Wednesday, August 22

Eureka Repository (Collective Catalog of T&L Resources)

Eureka Project:http://eureka.ntic.org/
Eureka (English Version): http://en.eureka.ntic.org/
Guided Tour:http://eureka.ntic.org/videos/guided_tour.mov

"The Eureka project is an initiative of Vitrine Technologie-Éducation within the framework of a Quebec-Wallonia-Brussels joint venture. Its' main objective is to promote the sharing and exchange of learning object resources. It provides a collective catalog of teaching and learning resources gathered by various organizations involved in the production of ITC educational resources. Eureka’s shell is based on open source code. The data can be federated with other repositories built on a LOM application profile."

If you are still wondering "what is a learning object?", here is their definition:

"A learning object is usually a digital resource which can be incorporated into a teaching and learning assignment. It can also be an electronic publication, an artical and an interactive exercise, animation or video or audio document. The main idea is that the resource is sufficiently modular that it can be reused in different contexts than for which it was created. A video for road safety could, for example be used in a physics course (acceleration, vectors) or psychology ) reflexes, alcohol and drug use) ...more"

According to Pierre-Julien Guay they are in the process of populating the repository (Currently there are 5278 resources), and are looking forward to share metadata descriptions with other repositories. It is an interesting project, which hopefully will encourage a lot of knowledge sharing and participation.

Overall, I believe (based on what I have seen and read) one needs to have a dedicated team to populate these repositories (at least for starters), because it would be wishful thinking to believe that people will come where the technology is. From what I have learned when it comes to learning object repositories, is that people (in general) will come where there is quality content (or where they can find value) and it is easy to locate the resources (simple and fast search). Another issue one should consider is whether to use a fixed taxonomy, or a folksonomy ( collaborative categorization using freely-chosen keywords called tags. E.g. del.icio.us), or a juicy combination.

Also, I am still dreaming of a learning object repository whereby we can upload (or link) learning objects without much hassle, and then the meta-data (or tags) are automatically (and intelligently) generated on-the-fly without requiring to enter an exhausting number of entry fields. If some of the fields were entered wrongly we can of course update them as we like, but most of the hassle would have been taken care of due to the system's intelligent tag extraction methodology.

Finally, people are often more interested in networking and discussing their knowledge, ideas and thoughts than simply finding content online (Human beings are themselves dynamic and engaging learning repositories, especially within their own expertise and interests), meaning that all these resources should be dynamically linked to discussion groups, experts, communities, ratings, peer-review, comments, wikis and even blogs. By doing so, connectivism can really take place :)

2 comments:

Pierre-Julien said...

In populating the Eureka repository, we helped resource producers to adapt their database so that they could output LOM compliant XML records that are harvested through the OAI-PMH protocol.

I agree with you that the rest of us can't just really populate records and we came to realize that a dedicated team will be necessary to complete the information. The critical point here is that the LOM Normetic application profile that we are using has 21 mandatory elements!

In the JTC1 SC36 community, we share the dream of sharing a world educational heritage. As such, at first sight, teacher's contributions are most welcome. However, since learning resource is a new paradigm, we fear that some teachers contribution won't fit with our editorial policy and that they will get disappointed and turn away from further contributing. To tell to truth, like many communities, we just can't reach an agreement about what a learning resource really is or should be!

Bringing up connectivism about educational heritage is quite challenging. LOM Relation category has been designed with that view. Sadly, very few repositories have implemented that feature up to now.

Zaid Ali Alsagoff said...

Dear Pierre-Julien Guay,

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and reflections about this project (Whoever reads this comment will find valuable lessons to be learned!).

I am looking forward to follow the progress of the Eureka repository project in the coming months (and years).

In general, I hope it gets populated with a lot of quality resources and that people find it easy to access and find relevant materials.

Kudos to you, your team and community :)

Cheers & Warm Regards,

Zaid