Instructional Management Systems (IMS)

Prepared by Jim Petch

The Instructional Management Systems Project (IMS) ( represents a consortium of government, academic and commercial organizations who are developing a set of specifications and prototype software for facilitating the growth and viability of distributed learning on the Internet. It was acknowledged by the meeting participants that any development in interoperable education in the GIS field should probably work within the IMS model since it appears to be the dominant model in higher education and one with which major educational institutions in North America and Europe are already aligning themselves. The IMS project provided a focus to much of the discussion of the meeting and set out most of the issues which must be addressed.
There are two main areas of work in IMS: the provision of a set of standards which will be published under IEEE and the testing of the standards and the delivery mechanisms through a prototype. Both areas are under way and parts of the standards are published in draft.
There are five main areas in which the project team is developing specifications and building prototype code:

As well as briefly describing these basic components, Mark Resmer, IMS Project Director, also commented on how IMS addresses a number of the areas of concern earlier identified at the meeting:: The group recognized that effective adoption of IMS standards and procedures within the GIS community requires an understanding of how these issues map on to experience and materials in the area of GIS education. Resmer identified several aspects of the GIS education community's concerns that may necessitate special attention:
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