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Reflexive task 2: Conversation with Phil and Craig

Page history last edited by Anna Gruszczynska 9 years, 3 months ago

Conversation with Phil and Craig, 13th December 2010 (series of meetings related to the second partner task on C-SAP OER2 project)

Unfortunately, technology failed us and we were unable to make use of the Adobe Connect tool – however, we still had a good conversation over the good old fashioned phone!


Jorum and repositories

The first part of the task included prompts related to searching for OERs and accordingly, this is what took up most of our time on Monday. Below are some issues which came up:

To start with, there are some institutional restrictions on access to JorumUK (as opposed to JorumOpen which is open to everyone), turns out that Blackburn does not have access and so Phil and Craig had to wait a couple of days to get it sorted through their library. This does raise questions about how “open” really Jorum is.

Phil undertook a search with the terms “criminal justice”, “victimology”, “restorative justice”, wrote up his experiences of searching across different repositories in his contribution posted on the wiki (see “task 2” on his personal page). He talked about initially feeling quite overwhelmed about the number of search results he was getting, also mentioned feeling at first like he was wasting his time, and compared the experience to “discovering YouTube for the first time”. He talked about working out strategies for managing the resources he was finding – initially, he did not realise that Jorum resources have permanent links and so it was difficult to go back to resources that he found earlier. In terms of suggestions for managing this type of information, we recommended delicious (a social bookmarking tool we use for the project), but other tools such as diigo, zotero or amplify could also be useful.

In terms of search results, there is a lot of serendipity involved – Craig and Phil found whole books and modules in the repositories. Both mentioned using keywords for searching and did not use the browse function in JorumOpen – didn’t notice it is there, it is not very well signposted. Overall, commented that the searching process feels a bit hit and miss.

Craig gave a very interesting example of finding a resource on chaos/game theory (relevant to the module on critical theory he is teaching currently)but the resource was originally meant for a business studies module, he is now thinking of repurposing the resource by making it more discipline specific. We talked about how that finding and a decision to adapt the disciplinary context of the resource is very similar to what we are trying to do within the C-SAP collections project, where we are putting together a collection of social sciences research methods and are looking for ways to signpost relevant resources across different disciplines - say a resource on focus groups designed with a political sciences audience in mind but which could be very relevant for sociology teaching. At the same time, these cross-disciplinary boundaries also relevant in terms of issues mentioned in the support letter from Blackburn, especially the intention to explore the study skills angle.

Some practical questions also came up with regard to downloading resources from Jorum where you download a zipped file and we discussed how best to approach extracting files from the downloaded package. On a related note, we had a similar query from Delyth and Dafydd who are looking at repurposing a resource on SPSS from OpenLearn, where similarly you have to download a content bundle.

Phil and Craig raised the question of the resource contributors - in what way, if at all, should a contributor be contacted if you use their resource? In an ideal world, you would give back to the repository – either the resource you repurposed or contact the author of the original resource to offer a review/feedback etc., but normally that doesn’t really happen (although people in the OER community do express a desire for more communication between the creators and the reusers!).


Student engagement

Phil and Craig are looking at different ways of engaging the students with OERs – one way was to send students a questionnaire (set up via survey monkey) to see what they thought of the resources. Judging by early results, students seemed to like best the resources from Open University which are  self-contained modules and quite visual.

Phil and Craig also suggested that rather than pointing the students to a repository such as Jorum, it would be better to sign post individual resources. Phil was concerned that a lot of resources on jorum are links to government websites etc. and students don’t really know how to use this type of resource critically (at the same time, the presence of such resources does raise further questions around quality assurance and why a link to a non-OER website was deposited as an OER). Craig suggested that students in their third year might be more ready to be “let loose” round the repository as at that time they are supposed to have more independent thinking skills.


Other issues

We talked about uploading files to the wiki and why we came up with the current structure where alongside uploading a file you provide file title, content, file type and date of deposit, this is to make navigating the wiki easier especially as the number of files uploaded grows, this structure worked well in the pilot.


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