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Schema Course extension Community Group

This mission of this group, initiated by LRMI, is to develop an extension for schema.org concerning the discovery of any type of educational course (online/offline, long/short, scheduled/on-demand). Educational course is defined as "some sequence of events and/or creative works which aims to build the knowledge, competence or ability of learners". (Out of scope: information about students and their progression etc; information needed internally for course management rather than discovery).

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Progress update, September

It’s the end of summer (at least where I am sat that seems very much the case) and there is some good progress to report.

What aspects of a course can we now describe?
As a result of work so far addressing the use cases that we outlined, we now have answers to the following questions about how to describe courses using schema.org:

As with anything in schema.org, many of the answers proposed are not the final word on all the detail required in every case, but they form a solid basis that I think will be adequate in many instances.

What new properties are we proposing?
In short, remarkably few. Many of the aspects of a course can be described in the same way as for other creative works or events. However we did find that we needed to create two new types Course and CourseInstance to identify whether the description related to a course that could be offered at various times or a specific offering or section of that course. We also found the need for three new properties for Course: courseCode, coursePrerequisites and hasCourseInstance; and two new properties for CourseInstance: courseMode and instructor.

There are others under discussion, but I highlight these as proposed because they are being put forward for inclusion in the next release of the schema.org core vocabulary.

showing how Google will display information about courses in a search galleryMore good news:  the Google search gallery documentation for developers already includes information on how to provide the most basic info about Courses. This is where we are going 🙂

Progress update, Feb – mid March

If the forming-storming-norming-performing model of group development still has any currency, then I am pretty sure that February was the “storming” phase. There was a lot of discussion, much of it around the modelling of the basic entities for describing courses and how they relate to core types in schema (the Modelling Course and CourseOffering & Course, a new dawn? threads). Pleased to say that the discussion did its job, and we achieved some sort of consensus (norming) around modelling courses in two parts

Course, a subtype of CreativeWork: A description of an educational course which may be offered as distinct instances at different times and places, or through different media or modes of study. An educational course is a sequence of one or more educational events and/or creative works which aims to build knowledge, competence or ability of learners.

CourseInstance, a subtype of Event: An instance of a Course offered at a specific time and place or through specific media or mode of study or to a specific section of students.

hasCourseInstance, a property of Course with expected range CourseInstance: An offering of the course at a specific time and place or through specific media or mode of study or to a specific section of students.

(see Modelling Course and CourseInstance on the group wiki)

This modelling, especially the subtyping from existing schema.org types allows us to meet many of the requirements arising from the use cases quite simply. For example, the cost of a course instance can be provided using the offers property of schema.org/Event.

The wiki is working to a reasonable extent as a place to record the outcomes of the discussion. Working from the outline use cases page you can see which requirements have pages, and those pages that exist point to the relevant discussion threads in the mail list and, where we have got this far, describe the current solution.  The wiki is also the place to find examples for testing whether the proposed solution can be used to mark up real course information.

As well as the wiki, we have the proposal on github, which can be used to build working test instances on appspot showing the proposed changes to the schema.org site.

The next phase of the work should see us performing, working through the requirements from the use cases and showing how they can be me. I think we should focus first on those that look easy to do with existing properties of schema.org/Event and schema.org/CreativeWork.

Progress update, January

The Schema Course Extension community group was launched in December.  It now has ~30 participants and Phil Barker was chosen as chair. More participants are welcome, In order to join the group, you will need a W3C account (but not full W3C Membership.

During the same period there was active discussion on Github, resulting from a pull request based on an existing proposal. The discussion raised many issues and ideas, but is difficult to follow.

The best way to proceed was discussed in a conference call in January, notes from which are available. In that call it was suggested that discussion be structured around a list of what the extension should enable and examples based on data from real websites. These use case outlines and a short list of example sites from which data can be summarised are now on the group wiki. Hopefully we can knock most of them off one at time fairly quickly.

Call for Participation in Schema Course extension Community Group

The Schema Course extension Community Group has been launched:


This mission of this group, initiated by LRMI, is to develop an extension for schema.org concerning the discovery of any type of educational course (online/offline, long/short, scheduled/on-demand). Educational course is defined as “some sequence of events and/or creative works which aims to build the knowledge, competence or ability of learners”. (Out of scope: information about students and their progression etc; information needed internally for course management rather than discovery).


In order to join the group, you will need a W3C account. Please note, however, that W3C Membership is not required to join a Community Group.

This is a community initiative. This group was originally proposed on 2015-12-10 by Phil Barker. The following people supported its creation: Phil Barker, Dan Brickley, Richard Wallis, Stuart Sutton, Eva Méndez. W3C’s hosting of this group does not imply endorsement of the activities.

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