Unlocking Open Educational Resources (#OERs) Interaction Data
Author : David Massart, Elena Shulman
Each time a teacher or a learner interacts with an Open Educational Resource (OER), these interactions produce data. This “interaction data” includes “artifact data” routinely captured during any online interaction by Web server logs (e.g., users’ browsers, users’ IP addresses) and “social data” created during Web 2.0-style interactions with resources (e.g., tags, comments, ratings, favorites). Interaction data can serve a number of purposes in a period of increased interest worldwide in OERs quality and uptake. First, interaction data is a valuable source of analytics about OERs and typical audience profiles. Second, combined with metadata, interaction data can enhance searching, ranking, and recommendations of learning resources. However, obtaining this data is not always easy since OERs, in particular, are generally dispersed among different systems where the interactions between resources and their users take place. This paper describes approaches to unlocking, collecting and aggregating this interaction data.
Learning Resource Exchange
Using the Learning Resource Exchange (LRE) as a case study, this paper explores ways for catalogs of OERs to collect and exchange interaction data. This approach makes it possible to minimize the data sharing burden on systems where teachers and learners interact with educational resources (e.g., websites where the resources are hosted, Moodle instances).
The Learning Resource Exchange (LRE) from European Schoolnet (EUN) is a service that enables schools to find educational content from many different countries and providers. It was developed in order to provide Ministries of Education with access to a network of learning content repositories and associated tools that allow them to more easily exchange high quality learning resources that ‘travel well’ and can be used by teachers in different countries.
Another effort similar to the LRE is Learning Registry initiated by the U.S. Departments of Education and Defense.
Learning Registry is an open source technical system designed to facilitate the exchange of data behind the scenes, and an open community of resource creators, publishers, curators, and consumers who are collaborating to broadly share resources, as well as information about how those resources are used by educators in diverse learning environments across systems.
It stores more than traditional descriptive data (metadata)–it will also allow sharing of ratings, comments, downloads, standards alignment, etc. It enables the learning resource information created by one site to be shared with others. The data published to the Learning Registry network can serve as the basis for learning resource analytics to help recommend resources, detect trends in resource usage, and judge user experience. (so called : paradata)
Paradata captures the user activity related to the resource that helps to elucidate its potential educational utility, from NSDL Network, it’s :
a complement to metadata, not a replacement
separate layer of information from metadata
a means to automate information generation about resource use by using social networking tools
a means to create an open source and open access data space around resources
emphasizes dissemination rather than description
accommodates expert and user-generated knowledge
More details about paradata, check here.
If these efforts integrate with other tools facilitating personalized learning paths, such as mentioned by Learning Paths and #OER: Trends and Opportunities, the beautiful new world of open education backed by the whole OER pool will become realistic.