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Open Knowledge Initiative

e-Learning Leaders form Coalition to Coordinate Activities

October 31, 2002

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 31, 2002 – Leading organizations developing specifications for e-learning technology in higher education, schools, and technical training are now working together to coordinate strategy and conduct common activities. This informal coalition of the ADL Co-Laboratory (ADL), the MIT Open Knowledge Initiative (O.K.I.), the Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF), and the IMS Global Learning Consortium (IMS) recognizes ongoing informal collaboration among the participants. The group intends to formalize its common activities and address shortfalls in its collective support for adopters of e-learning standards and technology across application sectors. Participation in the coalition may expand if appropriate.

"This coalition is important for O.K.I. because it will allow us to amplify the impact of O.K.I.'s results," said Vijay Kumar, Assistant Provost and Director of Academic Computing at MIT. "The design and implementation that O.K.I. is generating will address the needs of multiple communities, as well as improve the quality and sustainability of e-learning for higher education," he said.

"Our coalition approach ensures that the SCORM and related specifications will be broadly applicable," added Paul Jesukiewicz, Director of the ADL Co-Laboratory. "One of ADL's goals is to facilitate the development of a standards-based e-learning industry in order to lower the overall cost and development time of e-learning products and services for participants in the ADL Co-Lab. Recognizing the existing collaborative efforts among these organizations and working to achieve better alignment to common goals addresses our key objective. At the same time, it simplifies the procurement process and increases the speed with which e-learning can be adopted," he said.

"Participants in the SIF consortium benefit directly from this coalition in two ways," observed Tim Magner, SIF Director. "Working together with representatives from other domains ensures that the special requirements of the K-12 educational environment will be addressed in creating general e-learning standards. It also raises the likelihood that technology incorporating those standards can be adopted and used in schools in order to improve overall data management and provide educational experiences to children, their teachers and the school community," he said.

"The O.K.I., ADL, and SIF have recognized their growing need to organize and conduct joint activities at the same time as each pursues its separate goals. While it is informal, the coalition already has several concrete activities underway," said Edward Walker, CEO of IMS Global Learning Consortium. "We are planning a joint workshop and conference to be held in June, 2003. We also are hosting developers networks at www.imsglobal.org/developers to support discussions among users of O.K.I., SIF and SCORM, as well as IMS specifications. Specific areas of technical integration are the subject of on-going projects. The activities that the coalition undertakes will follow from the functional needs identified in planning and conducting our work," he said.

About O.K.I.
The Open Knowledge Initiative (O.K.I.) is defining an open and extensible architecture for learning technology specifically targeted to the needs of the higher education community. O.K.I. provides detailed specifications for interfaces among components of a learning management environment, to be used both by commercial product vendors and by higher education product developers. It provides a stable, scalable base that supports the flexibility needed by higher education as learning technology is increasingly integrated into the education process. Originally funded by the Mellon Foundation, the project is led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in close collaboration with Stanford University, the University of Michigan, Dartmouth College, North Carolina State University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Indiana University and the University of Cambridge. More details are available on the O.K.I. web site: http://web.mit.edu/oki.

About ADL
The ADL Initiative is a collaborative effort between government, industry and academia to establish a new distributed learning environment that permits the interoperability of learning tools and course content on a global scale. As a result of a unique partnership between the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Department of Labor and the National Guard Bureau, the ADL Co-Lab has been established to serve as a public and private sector forum for cooperative research, development and assessment of new learning technology prototypes, guidelines and specifications. The ADL initiative also created a network of three ADL Co- Laboratories (ADL Co-Labs), to advance the initiative and to serve distinct areas of operational responsibility. The three ADL Co-Labs formed to serve in this network are: the Alexandria ADL Co-Lab (Alexandria, Virginia); the Joint ADL Co-Lab (Orlando, Florida); and the Academic ADL Co-Lab (Madison, Wisconsin). For additional information about the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative, contact the Secretariat, Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Readiness, Readiness and Training, at secretariat@adlnet.org, or visit the ADL website: http://www.adlnet.org.

About SIF
The Schools Interoperability Framework (SIF) is an initiative driven by K-12 education technology providers and users to revolutionize the management and accessibility of data within schools and school districts. SIF enables diverse applications to interact and share data efficiently, reliably and securely regardless of the platform hosting the applications. SIF has united over 120 education technology providers in an unprecedented effort to give teachers more time to do what they do best: teach. For further information, visit http://www.sifinfo.org.

SIF is a division of the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA). SIIA is the principal trade association of the software code and digital content industry. SIIA provides global services in government relations, business development, corporate education and intellectual property protection to more than 800 leading software and information companies. For further information, visit http://www.siia.net.

About IMS
The IMS Global Learning Consortium develops open technical specifications to support distributed learning. All specifications developed by IMS are available to the public without charge through the IMS web site. IMS is a non-profit organization supported by members of a worldwide consortium that currently includes more than 50 Contributing members and over 70 Developers Network subscribers. The IMS in Europe foundation supports IMS activities among European members. Information about IMS specifications, on-going activities, and membership applications are available on the IMS website at http://www.imsglobal.org.

For more information contact:
Vijay Kumar, MIT- O.K.I., +1 617-253-8004
Paul Jesukiewicz, ADL, +1 703 - 578-2971
Tim Magner, SIF, +1 202 - 289-7442
Ed Walker, IMS, +1 978 - 312-1082


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