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Re: [school-discuss] EduML/SIF/IMS discussions

On Sun, Jan 27, 2002 at 08:45:04AM -0800, Tonnesen Steve wrote:

> Doug:  Let's set up a dedicated mailing list.  We can report back to this
> list occasionally with status information, or to seul-edu, or both.  :)


I disagree for the following reason: 

Discussions about interoperability of education software are necesarily
vague and filled with acronyms that confuse most readers (yes, I'm very
guilty of that too).  I recommend that we move such discussions to another 
mailing list :-)  

On the other hand, concrete exercices in software interoperability where
participants either do the "homework" or study other people's report of
their homework provide many benefits and only one disadvantage:

I am thinking (being a teacher) that we can use this list to do exercises
that lead to a much greater understanding on everyone's part of the issues,
opportunities and challenges of interoperability, and as a bonus, at the
end, we will have a network of people who will have a working interoperable
network for all to study and expand on.

For example, this weekend we begin with 

exercise 1:

post a URL which spits out your schools' long name, short name and a list of
students (which can be fictitious or your own names) including their full
name and their login name in Steve's XML format .

exercise 2:

post a URL which combines the data from all the URLs in exercise 1 into one
combined report showing the total number of schools and students.  


1. Unlike most open source programming projects, I claim that this one is
not primarily about producing software that others can download, but about
forging an attitude, establishing some experience and writing some utilities
that assist in making the software we use now interoperable with software we
know nothing about in each others' school servers

2. Staying in the main mailing list will force all of us (yes, me too) to
write postings that are in "plain english" with examples that are "clear".
Participants should force those of us who take refuge in acronyms to rewrite
and rewrite until what we do is understood by everyone in the list. 

3. This is an invaluable educational opportunity for all of us to finally
crystallize our various understandings of the acronyms invoked.

4. those less confident will soon realize that those who seem confident make as many if
not more mistakes than themselves  (for example, in my school_identification
URL, I had broken XML syntax and the https does not work for those without
proper browsers, so it now works at

(you need to use "view source" if using mozilla broswers)


1. there will be many frustrating postings where the URLs don't work or the
language is not plain english enough.  


p.s. of course I don't mind switching to a smaller list (hopefully not just
Steve and I) ... it is just that in years of doing this, I find the main
problem is that we hardly have a chance to establish a practical
conversation before (i feel like) we get shoo-shoo-ed into a corner of the
room for nerds.  This stuff is too important to be left only in the hands of
apparent experts; I want to help empower all of us with the right attitude 
and approach.