Conference Close-up: Options for Integrating with Questionmark Perception

Posted by Jane Townsend

I’m pleased that Steve Lay, Questionmark’s Integration Team Lead, will be with us at the Questionmark European Users Conference in Brussels to talk about various ways to integrate Questionmark Perception with other systems.

Steve’s presentation will focus on using QMWISe (Questionmark Web Integrated Services Environment) to integrate with Questionmark Perception.

Steve Lay

I asked him for a few details about his subject:

What are the key methods for integrating Questionmark Perception with other systems?

The first and simplest is something we call PIP – Perception Integration Protocol. This enables people to create special web links that in turn allow participants to go straight in to launch and take a test. We can even include things like single sign-on in this type of integration.

The second is to use package standards — such as SCORM or AICC – which internally build on the PIP protocol and provide a standards-based approach to integrating with learning content.

Our other method of integration, called QMWISe (Questionmark Web Integrated Services Environment), is a web services-based integration. You have to be a programmer to work with QMWISe, but the reward is a much more powerful integration, for example the synchronization of people information with Perception. You get many more options with this method, which more than compensates for the extra work needed at the programming stage.

Could you tell me more about the more powerful integrations that QMWISe makes possible?

With QMWISe, you can automatically schedule assessments to people and manage other aspects of the assessment process in a variety of ways. It can be used in a portal to integrate user data and for single sign-on: you can then connect straight through from the portal to Perception. It enables the synchronization of people information from, say, HR systems or student information systems:  in particular you might track changes to the people information held in these external systems. Custom programs can then push these changes through QMWISe to Perception.

The QMWISe method also enables users to develop deeper connections to LMSs. This is the technology we use in our Connectors such as the integrations with the SAP Learning System and Blackboard.

How are customers using QMWISe at the moment?

Perhaps the most popular way we are seeing customers use QMWISE is to integrate something like an external portal with Perception. This could be something like a Learning Management System (LMS) or a company portal. They typically provide single sign-on and show information about assessments that are available. They often find that this can be done more easily than they think by using QMWISe. Customers often use QMWISe to synchronize people information, as I mentioned before.

Who will benefit from attending your presentation?

In my opinion anybody who is thinking of doing integration with Perception will benefit. They’ll have the opportunity to find out what the options are, although we’ll be looking at web services integration in particular. People interested in deeper integration will benefit the most from the presentation. We’ll show a couple of typical applications to get things started. So if you’re using one of these common applications you’ll find something you can identify with and may even get to take home some recipes you can work with.

We hope you will be able to join us at the conference from 9 to 11 October. Click here to register.

Introducing Community Releases: Connecting Perception to Blackboard 9

steve-smallPosted by Steve Lay

As readers of this blog will know, QMWISe is the name given to the set of web-services provided by Questionmark for integrating third-party applications with the Perception assessment management system. Used in conjunction with the Perception Integration Protocol (PIP), QMWISe is the starting point for developing connectors that integrate Perception with other applications like learning management systems.

The scope of QMWISe has grown over the years as John Kleeman reported in “Seven years of web services for easier integration”.  With over 100 methods to choose from, knowing which methods are best for your integration project can be a challenge.

Developers often work best by copying real examples of an interface in action.  It makes perfect sense for us to release the code for the connectors we develop ourselves in source code form to help supplement the simpler code examples available in the reference guide.

So I’m pleased to announce that we now have a new connector to integrate Perception with Blackboard Learn 9 and that this connector is available as a Community Edition under an open source license. The connector is a Blackboard building block and uses QMWISe and PIP to allow Perception tests to be scheduled within Blackboard courses.

The motto of the open source community is “release early, release often” and we’re capturing that spirit with the concept of a Community Edition.  A Community Edition is an important milestone on the way to developing full support for an integration product, however, it doesn’t represent supported software itself!  The Community Editions are aimed at a more technical audience who want to test out the latest version of the software before it is available as a supported release from the Questionmark website. We’ll be making updated versions of Community Edition software available on a regular basis as the development projects that underpin them progress.

The new Blackboard connector is not just available free of charge under an open source license. We’re also opening up the development process itself by hosting the project at OSCELOT, a community of developers dedicated to creating and maintaining open source software in the e-Learning community.  You can see how the project is progressing and download the latest version yourself from the Blackboard Connector page on our new developer support site.

And we’re not going to stop at Blackboard!  Look out for Community Editions of other integration connectors coming soon….