Outline Project Description Building on the experience of the earlier phases of the OER Programme as well as JISC funded activities in relation to SWORD protocol repository tool development; this initiative seeks to provide free and open source software tools that can easily integrate open educational practices (the creation, use and sharing of OERs) into the daily routines of learners and teachers. In the last few years there has been a rapid rise in the use of e-portfolio systems to support reflective learning and personal development planning.

Portfolio Commons

Project Background

Building on the experience of the earlier phases of the OER Programme as well as JISC funded activities in relation to SWORD protocol repository tool development; this initiative seeks to provide free and open source software tools that can easily integrate open educational practices (the creation, use and sharing of OERs) into the daily routines of learners and teachers. In the last few years there has been a rapid rise in the use of e-portfolio systems to support reflective learning and personal development planning. Mahara is a free open source software e-portfolio platform, which has seen widespread adoption around the world and the growth of a supportive developer community. The UAL has implemented Mahara as its institutional e-portfolio platform (branded as ‘Workflow’). The use of portfolios to support learning and teaching in Art & Design subjects is a long established practice and fits well with a pedagogic culture that emphasizes critical reflection, peer review and mentoring.

Building on the experience of the earlier phases of the OER Programme as well as JISC funded activities in relation to SWORD protocol repository tool development; this initiative seeks to provide free and open source software tools that can easily integrate open educational practices (the creation, use and sharing of OERs) into the daily routines of learners and teachers. In the last few years there has been a rapid rise in the use of e-portfolio systems to support reflective learning and personal development planning. Mahara is a free open source software e-portfolio platform, which has seen widespread adoption around the world and the growth of a supportive developer community. The UAL has implemented Mahara as its institutional e-portfolio platform (branded as ‘Workflow’). The use of portfolios to support learning and teaching in Art & Design subjects is a long established practice and fits well with a pedagogic culture that emphasizes critical reflection, peer review and mentoring.

The initial driver for this proposal came about through discussions between the lead Workflow developer Mike Kelly, who is an active contributor to the Mahara developer community, and John Casey, the ALTO UK OER project manager, about the need to develop a connected suite of tools to support OER engagement at the UAL. This approach picks up on earlier ideas about developing an ‘online ecology’ around repositories expressed by John Robertson and colleagues at CETIS and more recently by Kathi Fletcher at the Shuttleworth Foundation. The underlying idea at work here is very simple – as much as possible teachers and learners should be able to engage in open educational practices through the use of their everyday tools. We know through experience (with repository deposits for instance) that if a user has to leave their usual online work environment to go somewhere ‘special’ to perform a task then the likelihood of that task being completed will be significantly reduced.

Project Aims and Outcomes

This project proposes to create a free open source plugin for Mahara that will enable a user to select content from their Mahara Portfolio, licence it with a Creative Commons licence of their choosing, create metadata and make a deposit directly into their chosen repositories using the SWORD protocol to. Increasingly, teachers and students have a need to develop and project their online identity and ePortfolio tools like Mahara are a good way to do this. However, such content tends to be ephemeral, so the ability to deposit selected works in a repository for longer-term preservation and access is a significant way of enhancing and projecting an individual’s online profile. This proposed functionality should have a strong resonance and attraction across the wider education sector. This project will also coordinate closely with the JISC funded Digital literacy DIAL project at the UAL to inform the development of user needs.

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Summary
Start date
26 March 2012
End date
28 September 2012
Funding programme
Academy/JISC Open Educational Resources Programme Phase 3
Strand
OER Rapid Innovation
Project website
Lead institutions

University of the Arts London

Partner institutions

Jorum Service, MIMAS, University of Manchester
Richard Jones (Cottage Labs)

Topic