It is not yet ultimate, but I have chosen to write my bachelor thesis about using COLLADA in XNA to display animated models. The topic has not yet been approved, though. I’m left to wait for my professor to decide.
Under the assumption that I actually will be able to write about this topic, I started playing around a bit. After at least two days of work I got my first custom model class running. I wrote a ContentPipelineExtension for loading COLLADA models. Right now only meshes and mesh parts with position, texture coordinate, normal and tangent information are imported and displayed. Material and effect definitions are also not yet imported.
Tonight I reached the first milestone: Loading the geometrie with above mentioned properties. For testing I assigned the correct material manually in the render code. In future, of course, the materials shall be imported and loaded automatically.
Support for skinned mesh animation is planned. But right now I got to improve the current version.