UKOER 2: without the collections strand

An intial look at UKOER without the collections strand (C). This is a post in the UKOER 2 technical synthesis series.

[These posts should be regarded as drafts for comment until I remove this note]

In my earlier post in this series on the collections strand (C), I presented a graph of the technical choices made just by that part of the programme looking at the issue of gathering static and dynamic collections, as part of that process I realised that, although the collections strand reflects a key aspect of the programme, and part of the direction future I hope future ukoer work is going, a consideration of the programme omitting the technical choices of strand C might be of interest.

The below graphs are also the ones which compare most directly with the work of UKOER 1 which didn’t have an strand focused on aggregation.

Platform related choices in UKOER2 excluding the collections strand

Platform related choices in UKOER2 excluding the collections strand

Standards related choices in UKOER2 excluding the collections strand

Standards related choices in UKOER2 excluding the collections strand

I’m hesitant to over-analyse these graphs and think there’s a definite need to consider the programme as a whole but will admit, that a few things about these graphs give me pause for thought.

  • wordpress as a platform vanishes
  • rss and oai-pmh see equal use
  • the proportional of use of repositories increases a fair bit (when we consider that a number of the other platfoms are being used in conjunction with a repository)

Reflections

now in a sense, the above graphs fit exactly with the observation at the end of UKOER that projects used whatever tools they had readily available. However, compared to the earlier programme it feels like there are fewer outliers – the innovative and alternative technical approaches the projects used and which either struggled or shone.

Speculating on this it might be because institutions are seeking to engage with OER release as part of their core business and so are using tools they already have, it might be that most of the technically innovative bids ended up opting to go for strand C, or I could be underselling how much technical innovation is happening around core institutional technology (for example ALTO’s layering of a web cms on top of a repository).

To be honest I can’t tell if I think this trend to stable technical choices is good or not. Embedded is good but my worry is that there’s a certain inertia around institutional systems which are very focused on collecting content (or worse just collecting metadata) and which may lose sight of why we’re all so interested in in openly licensed resources (See Amber Thomas’ OER Turn and comments for a much fuller discussion of why fund content release and related issues; for reference I think open content is good in itself but is only part of what the UKOER programmes have been about).

Notes:

  • the projects have been engaged in substantive innovative work in other areas, my comments are purely about techincal approaches to do with managing and sharing OER.
  • when comparing these figures to UKOER graphs it’s important to remember the programmes had different numbers of projects and different foci; a direct comparison of the data would need a more careful consideration than comparing the graphs I’ve published.

Open to opportunities?

Working with CETIS is arguably among the most interesting jobs in ed tech. In the past 5 years I’ve worked with great people and interesting projects, I’ve constantly been exposed to stimuli which challenge, stretch, and (mostly) expand my knowledge and abilities. In the Repositories Research team, and more recently in CETIS support for the UK Open Educational Resource programmes I’ve had the opportunity to learn from, think about, share, and participate in a lot of great work.

UKOER 2 has just finished and things are rapidly coming together for UKOER 3 which looks like it is going to be awesome (and you know how little I use that word).

I am, however, moving on.

I’m not going anywhere quickly but all being well in about 3 months my paperwork will be done and some time between January and July I’ll be emigrating to the States.

No, I don’t know what I’m going to do next, but we decided that it’s time to give the US a go.

I hope to keep working in ed tech, open education, and repositories though I may consider moving back towards more digital library like stuff depending on what prospects come up. I’m going to start looking in Seattle (my wife’s hometown) and expand my search from there (advice welcome).

In the meantime it’s time to finish the tech synthesis of UKOER 2 and get ready for UKOER 3.

Post UKOER? the Saylor open textbook challenge

Are you wondering what to do with your OER next? Are you wondering how to keep the ball rolling in your institution and share some more educational resources openly? Are you looking for a tangible way to get your open content used? or perhaps looking for a way to turn your OER into something a little more tangible for your CV?

well, this might be your lucky day…

If your OER is transformable into a textbook (or is already a textbook) and is entirely licensable as  CC: BY content (either already CC:BY or you’re the rights holder and are willing to licence as such), the Saylor Foundation would like to hear from you. There’s a $20000 award for any textbook they accept for their curriculum.

full details are available at: http://www.saylor.org/OTC/

key dates

  • round 1 funding deadline: November 1, 2011;
  • round 2 funding deadline: January 31, 2012;
  • round 3 funding deadline: May 31, 2012

There have been a number of UKOER projects working in some of the areas which Saylor are looking for materials, so it’s worth a look.

There’s this whole thing about referrals but (to keep life simple) here’s the referral link which Creative Commons generated: http://www.saylor.org/otc-form/?refcode=6 .

If you use this link to submit a textbook which gets accepted those clever folk at Creative Commons get $250.