Monday, 1 March 2010

moodle, flickr, you tube and learning object repositories

Building out from my previous post, we face a similar case in the increasing use of flickr images, and flickr sets in courses, be it art history or histology. The same is true of YouTube videos which are again increasingly embedded in online courses.

Now we could just simply back up the local components of the course material and trust that flickr, YouTube and the rest will just be there - certainly that has the merit of saving on disk space. Apart from the risk of the material disappearing off YouTube or Flickr, or whatever that's probably just about tenable if all you want to do is make it available to the end of semester as a revision aid, much in the same way we do with lecture recordings, but if we want to archive it for reuse, or at least re-editing we have all the problems of archiving that we have for long term preservation.

This also brings me to a second point. Much of academic digital preservation is focused on the low hanging fruit of journal articles combined with open access policies. Undoubtedly laudable, undoubtedly important, but very rooted in a model of scholarly discourse in the sciences where the model is:
  • get funding
  • do the research
  • publish it in a reputable journal
  • get more funding
and where we are talking about single objects and a model that has not much changed since Charles Darwin presented a paper to the Linnean Society. And as such this model has informed bibliometric attempts to quantify the impact of research, but which can at worst become a self fulfilling prophecy - Professor A does good work, Professor A gets his work published in the Journal of Important Things, Professor A gets more funding, Professor A hires more RA's, Professor A's team does good work.

This starts to fall apart for the humanities and creative arts, and areas such as computer science where books, presentations, conferences, exhibitions are the main means of building reputation. And it also fails for learning technologies.

More importantly if we were to revisit the question of teaching quality assessment in place of research quality assessment how would we do it for online, or online supported learning without comprehensive archiving of teaching resources.

Under TQA art history departments would show things like the comprehensiveness and qaulity of their slide libraries to show the degree of support that they had for particular courses.

Today, you would present the material electronically, and you would definitely not want a 404 at a critical point in proceedings ...

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