (with 8 separate screen shots) for the simple joining of two discrete elements. I know this is just a demonstration and all, but really, this can't be how it works in its final form. The article itself is downloadable as an IMS content package - and yes, there it is with metadata, images, the works, all wrapped up in a nice zipped archive, and if I put in the time and expense I can get in the end exactly what I got by clicking on a link in my email. What has all this bought us? Am I being heretical? Try as I might, I simply cannot get excited by a technology that has as its end objective the re-creation of closed-content CD-style content distribution. There's so much more to see by looking forward than by looking backward.
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