Into the wild – Technology for open educational resources

Reflections on three years of the UK OER Programmes.


Between 2009 and 2012 the Higher Education Funding Council funded a series of programmes to encourage higher education institutions in the UK to release existing educational content as Open Educational Resources. The HEFCE funded UK OER Programme was run and managed by the JISC and the Higher Education Academy. The JISC CETIS “OER Technology Support Project” provided support for technical innovation across this programme. This book synthesises and reflects on the approaches taken and lessons learnt across the Programme and by the Support Project.

This book is not intended as a beginners guide or a technical manual, instead it is an expert synthesis of the key technical issues arising from a national publicly-funded programme. It is intended for people working with technology to support the creation, management, dissemination and tracking of open educational resources, and particularly those who design digital infrastructure and services at institutional and national level.

Availability

Published by University of Bolton, Deane Road, Bolton, BL3 5AB

ISBN: 978-0-907311-35-5 (print on demand: book (£3.36) printed by Lulu; or free pdf to print yourself)
ISBN: 978-0-907311-36-2 (ebook, Kindle: free download; or from Amazon (77p))
ISBN: 978-0-907311-37-9 (ebook, ePub: free download)
ISBN: 978-0-907311-38-6 (ebook, pdf: free download)
(All prices are the minimum for the distribution channel)

Licence and source

Creative Commons Licence Into the wild – Technology for open educational resources by Amber Thomas, Lorna M. Campbell, Phil Barker and Martin Hawksey (Eds) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

You are free to share (to copy, distribute and transmit the work) to remix (to adapt the work) and to make commercial use of the work under the proviso that you attribute the origin of the work (if possible please include the title, the names of the editors / authors and a link to this page).

To help you re-use this work editable formats are available. We originally wrote the book using the BookType, an online collaborative authoring and publishing platform. Booktype will allow you to clone our source, contact Phil Barker if you would like to do so. There is also a Word .docx file that we used for the final published versions.

Errors and bugs?

There are some minor bugs in some versions: bullet points don’t display well on the kindle version, reference links are erratic on the ePub version (more for some readers than others), the images on the print pdf have white lines on them. We hope none of these are serious problems for you. If you do find a serious problem please contact Phil Barker.

The Future of Interoperability Standards in Education – System and Process

Link: The future of interoperability standards in education – system and process (pdf).

In January 2010, JISC CETIS organised a working meeting to bring together participants across a range of standards organisations and communities to look at the future of interoperability standards in the education sector. This paper summarises the views expressed by delegates at the meeting and presents relevant background information on present and future models for collaboration between open and informal communities and the formal standardisation system with particular reference to the current issues and barriers in specification and standard development and adoption processes. This summary also presents a series of suggestions on the possible directions of future interoperability standards in education.
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The Semantic Web, Linked and Open Data

Link: Download PDF

Summary: This briefing paper provides a high level overview of key concepts relating to the Semantic Web, semantic technologies, linked and open data; along with references to relevant examples and standards. The briefing is intended to provide a starting point for those within the teaching and learning community who may have come across the concept of semantic technologies and the Semantic Web but who do not regard themselves as experts and wish to learn more. The examples and links are intended as starting points for further exploration.

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CETIS OER Technical Support Project Final Report

Link: Download MS Word doc

Summary: The CETIS OER Technical Support Project was funded by JISC to provide support to the JISC HEA Open Educational Resources Pilot programme. Additional support was provided to the programme through CETIS core. Support provided to the programme include advising JISC on the technical direction, setting technical guidelines for the programme, reviewing and advising on projects technical choices, liaising with other programme support elements, particularly JourmOpen. The project conducted technical review calls with all 29 projects and recorded the outcome of these interviews using the CETIS PROD directory. Over the duration of the programme CETIS facilitated a number of programme support events including a technical round table at the annual CETIS conference, and two 2nd Tuesday online seminars in addition to participating in all three JISC programme level events. All output of the CETIS Technical Support Project have been synthesised and published in a series of posts on the CETIS blogs and pages on the CETIS wiki. These outputs were also disseminated through more formal channels including position papers, journal papers and presentations at a number of national and international conferences. The support project surfaced a number of technical issues worthy of further investigation these include; the use of RSS for depositing resources into repositories, technical approaches to aggregating resources and methods of tracking resources. These issues are now being taken forward through an additionally funded project.
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Metadata for Learning Materials: An Overview of Existing Standards and Current Developments.

Link: From Journal website (subscription required; Authors’ final version (open access)

Summary: This paper provides an overview of specifications and standards for metadata relating to learning materials. It is structured to present first the currently established metadata schemas in use today (specifically the IEEE LOM and Dublin Core metadata), then to examine current developments and activities before looking at what might be the future challenges. The examination of current developments and activities highlights the increasingly recognized importance of metadata schema that describe what have in the past been thought of as secondary aspects of learning materials (for example who uses them and what for), and the importance of alternative approaches to structured metadata for resource description.

Published in Technology, Instruction, Cognition and Learning vol 7 (3-4) 2010, pp 225-243.

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Digital Repository Programme Support Project and Repository Research Team, Final Report

Link: Digital Repository Programme Support Project and Repository Research Team, final report (pdf).
Link: Digital Repository Programme Support Project and Repository Research Team, Final Report (doc).

The Digital Repositories Programme Support Project (DRPSP) and the Repository Research Team (RRT) were two phases of a project that supported the JISC’s repository related programmes from 2005 to 2009. The project comprised staff from two JISC services (now Innovation Support Centres): two from UKOLN and 0.5 FTE (rising to 1 for the final year) at CETIS; it was initially managed by Rachel Heery of UKOLN, and in its final year by Lorna Campbell and Phil Barker of CETIS.
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