Middlebury

Middlebury helps advance adoption of learning technology standards

July 22, 2005

Project involves collaboration with MIT group

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-Middlebury College is helping to advance the adoption of learning technology standards by releasing tools that allow developers to create applications that can be easily integrated into common educational environments, particularly those of small liberal arts colleges.  Applications built with these tools should also make it easier for colleges to share learning content and technologies.

These tools include PHP bindings of the Open Knowledge Initiative (O.K.I.) Open Service Interface Definitions (OSID). OSIDs are open software specifications enabling applications to integrate with diverse service environments using a plug-in model that reduces development and custom integration costs. These bindings and example implementations are accessible via Middlebury's Harmoni application framework, which uses a Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture to facilitate the rapid development of PHP applications.

"The Middlebury team was one of the earliest adopters of the OSIDs," said Jeff Merriman, Project Director of O.K.I., "and they were tremendously helpful in bringing to our attention the needs of smaller institutions."

The PHP versions of the OSIDs extend O.K.I. interoperability standards to developers working with open source tools such as Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP (LAMP). The LAMP platform is particularly popular with small liberal arts colleges because of its low cost and impressive performance. Middlebury is rebuilding all of its curricular systems to use the Harmoni application framework, including the Segue Collaborative Learning System which is in use at a wide range of educational institutions from research universities to middle schools.

The development of both Harmoni and Segue at Middlebury College is partially funded by the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE), which promotes effective integration of curricular technologies for liberal arts colleges. For more information about the project at Middlebury, contact Alex Chapin, educational technologist in Library & Information Services.

About the Open Knowledge Initiative:

The Open Knowledge Initiative (O.K.I.), a program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, develops specifications that describe how the components of an educational software environment communicate with each other and with other enterprise systems. O.K.I. specifications address broad interoperability agreements that allow for adaptation and further specification by communities of practice. In this way, O.K.I. seeks to open new markets for educational tools and content.
 
The O.K.I. team at MIT continues to provide architectural and technical leadership for software initiatives in higher education, among industry affiliates, and through national and international organizations such as the IMS Global Learning Consortium. This work helps ensure that the next generation of e-learning software will integrate seamlessly with the educational enterprise, and it establishes O.K.I. as a global leader in behavioral specifications for educational technology interoperability.

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