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EADTU Conference - UKOER Technology Challenges

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Between 2009 and 2012 the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) funded a series of programmes to encourage higher education institutions in the UK to release existing educational content as Open Educational Resources (OER) and to embed open practices in the institution. The HEFCE funded UK OER Programmes were run and managed by the JISC and the Higher Education Academy. Over the course of three years about £15M (€17,5M) was invested on projects that investigated the release and collection of OERs by individuals, institutions and subject communities. The Cetis “OER Technology Support Project” provided support for technical innovation across this programme.
In this conference paper we will present our reflections on the technical approaches taken, issues raised and the lessons learnt from the Programmes and the Support Project. The issues covered include resource management, resource description, licensing and attribution, search engine optimisation and discoverability, tracking OERs, and paradata (activity data about learning resources). Technical solutions discussed will include the use of social sharing platforms such as flickr and WordPress for resource dissemination; metadata embedded in HTML documents as RDFa, microdata and using the schema.org ontology; and sharing metadata and paradata using the Learning Registry (a network of schema-free data stores). As well as describing the achievements of the programme, we will also discuss the difficulties encountered and identify areas where further work is required.

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EADTU Conference - UKOER Technology Challenges

  1. 1. Technology Challenges from the UK Open Educational Resources Programmes Phil Barker and Lorna M Campbell
  2. 2. What is Cetis? • Centre for Education Technology, Interoperability and Standards http://www.cetis.ac.uk/ • A national UK technology advisory centre providing strategic, technical and pedagogical advice on educational technology and standards to funding bodies, standards agencies, government, institutions and commercial partners. EADTU Conference, Paris, October 2013.
  3. 3. Cetis and Jisc • • • Cetis have a long association with Jisc, http:/jisc.ac.uk Formerly an F/HE quango, now a charity. Funded Cetis as a project 2001 – 2005 & an Innovation Support Centre 2006 – 2013. • • Provided Jisc with strategic technical input and guidance. Represented the Jisc community on international standards bodies. • Supported the Jisc development programmes. EADTU Conference, Paris, October 2013.
  4. 4. UK Open Educational Resources Programmes (UKOER) • • • • • Three 1-year programmes / phases 2009 – 2012. Funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), approx. €17,5M total. Managed by JISC and the HE Academy. 80+ large and small scale projects funded in English universities. • Institutional / individual / subject community. • Support projects (Cetis supported technical innovation). Release of OERs and embedding open practice.
  5. 5. UKOER, year 1 (2009/10) UKOER Phase 1 E&S Report OER Infokit • • • How can institutions, individuals, consortia best release OER? What do creators want to do with it? Is it sustainable? Support: Cetis technical support; OER IPR Support; E&S wiki Social media: #ukoer @ukoer blogging This slide based on a presentation by David Kernohan Resources: Jorum or search “ukoer”
  6. 6. UKOER, year 2 (2010/11) UKOER Phase 1 E&S Report OER Infokit • • • How can institutions, individuals, consortia best release OER? What do creators want to do with it? Is it sustainable? UKOER Phase 2 • • • • How can we best encourage discovery and use of OER? How can we extend and grow existing approaches to OER? What do users want to do with it? Is this sustainable? Support: Cetis technical support; OER IPR Support; E&S wiki Social media: #ukoer @ukoer blogging This slide based on a presentation by David Kernohan E&S Report OER Infokit OER use case studies OER use report Student use of OER lit review Resources: Jorum or search “ukoer”
  7. 7. UKOER, year 3 (2011/12) UKOER Phase 1 E&S Report OER Infokit UKOER Phase 2 • • • • • • • How can institutions, individuals, consortia best release OER? What do creators want to do with it? Is it sustainable? How can we best encourage discovery and use of OER? How can we extend and grow existing approaches to OER? What do users want to do with it? Is this sustainable? E&S Report OER Infokit OER use case studies OER use report Student use of OER lit review UKOER Phase 3 E&S Report OER Infokit Into the Wild book OER Historical Perspective Terminology Guide Student attitudes to OER • • • • How can we use OER and related practices to meet identified strategic and cultural needs? How can technology support these practices and use cases? What does everyone want to do with it? Is this sustainable? HEFCE OER review—covers all 3 years of UKOER & OU Score project Support: Cetis technical support; OER IPR Support; E&S wiki Social media: #ukoer @ukoer blogging This slide based on a presentation by David Kernohan Resources: Jorum or search “ukoer”
  8. 8. Cetis Technical Guidelines • • • • • Aim to facilitate innovation and learn from it. Minimal emphasis on requirements. Promote experimentation and sharing lessons learnt. UKOER 1 Technical Guidelineshttp://blogs.cetis.ac.uk/lmc/2009/02/03/oer -programme-technical-requirements/ UKOER 2 Technical Guidelines http://blogs.cetis.ac.uk/lmc/2010/12/03/oer-2technical-requirements/
  9. 9. Example requirements • Resources must be disseminated through • • Jorum national repository and one other openly accessible system (e.g. institutional repository or web site, YouTube, flickr, etc.) Projects must supply RSS or Atom feed listing resources. Projects may investigate other approaches that meet their needs (e.g. OAI-PMH).
  10. 10. Metadata “The OER Programme will not mandate ... one single metadata application profile to describe content. However projects still need to ensure that content released through the programme can be found, used, analysed, aggregated and tagged. In order to facilitate this, content will have to be accompanied by some form of metadata: this doesn’t necessarily mean de jure standards, application profiles, formal structured records, cataloging rules, subject classifications, controlled vocabularies and web forms. Metadata can also take the form of tags added to resources in applications such as flickr and YouTube.” OER 2 Technical Requirements http://blogs.cetis.ac.uk/lmc/2010/12/03/oer-2technical-requirements/
  11. 11. Metadata We did however mandate that resource descriptions should include: Title of resource Author/owner/contributor details (as applicable) Date Programme tag: UKOER Licence information And we strongly suggested others be used if relevant. • • • • •
  12. 12. SO HOW DID IT WORK OUT?
  13. 13. Technical Directions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Resource management Resource description Licensing and attribution SEO and discoverability Tracking OERs Paradata – activity data about learning resources 7. Accessibility 13
  14. 14. Into the Wild presents a synthesis of the technical outputs of the UK OER Programmes. • Ebook (ePub & kindle) • PDF • Print-on-demand Available from: http://publications.cetis.ac.uk/2012/601 14
  15. 15. Resource Management (publishing) • We did see a diverse range of platforms used: • • • • Jorum. Institutional repositories. Content management systems, e.g. Drupal. Institutional websites, e.g. Oxford Podcasts http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/open • WordPress. • YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, SlideShare. 15
  16. 16. Resource Management (aggregation) • Those RSS / Atom feeds proved to be • • • 16 problematic. Little use of OAI-PMH or other approaches. Issues with Jorum deposit. We struggled to produce an attractive “shop window” onto UKOER as a whole.
  17. 17. Resource Description • Smarter machine readable resource descriptions. • Important given value of traffic passing through search engines. • People search for “things not strings.” • schema.org and Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI) enable machine readable markup of resource description. 17
  18. 18. Licensing and Attribution • Embedded licence information. • Success! Starting to see more licence info embedded in resources. • Smarter machine readable licences. • Remix platforms tend not to deal well with licence information. • • 18 More work needed. Smarter machine readable licences may help.
  19. 19. SEO and Discoverability • Growing awareness of importance of SEO. • “Playing ball with the search engine giants.” • SEO is still a bit of a dark art. • Rather like trying to hit a moving target. • OER recommender systems. • • 19 Users still complain that it’s hard to find OERs. Need smarter discovery services.
  20. 20. Paradata: activity data for OER • • • • • 20 Paradata provides contextualised information about how a learning resource has been used. Many systems generate paradata but exposing and sharing it is problematic. Learning Registry demonstrates how paradata might be collected and exposed. SPAWS demonstrated simple but successful application. http://scottbw.wordpress.com/tag/oerri/ Lots of potential but remains to be seen what can be done in reality.
  21. 21. Tracking OERs • Not a huge success. • Little engagement despite encouragement. • Some more mature UK OER projects realised the benefits of tracking. • Interesting work going on outwith UK OER using existing systems. • Tracking plays of embedded YouTube videos. • Creative Commons work on tracking. 21
  22. 22. Into the Wild presents a synthesis of the technical outputs of the UK OER Programmes. • Ebook (ePub & kindle) • PDF • Print-on-demand Available from: http://publications.cetis.ac.uk/2012/601 22
  23. 23. Licence This presentation “Technology Challenges from the UK Open Educational Resources Programme” by Phil Barker phil.barker@hw.ac.uk and Lorna M Campbell lorna.m.campbell@icloud.com of Cetis http://www.cetis.ac.uk is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

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