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 roles of libraries and information professionals in Open Educational Resources (OER) initiatives

Link: The roles of libraries and information professionals in Open Educational Resources (OER) initiatives (pdf)

Link: Executive Summary (pdf)

Executive Summary
This report contains the findings of a study carried out by the Centre for Academic Practice & Learning Enhancement (CAPLE) and Centre for Educational Technology and Interoperability Standards (CETIS), at the University of Strathclyde. The study focuses on the involvement of the Library as an organizational unit, and of individual librarians and other information science specialists, in open educational resources (OER) initiatives. This research study contributes to the current Open Educational Resources (OER) Programme [http://www.jisc.ac.uk/oer], an initiative by JISC and the HEA whose objective is to promote the creation, dissemination, access and use of OER. This programme represents a firm commitment by UK Higher Education (HE) institutions to the OER movement.
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York St. John Digital Repository: an ecological view of interactions and systems

Link: York St. John Digital Repository: an ecological view of interactions and systems (pdf).

YSJ DigiRep is a newly established digital archive at York St. John. Established to help manage learning resources and research outputs from a diverse range of subjects across the institution, YSJ DigiRep has now come to the end of its project funding. This case study examines its context, seeks to identify why it has integrated so successfully into institutional processes, and highlight potential tensions as it transitions to being an institutional service. The study draws on an ecologically influenced approach developed by the Repositories Research Team.

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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An Ecological Approach To Repository And Service Interactions

Link: An ecological approach to repository and service interactions (pdf).

A report detailing how the use of ecological metaphors can help us understand better the interactions that take place between digital repositories and related services.

This work began in response to a perceived need to express something of how and why digital repositories and services interact. As a community of implementers and developers we have well understood technical models and architectures that provide conceptual mechanisms to promote interoperability. Articulating the details and challenges of actual interactions that occur, however, is not so widely understood and knowledge about them is not often shared. This is, in part at least, because we tend to share in the abstract through architectures and use cases and in these we focus on the technical. Articulating interactions or connections requires an engagement with and presentation of specific local details. Beginning to consider why particular interactions succeed or fail over time requires us to factor in more than the technical.
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What is assessment item banking?

Link: What is assessment item banking? (html).
What is assessment item banking? (pdf).

A CETIS Briefing paper on item banks, collections of assessment items and associated software to enable the storing of content to support the assessment of student learning. An assessment item is a complex object, consisting of a question together with its associated data such as score, feedback and either any media files required or links to those files. Item banking software enables items to be deposited, discovered and retrieved. In order to support the discovery and delivery of items, each item needs to be described with metadata, and may also be related to usage data.
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Assessment Item Banks and Repositories

Link: Assessment item banks and repositories (html).
Link: Assessment item banks and repositories (doc).
Link: Assessment item banks and repositories (pdf).

This paper aims to inform those with an interest in repositories in general, and those with an interest in assessment item banks, about the similarities and differences between these two technologies, in order to enhance the potential for future interoperability. Specifically, it asks the question: to what extent may an assessment item bank be considered as a kind of repository, and following from this, to what extent can interoperability and minimisation of effort and resource be achieved in a manner beneficial to the related communities of interest around these technologies?
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