Friday, December 21, 2007

Current Project: Knowledge Mapping, Ontologies and Visualization

With some downtime between academic semesters I'm working on a couple of cool things for CTLT. First off, we are in the process of identifying business cases for modeling SharePoint into a service more conducive for student, faculty and staff e-Portfolios. The work is a bit mundane, but getting an opportunity to identify the various pieces we need to make SharePoint work for us and thereby potentially influence the face of SharePoint as it enters into the academic world is pretty interesting.

The other project is one that I have initiated with some very enthusiastic encouragement from Jayme and Theron at CTLT. Though they have certain things they want that are a bit different than I want, it is glaringly obvious that there is so much overlap between our interests that we have to be working together.

Essentially, I'm building a prototype knowledge mapping application that can let users map the knowledge components of their SharePoint mySites. The prototype should also enable multiple users to collaboratively map their own shared knowledge in a real-time environment and save that map for further reflection, refinement and comment. Along with mapping knowledge pieces, users can add semantic relationships between knowledge that will result in a community built ontology.

Along with this basic application Jayme is very keen on being able to show how learning objectives and outcomes change over time, and it would be interesting to see if this can be automated using SharePoint's web-services to query document and list libraries and then output changes visually based upon some, yet to be determined criteria.

Though, we are still trying to define some of these things, I think by getting the basic mapping application functioning over the holidays we can come back next semester and begin defining more specifically what we want to do and then start extending and enriching the application.

Oh BTW, for the prototype I'm using PHP and SVG. Once I get it working to a level where it isn't to embarrassing to show my sloppy coding skills, I'll post a link for users to test it out and play around.

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