Bye bye Amber!

She’s probably going to kill me for writing this but what the hell….Amber is leaving JISC at the end of the week and I can’t let her go without a send off! I’ve known Amber professionally for more years than it would be polite to mention and to be honest I can’t actually remember where she was working when I first met her, though I think it was pre-Becta. I do remember being really pleased when she joined JISC because she had a reputation for Knowing Her Stuff and for really understanding technology from a teaching and learning perspective.

I’ve collaborated with Amber on a number of JISC programmes and for the last three years we’ve worked together with CETIS colleagues Phil Barker, R. John Robertson and Martin Hawksey to provide advice and guidance on digital infrastructure to support the JISC HEA Open Educational Resource Programmes. It’s been an immensely rewarding experience. Although the UK OER Programmes are not “about” digital infrastructure development per se, they have fostered some really innovative technical developments such as the OER Visualisation Project, the CETIS OER Technical Mini Projects, the JLeRN Experiment and the OER Rapid Innovation Programme, all of which, to a greater or lesser degree, are a result of Amber’s vision and willingness to take risks.

Over the last three years Amber has also become an influential voice in the global open education debate. One of the things I have always admired about her contribution to discussions is that she has an enviable ability to ask the right questions, to synthesise complex and often conflicting issues, and represent a wide range of views without ever loosing sight of her own perspective. Some of the posts she has written for the JISC Digital Infrastructure Team blog have been important markers in the development of the UK OER Programmes.

Above and beyond her undoubted technical expertise, I don’t think it’s too far fetched to say that Amber has been a really positive role model for other women working in a domain where female colleagues are still rather under-represented. She is immensely patient and understanding, and I personally feel that I have benefitted enormously from her support and encouragement. She’s also really quite silly and is immensely good fun to work with.

The last project Amber, Phil, Martin and I worked on was a booksprint earlier this autumn. The aim of the booksprint was to synthesise the technical outputs of all three years of the UK OER Programmes and to write a book in three days. It was Amber’s idea of course and I have to confess that I really wasn’t convinced we were up to the task. I’m delighted to admit that I was proved wrong. With patient input from booksprint facilitator Adam Hyde we did manage to write our book, or most of it at least, and we actually had great fun while we were at it!

Amber Thomas*

Amber Thomas*

So now Amber is off to the University of Warwick where, among other people, she’ll be working with the lovely Jenny Delasalle who some of you might remember as Phil’s predecessor as CETIS Metadata SIG coordinator. I’m sure we’ll all miss working so closely with Amber but I have the feeling that we haven’t seen the back of her yet! So good luck with the new job Amber and I hope we can look forward to working together again at some stage in the not too distant future.

Now I had better go and finish writing the conclusion of our book, otherwise Amber really will kill me ;)

* Picture of Amber gratuitously pinched from Brian Kelly’s Metrics and Social Web Services Workshop report at

* ETA Brian has very kindly let me know that the picture above was taken by Kirsty Pitkin, @eventamplifier, or possibly by Mr@eventamplifier! Who ever took it, it’s lovely :)

The great UKOER tag debate

After three years of innovation focused on the sustainable release of open educational resources, the JISC HEA UK OER Programme is drawing to a close and yesterday Martin and I went along to the final programme meeting in London. Phil wasn’t able to attend the meeting and instead posted the following e-mail to the oer-discuss mailing list:

Hello all, I can’t be in London today, so I’m kind of joining the end of programme discussion from afar. The last three years have been great. At one of the early planning meetings someone (Andy Powell, I think) said that one measure of whether the programme was successful could be the widespread recognition of UKOER / OER as an idea within UK F&HE and the existence of a community around it. I’m pretty sure that has happened, not just because of UKOER but we were there and helped. So well done all of us :)

But what now? The programme has always aimed at sustainable release of resources, change of culture and practice, not just a short burst of activity leading to a one-off dumping of resources. What will happen over the next few years by way of sustained release and which practices are sustainable? Also, of course, from a CETIS point of view, what technologies can help?

Happy diwali, keep the OER light shining.

Phil’s mail prompted Nick Sheppard to ask the apparently innocent question:

Possibly a silly question…but I should stop tagging new resources ukoer?!

This seemingly innocuous enquiry prompted the kind of mailing list explosion normally only seen on Friday afternoon, and it wasn’t long before the discussion had it’s own twitter tag: #oergate. I haven’t counted the number of replies but if the thread has reached double figures it wouldn’t surprise me. If you’re feeling brave, you can read the whole thread here.

Some colleagues were all in favour of continuing to use the ukoer tag, arguing that it now represents an active community which is powerful evidence to the sustainability of the funded programmes’ legacy. Others argued that continued use of the tag would muddy the waters for collection managers and make it difficult to identify resources produced through the funded phase of the programme.

Amber has now managed to capture the discussion in an excellent blog post UKOER: What’s in a tag?*. Although there is no conclusive consensus as to how to answer Nick’s original question, one thing that this discussion has clearly demonstrated is that there does appear to be a lively and active community that has grown up around the funded programmes and the ukoer tag, and that definitely has to be a good thing!

*Amber’s blog post was written with input from Sarah Currier (Jorum), David Kernohan (JISC), Martin Hawksey (CETIS), Lorna Campbell (CETIS), Jackie Carter (Jorum).

ETA It now appears that the #oergate debate borked JISCmail! It seems that the list exceeded posting limits or some such, and no further comments were posted to the list after 15.10 on Wednesday afternoon. I’m delighted to say that I got the last word in ;)

JLeRN Experiment Final Meeting

Earlier this week I went to the final meeting of the JLeRN Experiment Project ,which CETIS has been supporting over the last year. The aim of the event was to reflect on the project and to provide project partners with an opportunity to present and discuss their engagement with JLeRN and the Learning Registry.

JLeRN project manager Sarah Currier and developer Nick Syrotiuk opened the meeting by recapping the project’s progress and some of the issues they encountered. Nick explained that setting up a Learning Registry node had been relatively straightforward and that publishing data to the node was quite easy. The project had been unable to experiment with setting up a node in the cloud due to limitations within the university’s funding and procurement structures (Amber Thomas noted that this was a common finding of other JISC funded cloud service projects), however all the JLeRN node data is synchronised with, a free CouchDB service in the cloud. Although getting data into the node is simple, there was no easy way to see what was in the node so Nick built a Node Explorer tool based on the LR slice API which is now available on Github.

Sarah also explained that the project had been unable to explore moving data between nodes and exploiting node networks and communities as there are currently very few Learning Registry nodes in existence. Sarah noted that while there had been considerable initial interest in both the Learning Registry and JLeRN, and quite a few projects and institutions had expressed an interest in getting involved, very few had actually engaged, apart from the JISC funded OER Rapid Innovation projects. Sarah attributed this lack of engagement to limited capacity and resources across the sector and also to the steep learning curve required to get involved. There had also been relatively little interest from the development community, beyond one or two enthusiastic and innovative individuals, such as Pat Lockley, and again Sarah attributed this to lack of skills and capacity. However she noted that although the Learning Registry is still relatively immature and remains to be tried and tested, there is still considerable interest in the technology and approaches adopted by the project to solve the problems of educational resource description and discovery.

“If we are to close the gap between the strategic enthusiasm for the potential wins of the Learning Registry, and the small-scale use case and prototype testing phase we are in, we will need a big push backed by a clear understanding that we will be walking into some of the same minefields we’ve trodden in, cyclically, for the past however many decades. And it is by no means clear yet that the will is there, in the community or at the strategic level.”

In order to gauge the appetite for further work in this area, JLeRN have commissioned a short report from David Kay of Sero Consulting to explore the potential affordances of JLeRN and the Learning Registry architecture and conceptual approach, within the broader information environment.

Following Sarah and Nick’s introduction Phil Barker presented an update on the status and future of the Learning Registry initiative in the US, which I’ll leave him to blog about :) The rest of the meeting was taken up with presentations from a range of projects and individuals that had engaged with JLeRN and the Learning Registry. I’m not even going to attempt to summarise the afternoon’s discussions which were lively and wide ranging and covered everything from triple stores to Tin Can API to chocolate coloured mini dresses and back again! You can read about some of these projects on the JLeRN blog here:

It’s worth highlighting a few points though…

Pat Lockley’s Pgogy tools gave a glimpse of the kind of innovative Learning Registry tools that can be built by a creative developer with a commitment to openness. Pat also gave a thought provoking presentation on how the nature of the learning registry offers a greater role for developers that most current repository ecosystems as the scope of the services that can be built is considerably richer. In his own blog post on the meeting Pat suggested:

“Also, perhaps, it is a developer’s repository as it is more “open”, and sharing and openness are now a more explicit part of developer culture than they are with repositories?”

Reflecting on the experience of the Sharing Paradata Across Widget Stores (SPAWS) project Scott Wilson reported that using the LR node had worked well for them. SPAWS had a fairly straightforward remit – build a system for syndicating data between widget stores. In this particular usecase the data in question was relatively simple and standardised. The project team liked that fact that the node was designed for high volume use, though they did foresee longer term issues with up scaling and download size, the APIs were fairly good, and the Activity Streams approach was a good fit for the project. Scott acknowledged that there were other solutions that the project could have adopted but that they would have been more time consuming and costly, after all “What’s not to like about a free archival database?!” Scott also added that the Learning Registry could have potential application to sharing data between software forges.

Another area where the Learning Registry approach is likely to be of particular benefit is the medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine domains where curricula and learning outcomes are clearly mapped. Susanne Hardy and James Outterside from the University of Newcastle presented a comprehensive use case from the RIDLR project which built on the work of the Dynamic Learning Maps and FavOERites projects. Suzanne noted that there is huge appetite in the medical education sector for the idea of JLeRN type services.

Owen Stephens made a valuable contribution to discussions throughout the day by asking particularly insightful and incisive question about what projects had really gained by working with the Learning Registry rather than adopting other approaches such as those employed in the wider information management sector. I’m not sure how effectively we managed to answer Owen’s questions but there was a general feeling that the Learning Registry’s open approach to dealing with messy educational data somehow fitted better with the ethos of the teaching and learning sector.

One issue that surfaced repeatedly throughout the day was the fact that Learning Registry nodes are still rather thin on the ground, although there are several development nodes in existence, of which JLeRN is one, there is still only one single production node maintained by the Learning Registry development team in the US. As a result it has not been possible to test the capabilities and affordance of networked nodes and the potential network scale benefits of the Learning Registry approach remain unproven.

Regardless of these reservations, it was clear from the breadth and depth of the discussions at the meeting that there is indeed a will in some sectors of the HE community to continue exploring the Learning Registry and the technical approaches it has adopted. Personally, while I can see the real benefit of the Learning Registry to the US schools sector, I am unsure how much traction it is likely to gain in the UK F/HE domain at this point in time. Having said that, I think the technical approaches developed by the Learning Registry will have considerable impact on our thinking and approach to the messy problem of learning resource description and management.

For further thinky thoughts on the Learning Registry and the JLeRN experiment, I can highly recommend Amber Thomas blog post: Applying a new approach to an old problem.

OER Booksprint Reflections

Earlier this week Amber Thomas, Phil Barker, Martin Hawksey and I had the interesting and rewarding experience of participating in an OER booksprint. A booksprint is essentially an accelerated facilitated writing retreat, and in this case our facilitator was the endlessly patient and encouraging Adam Hyde of and Sourcefabric’s Booktype team. Adam has previously facilitated booksprints for a diverse range of initiatives including FLOSS Manuals and Google Summer of Code.

The aim of a booksprint is to produce a book from scratch in five intensive days. That may sound challenging enough, however we only had two and a half days to produce our book and, just to add to the challenge, the Scottish Legal system conspired against us to haul Martin off to do his civic duty by citing him for jury service. Luckily Martin didn’t get selected for the jury, which is just as well, as we wouldn’t have been able to complete our book without him.

The task we set for our sprint was to draw together some of the significant technical outputs of the three JISC / HEA Open Educational Resources Programmes, reflect on issues that arose and identify future directions. I think its fair to say that we all approached the task with some trepidation and perhaps even a little scepticism. Could we really write a book in two and a half days? Right from the outset Adam was realistic about what we could reasonably achieve. Given our small team and the shorter then normal timescale, he suggested that a 15,000 work booklet would be an achievable goal. We rather surprised ourselves by exceeding these expectations with a final count of 21,000 words.

We used a combination of high and lo tech to facilitate the writing process, i.e. collaborative authoring software and post-it notes :}

We began with a brain storming session to identify the audience for the book, scope the content, construct the table of contents and discuss individual chapters. Although separate authors were allocated to each individual chapter, the content of each chapter was scoped by the whole group. Phil proved to be particularly adept at managing this process. As Adam explained on his blog:

To structure these (chapters) we are working on a nice big wooden table in the lounge and writing ideas onto post-it notes. Everyone can participate with contributions on what should be in the chapter, and the person taking responsibility for starting the chapter writes these ideas down on post-it notes and orders them according to the structure we created yesterday.

It’s a great process and very good for getting the wide range of knowledge available on a subject into the chapter, and its easy to see how this content can fit together as a readable structure.

Structuring chapters
In order to structure and manage the collaborative writing process we used Booktype’s booki collaborative authoring software which stood up to the task very well.


Booki also includes some interesting analytics tools that allow users to visualise the writing process.

Booki analytics

Once a chapter was completed it was passed on to another member of the group for editing, with the aim that by the end of the sprint each chapter would have been reviewed and edited twice. As we had written considerably more than we originally envisaged we were slightly pushed for time when it came to the editing stage. So we have a considerably longer book than we expected but it still needs a little polishing.

On reflection I think it’s fair to say that we all found the book sprint to be a challenging, but very positive and productive experience. Phil commented that he found it interesting to “flip” our normal process of collaborating. As we all work remotely and tend to only come together and meet face to face when we are scoping and planning a piece of work. We then go back to our respective institutions to get on with our tasks, using tools such as Skype, Google docs, email and twitter to facilitate remote collaboration. This time however we did all the planning and orchestration remotely, and used the face time to do the collaborative work. It was certainly a different, and very productive, way for us to work. In fact Phil went so far as to comment that this was the closest he had ever come to an enjoyable writing experience! Adam also kept a blog of progress and reflections, which you can read here .

The next stage of the process is to tie up some loose ends and then invite other members of the OER community to comment on the text. Hopefully these commentaries will be incorporated into the books as concluding reflections. In the meantime the draft of our book is openly available here, so feel free to read and comment.

OER Rapid Innovation Catch-up

Towards the end of last week the JISC / HEA OER Rapid Innovation projects and CETIS got together for an online catch up session facilitated by Programme Manager Amber Thomas. It’s a really interesting bunch of projects and it was great to hear how everyone is getting on.

Although it’s a bit early to start identifying specific technology trends across the programme, a few themes are already starting to emerge.

Unsurprisingly several projects mentioned that they were interested in using HTML5. Martin Hawksey who has been doing PROD calls with the OER RI projects to discuss and record their technical choices, noted that four out of eight projects already interviewed listed HTML5 among the technologies they plan to use; Bebop, Developing Linked Data Infrastructures for OER, SPINDLE, and Xenith. Synote Mobile also intend to use HTML5. It’ll be interesting to see if these intentions translate into implementation or whether any of these project go on to use alternative technologies.

Another broad theme that emerged was accessibility and widening access to open educational resources. Improving Accessibility to Mathematical Teaching resources is focused on making mathematics OERs fully accessible to visually impaired students, while two projects are aiming to make audio resources more accessible to a range of users. SPINDLE aims to increase OER discoverability by using linguistic analysis to generate keywords for enriching metadata, and the project also plans to investigate semi-automated generation of full-text transcripts. While Synote Mobile will make accessible, searchable, annotated recordings available on mobile devices.

There is also some interest across the programme in the Learning Registry development and the use of paradata. The SPAWS project plans to share paradata or usage data, such as reviews, ratings, and download stats, between widget stores and are currently developing recipes for paradata verbs which they hope to contribute to the Learning Registry Paradata Cookbook. And RIDLR will test the release and harvest of contextually rich paradata via the JLeRN Experiment to the Learning Registry.

I don’t know if this really counts as a theme, but it was also interesting to note that although the Rapid Innovation programme is very much focused on short term technical development, several of the projects discussed “soft” issues relating to the use of open technology. For example the aim of the Bebop project is to develop a WordPress plugin that can be used with BuddyPress to extend an individual’s profile to re-present resources that are held on other websites such as Slideshare, Jorum, etc. However Bebop’s Joss Winn added that by focusing on individual staff profiles they hope to encourage teachers to engage with using WordPress.

It’ll be interesting to see how these themes develop as the programme progresses and which other trends will emerge.

The recording of the OER RI catch up can be found here and Martin Hawksey’s aggregation of OER RI project feeds is here.

Oh and one last thing, great to hear that projects found the technical calls with Martin to be very useful, if you haven’t made a date to talk to him yet, drop him a mail now!

OER related workshops at Dev8eD

Only four more sleeps till Dev8eD! The event is now fully booked but there’s sure to be lots of tweeting and backchannel discussion at #dev8ed over the course of the two days. There’s a great line up of activities and events on the programme, several of which will appeal to anyone with an interest in open educational resources.

Working with the Learning Registry: Project Developers’ Workshop
Tuesday 13.30 – 14.30
Led by: Sarah Currier and Nick Syrotiuk

Sarah Currier and Nick Syrotiuk of Mimas’ JLeRN Experiment will be running a workshop which will share technical issues, requirements and solutions, and will help JLeRN and CETIS learn how to support projects with an interest in experimenting with the Learning Registry. As well as giving an update on Learning Registry specs, code and tools, Nick and Sarah will also provide an update on JLeRN’s latest technical developments, including the new Node Explorer. Projects will also have a chance to share plans and ideas for using the Learning Registry and paradata.

This workshop will be followed up on Wednesday by a hands-on hack session with JLeRN’s developer Nick Syrotiuk.

Target Audience: Developers and other technical folks working on projects (including OER3 and OER RI) interested in using the Learning Registry and/or working with the JLeRN Experiment. Other project staff also welcome!

Tags: #dev8ed, #jlern, #learningreg

Tuesday 13.30 – 14.30
Led by: Adam Hyde

Booktype is an online book production software application developed by non-profit organization Sourcefabric. Booktype is 100% open source and is gathering a lot of interest, use, and following in the OER sector since its launch in February. Adam Hyde, Booktype’s project leader will be facilitating a workshop that will look at how this new software works for the user, trainer and developer. Booktype outputs to book formatted PDF, epub, mobi, PDF, .odt, templated HTML, print on demand services and ebook distribution channels. Booktype is federated and supports bi-directional text and equations, making it perfect for multi-language collaborative online textbook creation.

Target Audience: content creators and publishers of eBooks; OER projects with an interest in disseminating content as eBooks.

PublishOER: new business models for incorporating commercially published content into OER
Tuesday 14.30 – 15.30
Led by: James Outterside, Dan Plummer, Suzanne Hardy, Graham Isaacs, Raul Balesco

PublishOER is a JISC funded OER 3 project at Newcastle University, which is working with publishers to find new business models for enabling risk free incorporation of published materials into OER. The project is undertaking development work for centralising a business process for dealing with permissions requests to publishers, publishing to multiple publication formats from a single source, dealing with multiple licences, etc. Additional technical development work (SupOERGlue & RIDLR OERRI projects) is underway on Newcastle University’s novel Dynamic Learning Maps system, enabling the creation of resource mashups using OER bookmarking and OER Glue from within the learning environment and sharing of contextually rich curriculum related meta and paradata about learning resources via API/JLeRN to other users including publishers and HEIs.

The Newcastle team are interested in working with others including:

  • Booktype: working with multiple publication formats
  • University of Edinburgh: congruence between DLM (Newcastle) and COM:MAND (Edinburgh): curriculum mapping systems.
  • Sharing resource meta/para/activity stream data.
  • JLeRN /Learning Registry harvesting/syndication.
  • Anyone interested in permissions management systems.
  • Publishers and new publication business models. Solutions to dealing with multiple licences within ePub2 & 3 and other publication formats.

The team develops with Django and Python but are happy to work with developers using other languages.

Target audience: Administrators and developers from both HEIs and publishers.

Tags: #dev8ed, #publishoer

In addition to these workshops JLeRN, Booktype and PublishOEr will also be giving lightning talks on Tuesday morning at 10.30 when Dev8eD kicks off.

Open Education in Europe – SURF’s “diner pensant”

While we were at the recent OER 12 Conference in Cambridge, David Kernohan (JISC), Maggie Stephens (JISC), Martin Hawksey (CETIS) and I were invited by SURF to join a diner pensant with ‘food for thought’. The event took the form of a dinner with three presentations around the theme of “Open Education in Europe: what are the opportunities?” The guests represented a wide range of global initiatives and institutions with a commitment to open education and oer including Creative Commons, the Commonwealth of Learning, UNESCO, JISC, SURF, MIT, along with the universities of Amsterdam, Athabasca, Barcelona, Delft and Leuven. A full list of participants is available here and the programme can be found here.

It was a genuinely thought provoking event and I was lucky enough to share a table and some enlightened discussion with Fred Mulder, holder of the UNESCO Chair in OER at the Open Universiteit, Stephen Carson, Director of External Affairs for MIT OpenCourseWare, Ignasi Labastida i Juan, Universitat de Barcelona and Creative Commons Spain and Catalonia and Willem van Valkenburg, Delft University of Technology. I confess I was too engrossed in the conversation to take notes on the presentation and discussions, however SURF’s Hester Jelgerhuis, project manager Open Educational Resources SURF and organiser of the event, has blogged a report here: Cambridge 2012 Congres over OEr: diner pensent.

To summarise Hester’s post, Fred Mulder opened the event with a presentation called “Fascinated by digital openness in education”. In addition to outlining his own fascination with all aspects of openness, he characterised Open Education as consisting of three elements; open educational resources, open learning services and open teaching efforts. Fred argued that the EU should concentrate its efforts on mainstreaming open educational resources rather than open education which he suggested was unlikely to be widely adopted by higher education institutions due to its diversity. This perspective caused considerable discussion at our table with several guests suggesting that while open education may not sweep away the institution of higher education that we are familiar with today, open education in all its forms will have an increasingly important role to play in meeting the educational demands of a growing global population. It’s interesting to reflect on this discussion in light of yesterday’s press release by Harvard and MITx announcing the launch of edX “a new nonprofit partnership, to offer free online courses from both universities.”

This theme was picked up by Anka Mulder, president of the OCW Consortium, who presented evidence from Tony Bates and Sir John Daniel suggesting that we need to look for new approaches and methodologies to meet the growing demand for higher education. Anka also noted that innovation in the field of open education tended to come from the US, Australia and the UK and she particularly mentioned the innovative impact of the JISC / HEA Open Educational Resources programmes. By contrast, open education adoption and production is more prevalent in Asia, particularly Taiwan, Korea, Indonesia, India and Japan. Anka went on to suggest that EU governments and institutions needed to do much more to influence and embed open education by funding projects and policy developments, adopting legislation to ensure openness by default and including openness as a higher education performance indicator. She also suggested we should all take steps to set up an EU Open Course Ware Consortium.

The final presentation was by JISC’s David Kernohan who presented a brief summary of the aims and impact of three years of OER funding in the UK. David’s presentation was particularly thought provoking and sobering as he reflected on the impact on UK higher education funding cuts on the reality of academic practice. With many of the teachers and academics driving open education in the UK employed on part time and temporary contracts David reflected on whether there was any way to sustain open education adoption and innovation without exploiting the academic staff that make these new and open approaches to education possible.

The diner pensant certainly achieved it’s aim of providing “food for though”. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank SURF for organising this interesting and thought provoking event and for inviting JISC and CETIS to participate.

CETIS OER Visualisation Project

As part of our work in the areas of open educational resources and data analysis CETIS are undertaking a new project to visualise the outputs of the JISC / HEA Open Educational Resource Programmes and we are very lucky to have recruited data wrangler extraordinaire Martin Hawksey to undertake this work. Martin’s job will be to firstly develop examples and workflows for visualising OER project data stored in the JISC CETIS PROD database, and secondly to produce visualisations around OER content and collections produced by the JISC / HEA programmes. Oh, and he’s only got 40 days to do it! You can read Martin’s thoughts on the task ahead over at his own blog MASHe:

40 days to let you see the impact of the OER Programme #ukoer

PROD Data Analysis

A core aspect of CETIS support for the OER Phase 1 and 2 Programmes has been the technical analysis of tools and systems used by the projects. The primary data collection tool used for this purpose is the PROD database. An initial synthesis of this data has already been completed by R. John Robertson, however there is potential for further analysis to uncover potentially richer information sets around the technologies used to create and share OERs.
This part of the project will aim to deliver:

  • Examples of enhanced data visualisations from OER Phase 1 and 2.
  • Recommendations on use and applicability of visualisation libraries with PROD data to enhance the existing OER dataset.
  • Recommendations and example workflows including sample data base queries used to create the enhanced visualisations.

And we also hope this work will uncover some general issues including:

  • Issues around potential workflows for mirroring data from our PROD database and linking it to other datasets in our Kasabi triple store.
  • Identification of other datasets that would enhance PROD queries, and some exploration of how transform and upload them.
  • General recommendations on wider issues of data, and observed data maintenance issues within PROD.

Visualising OER Content Outputs

The first two phases of the OER Programme produced a significant volume of content, however the programme requirements were deliberately agnostic about where that content should be stored, aside from a requirement to deposit or reference it in Jorum. This has enabled a range of authentic practices to surface regarding the management and hosting of open educational content; but it also means that there is no central directory of UKOER content, and no quick way to visualise the programme outputs. For example, the content in Jorum varies from a single record for a whole collection, to a record per item. Jorum is working on improved ways to surface content and JISC has funded the creation of a prototype UKOER showcase, in the meantime though it would be useful to be able to visualise the outputs of the Programmes in a compelling way. For example:

  • Collections mapped by geographical location of the host institution.
  • Collections mapped by subject focus.
  • Visualisations of the volume of collections.

We realise that the data that can be surfaced in such a limited period will be incomplete, and that as a result these visualisations will not be comprehensive, however we hope that the project will be able to produce compelling attractive images that can be used to represent the work of the programme.

The deliverables of this part of the project will be:

  • Blog posts on the experience of capturing and using the data.
  • A set of static or dynamic images that can be viewed without specialist software, with the raw data also available.
  • Documentation/recipes on the visualisations produced.
  • Recommendations to JISC and JISC CETIS on visualising content outputs.