June 2009
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Reflections: induction session two

In the second session we looked at the working process of creating the material, the metadata and the local repository.

The process

  1. Materials will be licensed-in to the University from the academic.
  2. The material will be printed and given to the academic, with a guidance sheet, for them to mark-up in terms of authorship.
  3. Once the materials have had quotations removed they will then need to be proofed for sense.
  4. A validation committee will sit  – probably every two months – to assess whether the edited material is suitable to be released into OER.

The metadata

A metadata scheme will be designed to fit the purpose of the project. Our local respository will be held in D-Space because

  1. It’s compatable with OAI-PMH (Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting).
  2. It’s open access
  3. We have present expertise from previous projects that have utilised D-Space

As far as the metadata is concerned Plan A is to use LOM. Plan B is to use Dublin Core. The metadata will describe the course, but not files within the course. We will create a metadata template which will be given to the academic to fill in when they mark up their course material for OER.


The D-Space respository will have a hierarchical structure as follows:

  • At the top level is the ‘community’ (the project itself)
  • Below this are ‘collections’ (subjects)
  • And within each collection will be ‘objects’ (the courses).

Objects can be mapped to multiple collections (for when a course is applicable to more than one subject area).

Each course will have a copyright licence, and each element (file) within that course will have a copyright licence which will supercede the licence of the parent.

2 comments to Reflections: induction session two

  • These are really useful posts. Here at OTTER we’re at a similar stage, although we are using Plone CMS rather than D-Space. Sahm is working hard on our metadata strategy, which I think will be drawn from Dublin Core, and our workflow I think resembles your own. We are keeping a keen eye on everyone’s posts!

  • Tom Browne

    We had our 1st (and very effective) Steering Group meeting last week. The commitment and engagement from the academics was impressive and and we had a very useful discussion regarding the issue of how to handle ‘quality’.

    We felt that ‘quality’ was a somewhat emotive word, because as others have noted elsewhere, it can really only be determined ‘in context’. So we are moving more to a terminology of ‘quality enhancement’.

    There are 2 stages at which quality needs to be (hmm, I still can’t avoid the term -) ‘validated’. The 1st is when material is initially offered. The 2nd is after e.g. any IPR issues have been dealt with and the coherence of the remaining material needs to be (oh dear …) ‘validated’.

    Originally, for Stage-1, we had planned an initially highly centralised model of the great and the good, passing judgement on the material. But it is now clear that our Schools are more than capable of taking an appropriate view of the ‘in context’ quality of material offered by any of their staff and will be mindful of any reputational implications for the University. More pertinently, they are mindful of any reputational implications for their School. Our revised approach is therefore now to work closely with our three current contributing Schools to draft quality enhancement guidelines. The contributor’s School will be the validating agency for their material – that is very important. We will continue to tweak these guidelines as we embrace contributors from other Schools, with the ultimate aim, by various means, of producing School-validating guidelines that encompass the many diverse subject cultures within the University.
    Stage-2: evaluating the coherence of material once it has been cleared of e.g. any IPR issues: As we had originally proposed, a Quality (now!) ***evaluation*** panel will convene in conjunction with the contributors (or their Schools representatives). This more centralised approach will also be devolved to Schools once any issues around developing coherent reputational criteria have been fully assimilated.

    Regarding this 2nd stage, a number of contributors have already voluntarily indicated that if IPR issues surface in their resources, they are keen to identify alternative material themselves. They too are concerned about their own reputations. The extent to which such ‘re-purposing’ takes place, which arguably was not within JISC’s original aspirations in their tender, also needs to be monitored.

    It is interesting to note that a new module etc. passes through its various validating hoops based upon course design, outcomes etc, but rarely (ever?) on the nature of the material used to support that course. Can appropriate quality criteria for these course resources be applied at this initial sign-off stage, or (more realistically, as there is bound to be a time lag between module acceptance and production of resources) at a pre-determined period afterwards?

    As you may sense, our thinking is still evolving. Thoughts from other projects would be really welcome.

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