E-learning cluster session 2006-03-27

From DigiRepWiki

Monday 27th March


Objective: to follow up the York meeting in December, to identify synergies and gaps between activities within/beyond programme, and identify clear areas where coordination / collaboration would be useful, or where additional work could be valuable.

1330-1400: Communities - finding or building them? (Two-minute presentations by CD-LOR, PROWE, SPIRE, Rights and Rewards, WM-Share - followed by general discussion)

1400-1430: IPR in ELearning Repositories (five-minute presentations by TrustDR, Rights and Rewards, JORUM, followed by general discussion)

1430-1500: Briefing on OAI PMH

1500-1530: Open discussion


Objective: to make plans for working together (summarised on a ppt for presentation to the plenary session)

1630-1700: Identify topics (those above? others?)

1700-1730: Identify methods (meetings? exchange of draft documents? peer evaluation? other?)

External Invitees



Notes from the Meeting

Communities – finding or building them?

CD-LOR: Sarah Currier. They are looking at dimensions of communities, learning object repositories, and communities of repository users. Sarah emphasised that they’re not looking for a “blunt typology” but a model that can be used flexibly. They don’t mean community of practice as that is a specific concept: they are closer to the notion of a community in the OAIS model: all the potential stakeholders/users that can be identified clearly.

Rights and Rewards: Steve Loddington. They are looking at blended repositories. They’ve undertaken a workflow mapping exercise with internal stakeholders. They identified that contributors and users are not necessarily the same people. They are seeing repositories as a set of services rather than a single system. They have run a survey of user motivations to use repositories.

WM Share (a DEL Regional Pilot): Andrew Rothery and Viv Bell. They have been looking at sharing of content across the region. They started by looking for users of repositories but found very few, so they extended their search to small communities of resource sharing. They identified its common to email resources around. The need to be able to use content packaging is a step too far and may prohibit the sharing of teachinbg resources. They looked for cross college teams, subject teams already sharing, and cross-institutional projects and these are being supported in repository use. There will be a conference on 18th May in Worcester.

Prowe: Chris Pegler. The project is focusing on part time tutors at the OU and the University of Leicester. They’ve identified pressing need for part time tutors to store, manage and share content. They’re exploring blogs and wikis to provide this functionality.They’ve chosen “elgg” for its functionality, details available from the project. There are IPR issues that need resolving for staff working for more than one institution. Personal resource management strategies are often entrenched and there need to be strong drivers to change them. Reflected some discussions that took place at the pre-meeting session on personal resource management strategies.

SPIRE was not represented but we summarised it for those present.

Discussion and Commentary

We discussed the usefulness of community as a notion, and whether it should encompass set groups such as teaching teams. It was suggested that you can have dysfunctional communities, and we discussed some negative experiences of communities. There is evidence from JORUM and other repositories that users do value the community concept and it is incentive to contribute and use. All the projects noted that people are concerned about “making things visible”, this notion of “reification”. It seemed that projects all conceptualised groups of users as being key rather than isolated individuals, but whether they groups are tightly defined enough or voluntary enough to be “communities” was a point for discussion.

IPR in E-Learning

JORUM: Steve Rogers. The JORUM licence model was difficult to develop but is now gaining acceptance. There are now 30 contributor and 115 user licences. JORUM wants to share its R&D work with this projects and particularly with IPR/DRM projects. They are currently focussing technical implementation of the expression language, but it’s a complex area, particularly when teaching content ends up being delivered through a VLE. They also want to explore extending use to other sectors.

ETHOS: Hywel Williams. They are exploring repository provision to store students’ e-theses, and are working with the British Library. They’ve been examining opt-in and opt-out policies as well as take-down policies. There are complex third party copyright clearance issues to be addressed for materials that are “born digital”. There may be a growth in royalties claimed by e-thesis authors. There is a tension between confidentiality and freedom of information requirements which they will be investigating.

TrustDR: John Casey. The project is looking in the broadest sense at IPR in Elearning repositories. Digital Rights Management is at least 50% policy/human/organisational rather than technical. They are exploring derivative licences based around Creative Commons and JORUM. They have a multi disciplinary team, and the cross-domain discussions are very valuable to the project. They are promoting an “explain and persuade” strategy to exploring IPR. Understanding the “property” aspect of IPR leads to judgements about the value of content, these are important discussions.

Rights and Rewards: Steve Loddington. Powerpoint Presentation The presentation focused on the motivational study the project has run. Lack of IPR awareness was a major barrier to contributing in the past. Gaining adequate support in dealing with IPR issues would be a motivator to contribute to a repository in the future. The majority of participants would allow a number of activities to be carried out on their material but under some restrictions and conditions. Feedback, in the form of usage statistics would motivate contribution to a repository of teaching materials. The majority would like their name attributed to material placed in repositories and when being re-used. The project is moving on to develop a rights solution to address these issues.

Discussion and Commentary

We discussed widespread common practices that are contrary to best practice. They may arise from lack of awareness but there is also calculated risk-taking. Once the content is more widely available the risk of the IPR owner finding out about infringements is much greater, so the risk assessment needs reviewing. Charles Oppenheimer outlined a formula for risk assessment (see legal and policy cluster session write-up). Effective notice and takedown procedures are crucial. It was suggested that attributing third party copyright is good practice and may actually reduce the risk of the IPR owner taking action.

Briefing on OAI PMH: Phil Barker, CETIS Powerpoint Presentation Phil outlined the background of OAI PMH, emerging from the world of sharing e-prints through the web. He explained the way that the protocol works, and how it is related to metadata harvesting tools. He showed practical examples of how the query language works over a browser interface or with other systems. The emphasis was on the need to define workflows around how the protocol is used and the impact of harvesting models on the management of the repository: there are information flow issues that need addressing for successful implementation. There is a lively community using OAI PMH but little commercial uptake. It can aid repository content being surfaced through google and the other search engines. The PerX project shows how this can be done. Discussion and Commentary

JORUM is going to use OAI PMH to aid personalisation to institutions or subject-based presentation: it allows the creation of “sets”. There is a value in exposing metadata but controlling access to the content itself. There is value in exposing sets by author, for use in their CVs etc. RSS may be a better mechanism for these sorts of services to users. The proposed vanilla search service was described as an example use of OAI PMH.

Actions and Suggestions for Future Work

PROJECT ACTIONS: • CD-LOR’s deliverable 1 report included questions to ask about communities. Other projects in the cluster are going to use the wiki to help develop those questions by answering/commenting on them • WM-SHARE to post Qs about institutional readiness on the wiki as well • TrustDR to share outputs for comment • JORUM to draw on e-learning cluster group experiences

SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE WORK: • User requirements surveys need to be pulled together on the wiki in one place • Commision a piece of work to synthesise survey results • Commission a supporting study to see what institutions are doing about IPR mgt of e-learning materials in the light of the HEFCE senior mgt briefing paper