Introductions (Matt –Web &Fab); (Lorrie –Curator)The Knowlton School of Architecture (KSA) consists of three sections…. Architecture, Landscape Architecture, And City and Regional Planning. There are over 500 students and 30 faculty members with 7 accredited programs. Matt and I collaborate to support these sections with web applications, tools, digital media, and a strategy that seeks to support learners in a dynamic learning environment with custom application development using the Drupal framework.
Web as Communication ToolThe school has had a website since the late 90s, primarily to push one-way communications to external audiences.As much as 98% of traffic to this site comes from outside Knowlton Hall (80%+ comes from outside Ohio). For internal use, different platforms are needed.
Web as Support ToolThose internal needs, particularly those associated with teaching and learning, have been addressed in a much more ad-hoc manner.Custom problem reporting and IT support systemDigital LibraryWikis for class useBulletin board systemsIndividually-maintained faculty websitesSporadic adoption of University resources like WebCT, Carmen, Media Manager, etc
Supporting LearnersIn 2007, Ann Pendleton-Jullian became director of the KSA. She encouraged Matt and I to collaborate on educational web initiatives, stressing--Open Education--entrepreneurial and self-directed learning, and;--methods of encouraging student voice.
The KSA is a place that fosters openness. Each of our three disciplines, in varying ways, employ the studio model of education -open learning environments, with class sessions and project critiques conducted in front of everyone-students have the opportunity to propose their own solutions to complex problems (encouraging student voice)These open processes allow students to learn as much from peers and observing others’ performance as from instructor feedbackOur technology and web tools could have done more in this direction.
The disciplines of the KSA are also visually-based; contact with media (images, video, audio) is woven throughout the student experience. Students and faculty also produce large quantities of their own media.Our web infrastructure needs to support this media.
Openness is a philosophy. It carries the philosophy of open source systems development through to education.An approach to teaching and learning emphasizing sharing, community,learner agency, and building upon the knowledge of others. Therefore, there are three basic elements of Open Education: technology & infrastructure; IP and licensing strategies, and teaching, learning and educational processesWhat Open Education allows institutions of higher ed to do is:Share products of educational processes, including Open Educational Resources (syllabi, reading lists, assignments, media, etc that are licensed in such a way that they are freely available for use, reuse, adaptation, and sharing)Expose teaching to broader audienceUtilize CC licensing for sharing & re-useAnyplace, anytime, anywhere learning (inside and outside academia)
[Matt]Out of this context, we built two resources: a new Digital Library, and a Community platform.The Digital Library was redeveloped to take advantage of the changing nature of the web while preserving existing educational content.Community attempts to provide a platform for expression by learners and groups internal to the KSA (student organizations, staff service areas, faculty, etc). The sites are both developed in Drupal, and together provide a set of tools which aim to enable self-directed learning. While the Digital Library provides access to educational content, the Community gives learners the tools to record their educational activities and express their ideas to their peers.
[Lorrie] Since 2001 when the first Digital Library was built, we saw the rise of the social web and a participatory culture, which changed the way institutions of higher ed plan and implement technologies across the enterprise.
[Lorrie]KSA students, faculty, staff, alumni, and professional organizations have contributed to this repository of media assets (including images, PDF, and video files that describe, document, or provide learning opportunities for the three disciplines). [187,559 total nodes] 10 3D assets, 1 audio, 18 collections, 91 courses, 1325 creator ind, 904 creator MA, 438 Creator Orgs, 214 doc assets, 1 file asset, 34,839 media assets, 84 video assets, 6,958 published works, 2,172 locations and more)In rebuilding the Digital Library, we evaluated several platforms, including Media Manager for Groups and eduCommons. Nothing met our needs at the level our collection required. So, we sought external contractors, which resulted in 9 months or so of frustration and no site. Even importing the existing data “couldn’t be done”.So we did it ourselves, using a combination of three Drupal modules (Schema, Table Wizard, Migrate) and about a dozen of our own scripts.Through the development process, we rethought the concept of the library and its place in the modern web.Open Education, particularly through models like Connexions, puts the focus on small bits of reusable content that can help learners in many contexts. This is not unlike the relationship between courses, and textbooks or case studies. Libraries are, in this view, the original home of Open Education.
[Matt]While the Digital Library has existed for years, our other initiative – Community – was a departure for the KSA.People at the KSA would regularly request websites for specific projects:A site to allow travel program participants to share updates with family and friends back homeA crowd-sourcing site to help a section re-envision its offerings in the switch to semestersA wiki so students in a class could collaborate on research projectsA subscription to Basecamp to enable collaboration on a task forceA blog for the Director to share experiences and inspirationTaken individually, any request could be accommodated – but each product was then stuck in a silo and difficult for others to discover. The spirit of openness could not be delivered, and the productions of the school were too often lost.
These varied requests illustrate a common need that could be addressed strategically, rather than tactically.The KSA is a big place, with several hundred students, dozens of faculty and staff; Each has a desire to present themselves electronically.
Collectively, the same people come together on projects – some lasting, some temporary. These aggregations also have a need to communicate: internally among participants, externally to the community, or to the world at large.If all these specific requests could be realized on a common platform, the school could reap more benefits by not having to re-solve problems, and by providing a greater level of visibility to each effort. Not every effort can be completely transparent – but a web platform that functions as a digital agora can allow openness where possible.Hosting such a platform ourselves also allows us to stay be more effective stewards of University data.
Both sites are built on Drupal 6, and share 30 modules in common, including standards such as CCK, Views, Panels, and Admin Menu. For performance reasons we’ve added Boost, while our open philosophy has pushed us to add Creative Commons licensing.
The Digital Library replaces the built-in search module with Apache Solr, allowing faceted search and other improvements. The site also uses Tabs and related modules throughout the site, as well as a variety of media-focused modules like Imagecache Actions and all the “Media *” modules.Interface modules include Hierarchical Select, Multiselect, Content Taxonomy, VocabIndex, and Taxonomy Manager.The import process was a nightmare unto itself, but was accomplished via a combination of Migrate (since rebuilt unfortunately), Table Wizard, and Schema.Perhaps best of all for us as we began to use Drupal, we were able to complete the project without having to develop any new modules; there are template overrides for views and a custom theme based on Zen 960, but we avoided the truly heavy lifting.
Community uses several Organic Groups modules, including one we had to custom write (KSA OG Latest) which pulls the latest post from each organic group on the site for display on the front page.We also use OpenLayers for our mapping implementations, Support for ticket tracking for the web and fab lab groups, and are working toward a Feeds implementation (more on this later)
One common need, which both platforms shared, was the ability to assign each node a different level of visibility. In the Digital Library, we do not have permission to display some images to the greater public – while others are still being catalogued and are not ready for release to anyone except library staff. On Community, some courses want to control the student work that is shown outside the class for appearance and marketing reasons – and some service areas want to communicate only to students in the school, without having messages indexed by search engines or seen by outsiders.We used the Workflow module in both cases, setting up a similar set of visibility controls for almost all content types. While there is no “KSA” level of visibility right now, we can effectively achieve that by restricting a node to authenticated users, as the number of people who find and log into these platforms is (for now) vanishingly small. We plan to use Shibboleth to enforce a KSA restriction in the near future.
Optimized for visual media to support visual learning styleUsed Panels/Views/ImageCache to achieve the display of the media and associated work information
[Lorrie]While we recognized the external pressures to change the site, we also had internal pressures. One of these was that the data relationships in the old site were One Work record for every Media Asset record in the library. What is a work?This may not seem like a problem, but it was not a recommended implementation of the VRA Core metadata scheme, which is our chosen standard. It resulted in ineffective data relationships and inefficient data entry and management. So, we realigned the data model with the VRA Core 4.0 Metadata Scheme and made the relationship changes when we imported the data. The change necessitated choosing a representative Work for a given project and associating many Media Assets to that Work. With this significant change came lots of data clean-up and we had to readjust our understanding of each site page with this new relationship in mind.
[Lorrie]6 types media assets –relationship to work, allows us to customize each content type for display
[Lorrie]We have also added several items to our feature set to further enable the use of library media: Users may now contribute to the library through a web upload form; Larger file sizes (including “original” size for authenticated users); Video files with transcripts and embed code; Audio files and their associated transcripts;Improved support for non-image file types (previously, there were no thumbnails for non-image files that indicated the contents of the file --Videos and pdfs are also now viewable in the browser); We have added the ability for some Users to tag media (expand)Creative Commons licensing RSS feeds
[Matt]Student blog (left)Individual blog post (right)Mott’s idea of open LMS, persistent across courses and uses
Allow the subgroups of the KSA to represent themselves to the rest of the school
Pages, Assets (types from Digital Library)Short-term resourceSimilar to Adobe BridgeExamples:Diagrammatic SeminarStudent ArchivesOne:Twelve*
Pages, Blog PostsRecurring, but not recyclingSimilar to WordPress MUExamples:Clark County Habitat for Humanity StudioUganda / One Mango Tree StudioColumbus Museum of Art
Pages, Calendar, DocumentsEpisodic but not permanentExtends Carmen/LMSExample: LA/ENR 367
Pages, WikiShort-term work but lasting resourceSimilar to a wikiExamples:Open Education Task Force
Pages, WikiShort-term work but lasting resourceSimilar to a wikiExamples:Open Education Task Force
Many types of people are using it – stats?
Generally feedback is positive
As user expectations for web experiences evolve, the boundaries between platforms begin to break down. Learners construct personal learning environments with the tools they encounter, and to remain relevant the KSA must evolve its resources to be responsive to these desires.Sometimes, the interaction between elements is squishy and imprecise – but the result should be ultimately satisfying.
Supporting a Dynamic Learning Environment with Custom Application Development
Supporting a Dynamic Learning Environment with Custom Application Development<br />Knowlton School of Architecture<br />
Openness in Education<br />Technology Infrastructure<br />IP/Licensing strategies<br />Teaching , learning, and educational processes<br />Open Educational Resources<br />Image by Larry Page on Flickr<br />
Groups at the KSA<br />Many different groups need presences<br />Student Groups<br />Studio<br />Lecture Course<br />Service Area<br />Task Force<br />Workroom<br />Project Group<br />Built using Organic Groups <br />OG Core<br />OG Panels<br />OG User Roles<br />OG Vocabularies<br />
KSA Community<br />Flexibility<br />Ability to roll out new groups quickly (~1 week, along with other daily tasks)<br />Common platform<br />Each resource gains more visibility by being co-located<br />As more students use the platform, it becomes the place for future projects<br />
What’s Next<br />Data feeds between sites<br />Integration with KMdata proof of concept<br />Portfolio hosting<br />Geolocation and better mapping<br />Continued improvement<br />Scaling up operations<br />
http://ksamedia.osu.edu<br />Flickr: “My PLE is like my cookies” - Sarah M Stewart<br />