ePortfolio export and interoperability mini-project

Ruby code sample

Is anyone else thinking about how to support getting stuff out of D2L ePortfolio?

This may be a niche consideration but I’m wondering about how we support users who want to be able to get back anything which they’ve created or added to their ePortfolio but¬†might not want to use MyDesire2Learn after graduation.

The current export options offer a D2L ePortfolio xml package of any and all content or an html site of a given presentation artifact.

The html site/ presentation is one way to get content out of an ePortfolio but I’m wondering if for some users that just gives them a fixed view of content. Last semester I had student worker who I could borrow spend a little time exploring either export option to transform them to a flat text file and folder of content. We had reasonable results but the code was in [working] beta when they graduated. The java code is now sitting on the shelf [edit: I should note that they did a great job and its shelved state is due to the shift in programmer and my resulting choice to explore Valance rather than further develop the java code – RJR].

This year I was able to secure a grant from the student technology fee fund to hire a student developer to work on this problem. Given the development of D2L’s valence api and its apparent extensive support for ePortfolio we’re looking into using that rather than the export options to provide a possibly smoother user experience for this.

The project has kicked off with helping the developer up to speed with ‘hackery’ and with using ‘api’s. I’m using ‘hackery’ to denote finding stuff other people have done and trying to adapt and fuse it together rather than coding from scratch or understanding how to write every line (follow every line – yes). Thankfully with a combination of code academy and Martin Hawksey’s excellent practice of blogging his development work they’ve had some success with Twitter’s api and are ready to move onto D2L’s valence api and talk with David Hietpas (a developer in UWO’s library who has been using valence to integrate a information literacy tool and game).

Anyone else thinking about this or developing a script or program around this?

I’m thinking that for export options it might be interesting to look into mapping to Google Sites if there’s an import option. I’m also wondering about a flat file manifest web page with LRMI embedded (and probably beyond current resourcing –¬†LEAP2A or the like. Leap2A (http://www.leapspecs.org/2A/) seems to be one of the few specifications for ePortfolio interoperability and it seems to have some use but not aware of much use of it in North America. Has anyone using D2L explored this?



  1. In response to a discussion on twitter I should follow up with a clarification. This is definitely we have this much time how much can we do project anything beyond trying to improve the basic export is bonus. In that context LRMI and more generally schema.org or DC are possibilities to enhance an exported webpage or site. In part what we can do with these will come down to time and the information we might usefully extract. LRMI isn’t going to fit with all of the portfolio stuff in question but I’ve been working recently on a couple of portfolios summarizing courses research outputs. That’s type of item is the context were I would want to explore possible value in LRMI here if we have time.


  2. Hi John, thanks for mentioning Leap2A again. You may remember we did do a little work with D2L back in the days of persuading people to adopt Leap2A, but it there were definite problems with incompatible information models. I’d be happy to look again if you can find out what their information model currently is — and of course, people, to find out pragmatic semantics you don’t just look at the label of a database field, you look at what is actually put in there in practice.

    Increasingly, what we’re looking at now is an opportunity to bring Leap2A up to date, and further simplify it, bearing in mind the related but different xAPI and Mozilla Open Badges. I’m up for collaborating towards this end — would D2L be interested?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s