Posts Tagged ‘files’

Planning for the future

19 February 2010

Following on from Simon’s, my fellow learning technologist, blog below I’d like to talk about some of the things I feel I’ve learnt from this project.  Obviously I learnt that it was fantastic being part of an award winning team who love nothing more than a bit of shameless promotion!

To be more serious and following on from Simon’s point about the ‘polishing’ aspect that arose when gathering the initial content, I would say that the OERs we have produced are primarily text based.  There is nothing wrong with this as they are all fully functional and have a purpose and use but perhaps they are not the most interesting of file formats.

Coming from a web design and development background I do perhaps get a little carried away with all the innovative ways to digitise content for example: an interactive flash resource, an mp4 file, or a Flickr stream.  I think that when digitising the material it was important to decide what would work and in which file format, for example, some smaller text based files could work well when transformed into audio files.  However this is not the case with the majority of text based files and I think that this is part of the reason that we decided to include .epub files as part of the standard file formats we would release.

So the lessons learnt here would be compromise on my part, not letting myself get too carried away with the options for content when digitising and also an (hopefully) important lesson on planning for the future.  Why is this important?  Well the e-book industry is just starting to develop and thanks to lessons learnt in the other project (DUCKLING) that I’m involved with, I can produce industry standard e-books in the .epub format.

This file format will hopefully become more popular and important with the introduction of the Apple iPad as well as the evolution of the Sony Reader.  This will lead to us being ahead of the game in the file formats that we include as standard in our OER repository.

Emma Davies
Learning Technologist


Links or files: further

13 August 2009

Nick at Unicycle raises an interesting point about whether to upload to JorumOpen only links if the resources already exist online.

I remember this was also raised at the startup meeting in June.

Here at OTTER we’re going to upload both links and resources. One of our OER partners  at Leicester is the Virtual Genetics Education Centre in the Department of Genetics. VGEC already have a superb collection of OERs hosted by themselves.

OTTER will be taking a selection of these OERs and running them through Sahm’s workflow process. Some of them will change as a result. For example, OTTER will make some of the VGEC videos available as downloadable mp4 chunks to be viewed on an iPod/iPhone.   

As an example, watch the video on Using a micropipette. Being able to refer to this video, or parts of it, on a handheld device in the lab would seem to make it a very useful resource.

So we intend to upload both the VGEC link to the full video plus the various files we produce (which will also include the full video). Visitors to JorumOpen can decide which resource best fits their needs. (Of course, we’ll also replicate this on our Plone site.)

VGEC, who are already producing some excellent OERs, came on board for a number of reasons. However, two important ones were accessing JorumOpen and having other pairs of eyes run over the existing material.

It’s considerably more work to upload files as well as links, but the benefits to the user are considerable, especially in terms of untethering and re-purposing. 

It may not always be feasible and worthwhile for all OERs (i.e. a link may be the best option), but setting out with the idea of  providing both the files and the link  to JorumOpen seems the best starting point, and our experience thus far is bearing this out.

I’d be interested to hear what others think.


Learning Technologist