365 Days of Openness: A behind the scenes look at the UCT OpenContent Initiative


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The UCT OpenContent project recently celebrated a year of sharing online and open educational materials (OER) from the University of Cape Town. In this presentation we share some of our experiences in leading the initiative, discuss some of the significant events and achievements, and demonstrate how we are using web analytics and social media to enhance experiences for people sharing and accessing online resources.

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  • I often liken OC to a library system, which catalogues and describes the books found within a library. Without a system of search and discovery for all of those books, it would be hard to see what was available from the library.
  • And that is what we found during our initial audit of open resources from UCT. There were many available on the internet, but often they were hard to find, hard to identify as specifically UCT resources, not well described, and not well visible to search engines.
  • So we set out to maintain a collection of UCT open resources. The OC website is meant to index and help curate open and online resources from UCT. I see digital curation as becoming increasingly important as we navigate the information age. I have certainly seen some of the benefits that can come from curating my own digital resources. In an age where people constantly ‘Google’ one another I think it is quite important to associate with the best possible content.
  • Content exists all over the web - from content specific sites like YouTube and Slideshare to ‘repository like’ websites on departmental servers and within Vula. It doesn’t really matter where the materials are hosted as long as they are online, we can simply provide a link to the content on OC.Of course you could just put your content online and simply point people to it using the URL. But…
  • The OpenContent directory allows you to add context to your online resource by adding metadata which describes what it is. This makes it searchable, discoverable, and furthermore makes it part of the UCT collection of open online educational content. I think there is a real benefit, in being part of the collection of open resources we make available from UCT. We share our listings with other international directories, so that people searching all around the world You can submit your link and describe your content, no matter where it is hosted online. This particular resource, originally printed and published in the late 90’s found new life after having a makeover and being shared in the OC directory. The pdf version of the manual is hosted on Vula, but we use OC do describe it so that people can discover it online.
  • Doing so increasesyour visibility online and ensures your resources show up in other open educational portals such as the OpenCourseWare Consortium and OER Commons. This is the opencourseware consortium which aggregates open educational content from all over the world. We have shared our metadata with them so our resources appear alongside other leading institutions such as MIT shown here.
  • Also we see added discoverability in Google, where many resources often unseen by Google’s eye rise to the top of search queries.
  • And so we have seen significant growth in the number of resources listed in the directory.Our project required a minimum of 5 resources published on February 12th, 2010 but we launched with around 20 independent resources at the time.
  • But the growth in content alone does not tell the whole story of what is available there. Many of the items listed in the directory contain many sub-resources. In total the directory currently makes available 697 teaching and learning resources from UCT. One of our resources from the Physics department has a over 50 independent teaching and learning resources associated with one of their entries on OC.
  • Here you can see the amount of content shared by each faculty, we are quite happy to have representation from all of the faculties at UCT, although we hope to grow the number in some faculties. Also on the right is a view to what types of content is available in terms of media type.
  • Also interesting to see is how people choose a license for their works. As you know all content listed in the directory are licensed under creative commons, which encourages access and reuse while protecting the rights of the content creators.
  • We use Google analytics to track visits to our site and better understand how the site gets used.
  • Here is a view of our site statistics, showing the volume of traffic over time, with notable periods of heightened activity.
  • Visitors come from all over the world, with South Africa topping the list, followed by the United States and the UK. Within the continent op visitorswithin Africa- Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria, Namibia, Tanzania
  • Aside from the obvious sites such as UCT, UCT libraries and other internal referrals. Much traffic comes to the site via Google.
  • Of course this only takes into account the people who use the “add to any” button on our website.
  • Its all fine and good to put our resources online, but what most people want to know is, did it actually get used? By whom? And did they find it useful? In most cases these are very difficult questions to answer, but we do have a few examples where content users fed back how they used resources in their context.
  • The first example is of the IEEE chapter using our CHED computer literacy guides for lab training. Students from the chapter actually wrote to us asking for permission to use the guides. We were able to say “yes absolutely!” they are freely available on our website and the Creative Commons license provides the terms for reuse.
  • Next we have a screencast which was created to help people apply the creative commons to offline works. The video was well received and has since been translated into Czechoslovakian, French, Italian and Spanish.
  • Of course the A guide for first year students, which was a resounding success and has been used by the University of Venda and the University of the Western Cape to help new students acclimate to the university environment.
  • One of our greatest stories of reuse was that or Matumo Ramafekeng, whose materials which were published as OER on OpenContent, were selected for publishing in the Journal of Occupational Therapy of Galicia, an open access journal for occupational therapists in the Spanish speaking world
  • The OC team regularly engages with the African Health OER Network as well as the Global dSribe community. This includes people from the United States, Ghana, Peru and South Africa. Global dScribes are student’s helping to share open education at their institutions. We meet on Skype monthly to share and discuss issues faced at our institutions, tips and tricks, stories of success, among other things.
  • Also we have been working on sharing stories and offering support through our blog and semi annual magazine.
  • Finally we just wanted to remind you of the coming OpenUCT project which should begin to unite the various open facing projects happening at UCT. The OpenUCT project has significant funding from the Mellon Foundation will link together the various open initiatives at UCT and help engage the community. So while the UCT OC initiative is still quite small, we hope to be able to feed quite well into the larger OpenUCT project.
  • 365 Days of Openness: A behind the scenes look at the UCT OpenContent Initiative

    1. 1. 365 Days of Openness: A behind the scenes look at the UCT OpenContent Initiative<br />Michael Paskevicius <br />
    2. 2. What does UCT OpenContent mean to you?<br />by  dkscully <br />
    3. 3.   by  Marcus Hansson <br />
    4. 4. Open content from UCT existed long before the directory <br />
    5. 5.
    6. 6. Where do people host their resources?<br />
    7. 7. Indexing of resources <br />Listing content in OpenContent allows you to add metadata which increases the discoverability of a resource<br />This particular resource is hosted in Vula, but described and shared in OpenContent<br />
    8. 8. Discoverability<br />
    9. 9. Discoverability<br />
    10. 10. Growth of content<br />2010<br />2011<br />
    11. 11. Granularity of materials <br />
    12. 12. What’s inside?<br />By Faculty<br />By media type<br />
    13. 13. Licensing choices<br />
    14. 14. by  fd <br />Web analytics: Tracking activity on UCT Opencontent<br />Date range: February 12, 2010 – May 9, 2011<br />
    15. 15. UCT OpenContent added to the UCT Wikipedia page<br />UCT OpenContent becomes a fixture on the UCT homepage<br />UCT OpenContent added to the list of online resources on the library website<br />Release of the much anticipated Guide for First Years <br />
    16. 16. Our international visitors<br />United Kingdom<br />Visits: 1,048 <br />Pages per visit: 1.88 Average time: 00:01:59 <br />Canada<br />Visits: 550 <br />Pages per visit: 1.93 Average time: 00:01:47 <br />China<br />Visits: 320<br />Pages per visit: 2.02 Average time: 00:02:41 <br />USA<br />Visits: 4,112 <br />Pages per visit: 1.88 Average time: 00:02:35 <br />India<br />Visits: 513 <br />Pages per visit: 2.02 Average time: 00:01:44 <br />South Africa<br />Visits: 25,673 <br />Pages per visit: 3.02 Average time: 00:02:42 <br />
    17. 17. How do people find us?<br />7,264<br />770<br />3,105<br />201<br />304<br />182<br />
    18. 18. UCT OpenContent going social<br />
    19. 19.
    20. 20.
    21. 21.   by  ryancr <br />Crossing the divide: Understanding how materials get reused<br />
    22. 22. CHED Computer Literacy Guides<br />IEEE UCT chapter use the openly licensed CHED computer literacy materials to support training in a computer lab donated to a high school<br />http://www.ebe.uct.ac.za/usr/ebe/staff/april2010.pdf<br />
    23. 23. Creative Commons Licensing Screencast<br />Creative Commons licensing video is translated into Czechoslovakian, French, Italian and Spanish on YouTube<br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pvoie4ydSw<br />
    24. 24. Studying at University: A guide for first year students<br />Used by Venda University and the University of the Western Cape with new students <br />Stellenbosch University uses some of the illustrations<br />The guide has been accessed over 1800 times via the directory and over 600 physical printed guides have been sold! <br />
    25. 25. OpenContent becomes a Journal Article<br />Materials published as OER on OpenContent selected for publishingin the Journal of Occupational Therapy of Galicia, an open access journal for occupational therapists in the Spanish speaking world<br />http://blogs.uct.ac.za/blog/oer-uct/2010/12/06/sharing-knowledge-leads-to-opportunities<br />
    26. 26. Collaborations and The future <br />
    27. 27. African Health OER Network and the Global dScribe Network <br />Since 2009<br />Monthly meeting of global OER practitioners (via Skype) to discuss issues at our institutions<br />http://groups.google.com/group/oer-dScribe/topics?pli=1<br />
    28. 28. Knowledge sharing<br />UCT OpenContent Magazine Vol I & Vol II<br />OER@UCT Blog <br />
    29. 29. OpenUCT<br />
    30. 30. Prepared by: Michael Paskevicius <br />Contact me: mike.vicious@gmail.com<br />OpenContent Directory: http://opencontent.uct.ac.za<br />OER UCT project blog:http://blogs.uct.ac.za/blog/oer-uct<br />Follow us:http://twitter.com/openuct<br />Follow me:http://twitter.com/mpaskevi<br />Presentations:http://www.slideshare.net/mpaskevi<br />This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 South Africa License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/za/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.<br />