Educational Contents

Educational Contents

The basic operation of a content repository is based on the fact that this is possible to upload resources in an application, being recorded in the warehouse associate. An essential characteristic is to be at readiness of different seach options of the contents, so that they allow different criteria search to obtain a selection of contents to which to be able to apply certain functionalities. It could exist repositories in different formats of user interface, in particular case the most used is the interface web design. That one will be the option selected in this project.

The base on which the application will be elaborated is the standards Learning Object Metadata, developed by Global IMS Learning Consortium and the IEEE. The specifications that this organism creates are used as it bases for the creation of interoperable educative technologies. IMS implements a version in XML of these specifications, giving a structure defined for the document creation that describes all the characteristics of any educative resource. 

The interoperability is a basic characteristic to be able to transmit information through Internet. According to this idea, XML will be used like departure point to create the aplication. This language will allow the unique definition of meta-data (information about the main data) of diverse educative contents, with the purpose of following a unique criterion to catalogue great variety of educative resources.

The designers and developers of educative resources in Internet have at their disosal great amount of software tools to create them. These tools covers from simple software packages of presentation to complex multimedia IDEs. They can be very useful, allowing the developers to create certain educative resources that would require programming knowledge. 

However, the great variety of tools and a extense collection of suppliers of software, cause the creation of very diverse materials that do not allow to follow a common mechanism for their search and use.

Then, descriptive labels can be used to index educative resources and to do them easier to look for and to use. A simple example of meta-data is a label of an nourishing product, where the ingredients of the product are described, the weight, the cost, etc. Another example is a card of the catalogue of a library, where the book, the author, the argument,location of the book is described.

A specification of meta-data helps in the process of searching and using the resources, becoming more eficient and providing a structure of defined elements that describes and catalogues the educative content along with requirements that show how they must be used and be represented the elements.

In this context, in 1997, the IMS Project, part of nonlucrative organization EDUCOM (later EDUCAUSE), partnership of institutions of the United States, made an effort to develope open standards marks based for education online through Internet, including specifications for educative resources meta-data.

In 1998, IMS and ARIADNE made a joint proposal of specifications to the IEEE, which formed the bases of IEEE Learning Object Meta-Data (LOM) Standard Draft. IMS published the work made by IEEE by the route of communities IMS in the United States, Europe, Australia and Singapur during the year 1999, which collaborated in the specifications development process.

Therefore, IEEE LOM Standard Draft defines a series of elements of meta-data that can be used to describe educative contents. Between these, there are, for example, names of elements, definitions, data types and length of fields. The specification defines in addition a conceptual structures for the meta-data. Thus, the specifications include sentences that they specify how to organize meta-data documents and as they must behave the applications to be able to be considered IEEE-conformants.

Finally, seen the context in that the educational content repositories are based on, we will develop a content repository server that allow interoperability with other content servers, using a common protocol to process searching, submitting and requesting contents, from DRI standard. Developing web services that implement the functionalities described in DRI, it will be possible to have invocations between many content servers and to access from multiple platforms and/or programming languages to same educational content server.

This website acts as a client of the different web services provided by the content repositories that implemement their services from ECL, that implements DRI.

The ECL functions implemented by the URV's web services consist of search service, submit service and request service. There are different types of search, first, the quick search, that allows to ask for contents that verify in any field of the associated meta-data the wished word. The advanced search consists of two types: search by main meta-data category, where any field of a LOM meta-data category could be specified. The second type is accumulated search, that allows to make search on any field, linking together conditions of different LOM categories. It is possible to invoke the web services provided by the URV, or the web services implemented by any active content servers. It is also possible to invoque a feredated search, (a simulated gather service) linking together the results of the requests of all the active content servers.