CETIS Conference: OER Technical Roundtable

Only four days to go until the CETIS Conference and we’re already starting to draw up a list of issues to explore at the OER Technical Roundtable. The aim of this session is to give OER Projects techies and other interested folk an opportunity to come together to discuss technical issues that they have anticipated, encountered and possibly even resolved.

Issues we expect to turn up include:

  • Metadata, resource description and tagging.
  • Version control – Does it really matter? If so, what can be done about it?
  • Tracking – What? How? Why?
  • Working with different repositories.
  • Aggregating and linking resources distributed across multiple services and applications.
  • Using and managing feeds.
  • Bulk upload.
  • Encoding license information.

The Steeple Project have already raised some additional issues:

  • Subject classification – mapping between proprietary subject classification codes and JACS.
  • Approaches to describing “levels of difficulty” and “intended use”.
  • Consistent CC license description in audio, video and feed metadata.

We want to know what works for you and what doesn’t? What technical problems have you banging your head on the desk in frustration? Or have you discovered an elegant technical solution to a thorny problem that you’re willing to share?

Members of JISC, CETIS and other community experts will be on hand to offer advice and explore potential solutions.

We would welcome more suggestions of issues you’ve encountered so please add your comments here and we’ll add these to the list of topics to discuss.

Conference tag #cetis09
Session tag #cetis09oer

4 thoughts on “CETIS Conference: OER Technical Roundtable

  1. One of the things we’re interested in in our subject strand OER project is the evidence for which metadata elements promote resource discovery. Some of us suspect that the cost of adding a lot of metadata is not justified by the benefit it brings to make a resource either more discoverable or easier to assess whether it’s fit for a re-use purpose. We have a work package looking at these issues and would like to hear from others at the conference how they have evaluated metadata in their contexts.

  2. Pinning down the cost benefits of metadata creation and its ability to facilitate resource discovery is notoriously difficult and very, very interesting. This is one of the reasons that we’ve given the OER Projects a free hand in terms of what kind of metadata they choose to create. I hope we can learn more from the programme about what kind of metadata is effective in what context.

  3. I have put only the highlights of some issues in this reply and sent Lorna a more complete version via email…

    The only reason that OERs exist is to be reused. This can occur by adoption or adaptation. The usage scenarios tend to set up different approaches in terms of technical fulfillment. Adaptation is complex and creates issues around discovery (of versions), interoperability of content and tools, tracking and management of derivative works and the attribution that should occur etc etc. In short, the content lifecycle for adapted content is more complex and requires more ‘backend’ planning to be more easily enabled. The work needs to be removed from the “adaptor”, and wherever possible, shifted to the technology with minimal human intervention.

    The most significant problems are:

    – What options are available to simplify licensing and enable reuse across initiatives? (Surely this is a relatively simple policy decision.)

    – What options are available to support the development of open source tools for adaptation and reuse of OER content? (See for example )

    – What options are available to support attribution requirements of derivative works at the individual application level and at the infrastructure level.

    – New generation infrastructure models
    There has been a strong trend away from learning being controlled and managed by a single application (Learning Management System, Course Management System, Virtual Learning Environment etc) towards a more open approach where content useful to learners can be deployed to simultaneously to different individual applications (trend towards open infrastructure and Personal Learning Environments).
    How are architectures and content models better able to support these approaches?

  4. Pingback: Lorna’s JISC CETIS blog » CETIS OER Technical Support Project Final Report