CEC Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Information Systems (DCIS)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Timothy J Ellis

Committee Member

Maxine S Cohen

Committee Member

Francisco Mitropoulos

Abstract

An interoperability gap exists between Learning Management Systems (LMSs) and Learning Object Repositories (LORs). Learning Objects (LOs) and the associated Learning Object Metadata (LOM) that is stored within LORs adhere to a variety of LOM standards. A common LOM standard found in LORs is the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) Content Aggregation Model (CAM). In contrast, LMSs are independent computer systems that manage and deliver course content to students via a web interface. This research addressed three important issues related to the interoperability gap: (a) a lack of a metadata standard that defined the format of how student assessment data should be communicated from LMSs to LORs, (b) a lack of an architectural standard for the movement of data from LMSs to LORs, and (c) a lack of middleware that facilitated the movement of the student assessment data from the LMSs to LORs. This research achieved the following objectives: (a) the SCORM CAM LOM standard was extended to facilitate the storage of student assessment data, (b) Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) was identified as the best architecture to resolve the interoperability gap between LMSs and LORs, (c) a panel of Computer Information Systems (CIS) experts participated in a five-stage, web-based, anonymous Delphi process that approved and ranked 28 functional requirements for a proposed middleware application, and (d) the functional requirements were verified via the development of a prototype that transferred student assessment data from a LMSs into the LOM of LOs that are stored within a LOR. In conclusion, the research demonstrated that there are three acceptable approaches to extending the SCORM LOM standard: (a) new metadata elements, (b) new vocabulary values, and (c) the reference of an internal or external XML file using a location element. The main accomplishments of the research were the gathering of SOA functional requirements and the development of a prototype that provided an approach for the resolution of the interoperability gap that exists between LMSs and LORs.

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