MOOCs: Any lessons for HE?

September 10th, 2012  / Author: Tim Linsey

Last month I wrote a blog post on MOOCs prompted by a British institution joining one of the major MOOC consortia. In the subsequent period there seem to have been daily announcements about new MOOC developments and institutions joining one or other of the major MOOC consortia with over 140 courses currently available. The OBHE in their analysis of MOOCS ‘MOOCs and disruptive innovation: The Challenge to HE Business models’ considered that the disruptive innovation lies in the shift of cost away from students, in the area of accreditation with the establishment of global exam centres, and by providing employment services. Both Udacity and edX have announced partnerships with Pearson to provide assessment centres (see MOOCing On Site), with Colorado State University’s Global Campus announcing last week that it would accept credit from a Udacity course if they received a “certificate of accomplishment” and passed the course via an assessment centre (see A First for Udacity: a U.S. University Will Accept Transfer Credit for One of Its Courses). The same article notes that a number of European HE institutions (including University of Salzburg, the University of Freiburg, the Free University of Berlin, and the Technical University of Munich) have also accepted credits awarded via Udacity courses. Currently however the majority of students taking a module offered by one of the major MOOC providers receives a ‘certificate of accomplishment’ or equivalent and agree to an ‘honour code’.

One of the perceived limitations of the MOOC model was that it was seen to be most appropriate to quantitative subjects, especially in terms of assessment and the use of objective based questioning. However modules in the Humanities are starting to appear in MOOC module catalogues including the Coursera module ‘Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World’ and ‘Modern & Contemporary American Poetry’. In the case of the former peer assessment has been used where a student on submission of an assignment is automatically provided with the assignments of four other students to mark anonymously using a grading rubric.

The criticisms of MOOC type delivery are many. In the July ‘JISC Webinar ‘What is a MOOC’? (see MOOC: JISC webinar and a few thoughts) Martin Weller referred to a ‘tendency to conservative approaches’ and David White referred to the missing personal element, the ‘see me’. Morris et. al. In their blog post ‘The Myth of Efficiency: a #digped Discussion’ develop a similar theme highlighting the impact of a lack of academic community and the stresses of solitary endeavour. George Siemens in his post ‘What is the theory that underpins our moocs?’ develops the ‘conservative approaches’ theme referring to a hub and spokes model where “the faculty/knowledge at the centre and the learners are replicators or duplicators of knowledge”. These are just two of many points of critique that have been expressed, but academics such as the ‘anonymous Frank Framington’ have found themselves with a dilemma in raising these issues versus openness and access. George Siemens is forthright in stating “While we debate pedagogical models and the ideologies informing different MOOCs and the corporate interests of open courses, the lives of students in different parts of the world are being changed with these projects. And that should be our real focus.”

So what will be the impact on HE? Doomsday scenarios have been envisaged by some including the provocative Epic2020 scenario and video. Perhaps more realistically will be an increased focus on what bricks and mortar institutions can offer students and the wider community beyond that of the mass online offerings. Where face to face delivery is only delivering the ‘hub and spoke’ model then may be the differentiation will significantly diminish, especially in light of the rapid innovation and investment taking place in the ‘MOOC sector’. However, where face to face time is used to maximise learning through building on students active participation, contribution and community, where students have the opportunity to engage with the local environment and region through authentic activities, and through providing personalisation and a supportive environment, then these mass online offerings are not to be feared but rather provide an opportunity to learn from aspects of real innovative practice.

 

MOOCs – JISC Webinar notes and a few thoughts

July 18th, 2012  / Author: Tim Linsey

Seeing the news today concerning the University of Edinburgh joining the Coursera project partnership has prompted me to summarise my notes from attending last week’s JISC Webinar ‘What is a MOOC’? ‘Massive Online Open Courses’ have been around for some time and I had my first forays in participating in such a course earlier in the year. My thoughts were also brought into focus by George Siemens recent blog post ‘Open Letter to Canadian Universities‘ raising his concerns for Canadian HE in the face of significant MOOC development and growth, particularly in the US.

 

The JISC webinar chaired by Dave Kernohan with presentations by Martin Weller, Jonathan Worth, Lou McGill and Dave White was probably one of the most informative such events that I have participated in.

 

Martin Weller’s stated aim was to set the tone and provide some background. He referred to David Wiley, George Siemens, Stephen Downes, Alec Couros, Dave Cormier and Jim Groom as the MOOC pioneers, and characterised the early MOOC courses as: run by individuals; open to all, using a mix of free technology; not often accredited; combining synchronous and non-synchronous elements; involving invited experts; 8-10 weeks duration and ultimately experimental in nature. They were also popular and inspirational, though tended to have a high drop out rate and were perhaps better suited to the experienced learner. Martin then went on to describe a second stage of development with institution engagement and MOOC platform development with the mention of Seb. Thrun’s Stanford AI course with over 120K participants and the founding of Udacity. Other developments included Harvard’s collaboration with MIT to form edX and Coursera emerging from Stanford. Martin assessed the benefits of these organised large scale developments as providing better chances for recognition, especially in terms of association, a potentially economically viable model, and the development of platforms that new entrants can potentially engage with. Possible concerns though included undermining the university model, a tendency to conservative approaches, issues over viability only being achieved on a very large scale, and another route for the commercialisation of higher education. One of the final points made though was the quality of these courses is very good.

 

Following on from Martin Weller was Jonathan Worth taking the perspective of teaching openly and using the model ‘opening’ existing courses (e.g. PICBOD, PHONAR). Jonathan described only entering teaching 3 years ago and so had to learn fast. He made the interesting point that his initial sessions were partly open from the start because of student use of personal technologies. In his discipline of Photography students were already connecting with professionals external to the course through environments such as Flickr, and it was the academics who were not connecting! He described ‘curating a learning journey’ and being a contextualiser rather than a broadcaster, and saw the importance of using student spaces.

 

Lou McGill provided the perspective of both a learner and an evaluator having been a MOOC participant (DS106 & Change11). Lou described how the motivations for learners enrolling on MOOCs were likely to be highly variable, and that challenges faced could include that of language, timing, isolation, culture and responsibility. She made the point of potential inequalities as it was those individuals that already had high levels of capacity who were tending to participate. Her concluding thoughts were in reference to courses such as referred to by Jonathan Worth where an existing course has opened for any individual to participate. Benefits identified included authentic learning experiences, sharing and openness, and broaden perspectives.

 

The last to speak was Dave White. He discussed issues of credibility and relationships with a trusted name, and the potential missing element of ‘See me’ – the personal element, the call of the teacher to discuss a submitted assignment – could this be scaled up to MOOC proportions? Further questions posed included ‘are we making connections or just throwing out content & MCQs?’, are such courses viable much beyond the computer science disciplines?, could the ‘hub’ of learning be moving from the institution to the individual?

 

A final few thoughts

 

As with such webinars there was a significant text chat running in parallel with one area of discussion centring on ‘lurkers’ in a MOOC, with links made with the webinar. In the case of the webinar I think this was a result of its own success, and with the richness of session and links to follow up there was little time to reflect and pose questions unless already immersed in the issues.

 

Recent announcements and press releases (e.g. see Richard Perez-Pena, New York Times [via @marksmithers]; Sean Coughlan, BBC) would seem to indicate that there will be continued significant growth in this form of delivery. The impact on HE more broadly will be dependent on factors discussed above particularly whether the model breaks out of the primarily computer based disciplines, issues of accreditation (apparently some institutions are already planning accrediting such courses and of course the OER University has been modelling accrediting pathways through OER resources) and recognition, economics and critically a theme running through all of the above presentations – that of the learner and educational experience. One impact may be to put pressure on existing courses to look towards enhancing openness, but also serving to emphasis the value of the teacher – “Rather than replacing the teacher, technology has in many ways increased the focus on pedagogic skills. The art of the practitioner as instigator, designer and animateur remains key to the process of learning” JISC 2009.

SIGMA Conference Report – 15th June 2012 University of Liverpool.

July 5th, 2012  / Author: Colin Loughlin

“Supporting Nursing Students to Develop Numeracy Skills”

The sigma network (formerly the Centre for Excellence in university-wide mathematics and statistics support) hold regular regional events to disseminate good practice and promote initiatives designed to improve the numeracy of university students. This particular event was specifically for resources aimed at nursing students.

We were there to showcase the Healthcare and Numbers numeracy learning resource that the ADC have developed with Andrew Perkins and Heather Hurst from the Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences, based on their successful face- to-face teaching.

The learning object is currently live within Kingston University and undergoing student evaluation, but early feedback is positive. The model is constructivist in nature with the students first being walked through an example of the problem and then given the opportunity to try some formative questions. The equations are then applied to healthcare calculations following the same pattern of a worked example followed by self test questions. Several different audio/visual approaches to the same question are included to cater for different learning styles.

Other speakers included Professor Weeks from the University of Glamorgan talking about the pedagogy behind their learning resource ‘Authentic World’, which covers a broad range of healthcare numeracy and emphasises the importance of contextualising numerical problems for nursing students; some of whom can find abstract mathematical calculations intimidating, but are often able to solve a similar calculation when applied to a clinical setting.

The general theme emerging during the day was that for student nurses, fear of healthcare calculations can be a real barrier and, in some cases lead to the student dropping out of their course. Therefore many approaches have been trialled in an attempt to bolster their basic numeracy and, it is increasingly recognised that resources for improving numeracy should be made available earlier in their course than is currently the norm.

Supporting Learning Design

July 2nd, 2012  / Author: Tim Linsey

A couple of years ago following a JISC webinar I wrote a blog post on ‘Pedagogic Planners and Phoebe’. I have recently revisited this topic to consider whether these tools have a role to play as staff prepare for the implementation of a new academic framework from 2013 here at Kingston.

I first engaged with technology supported learning design a few years ago at the time the initial IMS Learning Design specification was published. The aim of the specification is to describe a learning design in a format that can be interpreted and played by standards compliant software environments and tools (e.g. the TENCompetence Foundation editor and player). The implementation of this specification therefore has the potential to translate any pedagogic model into a form that can be delivered online. I can certainly see the benefits to this approach and how it could additionally promote sharing and interoperability of learning designs across compliant systems. At the current time however our core learning technologies do not support the specification; we use multiple core systems (e.g. VLE, ELGG, WordPress) and personal and mobile technologies are becoming increasingly important and; our learning and teaching straddles both virtual and physical spaces. I also recently attended a fascinating online seminar organised by ALT ‘To what extent should learning design be supported computationally?’ being discussed by Diana Laurillard and Stephen Downes. Part of the debate centred on whether there is or can ever be a functionally useful neutral language that can be used to fully describe and represent learning and teaching. For these reasons, complexities and also the timescales we are working to I considered that there was greater immediate potential for engaging with learning design advisory tools. There are a number of these tools freely available. Originally I evaluated Phoebe, and although I think this continues to be a useful web-based advisory tool in most respects this had been superseded the Learning Design Support Environment. A further useful category of advisory tools have been the primarily paper based tools designed to be used in staff development workshops, e.g. 7Cs Learning Design workshop resources (Beyond Distance Research Alliance).

The issues of computational representation and language of learning design discussed in the ALT seminar still of course apply but I felt towards the end of the ALT debate there was some agreement that such tools could be useful for academics as a starting point, for prompting different approaches and re-thinking. Laurillard further made the points that to share good practice you need to be able to represent it, and if your learning design fails you do have a representation to go back to and revise. Conole (2012) argues that to effectively exploit the promise and potential of technology we need to move from belief based and implicit learning and teaching approaches to those that are design based and explicit, promoting sharing and ‘reflective scholarly practice’.

Both Phoebe and the LDSE provide this kind of support. The LDSE provides an extensive palette of learning outcomes and learning and teaching activities along with tools that provide a visual representation of sequencing, activity balance and overall summary. Both tools are able to save and share learning designs, though Phoebe has an advantage in this respect being web based and with the ability to openly share (with Creative Commons License). In the case of LDSE sharing is via an export file.

In summary I feel that learning design advisory tools have a real role to play in supporting staff in designing teaching and learning activities from individual sessions through to a sequence of activities throughout a module. This is achieved through considering the design of learning more explicitly; prompting with ideas and activities and; providing tools that aid reflection and potentially promote sharing. The use of such tools in combination with student feedback and developments in learning analytics offer academics a potentially powerful toolkit to aid teaching practice. These tools also have the potential to involve students in learning and teaching design.
For reasons as discussed in the ALT seminar these learning designs will probably not be suitable for directly evaluating or ranking against each other, at least across different academic frameworks, and will need to be interpreted in context. However with this understanding in mind they can provide rich and explicit representations of learning designs that can be readily interpreted and used to inform practice, and probably particularly useful in staff development events.

 

JISC Webinar on ”Tools to support effectives assessment and feedback: the Viewpoints project”. A few notes…

May 11th, 2012  / Author: Tim Linsey

At lunchtime today I attended a JISC webinar on the Curriculum Design Programme project ‘Viewpoints’ entitled ”Tools to support effective assessment and feedback: the Viewpoints project”. The webinar was presented by Alan Masson and Catherine O’Donnell from the University of Ulster and had a focus on workshop tools that the Viewpoints project (http://viewpointsproject.blogspot.co.uk/) had developed to support effective assessment. These are my few notes from a very informative session:

The workshop tools were designed around best practice in the areas of :

 

The key elements to the toolset are a learner timeline and a set of principles for each of the above themes. Each of the principles are published on a card with a series of examples on the back. A Staff group attending a workshop are issued with a worksheet, timeline and a set of cards. The first step is for each group to agree their main objective for attending and then map the principles to the learner timeline (e.g. Induction, first few weeks etc). The next step is to turn the cards over and consider the example implementation ideas.

They found that the number of cards was important – too many or too few stifle reflection and debate with the optimum being 9 +/- 2. The principles were action based for consistent meaning with the principle that the cards would promote reflection, discussion, and provide ideas for consideration. Following the workshop participants were provided (via Flickr) with photographs taken during the sessions, along with the typed up / photographed worksheet. Staff feedback seems to have been positive and that the project outputs have been fully institutionally embedded (see http://ee.ulster.ac.uk/assessment_and_feedback/).

Interestingly there was some interactivity introduced into the webinar beyond chat using Collaborate’s inbuilt voting tool to implement a couple of activities based on the principles. This worked quite well.

The project resources including the cards have been made available under Creative Commons via the project wiki: http://wiki.ulster.ac.uk/display/VPR/Home and available in PDF and as Illustrator files. Work is also ongoing at the University of Bolton to develop some widgets for implementing aspects of Viewpoints online (http://coeducate.bolton.ac.uk/2012/03/24/widget-beta-8lem-learning-design/ ). See also http://jiscdesignstudio.pbworks.com/w/page/29227748/Viewpoints%20project .

TEL: Current Developments and Future Directions

May 1st, 2012  / Author: Tim Linsey

Last week I attended the Kingston University / St Georges, University of London’s joint Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences annual Learning and Teaching conference. The focus of the event was ‘Enhancing the Educational Experience through Technology’ and I gave a a presentation (see below) on what what I saw as current issues in technology enhanced learning (TEL) and attempted to identify some possible trends.




I started by talking about changing terminologies and how I perceive sometimes that debates in this area, no matter how valid, can leave the wider community  cold and sometimes confused. I think that this wider feeling was amplified by the fact that the introduction of learning technologies on institutional scales were sometimes linked to many agendas, and that TEL was never going to be the only approach to addressing perceived weaknesses in underlying pedagogic practices / enhancing student learning.  Later in the presentation I moved on to staff and student digital literacies referring to the MoRSE project, Beetham et. al.’s (2009) LLiDA Project report ‘Thriving in the 21st Century‘ and David White’s accessible video discussing his concept of digital visitors and residents. Based on comments made later through the day I think this concept of visitors and residents resonated with the audience and in a way was seen to be reassuring.  I moved onto the theme of staff concerns and tried to address issues of technology confidence, perceived student resistance to change, and the changing role of the academic, and in the case of the latter it was useful to be able to quote the JISC resource ‘Effective Practice in a Digital Age (2009):

Rather than replacing the teacher, technology has in many ways increased the focus on pedagogic skills. The art of the practitioner as instigator, designer and animateur remains key to the process of learning

The issue of staff confidence with technologies was a theme that reoccurred later in the day in both informal discussion and as part of Elaine Gaskell-Mew’s presentation entitled “Why don’t I have these skills? – a reflective exploration of e-learning and teaching skills development amongst teaching staff”. Comments including ‘many staff not willing to admit their concerns’,  ’students exceed my technology expertise’, threat, value etc.  This underlines the importance of addressing both staff and student digital literacies, but is also why I followed up with a slide entitled ‘Led by Learning’ to make 3 points: don’t worry about the terminology; there is no one ‘right’ way with TEL and; remain grounded in learning and teaching practice – start with the learning not the technology. This was developed into a brief overview of support available institutionally along with raising awareness of freely available pedagogic design / planning tools, which even if not used formally can be a good source of ideas, with particular reference given to the Learning Design Support Environment and the slightly older but still useful Phoebe tool.

In terms of future trends the focus was on Mobile and OER developments, and although already on us, I feel we are a long way from realising their true impact. As one example of a specific technology I gave brief mention to Augmented Reality as an application that has bumped around for a couple of years with the advent of smartphones but with a sense that this technology is starting to enter into the mainstream (e.g. see The Guardian’s use of Blippar.com last week – 16/4/2012). It is perhaps a step behind QR code technology  in application to learning & teaching, though we have certainly looked at its role in supporting fieldwork.

Other resources mentioned in the presentation:

Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World

JISC Responding to Learners Pack

2012 Horizon Report

J. Traxler & J Wishart (eds) 2011 Making mobile learning work: case studies of practice, ESCalate.

OER:

OU Openlearn

JORUM Repository

XPert OER search tool

Folksemantic OER search tool

 

 

Teaching what you don’t know….

October 10th, 2011  / Author: Jane

Teaching what you don’t know – Theresa Huston

http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674035805

I have been dipping into this book – and it is a good ‘light read’. Certainly the kind of read I can manage on my commute home after a long day…. Although the context is american – I think the experiences that are the focus of the book are certainly readily transferable to the UK. Theresa Huston explores what many don’t like to admit in academia – we are often invited – and I use that word advisedly – to teach courses in areas we do not know very well. She goes on to recognise that the challenge of this is greater when we take into account that the students we are working with are very diverse in terms of culture, lifestyle and so on. Content expert and content novice labels are described as are the kinds of behaviours we adopt for each. Huston speaks humorously about the ‘challenges’ teaching what you don’t know presents. And she offers tips/strategies which are helpful. I am on the ‘Thinking in Class’ chapter at the moment and I have come across some activities that I plan to try out. Many are really simple – e.g. comparitive note-taking. Consider asking students to compare their notes with a neighbour say every 20 mins or so in a lecture. Or introduce it after a particularly challenging concept has been explored – will give students a chance to rework/amend their notes while concept still fairly fresh and when you are available to answer queries that can’t be resolved in the pairs. This has benefits in a large and small lecture situations – students have a chance in a less threatening environment (a pair) to unpick their own understanding of something – to consolidate it by clarifying for another – before checking against the model you might offer. And another called Participation Prep – tell the students you plan to ask a question further into the session – pose the question and get them to write an answer in their notes – this won’t be handed in or checked by you (assure them of this) but when you do get to the discussion part of the session you will ask some to share what they had written down. The question needs to be thought provoking rather than demanding simple recall. This may encourage all to pay greater attention to the initial input of the session that sets the context for the discussion – and it may give students who don’t often contribute to discussion more confidence because they have had some time to consider what they might say. A further benefit might be that a few minutes quiet time to gather thoughts (or not) will give all freedom to think unfettered by what others have already said – so a chance to think of own response. And not a problem if what they write down is voiced by others – they have had the idea themselves too. Still need to do some more thinking about this – I believe there are a couple of copies of this at Penrhyn Rd and up at Kingston Hill

Let me know what you think of it .

Jane

Teaching what you don’t know – Theresa Huston http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/HUSTEA.html

October 10th, 2011  / Author: Jane

I have been dipping into this book – and it is a good ‘light read’. Certainly the kind of read I can manage on my commute home after a long day…. Although the context is american – I think the experiences that are the focus of the book are certainly readily transferable to the UK. Theresa Huston explores what many don’t like to admit in academia – we are often invited – and I use that word advisedly – to teach courses in areas we do not know very well. She goes on to recognise that the challenge of this is greater when we take into account that the students we are working with are very diverse in terms of culture, lifestyle and so on. Content expert and content novice labels are described as are the kinds of behaviours we adopt for each. Huston speaks humorously about the ‘challenges’ teaching what you don’t know presents. And she offers tips/strategies which are helpful. I am on the ‘Thinking in Class’ chapter at the moment and I have come across some activities that I plan to try out. Many are really simple – e.g. comparitive note-taking. Consider asking students to compare their notes with a neighbour say every 20 mins or so in a lecture. Or introduce it after a particularly challenging concept has been explored – will give students a chance to rework/amend their notes while concept still fairly fresh and when you are available to answer queries that can’t be resolved in the pairs. This has benefits in a large and small lecture situations – students have a chance in a less threatening environment (a pair) to unpick their own understanding of something – to consolidate it by clarifying for another – before checking against the model you might offer. And another called Participation Prep – tell the students you plan to ask a question further into the session – pose the question and get them to write an answer in their notes – this won’t be handed in or checked by you (assure them of this) but when you do get to the discussion part of the session you will ask some to share what they had written down. The question needs to be thought provoking rather than demanding simple recall. This may encourage all to pay greater attention to the initial input of the session that sets the context for the discussion – and it may give students who don’t often contribute to discussion more confidence because they have had some time to consider what they might say. A further benefit might be that a few minutes quiet time to gather thoughts (or not) will give all freedom to think unfettered by what others have already said – so a chance to think of own response. And not a problem if what they write down is voiced by others – they have had the idea themselves too. Still need to do some more thinking about this – I believe there are a couple of copies of this at Penrhyn Rd and up at Kingston Hill

Taking Over the Academy by Student Ambassador Rebecca Truscott-Elves

June 15th, 2011  / Author: Andrea Harris

With the reduction in funding to higher education and increase in tuition fees, not only have we lost valuable schemes such as Aimhigher, but it is more important than ever that universities offer something extra to attract students from a wide range of backgrounds. The purpose of this conference was to try to address these issues from the perspective of collaboration between students and staff and to promote the commitment Kingston University has made to this work. It was also a chance to reflect on the great opportunities that the Aimhigher scheme provided and on how best to proceed with the collaborative spirit that the scheme fostered, not only between students and staff, but between institutions.
The day comprised of workshops, skills and poster sessions and talks from exciting speakers such as Brenda Little, the Principal Policy Analyst with the Open University’s Centre for Higher Education Research and Information. Some definite highlights of the day were TJ Esubiyi, President of the Kingston University Student Union, speaking about understanding the student union, and an interactive workshop about Theatre in Education from the University of Worcester. It was certainly exciting to host people from universities as diverse as Manchester, Brighton and St George’s, University of London, among others.

OER in Practice

March 17th, 2011  / Author: Tim Linsey

In Standards and Openness  I described the role of standards including trials run using OU OpenLearn units and eXe generated resources.  Following this and taking the opportunity of a request from a colleague I explored the availability of OER resources in specific topic areas including the formats that they were provided in and the ability to import and edit.

The first stage was to undertake a key word search of OpenLearn units.  My reasoning for starting with OpenLearn units was partly due to the breadth available but also because of the availability of Common Cartridge packaged resources (ease of importing / editing within a VLE) and metadata including level. This search identified a number of potentially relevant units, supplemented with suggestions made by OER Recommender (The OpenLearn pages use the OER Recommender widget providing automated suggestions to other related resources). 
The second stage was a keyword search of JORUM (specifying open resources) which identified further relevant resources including those in other repositories such as Humbox.  The last stage was to perform a search using Xpert.

These searches identified a wealth of resources, both single item and packaged multiple resources, related to the search topics. Although perhaps not all usable it allowed more focus to be given to addressing gaps and editing and mixing as per the specific context. As part of the exercise the resources were all imported into the institutional VLE.

This exercise identified a number of issues as outlined below:

1. Multiple Formats providing varying ability to edit.  In the case of packaged resources it was not always clear which packaging standard was being used though mostly SCORM and HTML. Formats  included:

  • Common Cartridge package. Flexible in terms of editing and mixing within the VLE, though resources not always optimally designed for the navigation tools provided by the VLE. The naming convention of resources could be problematic, e.g. constituent files named with a alphanumeric code which added time in identifying the relevant file for editing.
  • SCORM package. Not directly editable but with the advantage of inbuilt navigation between the elements of the resource.
  • HTML package.
  • URL to web resource. Not possible to edit and the risk of the resource becoming unavailable.
  • Documents including MS Word and PDF which may or may not be locked.

 

2. User generated metadata tags. Flexible but maybe not always consistent.

3. Licence.  Not always declared though commonly Creative Commons.  However there are many types of Creative Commons licences with different levels of restriction which may include “No derivative works”.

4. Quality. Beyond the reputation of the institution and the individual some repositories such as Humbox provide the ability for registered users to add comments and notes to resources.

Summary of Resources Used

  • Humbox – Humanities learning resources repository
  • JORUM – JISC funded UK Learning & Teaching resources repository
  • OER Recommender / Folksemantic - US National Science Foundation funded OER search tool and also provide a recommender widget for embedding in learning resource sites etc.
  • OpenLearn – Open Universityopen learning resources
  • Xpert – JISC funded Nottingham University tool for searching for open resources in learning and teaching.
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