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This project is funded by
CANARIE Inc. - Learning Program

Adaptive Technology Resource Centre
Web site hosted by the
Adaptive Technology Resource Centre

Project Status

Progress Report
January 1, 2004

IMS Deliverables

As previously reported TILE activities are dependent on the finalization or extensions of several IMS specifications. By embedding the TILE innovations into these international standards the impact of TILE will be much more far reaching, ensuring that all IMS compliant technologies worldwide will be more accessible. The TILE authoring tools and repository service is dependent on the proposed Metadata extension.

The proposed Metadata extension to IEEE LOM and Dublin Core will not be completed within the timeline of the TILE project. As there is no opportunity to extend the project TILE will finalize the tools with the draft extension as proposed to the IMS working group (by the TILE project). As soon as the project received word from CANARIE that there is no opportunity for extension the ATRC began finalizing the tools using the draft extension.

Repository Service Web Interface

During the last quarter of 2003, the Repository Services Web Interface has neared completion:

  • the Alternate Content selection algorithm is complete, and is undergoing testing;
  • the set of metadata fields that can be searched has been expanded, and searching can be refined by resource type;
  • learner sessions can be saved, so that status of progress through a Content Package can be restored on subsequent visits; and
  • the user interface has undergone several cycles of iterative evaluation and development.

The RSWI will undergo one final round of evaluation before completion.

Authoring Tool

The Authoring Tool completion with the draft Metadata specification began in earnest in the end of December following notification by CANARIE. Specifically, we have implemented:

  • resource uploading;
  • definition of learning objectives;
  • assignment of resources to objectives;
  • specification of alternative resources; and
  • collection of metadata (partially complete).

The user interface for this functionality has been implemented as a form of ‘wizard’ that allows the author to progress through these stages in an intuitive manner, as well as being able to return to earlier states to modify or add information. This interface is integrated into the TILE website, and is accessible by logging in as a registered author.

Preference Wizard for TILE

The Preference Wizard was completed. Iterative testing resulted in rewording and restructuring of default queries.

Authoring Tool Support for Accessibility

The beta version of the accessibility checker is complete and we will be starting user testing of the software. There are currently 25 accessibility checks that are implemented and we are rapidly adding more. The system supports multiple accessibility guidelines and we have completed draft versions of Section 508 and the pending WCAG 2 HTML guidelines. Users can now log in to the system to make decisions regarding potential accessibility problems in their files.

Query Protocol Adapter for TILE

This deliverable is dependent on collaboration with other CANARIE funded repository projects. Discussions have begun regarding communication and exchange of content packages with the Edusource project.

Conduct a Community Kitchen Event in the Maritimes

A TILE Potluck and Community Kitchen event was successfully conducted in Fredericton. A summary of the event can be found at: /tile/potluck3/index.html.

Complete ABEL implementation of Barrierfree Tools

Modification of the Barrierfree Tools for the ABEL project was completed. The Barrierfree Tools are now available on the ABEL server for implementation by the ABEL partner schools. IP permissions and associated issues were successfully resolved.


Content completion was delayed in anticipation of a finalized Metadata specification. Following notification by CANARIE, content partners have begun to finalize the content Metadata using the draft specification. The following is a synopsis of the progress made by various partners during Q4 2003 with respect to the provision of content for the TILE project:

Transitional Year Program (TYP) Content

Work continued on Cancore Metadata (with extensions) mark up for this content. We have begun experimenting with IMS packaging and sequencing, and have loaded the content into WebCT for use by TYP programs.

National Adult Literacy Database (NALD)

As reported earlier, Cancore Metadata (with extensions) templates have been constructed for this content, and some Metadata has been assembled. IMS packaging has been started.

Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement (CERIS)

Cancore Metadata (with extensions) has been constructed/assembled for some CERIS content. An initial IMS packaging sequence has been selected, with further work to come based on the extensive content under discussion.

Frontier College

Frontier College’s Literacy Tutor Guide has been digitized for inclusion into the TILE repository. Work on Metadata preparation for this content has begun, which will enable Frontier College’s valuable literacy resource to be fully integrated into the TILE repository once it is completed.



The tools group has reviewed the detailed Cancore Metadata (with extensions) prepared for TILE content from Joe Clark’s book on Accessibility to determine strategies to take advantage of the highly granular detail provided.

Community Access and Technology

Content for the thirteen-week course on Community Access and Technology, is being formatted for implementation using IMS Content Packaging Metadata (with extensions). This will allow for seamless integration into the TILE repository environment. Prototype IMS Content Package metadata has been prepared and tested. Meetings occurred between staff at the ATRC and staff at Ryerson who are involved in Cancore Metadata (with extensions) preparation using the template the ATRC has provided.


Authoring of content has been started for the final SNOW workshop module on the topic of the rich media and presentation of alternative formats using emerging technologies. Testing has been completed for use of IMS Content Packaging to ensure interoperability between the current SNOW courseware tool, ATutor, and the TILE repository. Planning and development of strategies for reuse of content from other partners has occurred.

Canadian Learning Television (CLT)

Communications with Canadian Learning Television on the topic of intellectual property rights and the use of commercially available streamed videos for e-learning has continued. Work in this area is challenging, as current standards of practice within the educational video market are somewhat incompatible with the notions of reusability and unlimited access inherent in learning object repositories. CLT and the ATRC have examined several models of intellectual property management (within an online environment) including MIT’s Open Courseware model, and that of Alberta’s CAREO project, in an effort to draft a policy which addresses the TILE project’s need for versatility while still providing content developers with IP security. The ATRC will continue to work with CLT on addressing video intellectual property rights through development of an appropriate IP policy for video-based content.

Digital Frog International (DFI)

Since October of 2003 Digital Frog International’s Science Matrix has been available for free download from DFI’s web site. Since then, Science Matrix has been downloaded more than 2000 times by educators and students interested in science based e-content.
In December 2003, DFI was presented with a World Summit Award for the Best in E-Content for their Science Matrix module The Cell, developed for use in the TILE repository. The prestigious award was presented to DFI at a gala in Geneva in early December as part of the World Summit on the Information Society 2003. This award speaks to the high degree of innovation and creativity inherent in DFI’s e-content, and recognizes them as a world leader in this field. More information about this award can be found at http://www.europrix.org/wsis-award/
Some development problems were encountered by DFI in the last quarter, including some bugs in third party software they have been using to develop the content for Science Matrix, but they have largely been resolved and development work continues. The next module to be released for Science Matrix will be the Assessment module. This second module is intended to provide teachers with the tools to customise any one of four assessment templates, including multiple choice, short answer, matching, and fill in the blanks formats for use with DFI’s digital content. This module will enable teachers to design their own assessments for students to undertake when evaluating content they have learned from DFI’s Science Matrix.

A third Science Matrix module is expected shortly, and will address the links between the historical development of the technology used to view cells and the increased understanding of cell structure imparted by those technological advancements.

Complete TV program on the topic of TILE

CLT has completed a half hour documentary on TILE and the TILE Potlucks. This program has been aired several times on CLT.

Archived Progress Reports