What is Schema.org?

Link: What is schema.org  (PDF)

Schema.org is a joint initiative of the search engines Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yandex aimed at making it easier to index web pages in such a way that facilitates the building of sophisticated search services. Schema.org metadata may also be used for other applications e.g. in eBooks and as stand-alone metadata records.

This briefing describes schema.org for a technical audience. It is aimed at people who may want to implement schema.org markup in websites or other tools they build but who wish to know more about the technical approach behind schema.org and how to implement it. We also hope that this briefing will be useful to those who are evaluating whether to implement schema.org to meet the requirements of their own organization.

This briefing has been produced as part of the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI), which is concerned with extending and applying schema.org to the description of educationally relevant properties of resources. Other briefings in this series will provide an in-depth overview of LRMI.

[If you wish to take advantage of the CC-By licence and edit your version, there is a copy on Google docs that you may clone, or you may download a zip archive of the files used to create the PDF in Scribus, this archive includes the plain text and the images.]

 

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Beyond MOOCs: Sustainable Online Learning in Institutions

Link: Beyond MOOCs Sustainable Online Learning in Institutions (PDF)
Link: Beyond MOOCs Sustainable Online Learning in Institutions (MS Word .docx)

Executive Summary

The key opportunity for institutions is to take the concepts developed by the MOOC experiment to date and use them to improve the quality of their face-to-face and online provision, and to open up access to higher education. Most importantly, the understanding gained should be used to inform diversification strategies including the development of new business models and pedagogic approaches that take full advantage of digital technologies.

The critical discourse emerging around MOOCs is providing an opportunity for institutions to develop a more strategic approach to online learning. This includes enhancing existing classroom teaching practices, promoting institutional reputation and developing new revenue models. There are indications that some MOOCs are becoming more focussed on corporate training, which suggests that they may not pose a immediate threat to the existing pedagogical, revenue or business models of higher education institutions (HEIs). The number of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) will continue to grow with the development of credit bearing courses likely to be a trend.
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Survey of the State of Analytics in UK HE and FE institutions

Link: Survey of the State of Analytics in UK Higher and Further Institutions 2013 (pdf).
Link: Survey of the State of Analytics in UK Higher and Further Institutions 2013 (MS Word docx).

An informal survey was undertaken by Cetis in May and June 2013. Subscribers to a number of email circulation lists – with members coming largely from institutional IT, administration and educational technology responsibilities – were invited to respond.
The purpose of the survey was to:

  • Assess the current state of analytics in UK FE/HE.
  • Identify the challenges and barriers to using analytics.

Chart showing reported data sources for analytics

Chart showing reported data sources for analytics

For the purpose of the survey, we defined our use of “analytics” to be the process of developing actionable insights through problem definition and the application of statistical models and analysis against existing and/or simulated future data. In practical terms, it involves trying to find out things about an organisation, its products services and operations, to help inform decisions about what to do next.
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Engaging Developers in Standards Development; the Cetis Code Bash Approach

Link: Engaging Developers in Standards Development; the Cetis Code Bash Approach (PDF)
Link: Engaging Developers in Standards Development; the Cetis Code Bash Approach (MS Word .docx)

A linear process in which a written standard is created and then implemented in software is liable to fail for many reasons arising both from the difficulty in writing a specification that is sufficiently precise and accurate while also allowing for necessary flexibility in use, and from the intrinsic complexity of the human activities and IT systems in which it will be realised. Engaging software developers in the standards development process has been found to be an effective means to improve the written standards, to enlarge the scope of practical interoperability between software, and to identify and share effective practice. Over a period of years, Cetis developed an approach to this kind of engagement which we called a “Code Bash”. This white paper outlines the motivation, typical outcomes and practicalities of running a Code Bash and is intended to motivate people working in either formal or informal standards-development settings to engage developers in the process and to provide them with some ideas to adapt to their own setting.
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The Benefits of Open. Open Scotland background briefing paper

Link: The Benefits of Open (PDF)
Link: The Benefits of Open (MS .docx)
This background paper presents executive summaries and links to key documents and publications relating to all aspects of openness in education.

Open Scotland is a one day summit facilitated by Jisc Cetis in collaboration with SQA, Jisc RSC Scotland and the ALT Scotland SIG. The event will provide an opportunity for key stakeholders to critically reflect on the national and global impact and opportunities of open education, provide a forum to identify shared strategic interests and work towards a more integrated Scottish approach to openness in education.
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Activity Data and Paradata

Illustration of activity data and paradataLink: Activity Data and Paradata (pdf)
Link: Activity Data and Paradata (MS Word .docx)

This briefing introduces a range of approaches and specifications for recording and exchanging data generated by the interactions of users with resources.

Such data is a form of Activity Data, which can be defined as “the record of any user action that can be logged on a computer”. Meaning can be derived from Activity Data by querying it to reveal patterns and context, this is often referred to as Analytics. Activity Data can be shared as an Activity Stream, a list of recent activities performed by an individual. Initiatives such as OpenSocial, ActivityStreams and TinCan API have produced specifications and APIs to share Activity Data across platforms and applications.

While Activity Streams record the actions of individual users and their interactions with multiple resources and services, other specifications have been developed to record the actions of multiple users on individual resources. This data about how and in what context resources are used is often referred to as Paradata. A specification for recording and exchanging paradata has been developed by the Learning Registry, an open source content-distribution network for storing and sharing information about learning resources.
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Cetis Analytics Series: Case Study, Acting on Assessment Analytics

Link: Cetis Analytics Series Vol 2, No 2. Acting on Assessment Analytics (pdf)
Link: Cetis Analytics Series Vol 2, No 2. Acting on Assessment Analytics (MS Word docx)

Over the past five years, as part of its overall developments in teaching and learning, The University of Huddersfield has been active in developing new approaches to assessment and feedback methodologies. This has included the implementation of related technologies such as e-submission and marking tools.

In this case study Dr Cath Ellis shares with us how her interest in learning analytics began and how she and colleagues are making practical use of assessment data both for student feedback and overall course design processes.
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Writing in Book Sprints

Link: Writing in Book Sprints (OER13 Conference Paper) (PDF)
Link: Writing in Book Sprints (OER13 Conference Paper) (MS Word .doc)

Outlines a novel approach taken by Jisc and Cetis to synthesise and disseminate the technical outputs and findings of three years of HEFCE funded UKOER Programmes. Rather than employing a consultant to produce a final synthesis report, the authors decided to undertake the task themselves by participating in a three-day book sprint facilitated by Adam Hyde of BookSprints.net. Over the course of the three days the authors wrote and edited a complete draft of a 21,000 word book titled “Technology for Open Educational Resources: Into the Wild – Reflections of three years of the UKOER programmes”.
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The Learning Registry: social networking for open educational resources?

The Learning Registry: social networking for open educational resources? (OER13 Conference paper) (PDF)
The Learning Registry: social networking for open educational resources? (OER13 Conference paper) (MS Word .doc)

This paper reflects on Cetis’ involvement with the Learning Registry and Jisc’s Learning Registry Node Experiment at Mimas (The JLeRN Experiment), and their application to UKOER initiatives. Initially funded by the US Departments of Education and Defense, the Learning Registry (LR) is an open source network for storing and distributing metadata and curriculum, activity and social usage data about learning resources across diverse educational systems.
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New approaches to describing and discovering open educational resources

Link: New Approaches to Describing and Discovering Open Educational Resources (OER13 Conference paper)(PDF)
Link: New Approaches to Describing and Discovering Open Educational Resources (OER13 Conference paper) (MS Word .doc)

This paper reports and reflects on the innovative technical approaches adopted by UKOER projects to resource description, search engine optimisation and resource discovery. The HEFCE UKOER programmes ran for three years from 2009 to 2012 and funded a large number and variety of projects focused on releasing open educational resources (OERs) and embedding open practice. The Cetis Innovation Support Centre was tasked by JISC with providing strategic advice, technical support and direction throughout the programme. One constant across the diverse UKOER projects was their desire to ensure the resources they released could be discovered by people who might benefit from them; if no one can find an OER no one will use it. This paper will focus on three specific approaches with potential to achieve this aim: search engine optimisation, embedding metadata in the form of schema.org microdata, and sharing “paradata” information about how resources are used.
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