Cost of heritage

April 22, 2008

An interesting article by Internet law professor Michael Geiston the BBC News website on how museums are embracing digitisation and the internet but at what cost.

As museums experiment with the internet – many are using online video, social networks, and interactive multimedia to create next-generation museums that pull content from diverse places to create “virtual museums” – the museum community has emerged as a leading voice for the development of legal frameworks that provide sufficient flexibility to facilitate digitisation and avoid restrictions that could hamper cultural innovation.

The more we can freely and easily use out of copyright digitised material for learning, the more enhanced and enriched learning can be.

Rather than rely on just the interpretation of a resource, we can use the resource as well.

For example when I was at school, we relied on text books to inform us about what happened in history. Today using a range of resources, alongside that book we can also read the newspapers of the day, the parliamentary papers and so much more. All from the comfort of our classroom, or from a learners’ perspective from the comfort of where they want to be, whether that be their home or in a coffee shop.

Cost of heritage

I am pleased to hear that museums are digitising their collections as it can only widen access to the general public including learners across the country.

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Open Yale Courses

December 14, 2007

Yale University (in the US) are going to allow anyone in the world to access their most popular undergraduate courses for free.

Yale University is making some of its most popular undergraduate courses freely available to anyone in the world with access to the Internet.

The project, called “Open Yale Courses,” presents unique access to the full content of a selection of college-level courses and makes them available in various formats, including downloadable and streaming video, audio only and searchable transcripts of each lecture. Syllabi, reading assignments, problem sets and other materials accompany the courses.

The production of the courses for the Internet was made possible by a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The seven courses in the sciences, arts and humanities—which were recorded live as they were presented in the classroom to Yale students—will be augmented with approximately 30 additional Yale courses over the next several years.

This means that institutions across the world will be able to see and view how Yale deliver their undergraduate programme, and unlike much of the others who have been doing this already, they are using a lot more video and audio content.

Obviously you need to attend Yale to get accreditation, but this kind of move from someone like Yale demonstrates again the importance of the institution and the teacher over the content in education.

Some lecturers are very protective about the content they use in their teaching and are unwilling to share, this kind of programme that Yale are undertaking, shows once more that it is the teaching and the support an institution provides is so much more important than the content.

And the more we share content, the more we can save time and ensure that our students (online or offline) achieve on their courses.

So here in the UK we have the Open University sharing some of their content, I wonder when we will see more Universities and more FE Colleges sharing their content? It’s not as though we don’t have a way of doing this, we do have JORUM.

Old Book

So here’s hoping Yale and others will continue to release more content for learning and e-learning online.

Photo source.


Sharing

October 23, 2007

On a mailing list I frequent, the question was asked what was hindering or helping the sharing of digital learning resources. 

IPR issues aside…

One issue that I wonder about, is are practitioners (and/or colleges) actually creating a wealth of digital learning resources, or are they generally repurposing (third party) resources which exist already.

Second issue, sharing learning resources is only part of the story, the context in which those resources are used and how they are used is equally if not more important and certainly then makes the resources (or even just the ideas) much more transferable, not just between colleges but also internally between courses.

Third issue, storing and finding resources. A folder or hierarchal structure makes filing simpler, but searching more complex.

Fourth issue, compatibility. Here we could be talking about Office 2007 or 2003, Publisher on a Mac, or other resources which require specific software.

Fifth issue, branding, not just from a college perspective but also from a qualificational perspective. One of the things I didn’t like about the NLN materials, was they were branded by subject and level. But as anyone who teaches the subject knows, Level 2 Business materials can be used with Level 3 Tourism students, but sometimes the branding, or qualificational specific nature of materials can put off or confuse learners.

Sharing is good, it saves time, enables practitioners (and learners) to access a wider range of resources.

Despite the issues, these are not reasons to not share, more issues to be aware of.


Digitisation Podcast

September 17, 2007

The JISC have released a podcast on the large digitisation programme.

The £22m JISC digitisation programme is making available a wide range of vital scholarly resources to UK education and research. One of its programme managers is Alastair Dunning who, while talking to Philip Pothen for this podcast, discusses what the programme is delivering and why the international conference in Cardiff represented an important landmark both for the programme and for wider attempts to make available scholarly resources of national importance.

Find out more.


User Experience

July 20, 2007

I am attending a very interesting presentation on user experiences. Introduced by Brian Kelly he gave an overview about the tools users use and offered reasons why institutions should not try and replicate these services but integrate and use them instead.

Brian Kelly presenting at the JISC Digitisation Conference, July 2007.

The next two speakers spoke about how the British Library and Newsfilm Online are designing their sites with the end user as the focus.

There were some interesting video clips of how the (currently unavailable) Newsfilm Online website will develop.


JISC Digitisation Conference Plenary Session Day One

July 19, 2007

elephantHaving attended a really interesting session on Shibboleth and Federated Access, I am currently listening to the plenary about the other parallel sessions.

It is proving to be a useful and interesting conference. What is nice is that the presentations and other reports will be available on the conference blog.

Though the content of the conference is on digitisation and e-content, it is interesting how the focus of much of the conference is on web 2.0 and (unsurprisingly) Google. I suspect that this is down to the focus on end users’ needs rather than coming from an institutional approach.

A lot of talk about elephants as well, of which I seemed to have missed somehow the connection.

The plenary has finished and we are now looking at tomorrow.


JISC Digitisation Conference

July 19, 2007

Today I am in Cardiff for the JISC Digitisation Conference. There is a live blog of the event which is going to cover the conference so much better than I ever could!

I am currently listening to Malcolm Read from JISC talking about the background to the programme. He is showing the “infamous” JISC content triangle.

Read more here