OER project: Unicycle

As mentioned in a previous post, colleagues at Leeds Met have recently been successful in the recent JISC call for the Open Educational Resources programme.  Simon Thomson, the project manager for Unicycle, has given me an overview of the project and how the repository will contribute to project deliverables.  In essence we need to make 360 credits worth of content locally and publically available – both via our own repository and JORUM Open.  This will equate to approximately 3600 hours of material and Simon already has some ideas of where this will come from – CETL workshops for example – Unicycle will explicitely repurpose / share existing material; it will not create new material.

Simon hopes to assemble an “editorial” team comprising  an academic representative and a learning technologist from each of the 6 Leeds Met faculties; Simon and I will also be members of this team that will convene every month to assess / quality check potential content.  My job will be to ensure material is in an suitable format for ingest and appropriately tagged with metadata; to get stuff IN, ensure that it is discoverable and can be got back OUT!   In the first instance I anticipate cataloguing resources against the JACS system and using the JORUM metadata template already in place; this would seem sensible in view of the fact that the same resources will also be stored in JORUM Open and it will certainly be desirable to liaise with that service throughout the project.

N.B.  Rather than dual deposit in this way, might JORUM explore harvesting open content from our repository / other repositories of Open Educational Resources?

Another crucial area, of course, is the licencing issue; both Simon and I anticipate using some flavour of Creative Commons and again this is an area that will benefit from liaison with JORUM – especially in view of their evolving 3 licence model.

On a more technical note I will also be very interested to see how JORUM will be facilitating open search functionality.  Currently there are a series of RSS subject feeds at http://www.jorum.ac.uk/support/rssfeeds.html#subjectfeeds but these still need authentication to access the resources; presumably they will need to implement some sort of portal based on OAI-PMH or SRU – might they also look at searching other repositories (like ours!) using OAI-PMH for example?

Lack of incentive for sharing is recognised as a problem in the context of reusable learning objects and another crucial element of the project will be to identify / implement reward and recognition policies though cultural change with respect to OERs will no doubt be a long term process both institutionally and within HE as a whole.

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