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Takeaways from 1st IMS Global Quarterly Meetings of 2016

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Believe it or not we are now already 2 months in to 2016. I’m happy to report that these 2 months have already been very high velocity at IMS Global.

For those of you that missed the quarterly meetings last week at UMUC – or perhaps were there but couldn’t be in 4 tracks at the same time – here is a summary of some of the key takeaways IMHO.

If you’re an IMS member and would like some help getting involved in any of these activities, please contact one of the staff or make a web inquiry.  If you’re not an IMS member yet, consider joining up.

OneRoster = Fastest Adopted IMS Standard Ever

We’re pretty proud of LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability) at IMS – but OneRoster, after 2 years, is where LTI was after 5+ years.  Adoption of OneRoster has strong support as evidenced by some 25 leading edtech suppliers gathered for the OneRoster bootcamp and demonstration showcase. Several leading districts were also in attendance and we have no doubt that Fall 2016 is going to meet or exceed expectations for OneRoster implementations.  Make plans to attend LILI 2016 in May for another day of OneRoster preparation featuring version 1.1

LTI: Rating Integrations from Lovely to Incredible

Yes, it’s the latest craze and even has it's own bookmark! Using LTI services and/or LTI 2 to achieve dramatically more seamless and usable integrations.  While the success of LTI as a simple “launcher” of apps/single-sign-on has been impressive, with over 70 learning platforms now certified, the leaders in the market are moving on.  Time to use the advanced services and features of LTI for more seamless integrations: LTI outcomes, LTI memberships, LTI content item.  This is the focus of IMS workshops on LTI at the meeting and going forward.

IMS Higher Education Executive Board Your Time Has Come

We’ve learned that a little bit of cooperation on open standards by some leading institutions can go a long way.  That is now happening for real in terms of higher education institutions in IMS.  With great leadership from Karen Vignare (UMUC) and Sean DeMonner (University of Michigan) IMS is forming what will evolve into the true leadership board of IMS in higher education.  The IMS Board of Directors has to be limited in size and has to be focused on the “business” of IMS. The new HED Executive Board will become the group that prioritizes IMS HED work from the institutional perspective. Every IMS Contributing Member will have a seat on this board,  There are already four strong HED communities of practice forming to put some legs into this: LTI, analytics, digital credentials/CBE, accessibility.  The exec board will address long term and near term priorities.

The Next Hockey Stick Up – Already Beginning

Historically there have been some close connections between adoption of IMS standards and the next most successful company. We are seeing it happening again now in both HED and K-12.  There is a handful of organizations that are adopting the latest IMS standards, very visible at the IMS meetings, that are likely to be the next hockey stick up phenoms.  Of course IMS standards by themselves are not enough – they are just the enabler. So, in HED these are suppliers that are bringing new capabilities like analytics and advising, In K-12 they are bringing recommendation engines and assessment.  All a lot more scalable with standards.

The Next Hockey Stick Down – Already Beginning

All I can say is woe to  suppliers who are known to be capable of implementing the latest IMS standards buy are sitting on them and not releasing them to the market.  All IMS members are friends of IMS but the institutions who bought your product thinking you would be a leader in IMS standards – and now it turns out you’re not – well, that is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  There is tangible angst, regret and remorse out there that is coming for some of the more established vendors who were once enabled by standards and are now turning their back on them. Ouch!

George Kerscher of DAISY Consortium kicks off EDUPUB Alliance meetingPartnerships that Will Change Everything: EDUPUB, Ed-Fi, Soon To Be Named

A major focus of this quarterly was the EDUPUB Alliance work combining Epub3 and IMS standards, with a major focus on accessibility.  Lots of great work by some great people is going to be felt big time in the education sector in the next 2-5 years.  Stay tuned for some new high impact collaborations on accessi On another front the collaboration with the Ed-Fi Alliance is off to a great start.  The combination of IMS and Ed-Fi represents a 10x over any past attempts at end-to-end standards development and adoption in K-12 education.  And, another major partnership session occurred at these quarterlies with a to-be-announced IMS partner/new member organization that should substantially accelerate adoption of standards in at least one of the IMS key initiative areas.  Stay tuned!

Caliper Analytics Transitions to Next Phase of Growth

Caliper v1.1 is in the “heads down” mode as this next release is highly anticipated after the strong set of Caliper v1.0 certifications.  As often happens a couple years in to an intense project the leadership of the workgroup will now be revitalized by a new set of people and organizations. The need for real-time data processing has had a major impact on Caliper – and you will be hearing a lot more about developments there.

CBE OBEE Wan Kenobi

What? Three full days of meetings on digital credentials, competency-based education and open badge extensions for education (OBEE)?  You bet.  There is a lot of different work and investments going on to design a better transcript and to capture competencies, experiential learning, co-curricular activities, etc. IMS Global is in the middle of it all - developing the technical foundation upon which it can happen.  IMS will be bringing to market in 2016 the conformance certification framework that will help to bring the so far different worlds of edtech, competencies, badges and transcripts together. 

Turning Japanese I Really Think So

A distinguished delegation of six leading Japanese organizations attended the quarterlies.  We held discussions to complete the draft MOU to form the IMS Japan Society, consisting of leading Japanese suppliers and institutions.  IMS Global has been collaborating with representatives from Japan for some time, including workshops in Japan on Caliper and EDUPUB in recent times.  While there are still some final approvals needed, we are hoping to launch the IMS Japan Society very soon.

aQTI: Next Phase of Venerable Spec Will Preserve Success of QTI v2 and APIP

When a specification gets used a lot and has strong participation/contribution from the marketplace the definition of a new revision is likely.  Such is the case with the amazing ramp in adoption of QTI v2.1 (now v2.2) and  its accessible cousin, APIP (Accessible Portable Item Protocol) to solve state/national level summative e-assessment challenges.  The plan for the next version of QTI – the combination of APIP and QTI meant to address more reproducible rendering and additional accessibility features end-to-end – has been agreed upon by IMS’s Executive Board on Assessment (EBA).  The best news is that aQTI will  provide a forward compatible path from QTI v2.2/APIP – thus leveraging the large investment that has been made.

Setting Up a First Set of Community App Sharing Nodes

Based on the groundbreaking work of UCLA and several other IMS members, we have decided to explore setting up a first set of nodes, including connection to the IMS product directory, for the Community App Sharing Architecture.  The idea is to get these ready in time for the Learning Impact Leadership Institute in May. The value proposition for CASA is still evolving . . . lots of great ideas are emerging.