Alt-i-Lab papers and highlights

Lucky for us all, the IMS have posted the supporting papers and slides in a publicly accessible area. Day Two of the sessions I was assigned to the Content working group. The promise of this group had been to tackle some of the questions laid out in the stimulating “Repository Management and Implementation” overview paper. But somewhat disappointedly to me, day one seemed given over mostly to talk of existing or emerging digital library standards, and while these are likely of interest and pertinent to others I found it hard to stay engaged.

Which led me on day two to migrate over to the somewhat oddly named “Tools” group, which ended up being a far more fascinating discussion on the world and problems of ‘learning design.’ Day Two in this group ended up being more of what I think of as a ‘working group’; real experts (James Dalziel, David Wiley, Bill Olivier and Gilbert Paquette, amongst others) hashing out real problems with the specification and what problems it is supposed to solve. It was both an honour and a learning experience to be able to sit in.

There really are a lot of worthwhile papers in this directory and they represent some of the state of the art thinking in the field, so take time going through them. Some of the powerpoint slides are also thorough enough to stand apart from their accompanying speeches; Brad Wheeler’s talk on how Open Source supports Open Specifications, Chris Etesse from Blackboard’s Ed Tech framework, and Fabrizio Cardinali from Giunti’s romp through the future of personalized learning all seem worthy of mention.

While there were lots of stimulating papers and talks, ultimately my first Alt-I-Lab will end up being remembered more because of the relationships begun and re-kindled. In addition to meeting fellow bloggers David Wiley and Raymond Yee for the first time, I spent a delightful evening with David Davies and Mark Stiles over a tasty Middle Eastern meal (go figure, easily the most popular restaurant in the small town of Redwood City.) All in all, well worth it, and hopefully I’ll find a way to next year’s event. – SWL

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