[Elsnet-list] CFP - FOIS 2010 workshop on Ontology Education

Nathalie Aussenac-Gilles aussenac at irit.fr
Wed Jan 20 10:48:21 CET 2010

                         F O I S   2 0 1 0

                  Workshop on Ontology Education

                       CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS

The Sixth International Conference on Formal Ontology in Information Systems (FOIS 2010) will be held in Toronto, Canada, during 11th-14th May 2010 (http://fois2010.mie.utoronto.ca/). It is proposed to hold a workshop at the conference on the theme of educational activities related to Ontology, as part of the educational mission of the International Association for Ontology and its Applications (IAOA - http://www.iaoa.org/).

Although Ontology has venerable roots in ancient philosophy, the modern development and application of formal ontology in the context of information systems and the world-wide web is a relatively new field, and as such it is not yet well established in higher education; there are few curricula dedicated to it, and no textbook available. In order to promote the engagement of educators with the subject of ontology, a number of activities have been suggested:

1. To maintain a database of existing courses and modules that contain ontological content.   

2. To make recommendations for a set of standard "benchmark" curricula covering all aspects of ontology, to serve as a guideline for course developers.  

3. To create a library of resources (e.g., research papers, tutorial material, example ontologies, tools) for use by teachers.  

4. To maintain a set of links to existing on-line resources as well as a bibliography of relevant printed material.  

5. To establish an internet forum for the discussion of relevant issues.  

6. To provide financial support for PhD students to attend events endorsed by the IAOA.  

7. To organise summer schools, independently or in association with other initiatives. 

8. To compile a textbook on ontology to be endorsed by the IAOA.

(These were the activities suggested at the IAOA panel session Ontolog conference call on 18th June 2009 - see http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?ConferenceCall_2009_06_18.)

In addition to these, a suggestion has been made that the IAOA can play a role as an accrediting body for ontology education, with the ability to confer a title such as "Professional Ontologist" on graduates from accredited courses. (For some discussion on this, see the Ontolog Conference call relating to OntologySummit2010 at http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?ConferenceCall_2009_11_05.)

Some first steps towards initiating some of these activities have now been taken as part of the Ontology Summit 2010 (http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?OntologySummit2010), whose theme is "Creating the Ontologists of the Future". This is an ongoing sequence of conference calls and other activities which will culminate in a face-to-face meeting at Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA on 15-16th March. The FOIS 2010 Workshop on Ontology Education is intended to provide the opportunity to complement and further develop key themes from the Ontology Summit. The plan of the workshop has not yet been finalised and we would welcome suggestions from the community to supplement the activities proposed below. Our initial ideas are that the workshop should include the following sessions:

1. Ontology Summit retrospect. We will invite key players from the summit to summarise what was achieved.

1. Talks. We would welcome talks from people who have given courses or modules on ontology to tell us about their experiences.

2. Panel session to consider such questions as
   (a) What is the market for ontology courses?
   (b) What should be the balance between theory, applications, tools?
   (c) To what extent are the topics already covered by other courses?

3. Brainstorming session, with break-out groups tasked with devising a "standard syllabus" for teaching ontology, and a plenary session to bring it all together.

4. Exhibition of course materials. People who currently teach ontology courses will be invited to submit posters containing samples (or summaries) of teaching materials for discussion, with a view to agreeing on examples of good practice to be disseminated to the community.

As an end product of the workshop we would like to produce an educational policy document to be endorsed by the IAOA.

If you believe you can contribute to the workshop in any of the ways suggested above, please contact Antony Galton (apgalton at ex.ac.uk) before March 20th 2010, after which a more definite plan for the workshop will be drawn up taking account of the responses received. Contributions will be selected for their quality and the extent to which they can help to ensure a balanced programme covering as many of the workshop goals as possible.

Dr Antony Galton, SECaM, University of Exeter

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