The LTG has a successful history of securing funding to run innovative research and development projects. Our projects directly support teaching and learning at the University, and help disseminate knowledge to the wider research community and the general public. The design of our projects is guided by the LTG research vision.
Partnerships with members of the University and the learning technologies community are key to our success. They ensure that our work has a direct impact on current practice and future initiatives. If you would like to participate in any of our current projects, or are interested in working with us on a new idea, please get in touch.
We have compiled a list of a selection of our internally funded projects delivered by the ACD team, and below you can read about all of our externally funded work.
Current funded projects
Previously funded projects
Production, sharing and use of educational resources, including OERs
VLEs and open interoperability specifications/ standards
E-learning technologies and pedagogy: policy and practice studies
Crowd-sourcing and community collections
Using technology to support institutional sustainability objectives
1.1.2. The use and re-use of Oxford’s online resources by teachers within the collegiate University: an examination of practice
Figure ../images/projects/useandreuse.jpg [Use and reuse]
Through interviews with academics from a range of disciplines across the university we will build a more critical and theoretical perspective on how the use of OER enhances the University of Oxford’s reputation as one of the leading providers of online reusable learning and teaching resources in the UK. From the practical, methodological and conceptual understandings reached through this project the study will help to inform organisational support of OER at the University of Oxford in the future.
This will be achieved via a systematic literature review and a series of rich qualitative interviews with academics from a range of disciplines within the University, in order to understand a range of pedagogical, social, cultural, technological and political factors that are highly relevant to this developing field of research, while at the same time providing information that can be used at an institutional level to inform teaching practice, and appropriate models and investment strategies for OER within the University of Oxford in the future.
1.1.3. Oxford OER International
Figure ../images/projects/heacasestudy.png [HEA Case Study]
The purpose of Oxford OER International was to identify suitable elements of the University of Oxford’s existing OER collection to be showcased internationally. By improving the web presence of Oxford’s OER outputs, designed with the international user in mind, the project was able to promote a selection of resources hand-picked for their suitability for an international audience.
The project enhanced the potential for engagement with international audiences by ensuring that the selected content was more easily discoverable through improved descriptions and additional metadata to indicate level (introductory, intermediate, advanced). Advocacy from world-class academics and appreciative users, clear routes to Oxford’s other OER projects, and the inclusion of other links focussed on international admissions were all included to present a true showcase of Oxford’s best international outputs. The project evaluated strategies to improve discoverability of content by a global audience and investigated a range of tracking and feedback methods for understanding their use.
This case study highlights successful approaches to understanding the needs of an international audience, for example by exploring how improved cataloguing metadata can be used to enhance discoverability and by demonstrating how targeted promotion of relevant content through better visibility and marketing can lead to higher usage and by introducing a tracking analytics strategy to evaluate usage and search behaviour. It also includes a simple 5-step methodology which is offered as a model for other OER creators to follow.
You can now read the full case study online.
Figure ../images/projects/spindle.png [SPINDLE image]
SPINDLE will bring together the Open Spires media team at OUCS with experts in linguistics and speech technology from the Phonetics Laboratory and the Faculty of Linguistics, Phonetics and Phonology to work on the University's growing collection of video and audio podcasts of lectures. The project will experiment with speech-to-text technologies to automatically create transcripts of lectures, and develop new tools to generate better keywords to help with the indexing and description of the lectures, as well as other innovative techniques to exploit and deliver audio, video and text.
1.1.5. World War One: Continuations and Beginnings
Figure ../images/projects/continuationsandbeginnings-scaled.gif [World War One: Continuations and Beginnings image]
World War One: Continuations and Beginnings will surface the highest quality OER on this historic event through a set of cross-disciplinary thematic collections that reappraise the War in its social, historical and cultural context. Each collection will also include expert commentaries created by some of the most notable academics in the field of World War One studies and related disciplines. Alongside these thematic directory areas, the Open Education Resource Library will offer dynamic feeds of relevant resources from the wider OER community. A series of revisualisations will showcase the full potential of using open material to seed academic debate through virtual world simulation, agent-based modelling, info-graphics and KML layers. @Arras95, an innovative social media campaign will explore the possibilities for crowdsourcing OER and raise awareness about the project.
1.1.6. OER engagement study
Figure ../images/projects/wedooer-logo-final-medium.png [OER engagement study image]
The aim of the project is to investigate situated practice of engagement with, and re-use of, OER in the context of Higher Education in the UK. The study explores different practices that are currently emerging in this area, from the perspective of both their providers and beneficiaries. The goal is to obtain a clearer understanding of what accounts for a successful practice in order to promote sustained engagement with and reuse of OER in teaching and learning in different institutional contexts from a demand-side perspective. This, in turn, will allow for deriving a set of guidelines for interested institutions to adopt.
1.1.7. Supporting Institutional Practice for feedback and Assessment (SIPA)
Figure ../images/projects/SIPA.jpg [SIPA Project Logo]
The WebLearn team is investigating, promoting and supporting the use of the external Turnitin plagiarism detection and prevention service and allied products GradeMark (online marking and annotations) and PeerMark (student peer marking and assessment). Turnitin is integrated into the WebLearn Assignments tool (version 1) and system improvements will be recommended for the new Assignments2 tool in response to user feedback.
We will investigate current institutional processes and policy in terms of academic writing and plagiarism prevention and make recommendations in collaboration with the Education Committee, the Proctors' office, the Oxford Learning Institute and the Bodleian libraries.
New training courses for academic staff will be developed, focusing on assessment tools for formative testing, interpreting Turnitin originality reports, tackling plagiarism in the internet age, and student training in information skills and academic writing practice. We will work closely with academic colleagues to identify models of good practice in assessment and feedback (to and from students), and support staff and students in promoting academic writing and study skills.
1.1.8. Great Writers: Learning from the Past
Figure ../images/projects/gw_icon-1.jpg [Book spines image]
This project will collect and release digital learning content that supports the theme Great Writers Learning from the Past.
The project will provide a new set of key lectures, a series of downloadable electronic texts and ebooks, plus background contextual resources including a blog of scholarly posts to support the lectures and ebooks.
It is anticipated that the content will explore the historical context, discuss key texts and the writers legacy and influence on literature. Example collections may be Early English, Shakespeare, Swift, Austen, Dickens, World War 1 Poets, Modernism etc
The material, intended to provide an engaging introduction to a typical humanities undergraduate education, will be released under a suitable open content licence and therefore can be reused in education worldwide.
The project will focus on content collection and release through community collaboration and engagement. Our principal stakeholders will be the humanities subject community. We will also engage with school teachers to ensure that the material released is useful to the pre-university sector.
1.1.9. OxCAP (Oxford Course Advertising Project) - Phase II
Figure ../images/projects/oxcap-small.png [OxCAP Logo (http://www.flickr.com/photos/oxforduniversitycricket/5786649005/)]
OxCAP is a JISC funded initiative to expose data (as an XML feed) about courses at Oxford. This project has the explicit backing of the PVC for Education and the Registrar.
It is agreed that we concentrate on graduate training opportunities.
JISC want public information about courses in XCRI-CAP format so that they can offer a portal which aggregated feeds from "all UK institutions". This will serve 2 purposes: (a) to allow hard-to-find distance learning courses to be found and, (b) to allow fee-paying students to compare what courses institutions offer so that they can make an informed decision about where to go.
Advantage for Oxford: this will show the world how much excellent graduate training is on offer and will help us to attract the best students
The service will be piloted from October 2012 and all aspects will be improved based on user and community feedback.
Process and policy guidance will be developed in conjunction with the training providers to ensure all the outputs from the project are sustainable.
Advantage for Oxford: this will allow students to take full advantage of the training on offer leading to better trained researchers and academics and will make better use of university resources.
1.1.10. OXAM Migration
Figure ../images/projects/oxam-small.jpg [OXAM Migration Project Logo (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ulleskelf/2411405780/)]
The OXAM system will be deployed as a new WebLearn tool that will have its own WebLearn site. The maintainers of this site will be the OXAM super-users. The search functionality of OXAM will match that of the current system. Maintainers of WebLearn sites will be able to add a hyperlink within their site which, when clicked, takes the user to the OXAM site.
1.1.11. The Student Digital Experience
Figure ../images/projects/digitalexp-scaled.jpg [Student Digital Experience Logo]
There is a growing need to try to define the experience Oxford students will have online, that appropriately supports Oxford's traditional teaching methods, graduate skills expectations, and the social lives of the students. This was a concern raised at the Student Systems Replacement Board. It was felt that there was a need for the University to collectively articulate its vision for how the overall student experience was being furthered by the range of systems now on offer (centrally and locally). This project proposes a series of activities to achieve a description of the current digital services provided by Oxford for students and staff to enhance the learning experience and learning support activities, and a vision for the systems and services we think will be needed to support learning and teaching for the next five years that puts us ahead of our competitors.
1.1.12. Open to change project
Figure ../images/projects/opentochange-leaf.jpg [Open to Change]
In this project we took a broad look at the problems and possible solutions for running institutional sustainable energy initiatives. The funding allowed us to read a wide range of literature, run our own series of participatory design workshops and create a prototype of a different kind of energy dashboard.
For further information:
1.1.13. WebLearn/Nexus integration project (WLNX)
Figure ../images/projects/WLNX-scaled.jpg [WLNX Logo]
We have seen widespread adoption of WebLearn across divisions and colleges for a range of online and group working activities. The enhanced services of calendaring, email and workflow within Nexus offers the opportunity to streamline and promote cross team and cross discipline working. Both WebLearn and Nexus services are key university services and we anticipate high level, long term and growing support for use. This project provides an opportunity to clarify to users how these two systems can be used together most productively as part of teaching, learning and research.
Figure ../images/projects/mod4all.png [Modelling For All Logo]
Computer modelling provides new ways of thinking about, understanding, and exploring complex real-world processes such as, how a virus spreads through social networks, how wealth is distributed amongst a population where the individuals have differing access to education, and how people interact with energy and each other and how this interplay effects the environment.
The aim of the project is to significantly increase the number of students and researchers who can build and analyse models that describe a wide variety of real-world phenomena. The project has created a online agent-based modelling tool that can be easily used with collaboration software such as discussion groups, chat clients and within networking web sites.
The project team is working with tutors at Oxford to develop online tutorials that support undergraduate and master's courses in subjects such vaccination and migration.
Figure ../images/projects/mediahub-scaled.jpg [MediaHub Logo]
This project aims to overhaul the University's digital media production infrastructure and expand it to include all three main content producing groups: Public Affairs Directorate (PAD), Media Production Unit (MPU), and the Learning Technologies Group (LTG). The project is split into two phases. Phase one will provision the first two key pieces of shared infrastructure: a video cataloguing system and a transcode engine. An important component of the project will be to observe the workflows in use by all three content producing units and to evaluate the best solution for their combined storage needs.
The second phase, which will be the subject of a separate bid, will implement a scalable, shared infrastructure based on the recommendations of the evaluation.
1.1.16. Rave in Context
Figure ../images/projects/rave-logo.png [Rave in context project logo]
The LTG is contributing usability expertise to this project, which is led by OSS Watch. The aim is to develop reusable widget templates and widgets for accessing research tools on a range of form factors, but with the focus on smartphones and tablets. We are evaluating the widgets for their usability, learnability, accessibility and usefulness, through individual walkthroughs and a workshop.
1.1.17. Listening For Impact
Figure ../images/projects/JISCLFI.png [Listening for Impact Logo]
The Listening For Impact project, funded by the JISC under the Digitisation and e-Content programme, will engage in systematic analysis of the impact of University of Oxford podcasting activities, beyond simple download statistics, in order to answer the following important questions:
The current service tracks basic visitor numbers through log analysis and compiling user feedback but without an in-depth systematic analysis of where and how these visitors discover the materials. We will interpret this data using approaches from the TIDSR Toolkit and look at other techniques for gathering data and engaging users.
1.1.18. Sustainable Practice
Figure ../images/projects/scoreproject_scaled.png [Score Logo]
In institutions where teaching is research-led academic colleagues are regularly engaged in processes of knowledge creation. This new knowledge quickly becomes the content of their teaching. Oxford University has established processes to enable academic colleagues to capture their research presentations as podcasts and licence those as OER with a rapid turn-around and minimal extra effort. We have aimed to make this creation of OER part of the day-to-day activity of staff who research and teach. This project will explore the relationship between OER and the research-teaching nexus by looking closely at how academic staff at two research intensive universities are supported in their academic practice. Working with colleagues in central services and academic libraries at Leeds and Oxford this project will look at the synergies between OER and Open Access Publishing in institutions where OER provides another dissemination mechanism for research, impact and public engagement.
1.1.19. Europeana 1914-1918
Figure ../images/projects/GREATWAR_LOGO_final.jpg [Europeana 1914-1918 Logo]
This is an online community collection relating to the material culture and general ephemera from the First World War. The project builds on the pilot work of The Great War Archive (a pilot initiative of the First World War Poetry Digital Archive) and RunCoCo, both JISC-funded.
Supported by the Europeana Foundation, the team from OUCS LTG is working with partners from national libraries and institutions around Europe to collect memorabilia and stories from the period of the Great War (1914-1918). Items are contribued either online via the Europeana 1914-1918 website or at family history roadshow events. Such events have been held in Germany, Luxembourg, Ireland, Slovenia, Denmark and the UK, and more are being planned.
1.1.20. Learning Design Support Environment
Figure ../images/projects/ldse.png [LDSE Logo]
This is a multi-partner project involving the London Knowledge Lab (lead site), the University of Oxford (LTG and TALL), Birkbeck University of London, LSE, Royal Veterinary College and London Metropolitan University. We are working with practising lecturers to research, and co-construct, an interactive Learning Design Support Environment to support academic staff in designing effective technology-enhanced learning, through drawing both on good practice by others and on pedagogical research.
1.1.21. Understanding the Evolution and Emergence of Pandemic Influenza
Figure ../images/projects/mod4all.png [Modelling For All Logo]
Together with collaborators in the Zoology Department, Ken Kahn and Howard Noble of OUCS took cutting edge modelling research in the Zoology Department and produced learning materials to enable students to engage with the conceptual structure of the research but in a form that doesn’t require extensive technical and mathematical background. We packaged the technical details of the computer models into a library of transparent modular components that the students can combine and explore without prior training. Our goal is to take on-going research and build computational resources and tools that enable students to engage with the research by building computer models.
1.1.22. Explaining religion
Figure ../images/projects/mod4all.png [Modelling For All Logo]
Ken Kahn worked with Professor Harvey Whitehouse and the Oxford Anthropology department to create an ABM model of how religions spread and evolve within communities. The project not only added to research in this area of anthropology, it also helped the modelling4all team to gain an insight into the usefulness of using the Behaviour Composer as a tool to help research projects communicate.
1.1.23. WebLearn Content Migration
Figure ../images/projects/weblearn.png [WebLearn Logo]
Develop improved tools, help and training to assist users in migrating from old WebLearn to new WebLearn (and Nexus SharePoint). Monitor, coordinate and assist with the migration of content out of old WebLearn
1.1.24. Student Enrolment System II
Figure ../images/projects/swissroll.jpg [SES II Logo]
Improve functionality of existing Student Enrolment System tool, add interoperability layer and produce formal documentation.
1.1.25. Student Enrolment System III
Figure ../images/projects/swissroll.jpg [SES Logo]
Further improvements to WebLearn’s Student Enrolment System (aka Module Enrolment or Course Sign-up tool) including improved enrolment functionality for students, the facility to suggest additional training based on students’ training needs, the addition of an enhanced facility to use information in the system more extensively, integration of DAISY with the Core User Directory, improved data entry interface to DAISY. (NB DAISY is not an IT Services system, it is owned by the Social Sciences division.)
1.1.26. OER Impact Study
Figure ../images/projects/oer_scaled.png [OER Logo]
We have heard a great deal about the production of open educational resources (OER); however, until recently we knew very little about how they are actually being used by lecturers in their teaching and by students in their learning. This usage was the focus of a joint study by the LTG and the Technology-Assisted Lifelong Learning Unit (TALL) in the Department for Continuing Education. We used in-depth interviews and workshops to elicit the factors conducive to uptake and sustained practice in the use of OER, as well as some of the barriers. Although there now exists a substantial body of high-quality learning resources in some disciplines, a critical mass of useful and usable materials has yet to be reached in others, while pedagogic intent, granularity and preserving one's distinctive 'teaching voice' are common concerns. Yet a groundswell in favour of openness, and a receptivity to licensed resources from other institutions, are unmistakable.
Figure ../images/projects/tritonlogothin.jpg [Triton Logo]
Work done at Oxford during the pilot year of institutional Open Educational Resources (OER) activity through the OpenSpires project resulted in the release of a collection of materials from the Politics and International Relations subject area. Triton will aid discovery of OER in three ways:
The Triton project will bring high-quality OER closer to the Politics and International Relations subject community and increase the discoverability of OER through a heavily promoted cross-institutional blog: http://politicsinspires.org
1.1.28. Sir Louie
Figure ../images/projects/knight_b2.jpg [Sir Louie project logo]
This project will enhance two academic and administrative systems: WebLearn the Virtual Learning Environment (based on the Sakai open source software platform) and the University’s library search interface SOLO, (based on Ex-libris Primo software) in order to provide an improved experience for both students and lecturers in the area of reading lists.
The planned improvements target the searching of library catalogues and the displaying availability information with a reading list. Development work on both systems will enable the SOLO search interface to be invoked from within WebLearn's reading list tool, (also known as the Citations Helper,) and be used to find items to be sent back to the VLE for automatic inclusion in the reading list. The data will be transferred using the standard OpenURL encoding.
In addition, the project will develop a method of augmenting all reading lists with availability information when they are displayed in WebLearn.
This is achieved by 'hiding' OpenURL COinS meta data for each item within a reading list. This in-page data can then be used to determine current availability once the page has loaded (using DLF ILS-DI and / or DAIA).
The result is that the reading list will automatically contain links to 'full text' versions of journal articles, a list of (Oxford University) libraries where the item can be found and links to on-line stores where the item can be purchased. The COiNS meta data can also be used to enable existing Open Source software such as Zotero and LibX (a browser plug-in) to interact with Citation Helper reading lists.
This kind of integration between Oxford's VLE and Library systems was formally requested by the University by the Oxford University Student's Union (OUSU) to save time when dealing with their reading lists.
Figure ../images/projects/runcoco.png [RunCoco Logo]
The RunCoCo project trained other institutions in the experiences of The Great War Archive, part of the First World War Poetry Digital Archive, and showed them how they can replicate the process for crowdsourcing and community collections in their own subject areas. RunCoCo's website includes: the final project report; videos, slides and audio from the workshops; open source community collection software and documentation; and guides and workflows to assist others in harnessing the community to create rich digital collections for research and teaching.
Figure ../images/projects/openspires.png [OpenSpires Logo]
The OpenSpires project released hundreds of hours of Oxford digital learning content as Open Content Resources (OER) in appropriate ways via appropriate online platforms. The project has had global impact, as the resources are from world-class speakers and researchers. Oxford academic colleagues are supported in changing practice by becoming 'open content literate' to make informed choices regarding the materials they release and choose to reuse.
The OpenSpires bid focused on supporting strategic institutional learning and encouraging cultural change. The project began in 2009 as a HEFCE/JISC OER pilot project . Follow on projects have continued and expanded this work. Our current OER projects are: Triton, Ripple, Listening for Impact and OER Impact Study. The outcomes will promote the sharing of effective practice that may inform and influence policy in other research-intensive institutions in the UK HE sector and beyond.
Figure ../images/projects/ripplelogo.jpg [Ripple Logo]
To ensure that the lessons learned through phase 1 of the Open Educational Resources (OER) Programme help to inform the strategies developed at other UK HE institutions contemplating OER release, the team responsible for the successful delivery of OER from Oxford University (OpenSpires) will provide expert support and training to two partner institutions, Harper Adams University College and Oxford Brookes University. We will help these institutions to understand their own institutional implications, investigate local solutions for sustainable OER release, develop effective engagement and dissemination strategies, and aim to release some of their materials under a Creative Commons licence.
Figure ../images/projects/erewhon.png [Erewhon Logo]
The aim of the Erewhon project is to use intelligent geolocation services and improved mobile access to provide a dramatic increase in the range and types of access to information in the University of Oxford for students, researchers, administrative staff and teachers. The core deliverables will be (a) guidance for universities on effective use of mobile devices (b)technical specifications for using geolocation for university resources (c)a report on dynamic location-dependent information delivery services (d)an evaluation report on effectiveness of innovative services (e)high-quality tailoring of Sakai VLE for mobile devices
Figure ../images/projects/steeple.png [Steeple Logo]
Educational video and audio is undergoing a step change, posing new requirements on institutional workflows that have high overlap between institutions. Particularly the availability of affordable recording techniques as well as new distribution channels has changed the way in which audio and video visual material is used in UK higher educational. This institutional project will look at the processes supporting effective use of audio and video ("podcasts") using emergent technologies that can streamline complex audio-visual encoding activities through enterprise level services. This centralised institutional work will relieve the burden placed on departmental support structures and lead to long term savings from the reduced time and effort in creating audio visual materials for teaching, research and outreach. The project outputs will support the JISC community by providing a clearly documented example of processes necessary to implement an enterprise level podcasting encoding solution that will have been tested for robustness and interoperability within each of the three different collaborating universities.
The Thema project is investigating the experiences of students on Master's level programmes at Oxford University with a strong emphasis on their use of digital technologies to support their academic and social lives. Outcomes will be used both to inform teaching at this level and to make recommendations regarding the provision of technologies and services to all students within the University.
1.1.35. Enriching the First World War Poetry Archive
This project sets out to enhance existing digital resources in the First World War Poetry Digital Archive by making them more useful to practitioners and tying them in directly to curricula. Using various tools the project will demonstrate curated paths through the collection, and solicit material created directly by practitioners. A range of Web 2.0 tools will be used including MIT's time lines, VUE, Flickr, Google Groups, and the project's own Path Creation Tool. A small part of the budget is also there to fund the digitisation of the manuscripts of Siegfried Sassoon, who could not be included in the original project.
1.1.36. Low-carbon ICT - benefits realisation
Figure ../images/projects/greenit.png [Green IT Logo]
This project aims to take the wake on LAN software developed during the original low-carbon ICT project to offer a national wake on LAN service hosted at Liverpool University. We hope such a shared service will benefit many other organisations so they can reduce their carbon emissions (and save money). If successful this project will be an example of a shared service.
The work involves changing the software developed by Kang Tang at the OeRC to use the authentication/authorisation system offered by the UK Federation (which uses the Shibboleth software) rather than the WebAuth software we use at Oxford.
1.1.37. First World War Poetry Digital Archive
The First World War Poetry Digital Archive is an online repository of over 4000 items of text, images, audio, and video for teaching, learning, and research. The heart of the archive consists of collections of highly valued primary material from major poets of the period, including Wilfred Owen, Isaac Rosenberg, Robert Graves, Vera Brittain, and Edward Thomas. This is supplemented by a comprehensive range of multimedia artifacts from the Imperial War Museum, a separate archive of over 6,500 items contributed by the general public, and a set of specially developed educational resources. Freely available to the public as well as the educational community, the First World War Poetry Digital Archive is a significant resource for studying the First World War and the literature it inspired.
The Isthmus project aims to provide a link between the technological landscape inhabited by many students and the technologies offered by tertiary educational institutions. By researching the uptake of user-owned technologies among selected students Isthmus will establish the requirements for a "demonstration" integration of tools and systems between institutional and student-owned technologies. It will then pilot this solution for a year and conduct a user evaluation.
1.1.39. Bridging the Interoperability Divide
The Bridging the Interoperability Divide (BID) project used the principles underpinning the JISC e-framework to build interoperability between three repository systems: SRB, Fedora and SAKAI. The implementation helped join e-science, academic publishing and learning/teaching practice communities by creating a joined-up set of repository services. The project focused on demonstrating interoperability across the federation for the following services: harvesting (OAI), federated search (SRW), authentication (WebAuth), metadata management (MODS/ METS), identifiers, and discovery (OpenURL). The project created create a client for authenticated bulk upload (ingest service) into an institutional repository.
1.1.40. River project
This project was run in response to an ITT which asked for an investigation into the state-of-the-art in terms of managing unique identifiers for bibiographic resources. Howard Noble and Mike Fraser worked in a consultancy capacity to help deliver the final report.
1.1.41. Tools integration project
The project developed a single sign-on environment between the Bodington open source VLE, the Learning Activity Management System (LAMS) and the Assessment software developed by the JISC TOIA project. The aim was to allow users to work with the three software systems without needing to sign in and is an important first step towards working with disparate software systems as an integrated solution. The project also developed web services that allow the three software systems to provide and consume each other’s services. One of the desired use cases was to enable LAMS authors to be able to easily embed assessments within activity sequences.
1.1.42. Middleware for distributed cognition
The project developed search interfaces that insulate the user from the complexities of querying digital repositories using interoperable standards. We further developed the open source JAFER software to provide a simple mechanism of integrating search and discover functionality into applications residing in the JISC e-learning framework User Agent layer, namely Learning Design, VLEs, Portals and Resource List Management software.
1.1.43. Low-carbon ICT
The low-carbon ICT project developed tools and techniques to support the University in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The project focused on promoting awareness of the complex issues associated with green computing, and worked with teams from across the University to develop and roll out network energy monitoring and wake on LAN facilities. The project hosted two conferences at the Said Business School attracting delegates from both academic and business communities.
The project is designing, developing and evaluating a prototype online planner tool to enable teaching staff in all sectors of post-compulsory education to develop their confidence and skills in designing technology-mediated learning experiences. We have based our methodology on the informant design framework proposed by Scaife et al. (1997), which involves the contribution of various representatives of the e-learning community at the specific stages of the project where their contribution would be of the most value. Phase 1 – developing a “proof-of-concept” tool - was completed in February 2007, and work is now going ahead on a more full-featured prototype for testing in teacher-training and staff development contexts in Autumn 2007.
Computer modelling is playing an increasingly important role in academic fields as varied as zoology, sociology, physics, epidemiology, and economics. While many researchers have acquired the necessary programming skills to build simulations, many students find programming too scary or difficult. Acquiring sufficient programming skill is a major investment that students are reluctant to make since it could entail a long period before they are able to build models in their domain of interest. The Constructing2Learn project is attempting to remedy this situation by building specialised simulation construction kits and integrating them into learning designs.
The project’s overall aim is to provide a means of creating personal profiles, discovering other user’s personal spaces, linking to other personal spaces and resources within the VLE. To provide these features, we intend to integrate FOAF (Friend of a Friend) capabilities within the VLE. FOAF is a way of sharing information about people and their activities. We will provide an interface for users to create FOAF based profiles, and a navigation tool which makes use of the profiles to browse networks of related users, subject areas, research interests, etc.
The Accessing and Storing Knowledge project team created an open source repository system for use by students, teachers, researchers, and librarians. The system supports the storing, organisation and sharing of digital resources, such as text files, images, audio, and video. The project demonstrated how ideas from the JISC e-framework could be implemented.
Tracking the actions of learners through e-learning tools is important in many situations. If a system is not recording the actions of the users then it is not possible to tell what activities are being undertaken or which resources are being used. Providing services to learners through a set of distinct applications and tools is already happening. It is now the case that as well as using a VLE, tools such as external discussion forums, assessment engines, blogs and wikis can become part of a loose collection of tools used to deliver a course. Although this allows institutions to pick the applications that best suits their needs, often these applications either each maintain their own store of information about the progress of users through the system, or do not store this information at all. This makes tracking the overall progress of students at any point in time difficult as the information is distributed though separate systems. What is needed is a toolkit that allows the easy addition of tracking to existing tools which can then be collated and reported upon via a central service. The technology developed here will be usable by other systems that intend to integrate service-based tools in a similar fashion to that described above.
The project used re-usable learning designs in innovative e-learning tools to support the acquisition of study skills by 16-19 year-old students.
1.1.50. Learning Design tools
This project provided research-based information on the use of computer-based tools for learning design among practitioners in post-compulsory education; specifically, by investigating the range of tools used and the purpose of using each one in order to make recommendations regarding the design and deployment of effective tools to support design for learning.
The CLIC study reviewed the growth of community owned digital image collections, surveyed the socio-cultural, institutional and technical barriers owners face in image collection building, and made recommendations on how national initiatives could help in sharing and embedding the collections within the wider national FE and HE sectors.
This project will look at what a Personal Development Planning (PDP) Web Service would look like. A prototype WS interface will be developed for use within VLEs. To help others use this service an open-source java based software development kit (SDK) will be written which will allow anybody with a PDP system to add a web service front end.
1.1.53. Reusing learning materials in English literature and language
This project elicited the key issues associated with the sharing and reuse of e-learning resources among lecturers in English departments, and explored the acceptability within those departments of the Learning Activity Management System (LAMS).
1.1.54. Digital Libraries in the Classroom Tools Evaluation
An evaluation of the tools produced by four projects funded under JISC's Digital Libraries in the Classroom Programme. The evaluation specifically looked at how the tools produced were integrating recent technical developments with digital content to improve the learning experience of students and provide new models for the classroom.
1.1.55. Evaluation of LAMS
This project evaluated the acceptability of LAMS among practitioners as a tool for designing and delivering sequences of e-learning activities in the FE, HE and Adult and Community Learning sectors.
Shibboleth5 is an increasingly adopted technology for enabling an authorization scheme across multiple Universities and Internet publishers, based on SAML defined attribute requests and attribute responses. This technology can be adapted to web resources that need to be restricted according to attributes such as those commonly found in an Institution's student record system. There is a partial mapping between the existing capabilities of the technology and the requirement for intra- and inter-institutional attribute management in the context of widely-deployed virtual learning environments.
RAMBLE investigates the use of use of mobile blogs and their integration into Learning Environments, specifically mobile blogging for students who do not have immediate access to an Internet connection and the development of a tool enabling blog content to be presented in the wider educational context of a VLE.
SPWS extends the Personal Development Planning (PDP) web service developed by the WS4RL 8 project and, creating a portable skills framework, adds a sophisticated skills reflection, profiling and guidance service. The service integrates into the Bodington VLE and tools developed to help teachers deploy and manage the service.
1.2. Project films
1.3.1. Project blogging
World War One: Continuations and Beginnings