The main theme of EdScene is to develop scenarios using semantic web to support all roles (teachers, students, quality assurance people, management, perspective employers, etc) in an academic system.
The University of Southampton has taken the strategic decision to develop a repository for educational materials using its well established EPrints research repository software as the framework. EdScene aims to describe EdSpace scenarios in ECS, University of Southampton, in particular functional activities of various roles such as students, teachers, employers and external professional bodies. This is to illustrate the expected added-value of a community repository holding educational materials together with metadata and semantics.
Semantic Web technologies are being exploited to extend and improve the existing metadata tagging mechanism. An educational ontology explicitly defined contextual conceptualization of the educational domain, which can be then used to annotate educational artefacts such as lecture resources, programme specifications, modules and assessments. This, together with semantics tools, gives the users a choice to make their resources more machine-processable (aggregation, reasoning, etc) by adding an enriched layer of the semantic web linking these educational artefacts with metadata and formal semantics to support key functional requirements.
Overall the main objective of this project is to support all stakeholders of an academic system for solving their intelligent queries. The following are some of the examples that the project aims to perform:
Students choosing options wish to access ratings and comments from previous students
Although VLE allows students to access the e-portfolio of the programme and modules in order to select, rate and comments throughout their participation of the educational learning activities, the results often do not have a permanent URL for access outside the VLE. The EdSpace vision of using a repository in stead is to overcome this shortcomings, aiming to allow permanent data cruration and convenient access of resources from other system.
Teachers needs to understand what they need to teach
Teachers, in particular those new to the school, can access to existing programme and modules annotations while designing their modules to identify popular subjects, fulfill required learning outcomes (at module and programme level) and avoid repetition of learning materials.
Employer wishes to understand students transcript
Employers at recruitment often find it difficult to match-make their job skill demands with graduates transcripts. The repository (and the semantic mark-up) should be able to help them scrutinize job candidates transcripts in terms of the programme, learning outcome and module specification.
Professional bodies such as QAA and BCS wish to understand CS in ECS
With the aim to safeguard and help to improve the academic standards and quality, Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education needs to work closely with the education institute to define academic standard and quality. The repository framework, in particular the educational ontology as the conceptualization backbone, will reflect QAA's standard. They will wish to assure themselves that learning outcomes are actually being met. This will require them to access assessment materials such as assignments (the instructions supplied to students, the student work submitted, and the marks/feedback obtained) and exams (both the papers supplied to students and the marked student scripts). In addition, they also need to understand the learning infrastructure (timetables, library provision, lab provision -- hardware and software, CVs of academic and technical staff, staff and student numbers, minutes of academic committees, etc.)