Another piece of evidence about the problems of making all (or even most) University teaching content free is this piece about DRM being one of the top requests from Universities for the next version of Apple’s iTune U
Terry Anderson has a post that points to a meme about “The people formerly known as students and teachers”.
In it he expand on a list of demands related to efficient, effective and empowered learning.
Lot’s of good stuff here.
Many people can’t see the benefits of making content freely available.
This post suggest that it is conversation, not content, that is of strategic value in the learning process.
This is in response/connection to a link to Yale making some of its courses online. An emulation of MIT’s open courseware project.
This is one argument in the Web 2.0 course site proposal.
Everytime someone is introduced to Webfuse they wonder why we haven’t sold it, made it available to other organisations.
Apart from being lazy, the real reason doesn’t seem to be accepted all that easily. i.e. that the whole idea behind Webfuse is that it is the “glue” between the various bits of software and the CQU context and consequently very specific to CQU isn’t widely accepted.
Making it more general
So with the web 2.0 course site idea (must get a better name – Webfuse 2.0?) need to think about a way of making it more portable to other institutions.
One approach would be to support the heavy weight education standards – IMS, SCORM and the like. I have a problem with that approach. Similarly, web services.
Some of the lightweight service stuff might work.
UNAPI looks like it might be a solution. From the UNAPI description
unAPI is a tiny HTTP API any web application may use to co-publish discretely identified objects in both HTML pages and disparate bare object formats. It consists of three parts: an identifier microformat, an HTML autodiscovery link, and three HTTP interface functions, two of which have a standardized response format.
The idea would be that obtaining all the institutional information (course codes, names, students? etc) would be done via an UNAPI service. So porting it to another institution would be implementing that API for that institution.
Making the rounds of the blogosphere, or at least the little part I’m currently following, is an Enterprise Web 2.0 blog – “examining leadership and people issues raised by next-generation of web technologies”.
These are issues that will need to be considered.
Webfuse has always been based on the premise of open content, where ever possible.
On of the reasons for that is so that it can raise the profile of the organisation by our good content bringing people to CQU.
While teaching COIS20025 in the second half of 2006 I googled “entity relationship diagram”.
Imagine my surprise when the #1 hit was, and still is, an old Webfuse course site. Or at least a page on it.
This was a page from a course offered in the 2nd half of 2000. It’s 6 years old.
The content is good, I’ve used it again. That’s why it’s a top hit.
The plan is
- Modify the page to point to a more recent page which containts some of the same content that has been reworked.
- Observe whether or not the new page can climb the Google rankings.
The, very simple, measure I’m using is a simple Perl script that
- Grabs the first 1000 Google responses to a search for “entity relationship diagram”
- Lists all the URLs in that first 1000 that are in the cqu.edu.au domain.
I plan to run that script at regular periods over the next few months. I’ll modify the following list each time I run it.
- 19 September, 2006
Only 1 CQU domain page. The original page, ranked number 1.
- 3 October, 2006
Only 1 CQU domain page. The PDF document ranked as number 205 in the google list. The original page has dropped out entirely.
I’m going to add a link from my personal website, which because of various reasons, I believe might be seen to be reasonably influential (in the broadest possible sense of the term). Just to see if it makes any difference.
- 11 October, 2006
Three links from the CQU domain
- 16 October, 2006
Looks like the new link is on the move up. Two links from the CQU domain
- 24 October, 2006
Only one link at CQU reported. #68 – The updated document
- 31 October, 2006
Original link is back showing up at #4 and the new link is back to #200.
- 12 January, 2007
- 24 January, 2007
A couple of days ago I received an email from a Canadian professor asking to use these documents in his course.
The results of the Google search stand at
- 26 June, 2007
Bryan Alexander’s March/April 2006 EDUCAUSE Review article on Web 2.0. Much good stuff, a good summary.
Something to refer to later.
Derek Morrison raises the spectre of organisational response to the idea of Web 2.0 course websites. In part, this looks like the challenge of losing control facing IT support divisions and management.
The open content nature of services like Google Video would create a related issue for academics.
I slipped mention of self-organising systems into this slide just to remind myself and the delegates (one of several such reminders) that the richness and availability of provision is now so high (at least in our part of the world) that it has become relatively easy for individuals and groups (academics and students) to function in an ICT universe that lies far outside any institutional provision. The implication being that those responsible for institutional learning technology provision will need to work much harder to stay relevant to its users than it has had to do so in the past. It will be necessary to think beyond the natural inclination to ban technologies and services that don’t fit in with, sometimes narrow, current conceptions of what are learning technologies and how they should be used, e.g. the banning of weblogs for use by staff and students.
A post from Simon Fraser University talks about use of Google Calendar with some PHP code to manage calendars and bookings.
Another potential application for Web 2.0 course sites – the study schedule as a Google calendar. Allow students to remix it with their own stuff…..lots of stuff here to think about and investigate.