Conference Close-up: Technical Standards and Questionmark’s Open Assessment Platform

Posted by Joan Phaup

The program for the  Questionmark Users Conference is full of informative sessions about everything from item and tests analysis analytics to techniques for writing assessments measure skill and ability as well as knowledge. Questionmark Intetegration Team Lead Steve Lay will conduct a session on Technical Standards and Questionmark’s Open Assessment Platform.

Q: What’s your role at Questionmark?

Steve Lay

A: I’m the Integration Team Lead, so I look after all aspects of the product  concerned with integrating Questionmark with other systems — both within an organization and over the Internet.  I am Product Owner for our Connector products, which enable integrations of Questionmark Perception with other key systems such as Sharepoint Portal Server, Blackboard, Moodle and others. And I am heading our Open Assessment Platform Initiative.

Q: You just mentioned the Open Assessment Platform. How would you describe that?

A: We’re creating a software platform as a way of making Questionmark the perfect complement to other systems people have within their organizations. We are documenting, in an open way, how you can interact with Questionmark software at both the Web service and Web development level to make integration projects go smoothly and easily.

Q: What standards will you be discussing during your Best Practices session?

A:  I am going to be talking about some of the standards in development now that we are are looking at as having the potential for support in the future.  The IMS Global Learning Consortium, for example, are in the process of publishing an interesting specification about how learning tools can be put together – learning tools interoperability.  I will also be talking about standards for exchanging data about people, IMS Learning Information Services and specifications from HR-XML — and the possibilities they open up for synchronizing people and organizational information with Perception. I’m also be going to talk about some of the more generic standards that might be having an impact on us too, such as XHTML 5 and the emerging standards for authentication and authorization such as OpenID and OAuth.  And of course, I’ll be touching on SCORM, too, although I will also be co-facilitating a separate discussion devoted entirely to the future of SCORM with Daniel Rehak from Advanced Distributed Learning.

Q: How do you see people using the information they learn in your session?

A: I hope people get a deeper understanding of what’s happening in some of these developments and take that back into their own organizations in order to figure out the impact the standards will have on them. As well as providing feedback to Questionmark, I’d like them to feel able to talk about their requirements with all their suppliers and understand how they can influence the ongoing standards process. I hope people take a way more than just the acronyms and what they stand for – I’d like them to get some ideas about how they might start conversations within their own organizations to help them prepare for future adoption.

Q:  What are you looking forward to most at the conference?

A: Of course, like every Product Owner, I’m looking forward to meeting all the new and returning customers!  It will be good opportunity to talk in a little more depth with people about integration issues, how they are thinking of using the new version of Perception and what opportunities our Open Assessment Platform presents. I have to add that I’m looking forward to a bit of sunshine as well!

Learn more about the many  conference activities by visiting www.questionmark.com/go/conference. And register soon to attend the conference, which will take place March 14 – 17 in Miami.

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