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Brainstorming on Course format


See Also

What is happening?

Why would it help?

Course entity analysis

There are various attempts to produce an schema or data model for Course information.

In 2005 MACE and the Course Working Group published the first schema for eduCourse. eduCourse was largely centered to an LDAP Schema and the eduPerson efforts. The primary motivation of the Course WG was the access to on-line e-learning materials. (IMHO!)

The UK oriented eXchange of Course-Related Information is geared for course advertising. The XCRI was built thinking about automation of course catalogs and RSS aggregation of course data which are more aligned with the notion of Microformats.

While XCRI and eduCourse are great advances they fall short of providing a standard that is widely supported agreed upon or used. In the absence of a single agreed-upon international standard we should attempt to provide a basic and flexible schema. We should attempt to look at the common denominators from all of these efforts and review the use-cases to identify priorities and needs.


1. Exchange or semantics for course data requires to standardize many properties and enumerations. Its going to be a while before the international community settles on a standard.

There seems to be a clear pattern on what the common elements are among the available standards. The sheer number of course catalog's published online by university helps identify the common need and use.

The Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council has an approved standard for EDI and XML Transcripts which already offers a basic data model for Courses in the academic history. The standards of the PESC are supported by many of the mayor HiEd ERP vendors. (interesting)

The British eXchange of Course-Related Information, is an approved standard which is gaining good visibility among UK schools, even within the PESC.

Normalizing available standards

Comparison of fields supported among standards

1.1. Title
A human-readable title of the course.

1.2. Description
A human-readable description of the course.

1.3. Institution

1.4. Identifier
Course identifier, particular to the university, call-number

1.5. Offering
A unit/class section.

1.6. Credits
Eg Credit hours.

1.7. Level

1.8. Requisites
Registration/Enrollment requirements.

Data offered on courses by admissions agencies

Suggested entities for a microformat

This section attempts to summarize the observations made and the result of a survey of course catalogs, course listings and course information published on the web.

The course itself is used as a "academic activity" that belongs in a "Degree"/"Programe". It is an entity of transcripts and academic history and enrollment offerings.

Common core attributes of a course are:

Course Offering
A course offering is the actual teaching section of a course. A course may have multiple teaching sections.

Common core attributes of a course offering are:

Course Catalog
A listing of courses available at a institution.

An academic program that needs to be completed to earn a degree. Includes courses as requirements.

Existing Microformats

Other microformats approved or in draft that could help a new Course microformat.

All people references must be in hCard. Eg professor.

adr, geo
Location references must use geo and adr. Yet not quite sure if "adr" is suitable because must of the time locations are listed as building and room number.

Seems a perfect candidate for meeting times, yet given that meetings are listed as reoccurring events on particular days and times this may not quite fit.

There is good potential to make course catalogs and course listings a hListing. At first glance this may require to broaden the scope of hListing.

hied-course-brainstorming was last modified: Saturday, August 15th, 2009