Technologies for Resource Sharing in Academic Support

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Using the Economics Network web site as an example of how Subject Centres share resources and services with a variety of academic and commercial services and will do so increasingly over the next few years

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Technologies for Resource Sharing in Academic Support

  1. 1. Technologies for Resource Sharing Dr Martin Poulter ICT Manager, The Economics Network Academy-Intute meeting 10 October 2007
  2. 2. Resource types <ul><li>Online Resources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning & Teaching Materials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Explicit educational intention </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Intended audience is usually student </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online Sources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Not educational in intent, but useful in teaching </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Education resources (including SOTL) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Main intended audience is teaching staff </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online Research Resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sweetener to attract academics </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Subject needs vary widely <ul><li>Economists produce hundreds of learning objects (eg. MCQs) but until recently not so many educator resources. </li></ul><ul><li>Philosophy has a rich history of scholarship and discussion of teaching and learning, but no learning objects </li></ul>
  4. 4. Resource types <ul><li>Online Resources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning & Teaching Materials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Online Sources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Education resources (including SOTL) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Book data harvested from Amazon </li></ul></ul>EngSC Intute AIRDIP? Catalogued using LOM Catalogued more simply
  5. 5. Resource types - other <ul><li>Events (where, when, who?) </li></ul><ul><li>News items </li></ul><ul><li>Info about people </li></ul><ul><li>Funding opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Comments/approvals/ratings </li></ul>RSS? RSS? Queryable service? Data formats for sharing vCARD [or FOAF ] RSS iCalendar (RSS1.0 in the past)
  6. 6. Embeddability Google Video , YouTube and SlideShare on Economics SC Another kind of embeddable service: link recommendation services on the Intute Social Sciences blog:
  7. 7. The real Information Environment <ul><li>By providing (maps/ book data/ bookmarks/ image sets) as an embeddable service, (Google/ Amazon/ Delicious/ Flickr) makes other web sites better, not just their own. </li></ul>Wordpress (blogs), Weebly (wikis) & Facebook are sites whose selling points include the many external services they embed
  8. 8. The real Information Environment <ul><li>The FEELE FDTL5 project is using WikiVersity to create documentation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>So why not republish it on our site? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>We get more hits via WikiPedia than via Heacademy.ac.uk </li></ul><ul><ul><li>So why not become a WikiPedia editor? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Health Economics lecturers want a sub-site </li></ul><ul><ul><li>So why not create it in Pbwiki .com and import it automatically to economicsnetwork.ac.uk? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lecturers find it easier to recommend links to students via Del.icio.us than via their VLE </li></ul><ul><ul><li>So why not copy our entire links database into Del.icio.us? </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Issues with commercial services <ul><li>Credibility of source </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Embed content (e.g. YouTube video), so it is reached via our (credible) site, as well as by searching in YT </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Free services might go bust or start charging </li></ul><ul><ul><li>So keep copies of content </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Content gets branded with their logo </li></ul><ul><ul><li>So what? Academics don’t care it’s a video YouTube </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Invisibility to our site search engines </li></ul><ul><ul><li>So put description and metadata on our site </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Distributed web sites? Subject Centre =are doing =would like to do YouTube Google Video SlideShare Google Calendar PBwiki Weebly Del.icio.us Flickr Google Maps Other JISC services e.g. JORUM Intute Amazon WikiPedia / WikiVersity / Commons
  11. 11. So what is economicsnetwork.ac.uk? <ul><li>Not just a site that you visit for documents and databases </li></ul><ul><li>Increasingly, a content provider and filter that uses a variety of external services and embedded content, and engages in an increasing number of online communities. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Intute: outstandingly embeddable Extract from intute.ac.uk/integration
  13. 13. XML: Lingua Franca of the web <ul><li>Javascript embedding isn’t a professional solution. </li></ul><ul><li>The accepted way to share textual data (such as search results) is with XML formats. Whatever the “next big thing” is, it’ll be based on XML too. </li></ul><ul><li>Free software libraries make it increasingly easy to exchange XML between programs running in different languages on different servers. </li></ul><ul><li>Intute has for years used a variety of XML formats. </li></ul><ul><li>Anyone working as a web developer ought to have at least basic XML abilities. </li></ul><ul><li>XML needn’t be nearly as complicated as the OAI format used in the Interoperability project </li></ul>
  14. 14. Semantic XHTML A new technology called GRDDL enables machine-readable content to be embedded in web pages, to be harvested into databases on remote servers.

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