Thursday, 9 May 2013

ocTEL Week 4 - If you only do one thing..

I’ve decided to ‘freestyle’ this week as I’ve just been looking into OER repositories as part of the H817 OU Open Education MOOC. In the spirit of reusability, I’m linking to those blog posts here: I looked at creating a mini-course based on resources sourced from some of these repositories, and also found the concept of Little vs Big OER quite interesting.

To summarise my thoughts about OER repositories, I’ve found them very inconsistent. While I’m sure that they all have a few gems hidden away, I experienced some kind of difficulty with all of them – broken links, irrelevant results returned, inability to preview content, packages which I couldn’t download or did not seem to work, bad quality materials, obscure labelling and so on. Some of this was undoubtedly my own lack of experience using the repositories and I guess I would be able to use them more effectively with practice – the problem is, if the initial experience with a resource bank is frustrating and wastes my time, it is unlikely I will return or spend the time learning how to use it more effectively. In my view, one problem is that they spread themselves too thin, trying to cover every discipline – if there was an OER repository specifically for my area of interest then I’d probably persevere with it. As it is, a well-targeted Google search still seems a better option.

I revisited YouTube and investigated whether using the ‘Filters’ on my search would enable me to find relevant resources quickly.

Searching for the term “digital identity” (following on from the activity I started in Week 3) I applied the filters ‘this year’ & ‘creative commons’ and this reduced the results to 18. Some of them were bafflingly irrelevant (e.g. building Windows 8 UIs??), but there was some good stuff in there as well, and some names I recognised from previous research I’d done. Interestingly, a TED talk about digital identity came up which didn’t appear when I used the same search term in the TED search box. So it looks like, for the moment, Google (YouTube) is the clear winner in all this…

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