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Re: Schemas [for educational courses]

From: Aaron Bradley <aaranged@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 2 Nov 2012 07:44:27 -0700 (PDT)
To: lrmi@googlegroups.com
Cc: public-vocabs@w3.org, phil.barker@hw.ac.uk
Message-Id: <b95cfe9c-f2f5-42de-8908-fd1a9e745b47@googlegroups.com>
Thanks for this Phil.

In regard to schema.org/EducationEvent (and relevant Event properties) I've 
worked extensively with this in regard to educational courses, and while 
some aspects of the Type work for what we would normally call "courses" 
most do not.

For time-bound brick-and-mortar courses yes, many Event properties come 
into play.  It covers off presenters, but the actual property is 
"Performer," for what's that worth.  "duration," "startDate" and endDate" 
have obviously applicability, as does "location."  These are the most 
useful EducationEvent properties that can be applied to courses, though as 
the "performer" property and others of the Type imply, EducationEvent was 
clearly framed with things like seminars and conferences, rather than 
structured courses of instruction.

For online courses, currently EducationEvent simply doesn't work because of 
those time restrictions.  Parsers complain about the lack of a startDate or 
endDate, which obviously don't come into play for self-paced instruction.

Conspicuously absent from EducationEvent and any other Type are:

- The responsible, accrediting or sponsoring organization - applicable to 
online and brick-and-mortar courses.  If a course is available from the 
University of Washington there should be a way of encoding that as well as 
the instructor (properties for the organization itself are well-covered by 
EducationalOrganization).

- Prerequisites - applicable to online and brick-and-mortar courses, and 
very common.  Obviously there would need to be a "course" property to which 
this would refer (this is an example of why I think properties of 
EducationEvent can be incorporated, but a new type is really required - 
that one event would be a prerequisite for another event is a stretch).

- Credits earned, credit type and accrediting organization or body.  From 
what I know of educationalAlignment I don't think it's capable of doing the 
job here.

- Course material (textbooks, etc.). Obviously LMRI has this well covered. 
:)

Regarding course authors, I think this is obviously covered off by "author" 
in CreativeWork, and is flexible because it can reference persons and/or 
organizations.  A note, in reference to your discussion of presenters, 
performers and organizers, Phil, that there are a number of entities that 
play a role in courses, and that defining these in the context of a 
"course" is required - that is to say, absolutely let's reuse vocabulary 
items where they're a good or close match, but use new properties where 
they're required.  Including some entities that I've already mentioned, 
here are entities that can come into play in regard to an course (which in 
most cases can be persons or organizations in each case).
- Author
- Presenter
- Organizer
- Affiliated (or sponsoring, or accrediting) organization
- Publisher

Again, thanks for restarting this conversation Phil!

On Thursday, November 1, 2012 2:41:58 AM UTC-7, Phil Barker wrote:
>
>
> Hello. Yes, I agree there is currently a gap in schema.org for 
> educational courses. 
>
> Aaron, thanks for mentioning LRMI (though actually ExercisePlan is from 
> elsewhere). Yes that will add properties to schema.org for the 
> description of the educational properties of resources. The intention is 
> that the properties LRMI comes up[1] with will be added to schema.org 
> Creative Works and Events. I'll leave you to decide which best describes 
> the courses you deal with :) 
>
> So looking at Justin's list (noting that he mentions duration and so 
> thinking of it as an event, indeed http://schema.org/EducationEvent ): 
>
> For Course Name use name from schema.org/thing 
> For Course Length use duration from schema.org/Event 
> For Learning Objective use educationalAlignment from LRMI with an 
> alignment type of "teaches" 
>
> For Certificate possibly use educationalAlignment from LRMI with 
> suitable alignment type 
>
> I'm not familiar with CEU values, but it looks like a framework from 
> describing the educational credit associated with a course, in which 
> case educationalAlignment could be used. 
>
> Course author, this could be performer from schema.org/Event (which 
> covers presenters), but I think it is odd that there is no Event 
> property for a generic "organizer" which would cover some other aspects 
> of course author (such as what we mean when we say that something is an 
> MIT course). Alternatively you could use the additionalType property to 
> bring in properties from schema.org/CreativeWork such as author, 
> creator, provider. 
>
> Anyway, I suggest it would be interesting to do some work to find out 
> how much of the gap in schema.org regarding educational events is can be 
> filled using existing properties (including well developed proposals 
> such as LRMI), and what new properties or changes would be desirable. 
>
> Phil 
> (cc LRMI discussion list,  <lr...@googlegroups.com <javascript:>>) 
>
>
> 1. The proposed properties from LRMI are available at 
> http://www.w3.org/wiki/WebSchemas/LearningResources 
>
>
> On 31/10/2012 19:11, Aaron Bradley wrote: 
> > Justin, some time ago I noticed that same lack of vocabulary coverage 
> and opened a conversation on building out an extension for online courses. 
>  This conversation fizzled, so I'm glad you've raised the issue again. 
> > 
> > That there are (evolving) schemas with seemingly "obscure" items like 
> ExercisePlan is due in large part to the excellent work of the Learning 
> Resource Metadata Initiative [1], lead by the Association of Educational 
> Publishers and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the 
> William and Flora Hewlett Foundation [2]. 
> > 
> > This highlights the fact that the best route to building accepted 
> extensions is through formal collaborative vocabulary featuring key players 
> in the industry to which an extension applies (the same principle is true 
> of the health and medical vocabulary that has been integrated into 
> schema.org [3]). 
> > 
> > It seems to me the - especially with the rapidly rising popularity of 
> MOOC [4] initiatives like Coursea [5] - that this is perfect time to bring 
> together elearning professionals to collaboratively to work on a metadata 
> initiative along the lines of LMRI for online courses and related aspects 
> of distance education (with the added benefit - as per the principle of 
> vocabulary reuse is a good thing) that such an initiative can in part build 
> on LMRI work where it is relevant). 
> > 
> > 
> > I haven't had the time to take much of a organizational role here, but I 
> invite you and any other list members involved in online education to 
> contact me directly if the will exists to work on such a collaborative 
> vocabulary-building initiative. 
> > 
> > 
> > Thanks, 
> > Aaron Bradley 
> > 
> > 
> > [1] http://www.lrmi.net/ 
> > 
> > [2] http://www.lrmi.net/about 
> > [3] 
> http://blog.schema.org/2012/06/health-and-medical-vocabulary-for.html 
> > [4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_open_online_course 
> > [5] https://www.coursera.org/ 
> > 
> > 
> > ----- Original Message ----- 
> >> From: Justin Leoni <jus...@nextknowledge.com <javascript:>> 
> >> To: public...@w3.org <javascript:> 
> >> Cc: 
> >> Sent: Monday, October 29, 2012 8:18:27 AM 
> >> Subject: Schemas 
> >> 
> >> T o whom it may concern, 
> >> 
> >> With the constant evolution in Internet technologies and the need now 
> for a 
> >> schema based layout for better results when dealing with organic 
> searches.  I 
> >> find it hard to believe that there is no schema for online courses / 
> training. 
> >> 
> >> There are 1000's of schema provided for obscure things like 
> ExercisePlan but 
> >> not for an educational unit.  This should contain things like. 
> >> 
> >> Course Name 
> >> Course Length 
> >> Course Description 
> >> Learning Objective 
> >> CEU Value 
> >> Course Author 
> >> Certificate 
> >> 
> >> Etc. 
> >> 
> >> Justin Leoni 
> >> 
>
>
> -- 
> <http://www.icbl.hw.ac.uk/~philb/> 
>
>
>
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Received on Saturday, 3 November 2012 22:45:12 GMT

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