The JLeRN Experiment

JISC's Learning Registry Node Experiment at Mimas

Archive for the category “JLeRN Final Report”

Rounding up the JLeRN Experiment

We have reached the end of the JLeRN experiment, at least the end of the current JISC funding for Mimas to set up a node on the Learning Registry and examine its potential. One part of the process of rounding up ideas and outputs generated through the experiment was a meeting of those who had engaged with it, held on 22nd October. This post providers pointers to two sets of resources associated with that meeting: the blog posts etc. that people who attended it wrote after the event, in order to summarise what had been discussed, but first a quick round-up (mostly from Sarah Currier) of posts that describe what the people who attended had been doing with the Learning Registry.

The Story So Far?by David Kay
A summary of some of the “headline ‘findings’” of a series of conversations that David has been having in an attempt to pin down the nature of the Learning Registry and its potential.

Understanding and using the Learning Registry: Pgogy Tools for searching and submittingby Pat Lockley.
Pat has been very involved in the Learning Registry from the start. This blog post gives you access to all four of his open source tools that work with the Learning Registry, set up to work with our JLeRN node. They are very easy to install (two of them plug very easily into Chrome) and try out, plus Pat has made some brief videos demonstrating how they work. The tools use the Learning Registry to enhance Google (and other) searching, and support easy submission of metadata and paradata to a node. There is also a sample search you can use with the Chrome tools that should show you how it works pretty quickly.

Taster: A soon-to-be released ENGrich Learning Registry Case Study for JLeRNby the ENGrich Project.
The ENGrich project are working on a case study on why and how they have implemented a Learning Registry node to enhance access to high-quality visual resources (images, videos, Flash animations, etc.) as OERs for engineering education at university level. Their work has involved gathering paradata from academics and students; this taster gives you an overview. A really interesting use case. Please pass this one on to anyone working with engineering resources too!

Taster: some ideas for a use case on paradata and accessibility opportunities -by Terry McAndrew
Terry is an accessibility expert from JISC TechDis, he came to our first Hackday and got us thinking about how the Learning Registry model for capturing and sharing paradata might be useful for people to share information about how accessible resources are. We commissioned him to write up a use case for this; look here to see his beginning thoughts, and add any of your own.

How widely useful is the Learning Registry?: A draft report on the broader contextby David Kay
The JLeRN team have been keeping half an eye from the start on the potential affordances the Learning Registry might offer the information landscape outwith educational technology: what about library circulation data, activity data and activity streams, linked data, the Semantic Web, research data management? And what if we are missing a trick; maybe there are already solutions in other communities? So we commissioned a Broader Context Report from David Kay at Sero Consulting. This is his first draft; we’re looking for feedback, questions and ideas.

I reported on some information about the current status of the Learning Registry in the US and some other related initiatives (slideshare) based on information Steve Midgely had sent me in reply to an email.

Summaries/reflections from after the meeting

Registryingby Pat Lockley
Pat’s summary of his presentation on how the Learning Registry affects the interactions between developers, service managers and users.

Experimenting with the Learning Registryby Amber Thomas
A round-up of the meeting as a whole, pulling out a couple of the significant issues raised: the extent to which the Learning Registry is a network, and the way some real tricky problems have been pushed out of scope…but are still there. Some really useful comments on this post as well, notably from Steve Midgley on increasing adoption of the Learning Registry in the US.

JLeRN Experiment Final Meetingby Lorna M Campbell
Another summary of the meeting, summarising the uses made of the Learning Registry by projects represented at the meeting, mentioning some subject areas where the use of the Learning Registry to store information about curriculum mapping may prove useful and questions from Owen Stephens about alternative approaches to the Learning Registry.

At the end of the JLeRN experimentby Phil Barker
My summary of the meeting, covering the issues of whether the Learning Registry is a network or just isolated nodes (-not much of a network, yet), whether it works as software (-seems to) and why use it and not some alternative (-it’s too early to tell).

Watch this space for more information and case studies from some of the people mentioned above, and for the official JLeRN final report.

JLeRN Reporting: Recommendations for Future Learning Registry Work in the UK

This is one of a series of posts from the JLeRN Experiment, forming sections of what will be our Final Report. Please send feedback and discussion in the comments section, as your own blog post response, via Twitter (hashtags #jlern #learningreg) or on the OER-Discuss and Learning Registry email lists. To see all the posts, click here

JLeRN Draft Report: 5. Recommendations

Current context: JISC

When these recommendations were originally drafted in June 2012, with the help of JISC CETIS and Amber Thomas, we were just at the start of a period of flux within our funding body JISC. We are well into the changes now, so we share these recommendations in the knowledge that we do not yet fully know the future shape of the new JISC and its community, nor how it will make funding decisions, nor what its priorities will be. Nevertheless, we put these ideas out there for discussion and posterity. The final version will take into account community feedback, so please fire away!

Current context: The Learning Registry

Equally, the future of the Learning Registry itself in the U.S. past October 2012 is unclear; it is likely that it will continue in some form, perhaps with a different funding structure. Moreover, much of the interest and exploratory work that has emerged in the U.S. is in the schools sector, around curriculum-related paradata.

JLeRN’s final days

JLeRN will finish at the end of October 2012, alongside the end of the JISC OER Rapid Innovation projects who are working with the Learning Registry. Several small-scale tasks will be carried out by keen contributors to JLeRN by the end of October (including taking part in a small end-of-JLeRN Workshop at Mimas on 22 October 2012):

  • ENGrich project case study from the University of Liverpool.
  • Pat Lockley’s four Pgogy tools for easy exploration of the Learning Registry.
  • Terry McAndrew from JISC TechDIS will provide an accessibility paradata use case.
  • David Kay of Sero Consulting will provide a Broader Context Report.
  • The RIDLR project will report to the JLeRN Final Workshop on its findings.

All of these outputs, plus the final version of the report these JLeRN Reporting blog posts will feed into, will be made available here on the JLeRN blog.

Recommendations

As noted in the Skills and Capacity section of this report:

“[...] if we are to close the gap between the strategic enthusiasm for the potential wins of the Learning Registry, and the small-scale use case and prototype testing phase we are in, we will need a big push backed by a clear understanding that we will be walking into some of the same minefields we’ve trodden in, cyclically, for the past however many decades. And it is by no means clear yet that the will is there, in the community or at the strategic level.”

The recommendations below are still just putting the pieces together for a unified vision around sharing and using paradata in education; we are not yet ready, technically, or as a community of Learning Registry followers, to support that “big push”.

5.1 Recommendation: Synthesis of JLeRN, OER Rapid Innovation and related UK findings on Learning Registry.

This should include input from Liverpool University and others who have expressed an interest by attending Learning Registry / JLeRN meetings and workshops to date, perhaps carried out via a survey and/or other formal methods. Current developments within the U.S. Learning Registry project should be noted. There was also a whisper at one point that there was interest at the BBC, which would be worth looking into.

5.2 Recommendation: Explore benefits of the Learning Registry for UK sectors with well-defined curricula, e.g. schools, work-based learning and FE/Skills.

Educational sectors where there is a well-defined curriculum have been closely involved in the U.S. Learning Registry project. One UK HE project with a strong commitment to exploring the Learning Registry to date has been RIDLR, which is looking at the affordances for sharing paradata within and around a well-specified and mandated medical curriculum. It is therefore likely that there will be interest in the Learning Registry in sectors outwith UK HE that work with defined curricula.

5.3 Recommendation: Building on the experience of JLeRN and the current UK task group

There are likely to be ongoing explorations that projects, institutions, services (e.g. Jorum) and interested individuals (e.g. Pat Lockley) would like to do. Funding small well-specified projects to work on these tasks would be useful. Deciding whether JLeRN as a project providing a node or nodes, and expertise, will still be needed to support these (as opposed to them using U.S. Learning Registry nodes) would be a necessary part of planning this.

5.4 Recommendation: Explore mutual affordances with Activity Data work and other JISC Programmes

Those interested in activity streams, activity data, library circulation data, research data management, linked data, Semantic Web, and so on have noted an interest in JLeRN and the Learning Registry, and JLeRN lead Sarah Currier has kept in touch at a high level with key developments. JLeRN has commissioned a brief on the Learning Registry in a broader context than educational technology, which could support future thinking in this area. It may be worth exploring more in-depth tasks or projects to tease this area out.

JLeRN Reporting: Appetite and Demand for the Learning Registry

This is one of a series of posts from the JLeRN Experiment, forming sections of what will be our Final Report. Please send feedback and discussion in the comments section, as your own blog post response, via Twitter (hashtags #jlern #learningreg) or on the OER-Discuss and Learning Registry email lists. To see all the posts, click here.

JLeRN Draft Report: 2. Appetite and Demand

Interest in the Learning Registry in the UK: a summary

Following on from the Hackday in January 2012, where considerable interest was shown in JLeRN, there were well-attended sessions at the CETIS Conference 2012 and OCWC/OER12. However, conference sessions and a Developer Challenge at developer-specific events Dev8D and Dev8eD were less well-attended, despite effort put into publicising JLeRN and encouraging participation. Those events were for developers working on the ground rather than project managers or strategic thinkers; it seems the immediate benefit of the Learning Registry to coders wanting to code cool stuff was not yet apparent, although if you are interested in some exceptions to that, see our blog post about Pat Lockley’s plugins here and our own JLeRN Node Explorer here.

Building on this early buzz, a small number of institutions have shown an interest in trialling implementation of the Learning Registry around well-defined use cases meeting real community needs, although only one has followed through: Liverpool University have implemented their own node to support their ENGrich work (a JLeRN Case Study is coming on this). There have also been projects hoping to try out the Learning Registry approach as a side issue to their core work (e.g. Xenith, ORBIT- see below), recognising the potential value and wanting to take advantage of JLeRN while it was available to help. However, lack of capacity on both sides prevented much happening beyond discussion.

Learning Registry: popular with JISC OER projects

Six projects working with the Learning Registry were funded in the JISC OER Rapid Innovation Programme, and one FE-based project involved JLeRN in its bid, but was not funded. Two JISC OER Programme projects (ENGrich at Liverpool University and ORBIT at Cambridge University) have also initiated collaboration with JLeRN; we have supported ENGrich with their node and commissioned a case study, whereas with ORBIT we only managed some initial discussions on the idea of sharing semantic data using the Learning Registry, an idea we would’ve loved to explore further.

Are others interested in the Learning Registry, sans funding?

Where people have secured funding (or institutional support in the case of ENGrich) directly related to the Learning Registry, they have been able to collaborate with JLeRN. It is important to note that these projects, while they relate to very real use cases, are small scale and exploratory, like JLeRN itself. In no case are they close to developing anything like a strategic or service level implementation. This is as it should be, however, given the stage the Learning Registry itself is at.

Others who showed an early interest, for instance, The Open University’s LabSpace and LearningSpace platforms; JISC TechDIS; and the Health, E-Learning and Media (HELM) team at Nottingham University (distinct from the Xerte / Xenith team at Nottingham who have an OER Rapid Innovation project), have not been able to make resource available to work with JLeRN as it is too experimental and not part of their core work. Their participation in our events and discussions has been valuable and much appreciated, however. And Terry McAndrew at TechDIS is working up an accessibility use case which will be published here on the blog.

Interest in the Learning Registry outwith the educational technology sector

There are other JISC communities outwith educational technology that have shown an interest in JLeRN and the Learning Registry, the most prominent being those involved in content, discovery and activity data. Joy Palmer, a Senior Manager at Mimas with a number of interests and projects in these areas, has been keeping her own watching brief on the progress of JLeRN. Joy and Amber Thomas made sure that JLeRN was represented at JISC Content and Discovery Cross-Programmes Meeting in April 2012, where a number of useful conversations were had. Amber Thomas has also noted that the research data management community has similar issues to solve. JLeRN has commissioned a report looking at how the Learning Registry might benefit these wider areas: see David Kay’s JLeRN blog post initiating discussion around this. His final report will also be published here on the blog.

Strategic interest and expectations management

Broadly speaking, discussions within the HE community in the UK and abroad, as reported informally by various JLeRN, Mimas, CETIS and JISC folk, have indicated that those who recognise the gaps in paradata provision are interested in the Learning Registry at a strategic level, but this invariably raises an accompanying problem of expectations management. In describing the problem area the Learning Registry is aimed at, and the innovative approach being taken, it can be easy to latch onto this work as the next big thing that will solve all problems, without recognising that there is (a) a lot of work to be done, and (b) that work would require a well-supported infrastructure, both technically and in terms of communities, shared vocabularies, and so on.

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