For the past couple of months, vendors such as TurnItIn, Blackboard and Elucian, as well as a number of UK Universities, have been working on a solution for assignment interoperability in the IMS Assignment Task Force.
This is highly relevant for the Jisc’s Electronic Management of Assessment (EMA) project, because it holds the promise of easing the movement of assignments or information about assignments from one system to another. Making assignments available for marking in a VLE while they’ve been submitted to a plagiarism service, or showing a student feedback and marks from across a degree programme and a variety of systems have all been flagged by project participants as things that should be easier.
Because the IMS group is in the very early stages of setting an interoperability specification that could enable such data exchange, the precise scope of the work has not been set yet. However, because a lot of the basic parts for a solution are already around in IMS, developing a solution could happen fairly quickly once the scope has been agreed. Relevant parts include the widely implemented IMS Learning Tools Interoperability specification and the closely related, box fresh Content Item Message specification.
Because of the relevance of the IMS work to the EMA project, many of the UK Further and Higher Education sector’s requirements are being fed straight into the work. This is helped considerably by the fact that developers from Exeter, Anglia Ruskin, Edge Hill and Portsmouth universities are directly involved in the IMS work.