Polytech primed for e-learning

The Open Polytechnic is soon to begin a pilot of an XML-based "continuous publishing system".

The Open Polytechnic is soon to begin a pilot of an XML-based “continuous publishing system”.

The polytechnic says the system, which is provided by IT contractor NextEd will allow the creation, management and sharing of learning resources across different courses and departments. XML is a web-friendly text format that was originally designed for large-scale electronic publishing and is now being used in the exchange of a wide variety of data.

The project pilot gets under way within three weeks and will run for four months, says Ken Udas, the polytechnic’s e-learning manager.

The publishing system is part of a wider e-learning project involving other applications and platforms that Udas declined to name.

It advertised recently for an e-learning business advisor, to manage projects and relationships pertaining to the e-learning drive.

Udas says the continuing development of open standards relating to data and metadata is something the polytechnic is keeping a keen eye on, as they offer huge potential to the education sector for initiatives such as distance learning. Standards under development and in early adoption at some institutions overseas allow students to move online between different universities and faculties without having to log on and provide passwords, because they have already been authenticated.

Open standards bodies working on and promoting standards with applicability to e-learning include IMS and the Dublin Core.

Udas says there’s considerable interest in the library sector in New Zealand in being able to integrate resources based on open standards.

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