JISC CETIS OER Technical Mini-Projects Results

After a slight delay caused by all those public holidays and an unscheduled absence on my part, it gives me great pleasure to announce the results of the JISC CETIS OER Technical Mini-Projects Call. Having taken into consideration the comments and discussions on the oer-discuss JISCmail list, a pannel of JISC and CETIS staff selected the following two projects for funding.

1. CaPRéT Cut and PAste reuse and Tracking from Brandon Muramatsu, MIT OEIT and Justin Ball and Joel Duffin, Tatemae.

2. OER Bookmarking Initiative from Paul Horner, James Outterside, Suzanne Hardy and Simon Cotterill, University of Newcastle.

JISC and CETIS would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who submitted proposals for this call and also to those who contributed to the discussions on the mailing list.

We’ll be undertaking a short informal evaluation of the Mini-Projects Open Call shortly so I hope you’ll let us know what you think about this new way of selecting and funding small scale projects.

In the spirit of this open call most of the projects have agreed to allow us to circulate the markers comments on their proposals as follows:

CaPRéT Cut and PAste reuse and Tracking
~ Brandon Muramatsu, MIT OEIT and Justin Ball and Joel Duffin, Tatemae.

1. Usefulness of idea
It would be useful to have a plugin to a browser to track reuse in a way that doesn’t require anything of the end user. This bid also extends the growing interest in analytics. Although it only works for websites this is a not insignificant portion of OERs. It is similar to image attribution tools and Open Attribute both of which have proved successful. Limits are that it’s not going to be able to track everything and relies on action by users and providers. The interaction with this community would also benefit UKOER.

2. Experience of project team
The team are highly experienced and have demonstrated a clear willingness to engage on the list.

3. Demand for outputs
There is a demand for the outputs: everyone wants to get the end results of analytics. Although only scoped for html text but there is enough demand for this. One question is how are they going to market it/ make use of comms channels – it will be better the more it’s used.

4. Is the project achievable?
Yes. Can it also be integrated into content management systems that people use (wordpress/ xerte/ drupal etc plugins?)

5. Does the project build on existing work?
Yes. It builds on their experience and shows willingness to engage with Open Attribute and related work, We would like clarity on how these outputs would be licenced and how they fits with related commercial initiatives.

6. Does the project duplicate existing work?
No, especially as it focusses on use rather than access; There is a need to work with open attribute.

7. Technical approach
Good technical approach. It is assumed that when you’re copying and pasting from a website you’re turning it into an object. but often you would edit it in text tools etc: it could easily be lost and there may be a reliance on what text tools will permit.

8. Quality of proposal
Very good

9. Fund?
Yes, but would like more detail wrt to license and commercial interest/ proposed future.

OER Bookmarking
~ Paul Horner, James Outterside, Suzanne Hardy and Simon Cotterill, University of Newcastle.
1. Usefulness of idea
There was a mixed response to a bookmarking tool on the oer-discuss list but more than enough interest and demand for this to be considered relevant.

2. Experience of project team
The team are experienced and have demonstrated a clear willingness to engage on the list. We note though that their technical experience is not well evidenced in bid.

3. Demand for outputs
There is a demand for a service that doesn’t have the current insecurity of delicious and possibly offers richer structured information and a more localised control over future service developments. The proposed service has the potential to seriously enhance quality of available metadata/ paradata.

4. Is the project achievable?
We’re not sure – there are some issues in the proposed scale and scope of project which are of concern: the plan to build a web scale service, and the assumed community-based sustainability plan. However, this is a demonstrator and if it manages expectations carefully it has potential. Social tools need scale to work so proof of concept developments are tricky – a designated community (for example medical education) might help get suitable scale. There’s a lot of development mentioned in this bid, it may be overambitious.

5. Does the project build on existing work?
A not insignificant issue is that the bid doesn’t build on existing bookmarking projects or tools, however discussion on the list indicates a willingness from the team to engage with external services (via APIs). We would encourage the team to investigate the possibility of working with OERCommons / ISKME?

6. Does the project duplicate existing work?
Yes – but with potential demand for the duplication and opportunity to collaborate.

7. Technical approach
The aspect of the work lining to dynamic learning maps is quite innovative, we’d like to see more of this kind of approach.

8. Quality of proposal
The bid could use some more technical detail in places

9. Fund?
Yes with the proviso that they can they address the issues and questions raised here and on list as well as carefully managing expectations. This is not the type of service that JISC would fund further – this should be seen as seed funding to enable the team to develop a viable tool and attempt to secure further support from other sources.

Development of Visual Vocabulary Management Tools
~ Dr Ian Piper, Tellura Information Services Ltd
1. Usefulness of idea
Vocabulary management is an issue for organisations and [centralised] initiatives – it is however, much less clear that it is currently an issue or problem for OERs which are released in highly distributed, diverse, and uncoordinated ways. In itself this is a useful idea and lack of mechanisms and tools to manage and share controlled vocabularies more widely is a recognised problem but, even within the library community, it is not clear that there is a consistent demand to reuse vocabularies developed by others (apart from the very large scale controlled vocabularies that operate with their own business models and support structures). On a related note it is potentially unclear what the provenance of existing vocabularies in the proposed system would be, or their relevance to OER.

2. Experience of project team
Tellura Ltd has highly relevant experience and the outputs of their earlier projects are well regarded. They have also have demonstrated a clear willingness to engage on the list.

3. Demand for outputs
This project is about managing small localised vocabularies, and assumes that people outside the ‘creating’ community want to use those vocabularies. As yet there is unclear demand for such a service in the OER environment and, perhaps more widely in JISC. We would like to have seen some more evidence of the demand for vocabularies to be reused. There might be more of a demand from e-content or repositories people, or bigger institutions such as the OU.

4. Is the project achievable?
Yes, probably.

5. Does the project build on existing work?
The project builds strongly on existing work. There is a concern, arising from this, that the deliverables seem somewhat focused on extending the existing work rather than building on the outlined investigations of innovative technical approaches.

6. Does the project duplicate existing work?
Not in the OER space.

7. Technical approach
The ability to visualise data in innovative ways can result in a step change in the uptake of tools and service. We liked the investigation of cql as a native query language, the investigation of SKOS and a RESTFUL web service approach. It’s a solid approach and correctly uses things we’d liked to see used.

8. Quality of proposal
Very good

9. Fund?
No. It is, however, a good bid and will be passed on to other parts of JISC in case it is of interest to their efforts (collections/ repositories).

4 thoughts on “JISC CETIS OER Technical Mini-Projects Results

  1. Useful to have the marking criteria and comments exposed, thanks for the information, sound like interesting projects.

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