Xerte Experience Now Improved: Targeting HTML5 (XENITH)
Project Aims and Outputs
Xerte Online Toolkits is a suite of tools in widespread use by teaching staff to create interactive learning materials. This project will develop the functionality for Xerte Online Toolkits to deliver content as HTML5. Xerte Online Toolkits creates and stores content as XML, and uses the Flash Player to present content. There is an increasing need for Xerte Online Toolkits to accommodate a wider range of delivery devices and platforms: iOS is a significant platform in any delivery strategy that will not support the Flash Player. Demand for non-flash content is growing.
The University of Nottingham will lead this project and the development work, with contributions from JISC TechDIS, EDINA and Mimas. Xerte Online Toolkits is an open-source project and has an active community of users and developers who will also contribute. The project has four elements:
the development of a highly usable, highly accessible interface for navigating content on a variety of devices and platforms;
the development of an extensible framework for templates, allowing new templates to easily be
added to the system by developers, extending the functionality;
the provision of a wide range of templates supporting different types of media and interactivity.
input to the JLeRN Experiment.
This project proposes the development of an HTML5 ‘player’ for content authored using Xerte Online Toolkits. This will allow content to be developed for delivery to a much wider range of devices than at present. The new HTML5 runtime will be available alongside the existing Flash-based runtime. Content creators use Xerte Online Toolkits by assembling different types of pages to present different types of media and interactivity. These pages are created from a set of over 60 templates. This project will provide HTML5-based templates for all the suitable templates in the suite (90%), and provide a modular, easily extensible framework for developers to extend the tools with their own templates.
Xerte Online Toolkits is well established in the OER community, and is in use in hundreds of institutions in the UK and around the world. Consequently the impact of the project will be significant. The Xerte Project has strong accessibility credentials, and JISC TechDIS will work with us through this project to develop a new HTML5-based highly accessible interface for navigating the content, and will contribute accessibility best practice and user testing with learners with different access needs. Edina have real-world experiences with HTML5 and can contribute their knowledge and experiences to the project and help get the initial code off the ground quickly. We envisage some initial developer workshops to facilitate this.
Xerte Online Toolkits integrates directly with the Xpert Repository, allowing OER content to be licensed and published very easily. Xpert in turn facilitates discovery through its APIs and shares data with other significant collections of OER around the world. As an adjunct to the main development work, the project will collaborate with the JLeRN Experiment being led by Mimas to explore the publication of metadata/paradata to the Learning Registry.