If you’ve ever tried to export a course from an existing CMS in a ‘specifications-‘compliant format you’ll know that currently the best you can likely do is get the content as IMS Content Packages and hopefully the quizzes separately in IMS QTI format. Leaving the rest of the course (discussion forums, assignments, etc) embedded in the original location and needing to be recreated from scratch.
IMS COmmon Cartridge, recently demonstrated in action between Angel, Sakai, Blackboard and WebCT at the Alt-i-lab 2006 sessions, is the attempt to remedy this problem, to create a common standard for full course import and export between CMS and useful to publishers.
Above you can see a short video describing its promise and the effort that went in around it, and you can find out more about it on the IMS Working Group page. It is a worthy problem to solve because IMS CP just doesn’t do the full job. Let’s hope some lessons have been learned over the subsequent years since its advent and the support for Common Cartridge is more, let’s say, even, than it has been for IMS CP. – SWL