Previous studies report that online multimedia resources are valued for their effectiveness in improving student engagement (Wood et al 2011) whilst also being the types of resources teachers find most difficult to produce and are consequently most likely to reuse (White & Manton, 2011). Non-academic online services, however, provide familiar and attractive sources of audiovisual content for many (Winn, 2010) as well as providing an easy-to-use storage service. Teachers and learners have identified a requirement to be able to customize open content for their own purposes rather than simply appropriating it (Lane, 2007): however, the closed or proprietary format of some resources, particularly audiovisual ones, makes it difficult to carry out editing, extension or combination.
The project directly addresses these challenges by using a linked data approach to aggregation of OERS and other online content. The outcome will be an open-source application which uses linked data approaches to present a collection of pedagogically related resources, centered on audiovisual media. As a result the set of digital tools supporting the use of open educational resources will be enhanced, allowing OERs to be used in more engaging, adaptable and possibly informative ways. The tool produced will enable the user to aggregate existing OERs and online content around a single audiovisual media resource. Linked data approaches will be used to create semantic relationships between the resources, enabling users to lend narrative structure and user commentary to content collections which they have themselves assembled (or even produced) whilst leaving the the original resources unchanged. The application stores a link to the original ‘central’ media resource, along with links to any supporting online resources and annotation text for each segment of the media. Each resource link (media and supporting) may be tagged with keywords, providing metadata for semantic filtering and repository search. The tags generate a standardized metadata description (for example Dublin Core) to describe the content, should the new presentation be uploaded to a repository. Together the resource links, tags and annotations form a playable semantic presentation, exportable as a lightweight HTML file for use in any networked environment, as depicted below.
Technically, the project will be considered successful if its semantic media component is assimilated into the established Exhibit toolkit. Design and dissemination workshops will provide early feedback on the pedagogic applications of the tool and users’ confidence in it. Teachers and students posing meaningful questions about attribution and citation of resources, as well as their own ‘digital literacies’ as a result of using this tool, will also be perceived as an indication of its usefulness. These responses will inform technical developments and blog reports throughout the project. Further uses, extensions and modifications of the tool will also be interpreted positively, as indications of use, but will fall outside the timescale of this project.
Lane, A. (2007). ‘Open Content: when is it effective educationally?’ in Open Education 2007: Localizing and Learning, 26-28 Sept 2007, Utah State University.
White, D. Manton, M. JISC-funded OER Impact Study, University of Oxford, 2011
Winn, J. (2010) Chemistry FM final report
Wood, L., Lomax, K., Price, R., Osborn, R., Quentin-Baxter, M, & Hardy, S (2011). PORSCHE Final Report