OER1059 Oral Presentation ppt

Pull yourself together! Remote searching of multiple sources to best present OER materials.

Rob Pearce, Loughborough University and Lisa J Rogers, The Institute for Computer Based Learning, Heriot-Watt University

Conference Theme: Open educational content

Abstract: The HEA/JISC funded OER pilot project positively encourages the exploitation of technically sophisticated web-based services such as YouTube, Flickr etc. to present resources released by the project. The challenge is to then create a search facility that is able to pull together appropriate resources spread over a number of services on the web yet offer more information and presentational flexibility than the de-facto benchmark search tool, Google. This paper presents an attempt to embrace the sophisticated interconnectivity available from these services and the human, technical and metadata considerations. The aim is to avoid creating another database that duplicates (possibly incorrectly) information held elsewhere eliminating the confusion that may cause and the maintenance load that checking and updating would cause. The Engineering OER project is investigating the uses of APIs, RSS Feeds and lightweight technological approaches such as Yahoo Pipes to aggregate and filter the metadata from the third party sites. By building the system using established web interchange standards this methodology can scale beyond the project that produced it making it more flexible, sustainable and upgradeable. Any number of other sources might be potentially added or removed as required in the future. The approach of using these third party systems provides added benefit to a database of resources. For example the image host the API of the image host Flickr provides the option of presenting the search results in a variety of resolutions. Others allow direct embedding of resources to help facilitate re-use. This approach is not without problems however. Initiating searches involving multiple service providers, most of which are free-to-use commercial products and therefore with no service level agreements. Technical stability and business longevity in a fickle, developing marketplace also mean added risk. Although the risk is high so are the rewards for such an approach.

Keywords: Risk, technical interoperability, web2.0, standards, sophisticated, distributed, methodology