5.1 Projects, content & tools

Examining the work of the ICOPER community, once again, it can be said that an overview of the key issues regarding content development for reuse has produced several indicators that have been identified by ICOPER partners based on their current experiences and best practices.

Deliverable 4.1 Content Development Methodologies Survey (Connolly, 2009).

This report outlines key topics related to best practices issues, associated standards and specifications to develop educational resources for reuse, tailored to a European dimension. It contains emergent themes identifying the importance of:
1. Understanding the context of the target audience
2. Recognising the expectations of a wide variety of users in particular scenarios
3. Offering ‘accessible and reusable’ tools in multiple systems
4. Providing accessible and reusable content.
5. Disseminating clear guidelines for “licensing” – ideally as open as possible.
6. Establishing baseline standards to enhance interoperability
7. Fostering a community of practice as well as improving and enhancing training opportunities for learners and learners’ facilitators.

Deliverable 4. 2 Quality Control and Web 2.0 technologies report (Connolly and Scott, 2009).

This report describes some significant recommendations related to enabling technologies, standards and specifications that can be used to promote content development for reuse. Again a number of emergent themes were identified, namely the importance of:
• Promotion of an institutional perspective
• Development of communities outside the HE institutions
• Encouraging staff development in HE institutions
• Learning by doing


Deliverable 4.3 Recommendations for extending effective reuse, embodied in the ICOPER CD&R (Okada et al, 2011)
This document presents a further series of recommendations and key actions, within and beyond the ICOPER community, concerning the effective reuse of learning content, including appropriate methodologies as well as established strategies for remixing and repurposing reusable resources. These series of recommendations and key actions  were grouped into seven key categories:

  1. Promote a culture of reuse
  2. Disseminate the Openness philosophy
  3. Provide meaningful support and training
  4. Develop easy-to-use and efficient tools
  5. Keep standards implicit and thoroughly tested by different stakeholders
  6. Raise OER-related skills and expertise
  7. Raise awareness of the key issues related to Content Development for Reuse

These indicators include topics related to the use of standards and other eLearning specifications from the partners' experience as well as establishing how content or tools were being used to redevelop and disseminate online educational eContent. Such information highlights future online educational eContent and tool development with a special emphasis on the role of standards and issues related to interoperability and reuse of content.

Valuable best practice experience in the SIG (Special Interest Group) with respect to standards and specifications of reusable learning content were analysed in these reports and summarised in Table x below.

Best practice

Short description

Target audience

OPENLEARN

OER repository and experimental area for reusing, remixing and republishing learning content.

Open content communities: learners, educators,  institutions, professional agencies and commercial companies

ICOPER

Best practice project examining the design, the development and the delivery of interoperable eContent which supports competency-driven higher education.

Higher Education Management Faculties, Technology Providers and Standardization Bodies

OLNET

Open content project collecting evidence and methods about how such research and understanding may contribute to ways to learn in a more open world.

OER Community of researchers, developers, technologists and consultants

CURVE

Collaborative cross-university project for advice and support to faculties within the Open University on the reuse of distance learning course materials and their versioning for a range of purposes.

The OU UK staff involved in advising faculties in reusing course materials including online delivery and learning in other countries.

STEEPLE

Sustainable institutional infrastructure to support university wide educational podcasting includes help and advice for the UK-HE educational community

The UK-HE sector in the areas of automated video/audio capture, video/audio processing, and video/audio delivery ("podcasting")

TESSA

The Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa programme whose aim is to provide localized OER to support school based teacher education and training

School Based Teacher Education and HE based Teacher Training community in 13 African countries

CETIS

Centre for Educational Technology and Interoperability Standards for advice on educational technology and standards.

UK Higher and Post-16 Education sectors

ASPECT

Best Practice Network for improving the adoption of learning technology standards and specifications

Technology providers, Content providers, eLearning support unit staff, Content authors

OPENSCOUT 

Skill based scouting of open user-generated and community-improved content for management education and training  project

Open content user community interested in management education and training

Table 3: Extending effective reuse best practice case studies from the SIG

The majority of best practices highlighted by the SIG demonstrated key factors for increasing reusability, for instance, adopting a variety of specifications, developing as many different download formats as possible, improving collaborations for the global standardization efforts and making the authoring content process very easy for end users.

In addition, the SIG also indicated several key benefits of developing reusable learning content, such as time reduction, improved quality, wide coverage of key educational concepts and fostering expertise.

Many of the interviewed experts remarked, however, upon significant barriers to be overcome, particularly the lack of a culture of reuse, which includes social, technical, pedagogical and legal aspects. Several examples were mentioned such as the lack of interest for developing open reusable content, efficient technologies for facilitating and simplifying reusability, communication among different stakeholders, social collaboration for discoverability and credibility around the content.  In addition, several others barriers were indicated, such as understanding and meeting the changing learners’ needs, designing reusable resources taking into consideration several requirements, implementing appropriate legal aspects and disseminating clear issues with respect to copyright.

Some of the important challenges described by the SIG focussed on the need to offer appropriate and efficient tools for searching, managing, adapting and developing reusable learning content.

Some of the important trends indicated by the SIG were developing innovative strategies for extending effective reuse such as promoting different workflows for developing RLC, freeing different OER assets to be reused independently and content tracking facility. Group members also commented on deploying content by dynamic transformation, adopting open standards, developing new concepts related to reusability and offering training and support for users. This should improve their practice, as well as identifying perceived barriers and thus avoiding the direction in which the disruptions are headed.

Last modified: Thursday, 9 October 2014, 12:25 AM