ICOPER Deliverable 4.3 ISURE: Recommendations for extending effective reuse, embodied in the ICOPER CD&R

Alexandra Okada, Teresa Connolly, Peter Scott, Roland Klemke

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    The overall aim of this document (an ICOPER Suitability Report for better practice: ISURE) is to present significant recommendations for extending the effective reuse of educational resources embodied in the ICOPER Community. It is drawn upon and extends the investigation that started from the previous two deliverables: • D4.1: Content Development Methodologies Survey outlined key topics related to best practice issues, associated standards and specifications to develop educational resources open for reuse, tailored to the European dimension. • D4.2: Quality Control and Web 2.0 technologies report, analysed best practices related to the use of Web 2.0 and quality control mechanisms within the ICOPER community. This ISURE document, therefore, promotes a set of key issues that summarise the established and recommended methods for the effective remixing and repurposing of educational resources tailored to a European dimension. It also includes a detailed description of an ICOPER application for authoring Reusable Learning Content (RLC) known as the “Authoring for Reuse” application. The thematic analysis of our investigation has revealed valuable best practice experience in our SIG (Special Interest Group) with respect to standards and specifications of reusable learning content, in addition to highlighting many significant barriers of content development for reuse. The benefits of adopting standards and specifications, embracing current challenges as well key trends for extending effective reuse have also been considered. The variety and shape of the collected best practice case studies gathered in our research work has demonstrated that there is much variety within and across institutions. Several popular scenarios were analysed: Open Educational Resources (OER) for Higher Education and those covering the areas of Teacher training, Educational Podcasting OERs, as well as examining a number of best practice networks in competency-driven Higher Education institutions and Schools. Thematic findings from this report indicated an interesting range of standards and specifications that may be used to extend effective reuse of learning content. These are described in detail in Appendix A and summarised in Section 5. The majority of best practices highlighted by the SIG demonstrated key factors for increasing reusability, for instance, adopting a variety of specifications, developing as many different download formats as possible, improving collaborations for the global standardization efforts and making the authoring content process very easy for end users. In addition, the SIG also indicated several key benefits of developing reusable learning content, such as time reduction, improved quality, wide coverage of key educational concepts and fostering expertise. Many of the interviewed experts remarked, however, upon significant barriers to be overcome, particularly the lack of a culture of reuse, which includes social, technical, pedagogical and legal aspects. Several examples were mentioned such as the lack of interest for developing open reusable content, efficient technologies for facilitating and simplifying reusability, communication among different stakeholders, social collaboration for discoverability and credibility around the content. In addition, several others barriers were indicated, such as understanding and meeting the changing learners’ needs, designing reusable resources taking into consideration several requirements, implementing appropriate legal aspects and disseminating clear issues with respect to copyright. Some of the important challenges described by the SIG focussed on the need to offer appropriate and efficient tools for searching, managing, adapting and developing reusable learning content. Some of the important trends indicated by the SIG were developing innovative strategies for extending effective reuse such as promoting different workflows for developing RLC, freeing different OER assets to be reused independently and content tracking facility. Group members also commented on deploying content by dynamic transformation, adopting open standards, developing new concepts related to reusability and offering training and support for users. This should improve their practice, as well as identifying perceived barriers and thus avoiding the direction in which the disruptions are headed. Additionally, the associated literature review and the collection of best practice case studies, including the ICOPER Application: Authoring for Reuse, have contributed to this research work. This ICOPER application has demonstrated how authoring tools might be used for reusing learning materials. Its implementation also analyses how the OAI-PMH standard might be significant in connecting repositories of learning objects. This interoperability protocol is particularly relevant for connecting the different steps of the authoring process for reuse. It was also recognised that the infrastructure, as realized by the ICOPER application, might be appropriate for a number of different learning delivery scenarios. A combination of the findings from the SIG survey and the implementation of ICOPER Application has led to a series of recommendations and key actions in this report, which were grouped into seven key categories for extending effective reuse, embodied in the ICOPER content development for reuse arena. The primary recommendation of this report highlights the endorsement of a broad initiative to promote a “culture of reuse” in tandem with the promotion of a philosophy of "openness" and the provision of meaningful and effective support and training. For industry, particularly for technology providers, the importance of encouraging the development of tools that meet the needs of users, easy-to-use and efficient for saving time as well as effort is noted. With respect to standards and specifications, it is recommended that technology providers keep standards and specifications implicit and thoroughly tested by different stakeholders. The recommendation for the Higher Education Management and Faculty stakeholder group is to encourage them to promote effective reuse through raising a range of OER-related skills and expertise amongst colleagues. Our report concludes that appropriate training and support, to help identify and develop the necessary processes involved in searching, authoring, adapting, delivering and sharing, are essential to increase our understanding and awareness of the key issues related to the area of Content Development for Reuse.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2011


    • ICOPER
    • reuse
    • recommendations
    • authoring


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