HEDIIP New Subject Coding Scheme: Impact Assessment and Requirements Definition

Link: New Subject Coding Scheme Impact Assessment and Requirements Definition (PDF)

The New Subject Coding System project was commissioned by HEDIIP (the Higher Education Data & Information Improvement Programme) to develop a replacement to JACS for classifying the subjects of courses offered in UK Higher Education. Cetis (assisted by Alan Paull Services Ltd) were engaged to undertake stage 1 of the project, which involved extensive stakeholder engagement examining the requirements and impact relating to a new subject coding scheme. The findings of this work are presented in this report.

The response of stakeholders to the consultation of stage 1 of the NSCS suggests that, provided a case for change can be stated clearly, it is desirable to introduce a new subject coding scheme. In order to progress that development, the report recommends that:

  • both prototypes be developed further with an expectation to converge them into a single prototype, depending on further feedback;
  • a new governance model be developed under the auspices of an existing sector organisation, with broad representation;
  • a subject coding framework be developed alongside a specific core scheme.

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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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Learning Resource Metadata Initiative: using schema.org to describe open educational resources.

Link: Learning Resource Metadata Initiative: using schema.org to describe open educational resources (PDF).

Abstract
This paper, presented at the Open CourseWare Consortium Global Conference in Ljubljana in April 2014, discusses the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI), an international project that aims to facilitate the discovery of educational resources through the use of embedded metadata that can be used by search engines (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yandex) to refine the search services they offer. LRMI has extended the schema.org metadata vocabulary with terms that are specifically relevant to aiding the discovery of learning resources. In order to understand LRMI metadata it is necessary to first introduce schema.org metadata. LRMI was later funded to assist a number of services providing open educational resources in modifying their display interfaces so that they included relevant embedded metadata. In addition to synthesizing the lessons learned from these implementations, the current phase of the LRMI project is engaging with potential users, including search providers and learning resource developers, with the aim of extending the uptake and implementation of the specification.

Also available: video and slides of presentation from conference web site.
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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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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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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.