EDUPUB: Bridging Gaps In The Education Ecosystem
In today’s era of changing education paradigms where teaching and learning both demand a leap to next level, technology provides a lot of indulgences to make that happen. The only need is to make the learning more comprehensive and teaching more effective. Many techniques have been created around the content that enable learning in a way where students leverage the capabilities of a digital content accessing it online or offline through eBook readers and teachers get a new style of educating through quizzes, assessments, videos, and interactivities embedded inside an eBook itself. In the past years the ePub profile, especially ePub3, has done a lot to continuously evolve this landscape. Enabling HTML5 support in eBooks was a great drive for interactive learning, but it had something that lacked; i.e. defining standards. Enabling HTML5 support in ePub3 had put most of the interactive commodities in the book to the disposal of HTML5 standards, and the idea of defining the standards was completely lost. There are several ways in which one can create a rich interactive content with videos, audio, interactivities, assessments, widgets, etc., but what are the standards? Defining standards always help to enable the end to end learning ecosystem to a step ahead (with the purpose of both creating content and using it). Let us take a look at EDUPUB, a new ePub3 profile that adds standards to ePub3 so it can be used for advanced learning.
The Need For EDUPUB
EDUPUB is not a new file format; its purpose is to optimize the learning and teaching experience by adding some specifications to ePub3 content for better interoperability and optimization.
Due to the lack of standards for creating a good interactive content, the readers also lacked in displaying that. The rationale behind the EDUPUB profile was not to create a new file format like ePub3, but to define some guidelines that include the following:
- Taking advantage of web standards that include CSS3 and HTML5.
- Creating content which is semantically structured and relevant for education.
- Optimize and focus more on metadata.
- Creating highly accessible and distributable content.
- Supporting an authoring structure with useful education data.
The EDUPUB Profile
You can consider EDUPUB as a part of ePub, and not a separate entity. An EDUPUB file is an EPUB3 file, having the same file extension as “.epub”. EDUPUB is an implementation profile of ePub3 that is developed to cater some specific requirements for creating a standard ePub for education. Publishers have a choice to take up different sections, like building configurations over scriptable objects of the profile that suits best to their content meeting business needs. In general, EDUPUB is an ePub3 validated as per IDPF standards that also includes some additional guidelines. The part that I liked most was that the profile allows for creating copies of the same content for students and teachers, differing on the base of annotations and tagging. This way, teachers can have their own edition that includes tags, marks, or a guide that provides instructions and guidance on the curriculum. Basically, the teachers’ edition is a superset of the work the students are using (read the latest EDUPUB specs here).
The goal of EDUPUB is for rich, high-quality content to be persistent, scalable, discoverable, manageable, reproducible, accessible, and easily available from particular platforms. The metadata have been defined for accessibility, distributable objects, assessments, and widgets options for better optimization and standardization. The profile also talks about and provides guidelines for the major missing part of the standards that are LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability) and QTI (Question and Test Interoperability).
The profile has made a significant achievement. This is certainly the next level for eBook publishing and defining new education standards. The wait is only on how fast it will get adopted; not only on the creation part, but also on the rendering part. As per my view, EDUPUB is ready to support the future of learning.