opened10: brief thoughts

Highlight thoughts

(all of these deserve posts in their own right):

  • what is the difference ‘open’ makes? (D Wiley)
  • when we meet – when are we going to do and not just talk? (unattributed)
  • how do you respond as an individual? (and why do you care about OpenEd/OER)? (Gourley; but equally could have been if i’d been in their sessions: Winn, Hall, Neary – though they’ve quite a different perspective)
  • if you have rubrics and marks as semantic data can you analyse for ‘soft skills’ across a programme of study?
  • how do i articulate what HE does that P2PU can’t, what can i learn from P2PU and what should i stop doing cause they do it better? (drumbeat)
  • why don’t HE courses create badges too? (drumbeat)

I’ll need to go back through the programme and remind myself of some of the sessions but as a first pass of some of the stuff that caught my attention emerging from opened10. not yet adequately linked or marked up and doubtless will grow a bit over time as different parts of my brain kick in.

All the conference papers are available in the UOC repository .

with apologies to those i know or have heard recently (Brian Lamb, Scott Leslie, Suzanne Hardy, Jane Williams, Simon Thomson, Jakki Sheridan-Ross, all the wonderful folk from the Open University, and  my colleague Li Yuan) – i’m too familiar with your work for it to make this first pass but i do think it’s great!

things to use now

some of the stuff that was presented is out there now to use: website website

fantastic opened site for art history – working towards being a viable alternative to OER – two art history teachers making stuff as they go to help students offset the massive cost of introductory art history textbooks for foundation courses.

Twhistory website

Twhistory website

historical recreations on twitter: Gettysburg, 1847 pioneer trek, the sinking of the Titanic, the American revolution, possibly about to start working with UK national archives to cabinet war room twitter account of world war 2. Tom Caswell’s presentation.


a feedreader for running open courses – a tutor sets up a blog-based course and edufeedr aggregates content from across blogging platforms designed to gather together student feedback based from wherever they blog it.

information and stats

we’re finally at get to the point were we can make or not make business cases and informed decisions. (links will follow)

OER use and attitudes surveys Joseph Hardin Mujo Research present survey results from instructors at University of Michigan and University of Valencia – surveying their willingness to use and to publish OER.

OER use and attitudes iNacol (online schools, K-12) surveyed their members about awareness around OER – the data and paper aren’t published yet unfortunately

Rory McGreal – examining differences Open Access makes for a university press comparing Amazon rank of Abathasca University’s press which is OA with three other Canadian university presses. results didn’t indicate any significant difference for bought physical copies but only one metric and doesn’t account for greater access provided by OA downloads.

David Wiley offered some figures around Brigham Young University Independent Study Unit looking at sustainabilty of making content open – if content made open – can costs be covered by sustained or increased enrollment. the short answer- yes -just.

under development

Open Rubrics and the semantic web – Megan Kohler (Penn State) and Brian Panulla – well i’d call them feedback or assessment criteria but wither way they’ve developed an OWL ontology and reference implementations for sharing and storing marking rubrics (and associated marks) – in terms of technical developments i think this is potentially the most important thing from the conference.

stuff to think about more

building courses with OER: Griff Richards presented about a project he’d worked on create course syllabi for a master’s course in instructional design. one to follow up after the final report and syllabi are out. [personally it brings me back to thinking about course syllabi around OER for librarians – but that’s another post in a month or so]. His metaphor of clothes shopping for looking for learning materials is also worth keeping around (Tailored: expensive, perfect , emperor’s new clothes; Off the Shelf: not quite fit, but do the job, reasonable price; Charity Shop: nearly free, hard to find what you want, might just find something perfect).

David Wiley the difference of Openness. the challenge is what does ‘open’ allow us to do pedagogically that we can’t otherwise do [open specifically not all the good stuff that often is triggered by open]? Identifying Concrete Pedagogical Benefits of OER

David Wiley: Why do we need 'open'?

David Wiley: Why do we need 'open'?

Dublin City University – took the OER as marketing angle and did some extensive work on how to best brand OERs using product placement and advertising methodology – this presentation made me profoundly uncomfortable but it is the logical extension of some of the advice and case for OER that many of us (including me) have made. i’m going to have to read their paper and think about this.

Erik Duval said a lot of things but there’s something fundamentally important about not being afraid to disrupt learning – oers probably have more quality assurance than the rest of course delivery.

Erik Duval you can afford to disrupt learning

Erik Duval you can afford to disrupt learning

I can’t help but finish with the work of those I presented in the same session as: Julià Minguillón (UOC), Pieter Kleymeer and Molly Kleinman from University of Michigan- we all raised questions, limits and possibilities around the role of libraries in OER. It was great to find other people asking similar questions.

Technical challenges for managing Open Educational Resources

At the CETIS conference this year, Lorna organised a session offering Roundtable about technical issues facing projects engaging with Open Educational Resources – as most of the attendees were drawn from the UKOER programme. Although there will doubtless be more refined versions of this list I’ve created a first pass of the issues. The full list is on slideshare: . The tweets from the session are on The issues list is probably more usable via slideshare but to give an impression:

Nested list of brainstormed issues

Nested list of brainstormed issues

Open Educational Resources, metadata, and self-description

If we share learning materials, do we have a professional responsibility to describe them?

At the CETIS conference Open Educational Resources / Content session in the midst of the discussions about metadata someone, I think John Casey, made an offhand comment about embedded metadata. As valuable as his next statement was, it was the notion of what information is contained within an object that caught my attention.

There is a basic principle of identity and authorship in a world of distributed information that we don’t seem to be talking about – what elements of self-description is it reasonable to assume from an academic sharing their resources? What constitutes good practice for labelling the digital stuff we want to be professionally associated with? Let’s be clear – I’m not talking about academics creating metadata or the debate about whether metadata is embedded or bundled – I’m talking about the equivalent of title pages and referencing (for want of a better way to put it).

Most university courses include modules on how to write an academic paper, including how to put together the parts of a paper. Departments produce templates so that assignments/ term papers, and theses have a standard title page, format, and way of citing things. The front parts of a paper help: manage the process of attribution and avoid accidental plagiarism; promote more careful writing; assert authorship and/or rights over a work; navigate the work; and help manage collections of such papers. A title section typically contains the following information: a title, author(s), date (usuallly of submission or acceptance), and frequently a course and/or institutional affiliation. This provides the reader with enough information to know what something claims to be, and begins to allow them to judge if they should read it.

I’m not suggesting title pages should be standard for everything, or that everything casually shared needs all this information, but in the context of deliberately shared educational resources surely we should regard providing information of this type as a professional responsibility. Whether we see it as an obligation of the ‘guild’, an opportunity to self-publicise, or compliance with institutional branding requirements, this information should be as standard for educational resources as it is for theses and articles. Of course not all learning materials lend themselves to a title page but: text documents and presentations do and web sites allow for home or about pages. Audio and video files can support introductions but the editing process is more complex. Independent images and some other forms of learning material are not as suitable for title ‘pages’ – but i strongly suspect more than half the learning materials shared in through call will be document, presentation, or web site.

I guess I’m suggesting that, for relevant materials the following should be assumable: Title, Author, Date (of some relevant kind), Institution, Course (code or name).

There are good and valid debates about what, if any, metadata academics should be asked to create, but there is a more fundamental question about professional self-description and good practice. Our conversation about what metadata is needed and who should create it should start from the premise that basic bibliographic information should be contained within the resource.

I don’t think anyone is suggesting resources should not have ‘title pages’, I just think we need to be clear, before we start talking about metadata, that it is reasonable to expect this type information be there. It’s just good practice

Upcoming CRIG unConference

At the end of this week JISC’s Common Repositories Interfaces Group (CRIG) are holding a two day meeting to look at the key scenarios affecting repository interfaces.

Our discussions for the two days are going to build on a series of teleconferences organised by the CRIG support project – WoCRIG which have just been podcast. I’m both excited about this meeting and a little nervous.

I think that the support project are doing a good job of stirring us up to move forward the work of CRIG and helping us engage with and shape the next stages of repository interface interoperability. For the next stage of this work, this meeting, they’ve organised an unConference. Two days of informal thinking, discussing, and getting at the core of the interoperability issues related to repositories. I’m looking forward to it for what I know I’ll learn, for the chance to contribute, and for the chance to actually just have time to sit down and talk about these things.

The nervousness on my part comes from the unknown – I’ve never been to an unConference before and although the idea is good – to have discussions about what people want to talk about and to cut out the fairly predictable presentation part of a meeting and so to get at the eureka moments that usually happen alongside but not actually in conferences – I’m aware of how much, for me, those eureka moments come along because I’ve been sitting for extended periods of time for my mind to go off at tangents while half listening to a presentation which may or may not be relevant to my thoughts.

Anyway I guess it’s a bit like a codebash for ideas – and that’s no bad thing.

Recent developments in the repository ecology work

A brief update on the progress of the repository ecology work. We’ll be revising the draft report shortly but here’s an overview of what else is going on with this work.

ECDL2007 Workshop

We held a workshop in conjunction with this year’s ECDL conference (workshop home page ). I’ll return to some of the presentations and outcomes of the workshop in another post but, in summary, the workshop went really well. The participants understood the ideas being presented and I think that everyone (whether or not they agreed with the ideas presented) had a thought-provoking day. Thank you to all of the speakers and other participants.

There were some useful critiques of particular aspects of the approach, including: a concern that the distinctions between entities and species were unclear (particularly when mentally translated into other languages); an observation that the approach could complement (rather than conflict) with newer approaches to the development of architectures; and a call to provide some more structured guidance about how to represent ecological views or models.

The workshop affirmed that there is something in this approach and it’s emphasis on articulating messy particularity that isn’t currently being covered by other efforts. It reinforced our feeling that this is more of a communication, planning, and management approach than a more formal (mathematical/systems) modeling approach.

JISCCETIS Conference

Next week, we’re going to be holding a workshop on the repository ecology work at the JISCCETIS conference. The session, being organized by Phil Barker and Lorna Campbell, will complement the ECDL workshop, and further shape the development of this work.

Spanish Repository Working Group: La ecología de los repositorios institucionales: Interacción entre sociedad, producción científica y acceso a la información

In December, I’ll be presenting at the Spanish Repository Working Group’s conference. They’ve chosen the theme of ecological approaches for their annual meeting this year. I’m not sure how much of the conference I’ll be able to follow at the time, but am looking forward to the opportunity.