Tag Archives: lrmi

K12 Open Content Exchange⤴

from @ Sharing and learning

I’ve been intending to write about the K12 Open Content Exchange project, and its metadata, but for various reasons haven’t got round to it. As I have just submitted a use case to the DCMI Application Profile Interest Group based on the projects requirements I’ll post that.

The project is being run by Learning Tapestry in the US, I am contracted to build the metadata specification in an iterative fashion based on experiences of content exchange between the partners (currently we are at iteration 1). I want to stress that this isn’t an authoritative description of all the project’s intents and purposes, or even all the metadata requirements, it’s a use case based on them, but I hope it gives a flavour of the work. The requirements section is more relevant if you’re interested in how to specify application profiles than for the OCX spec per se.

Problem statement

We wish to share relatively large amounts of content and curriculum materials relating to educational courses, for example: all the activities, student learning resources, teacher and parent curriculum guides, formative assessments, etc relating to one school-year of study in a subject such as mathematics.

We wish for the metadata to facilitate the editing, adaptation and reuse of the resources. For example teachers should be able to substitute resources/activities provided with other resources addressing the same objective as they see fit. Or course designers should be able pull out all the resources of a particular type (say activity plans), about a given topic, or addressing a specific learning outcome and use them in a new course. In some cases alternate equivalent content may be provided, for example online Vs offline content or to provide accessible provision for people with disabilities.

We wish for these to be discoverable on the open web at both broad and fine levels of granularity, i.e. whole courses and the individual parts should be discoverable via search engines.

We have decided to use the following vocabularies to describe the structure and content of the material: schema.org + LRMI, OERSchema and local extensions where necessary.


  • Original content providers who create and publish curriculum and course materials using existing systems and already have (local) terminology for many aspects of resource description.
  • Content processors take the original content and offer it through their own systems. They also have (different) terminology for many aspects of resource description
  • Content purchasers wish to discover and buy content that meets their requirements
  • Course designers and Teachers use the content that has been purchased and wish to adapt it for their students
  • Parents wish to understand what and how their students are being taught
  • Learners want a seamless experience using high quality materials and ideas, in which all the work above is invisible.


The application profile must reference evolving specifications: schema.org, OERSchema, various controlled vocabularies/concept schemes/encoding schemes and local extensions. If a local extension is adopted by one of the more widely recognised specifications it should be easy to modify the application profile to reflect this.

The application profile must include a content model that meets the following requirements for describing the structure of content:

  • identify the distinct types of entity involved (Course, Unit, Lesson, Supporting Material, Audience, Learning Objectives, Assessments etc)
  • show the hierarchy of the content (i.e. the Course comprises Units, the Units comprise Lessons, the Lessons comprise Activities)
  • show related content that is not part of the hierarchy but is related to (e.g. information about Units for teachers and parents, content to be used in the Activities)
  • show the ordering of sequential content
  • show options for alternative equivalent content

The application profile must specify optional (may), desired (should) and required (must) descriptive metadata as appropriate for each type of entity. For example

  • Activities must have a learning Time
  • an Activity should have a name
  • any resource may be associated with an Audience

The application profile must specify cardinality. for example:

  • Courses must have one and only one title
  • Units must have one or more Lesson
  • Units may have one or more Assessment

There may be alternative ways of satisfying a requirement

  • Courses must associated with either one or more Lesson or one or more Unit
  • If there is more than one Lesson in a Unit or Course, the Lessons must be ordered

The application profile must specify the expected type or value space for any property

  • this may be more restrictive than the base specification
  • this may extent the base specification
  • this may include alternatives (e.g. free text or reference concept from controlled scheme)


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Progress report for Educational and Occupational Credentials in schema.org⤴

from @ Sharing and learning

[This is cross-posted from the Educational and Occupational Credentials in schema.org W3C community group, if you interested please direct your comments there.]

Over the past few months we have been working systematically through the 30-or-so outline use cases for describing Educational and Occupational Credentials in schema.org, suggesting how they can be met with existing schema.org terms, or failing that working on proposals for new terms to add. Here I want to summarize the progress against these use cases, inviting review of our solutions and closure of any outstanding issues.

Use cases enabled

The list below summarizes information from the community group wiki for those use cases that we have addressed, with links to the outline use case description, the wiki page showing how we met the requirements arising from that use case, and proposed new terms on a test instance of schema.org (may be slow to load). I tried to be inclusive / exhaustive in what I have called out as an issue.

1.1 Identify subtypes of credential

1.2 Name search for credential

1.3 Identify the educational level of a credential

1.4 Desired/required competencies

1.6 Name search for credentialing organization

1.8 Labor market value

1.11 Recognize current competencies

1.13 Language of Credential

2.1 Coverage

2.2 Quality assurance

2.5 Renewal/maintenance requirements

2.6 Cost

3.1 Find related courses, assessments or learning materials

3.3 Relate credentials to competencies

3.4 Find credentialing organization

4.2 Compare credentials

  • Credentials can be compared in terms of any of the factors above, notably cost, compentencies required, recognition and validity.

4.3 Build directories

1.5 Industry and occupation analysis

1.7 Career and education goal

1.10 Job vacancy

3.2 Job seeking

Use cases that have been ‘parked’

The following use cases have not been addressed; either they were identified as low priority or there was insufficient consensus as to how to enable them:

1.9 Assessment (see issue 5, no way to represent assessments in schema.org)

1.12 Transfer value: recognizing current credentials (a complex issue, relating to “stackable” credentials, recognition, and learning pathways)

2.3 Onward transfer value (as previous)

2.4 Eligibility requirements (discussed, but no consensus)

3.5 Find a service to verify a credential (not discussed, low priority)

4.1 Awarding a Credential to a Person  (not discussed, solution may be related to personal self-promotion)

4.4 Personal Self-promotion (pending discussion)

4.5 Replace and retire credentials (not discussed, low priority)

Summary of issues

As well as the unaddressed use cases above, there are some caveats about the way other use cases have been addressed. I have tried to be inclusive / exhaustive in what I have called out as an issue,–I hope many of them can be acknowledged and left for future contributions to schema.org, we just need to clarify that they have been.

  • Issue 1: whether EducationalOccupationalCredential is a subtype of CreativeWork or Intangible.
  • Issue 2: competenceRequired only addresses the simplest case of individual required competencies.
  • Issue 3: whether accreditation is a form of recognition.
  • Issue 4: the actual renewal / maintenance requirements aren’t specified.
  • Issue 5: there is no way represent Assessments in schema.org
  • Issue 6: there is no explicit guidance on how to show required learning materials for a Course in schema.org.

There is an issues page on the wiki for tracking progress in disposing of these issues.

Summary of proposed changes to schema.org

Many of the use cases were addressed using terms that already exist in schema.org. The changes we currently propose are

Addition of a new type EducationalOccupationalCredential

Addition of four properties with domain EducationalOccupationalCredential:

Addition of EducationalOccupationalCredential to the domain of two existing properties (with changes to their definition to reflect this):

Addition of EducationalOccupationalCredential to the range of three existing properties:

The post Progress report for Educational and Occupational Credentials in schema.org appeared first on Sharing and learning.

Educational and occupational credentials in schema.org⤴

from @ Sharing and learning

Since the summer I have been working with the Credential Engine, which is based at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, on a project to facilitate the description of educational and occupational credentials in schema.org. We have just reached the milestone of setting up a W3C Community Group to carry out that work.  If you would like to contribute to the work of the group (or even just lurk and follow what we do) please join it.

Educational and occupational credentials

By educational and occupational credentials I mean diplomas, academic degrees, certifications, qualifications, badges, etc., that a person can obtain by passing some test or examination of their abilities. (See also the Connecting Credentials project’s glossary of credentialing terms.)  These are already alluded to in some schema.org properties that are pending, for example an Occupation or JobPosting’s qualification or a Course’s educationalCredentialAwarded. These illustrate how educational and occupational credentials are useful for linking career aspirations with discovery of educational opportunities. The other entity type to which educational and occupational credentials link is Competence, i.e. the skills, knowledge and abilities that the credential attests. We have been discussing some work on how to describe competences with schema.org in recent LRMI meetings, more on that later.

Not surprisingly there is already a large amount of relevant work done in the area of educational and occupational credentials. The Credential Engine has developed the Credential Transparency Description Language (CTDL) which has a lot of detail, albeit with a US focus and far more detail that would be appropriate for schema.org. The Badge Alliance has a model for open badges metadata that is applicable more generally. There is a W3C Verifiable Claims working group which is looking at credentials more widely, and the claim to hold one. Also, there are many frameworks which describe credentials in terms of the level and extent of the knowledge and competencies they attest, in the US Connecting Credentials cover this domain, while in the EU there are many national qualification frameworks and a Framework for Qualifications of the European Higher Education Area.

Potential issues

One potential issue is collision with existing work. We’ll have to make sure that we know where the work of the educational and occupational credential working group ends, i.e what work would best be left to those other initiatives, and how we can link to the products of their work. Related to that is scope creep. I don’t want to get involved in describing credentials more widely, e.g. issues of identification, authentication, authorization; hence the rather verbose formula of ‘educational and occupational credential. That formula also encapsulates another issue, a tension I sense between the educational world and the work place: does a degree certificate qualify someone to do anything, or does it just relate to knowledge?  Is an exam certificate a qualification?

The planned approach

I plan to approach this work in the same way that the schema course extension community group worked. We’ll use brief outline use cases to define the scope, and from these define a set of requirements, i.e. what we need to describe in order to facilitate the discovery of educational and occupational credentials. We’ll work through these to define how to encode the information with existing schema.org terms, or if necessary, propose new terms. While doing this we’ll use a set of examples to provide evidence that the information required is actually available from existing credentialling organizations.

Get involved

If you want to help with this, please join the community group. You’ll need a W3C account, and you’ll need to sign an assurance that you are not contributing any intellectual property that cannot be openly and freely licensed.

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Schema course extension update⤴

from @ Sharing and learning

This progress update on the work to extend schema.org to support the discovery of any type of educational course is cross-posted from the Schema Course Extension W3C Community Group. If you are interested in this work please head over there.

What aspects of a course can we now describe?
As a result of work so far addressing the use cases that we outlined, we now have answers to the following questions about how to describe courses using schema.org:

As with anything in schema.org, many of the answers proposed are not the final word on all the detail required in every case, but they form a solid basis that I think will be adequate in many instances.

What new properties are we proposing?
In short, remarkably few. Many of the aspects of a course can be described in the same way as for other creative works or events. However we did find that we needed to create two new types Course and CourseInstance to identify whether the description related to a course that could be offered at various times or a specific offering or section of that course. We also found the need for three new properties for Course: courseCode, coursePrerequisites and hasCourseInstance; and two new properties for CourseInstance: courseMode and instructor.

There are others under discussion, but I highlight these as proposed because they are being put forward for inclusion in the next release of the schema.org core vocabulary.

showing how Google will display information about courses in a search galleryMore good news:  the Google search gallery documentation for developers already includes information on how to provide the most basic info about Courses. This is where we are going ?

Schema course extension progress update⤴

from @ Sharing and learning

I am chair of the Schema Course Extension W3C Community Group, which aims to develop an extension for schema.org concerning the discovery of any type of educational course. This progress update is cross-posted from there.

If the forming-storming-norming-performing model of group development still has any currency, then I am pretty sure that February was the “storming” phase. There was a lot of discussion, much of it around the modelling of the basic entities for describing courses and how they relate to core types in schema (the Modelling Course and CourseOffering & Course, a new dawn? threads). Pleased to say that the discussion did its job, and we achieved some sort of consensus (norming) around modelling courses in two parts

Course, a subtype of CreativeWork: A description of an educational course which may be offered as distinct instances at different times and places, or through different media or modes of study. An educational course is a sequence of one or more educational events and/or creative works which aims to build knowledge, competence or ability of learners.

CourseInstance, a subtype of Event: An instance of a Course offered at a specific time and place or through specific media or mode of study or to a specific section of students.

hasCourseInstance, a property of Course with expected range CourseInstance: An offering of the course at a specific time and place or through specific media or mode of study or to a specific section of students.

(see Modelling Course and CourseInstance on the group wiki)

This modelling, especially the subtyping from existing schema.org types allows us to meet many of the requirements arising from the use cases quite simply. For example, the cost of a course instance can be provided using the offers property of schema.org/Event.

The wiki is working to a reasonable extent as a place to record the outcomes of the discussion. Working from the outline use cases page you can see which requirements have pages, and those pages that exist point to the relevant discussion threads in the mail list and, where we have got this far, describe the current solution.  The wiki is also the place to find examples for testing whether the proposed solution can be used to mark up real course information.

As well as the wiki, we have the proposal on github, which can be used to build working test instances on appspot showing the proposed changes to the schema.org site.

The next phase of the work should see us performing, working through the requirements from the use cases and showing how they can be me. I think we should focus first on those that look easy to do with existing properties of schema.org/Event and schema.org/CreativeWork.