OER has left the building and the API powered dynamically aggregating supersearch
Just completed a very interesting project for the JISC/HEA, releasing existing teaching materials provided by academics from a consortium of Universities as Engineering Open Educational Resources (OERs). The OERs are free to re-purpose by anybody meaning the project could always potentially be a minefield, yet in went extremely well, thanks in no small part to the core project team. A few key observations below:
OER requires…those involved to take a non-traditional view of what ownership means, but teaching materials are only one part of the educating process. The extra knowledge, wisdom, insights, anecdotes and teaching skill remain with the creator.
The web…the emphasis has swung away from “how do I do it?” to “What can I do with it?” This will require that things are done properly under the gaze of an ever greater audience. The web services and sites employed in this project are proven and well established and therefore appealing to students and academics familiar with utilising the Internet as part of their learning and teaching.
IPR (Ownership, Copyright etc.)…is so often dangerously misunderstood by most people. Challenging the orthodoxy of “light-touch” must be done carefully and tactfully.
Embracing web technology…it is critical that UK higher education is ahead of the expectations of those it serves to remain viable and world-leading. The project handled these issues and delivered against these benchmarks.
The best two things must be:
Learning more about IPR – so often misunderstood by most people. We have also gained an understanding as to why things are done the way they are; the world would grind to a halt without some bending of the rules. So OER must step carefully; it is better but it has to evolve tactfully into the new way of doing things or risk becoming a disabler not an enabler.
Applying web technology – The team developed an API powered dynamically aggregating supersearch as a proof of concept. I literally met the proverbial “boffins from MIT” when i demoed it at a conference and they thought it needed some work but had potential. Too true.
At a deeper level, the project challenged the application of the law, applied cutting edge technology and posed the question: how should HE teaching and learning look in the future?
Many academics believe current practice is fine; this is nearly always not the case from a legal point of view. Technology makes certain things effortless; but big businesses are battling to control services and this will change the shape of the web again. Are we making sharing harder by doing it “properly”? We do not believe so. Good engineering is all about getting the foundations right; time and money spent doing that right now will return many times over.
More detail here and the API powered dynamically aggregating supersearch (APDAS ?!)