Developing Linked Data Infrastructures for OERs
This project will develop an online tool using linked data approaches, which will enable easy integration of OERs with other types of online content. It responds to a need, identified in previous research into use of OERs, to improve the ‘usefulness’ of high quality online resources by providing a mechanism to contextualise them or frame them within a narrative (Lane, 2007) The action of ‘adding a sense-making layer’ or ‘pedagogic wrapper’ to online resources (Bacsich, Phillips and Bristow, 2011) via an intuitive interface, will allow teachers to articulate their pedagogical approaches, as well as the content of their courses. This will be achieved through a browser-based online tool that extends the established SIMILE Exhibit web application framework and the tools developed collaboratively between the SIMILE team at MIT and the ESRC/EPSRC 'Ensemble' project in the UK.
The Ensemble project’s work on the educational applications of semantic web and linked data approaches has highlighted the need to direct students towards high-quality online resources whilst keeping tasks manageable, bounded and oriented towards disciplinespecific learning outcomes (Martinez-Garcia et al, 2012; Edwards, Tracy, and Jordan, 2011). To this end, the lightweight application produced by this new project will allow teachers and students to non-destructively aggregate a variety of open online content into structured narratives (‘presentations’) centered on one piece of audiovisual media: an application which has a number of potential uses in a range of Higher Education contexts. The specific types of learning and teaching activities which can be built around such a tool, and the functions needed to support these, will initially be explored through participatory and iterative design activities with established contacts in Geosciences, Education, and Contemporary Dance at Liverpool John Moores University, whilst subsequent workshops will engage with a wider range of stakeholders.
By allowing for the integration of OERs with other online content and the users’ own text annotations, the tool has the potential to enable easier integration of OERs and Open Data in course content by teachers; to facilitate critiques of resources by students, and to support supply and reuse of educational content by both. By supporting sharing of online resources, the tool can enhance the visibility of quality content, whilst facilitating knowledge accumulation and ‘personalization’ of learning. Although the tool itself will reference, rather than store, the content collection, the resulting presentation generated by users will be available for them to view online, or download for use in other environments, such as institutional VLEs, personal online spaces, or for archiving in repositories like Jorum.
The tool itself, along with demonstrators, examples of it in use, supporting documentation, and the project blog will be hosted at the project website. This will serve as a dissemination point not only for the technological products of the work, but for also detailed use cases and evaluations of the issues that surface by bringing together linked data and OERs: two promising yet distinctive aspects of current educational web development.
Dr Kate Litherland, Researcher, Barkhill House , I M Marsh Campus, Barkhill Road, Liverpool, L17 6BD,
Tel: 0151 231 4608 email@example.com