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LOR Characteristics and Considerations


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Invited talk for SREB's Educational Technology Taskforce, February 2004

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LOR Characteristics and Considerations

  1. 1. LOR Characteristics and Considerations Scott Leslie for SREB Educational Technology Cooperative Information Technology Task Group February 15, 2005
  2. 2. Outline <ul><li>Intro/Background on Research Project </li></ul><ul><li>LOR Issues </li></ul><ul><li>LOR Approaches and Features </li></ul><ul><li>High level summaries of the 6 products we reviewed </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusions </li></ul>
  3. 3. Background
  4. 4. Who Am I <ul><li>Researcher with Edutools, Ed Tech Comparative Analysis site run by WCET </li></ul><ul><li>Manager of Learning Resource Centre development initiative for BCcampus, province-wide consortium in British Columbia Canada </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Edutools LOR Research Project <ul><li>Project to jointly evaluate possible LOR solutions </li></ul><ul><li>2004 Project Partners </li></ul><ul><ul><li>University System of Georgia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Utah Education Network </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Virginia Community College System </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Virginia Tech </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Edutools LOR Project(2) <ul><li>Evaluated 6 products </li></ul><ul><li>Assisted partners with identifying needs; exposed them to alternative approaches and considerations </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Guest Experts’ – Ed Walker (IMS), Flora McMartin (Merlot), Mike Mattson (Careo/Apollo), Kevin Harrigan (CLOE, Waterloo) </li></ul>
  7. 7. LOR Issues
  8. 8. Still early days yet <ul><li>While it may not feel like it to some old hands, still early days </li></ul><ul><li>Also still early in the ‘learning object’ approach itself </li></ul><ul><ul><li>dearth of standards-based content that has proven to be not just interoperable but (more importantly) re-usable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Authoring tools which support standards just starting to emerge en masse </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>shift in faculty attitudes and approaches to content development needed </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. LORs are immature technology <ul><li>LORs still struggling to define precisely the problem that is trying to be solved with them? Is it </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the discovery and sharing of resources? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the management of content development? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the facilitation of content re-use? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the creation of communities of practitioners? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the archiving of learning materials? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the ingestion and re-composition of complex multimedia objects? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All of the above? </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. LOR Market an Immature Market <ul><li>Market for LOR technology is very immature and has some fundamental risks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>unclear how large a market </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>vendors are trying to amortize costs to quickly across too few customers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>if LCMS are also considered, clearly larger market but… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>often ‘corporate’ in focus with attendant costs </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Early Days for Open Source LORs <ul><li>Very few examples (outside of library world) of open source repository software that has been widely taken up by community of implementers </li></ul><ul><li>Many initial projects were developed institutionally on soft money and haven’t been transitioned that well to being inclusive ‘open source’ projects </li></ul>
  12. 12. LOs, LORS and Existing Challenges <ul><li>LOs and LORs initiatives exist against the general background of the explosion in networked based technologies and the related issues of intellectual property </li></ul><ul><li>There are still no widespread acceptable solutions to the Digital Rights Management question, only a large number of interim, provisional attempts to stave off the problem. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Repository Approaches & Features
  14. 14. Types of Repository Approaches <ul><li>‘ Referatories’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Classic’ Repository </li></ul><ul><li>Learning Content Management System </li></ul><ul><li>Generic Content Management System </li></ul><ul><li>Digital Asset Management </li></ul><ul><li>Institutional Repository </li></ul><ul><li>Repository as part of Course Managememt vendor solution </li></ul>
  15. 15. Repository as ‘Application’
  16. 16. Repository as Service
  17. 17. Edutools Comparative Framework <ul><li>Discovery Tools </li></ul><ul><li>Aggregation Tools </li></ul><ul><li>Community & Evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Meta-tagging </li></ul><ul><li>Content Management </li></ul><ul><li>Digital Rights Management & Fulfillment </li></ul><ul><li>Presentation and Consortia Issues </li></ul><ul><li>Integration and Interoperability </li></ul><ul><li>Technical Considerations </li></ul><ul><li>Pricing/Licensing/ Other </li></ul>
  18. 18. Evaluative Framework: Detailed Features <ul><li>Discovery Tools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Searching </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Browsing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Syndication & Notification </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Aggregation Tools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal Collections </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Content Aggregator and Packaging Tool </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Community & Evaluation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluation System </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Context Usage Illustrators </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wish Lists </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Meta-tagging </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Metadata Markup Tool </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Schema Support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Indexing Workflow Support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Import and Export Tools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unique Identifier Support </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Content Management </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Authoring and Publishing Workflow Support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Version Control & Archiving Functions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Authoring tools </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Digital Rights Management & Fulfillment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Digital Rights Management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Payment and Fulfillment </li></ul></ul>Evaluative Framework: Detailed Features(2)
  20. 20. <ul><li>Presentation and Consortia Issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Customized Look and Feel </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Internationalization (I18n) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple Collections </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Media Transformation and Display </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Integration and Interoperability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Federation and Harvesting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Course Management Integration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>API and Web Service support </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Technical Considerations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Authentication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Authorization & Personalization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Usage reporting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Operating System </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Application/Database Server Requirements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scalability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Support </li></ul></ul>Evaluative Framework: Detailed Features (3)
  21. 21. General Observations of Products we reviewed
  22. 22. <ul><li>We found that the defining characteristics of these systems, in terms of widespread feature support, were: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Support for searching and browsing of records </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Metatagging tools, and standards-based schema support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Support for federation and harvesting </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>Overall, we found support lacking for the following features across all of the products: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Syndication and Notification </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community & Evaluation features (e.g. evaluation system, wish lists and context of usage illustrators) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Time-based Media support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Content Aggregation and Packaging tool </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Specific Product Summaries
  25. 25. 6 Products <ul><li>HarvestRoad Hive </li></ul><ul><li>Intrallect Intralibrary </li></ul><ul><li>North Plains Telescope Enterprise </li></ul><ul><li>DSpace </li></ul><ul><li>Concord Masterfile </li></ul><ul><li>Ex Libris DigiTool </li></ul>
  26. 26. HarvestRoad Hive ( <ul><li>A “learning content management system” </li></ul><ul><li>Strengths </li></ul><ul><li>Content management support </li></ul><ul><li>Workflow, roles </li></ul><ul><li>Strong integration with existing enterprise Course Management Systems </li></ul><ul><li>Weaknesses </li></ul><ul><li>Interface </li></ul><ul><li>Lacks both aggregation tools and ability to cope with aggregate objects </li></ul><ul><li>As an LCMS, has more than just repository features </li></ul>
  27. 27. Intrallect Intralibrary ( <ul><li>A “classic” learning object repository </li></ul><ul><li>Strengths </li></ul><ul><li>Strong support for learning object standards </li></ul><ul><li>Awareness of practices and standards from the library world, including support for Thesauri </li></ul><ul><li>Interface very straightforward and intuitive for what it does </li></ul><ul><li>Weaknesses </li></ul><ul><li>Lacks workflow support </li></ul><ul><li>Lacks aggregation tool (but can handle aggregate objects) </li></ul><ul><li>Licensing model based on number of contributors to database and is geared to a model of only very few contributors </li></ul>
  28. 28. North Plains Telescope Enterprise ( <ul><li>A ‘Digital Asset Management’ system </li></ul><ul><li>Strengths </li></ul><ul><li>Strong audio and video capabilities, including abilities to ingest, segment and caption video, and transform existing media formats </li></ul><ul><li>Strong content management support and unlimited step and role workflow </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to search for other assets based on their visual similarity </li></ul><ul><li>Weaknesses </li></ul><ul><li>Lacking off the shelf support for Content Packages </li></ul><ul><li>Because of the quite different domain and business model from which this software originates, it lacks any real support for the idea of ‘federation’ of repositories </li></ul><ul><li>License model may prove prohibitive to any but the largest educational organizations </li></ul>
  29. 29. DSpace ( <ul><li>Primarily an “institutional repository” system </li></ul><ul><li>Strengths </li></ul><ul><li>Freely available as open-source software; the “DSpace Federation” and user groups form a core of active support communities </li></ul><ul><li>Commitment to open standards and open access through protocols such as Dublin Core and OAI-PMH </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasis on archival and digital preservation features </li></ul><ul><li>Weaknesses </li></ul><ul><li>Lacks community and evaluation functions </li></ul><ul><li>Lacks true content management functionality </li></ul><ul><li>Lacks digital rights management controls </li></ul>
  30. 30. Concord Masterfile ( <ul><li>Described as an “Education Institution Content Management System” </li></ul><ul><li>Strengths </li></ul><ul><li>Content can be entered automatically into resource collections with minimal metadata entry </li></ul><ul><li>Content management system can add features to the authoring and delivery of online courses, such as versioning, media handling and low-bandwidth options. </li></ul><ul><li>Tightly integrated with Blackboard, and WebCT Vista 2.1 (soon) </li></ul><ul><li>Weaknesses </li></ul><ul><li>Modular system architecture likely means that multiple add-on modules would be needed. </li></ul><ul><li>Many features (metadata schemas, federated search) require vendor customization. </li></ul><ul><li>Lacks features designed to support learner interaction with resources, such as community tools or personal collections. </li></ul>
  31. 31. Ex Libris DigiTool ( <ul><li>A “digital content management” system </li></ul><ul><li>Strengths </li></ul><ul><li>Broad support for formats, standards and protocols for media, metadata and data interchange. </li></ul><ul><li>Effectively designed interfaces, in particular for metadata entry and resource browsing. </li></ul><ul><li>Flexible options for structuring and presenting resources. </li></ul><ul><li>Strong complement of digital rights management and access control features. </li></ul><ul><li>Weaknesses: </li></ul><ul><li>Lacks content authoring support </li></ul><ul><li>Lacks community and evaluation, syndication and notification features </li></ul>
  32. 32. Conclusions <ul><li>Clearly there are many ways to address the need for ‘learning object repositories’ </li></ul><ul><li>The one that is right for you will depend in part on </li></ul><ul><ul><li>how you define your problem </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>who you have working on the problem </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>what systems and vendors you already have in place </li></ul></ul>
  33. 33. How do you define your problem <ul><li>Are you building an application, a service, or both? </li></ul><ul><li>Are you trying to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>share existing resources as widely as possible, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>manage the creation of new resources, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>manage just learning resources or all academic resources? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do you care about inter-institutional federations or are you expecting all of the instructional material your faculty will ever need to be found within your own collections? </li></ul>
  34. 34. Who is working on the problem <ul><li>When you hear “learning object repository” do you emphasize the word </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ learning” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ repository” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Both? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Is your initiative headed by </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Educational Technologists? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Media Production Unit? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Librarians? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information Technologists? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All of these? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Someone else? </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. What systems you already have <ul><li>Do you have an existing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>course management system? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>library system? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>content management system? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>authentication and authorization system? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Which of these systems are already in play, and also which particular brands, will likely influence how you frame the problem and the type of system you seek. </li></ul>
  36. 36. Round 1 Results <ul><li>Results of first round that I have presented here are available off the Edutools homepage: </li></ul><ul><li>Round 2 results will be available November 2005 (kept for partners private use for 6 months) </li></ul>
  37. 37. Questions / Discussion <ul><li>Feel free to contact me for further information on the studies, or with further questions at </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>