About LearnEM

The LearnEM project aims to improve the "shareability" of resource that are useful for teaching engineering and materials topics. The project, which has been funded through the JISC Distributed eLearning Programme, is a collaboration between the Higher Education Academy Engineering Subject Centre and the UK Centre for Materials Education, with partners at Heriot-Watt and Cambridge Universities. We started work in January 2006 and the project will run for about 9 months.

Our Approach to Shareability

Expanding on the ideas of Charles Duncan that a shareable resource needs to be DERPable (Discoverable, Editable, Repurposable and Portable), we aim to enhance the shareability of a resource by:

What We Do

This is described formally in a UML workflow diagram. On discovering a suitable resource, which may be a result of following up on public funding initiatives or may be the result individuals contacting us, we carry out some research to determine its history and previous use. One key factor whether we can locate the owner of the resource and whether they are likely to agree to it being repurposed, repackaged and/or published more widely. Selection for further work is dependant on the availability of the resource and evidence of its quality; if a resource is not selected we keep a record of the reasons, which we hope will be useful if anyone else is trying to locate the resource. For selected resources we work to secure an IPR agreement and do the technical work necessary to create a modular content package: these to stages are in parallel in order to save time, though a a failure in one activity will lead to the other being aborted. Once an IPR agreement is in place and the package is available create the XML file that comprises description and organization of the resources. After quality assurance, which may result in the package being knocked back for further work, the resource is published in the repository.

How We Are Doing It

Technical Systems

We are using the Jorum repository, from which we will harvest metadata in order to provide a search interface that integrates with resource discovery facilities on the subject centres' web sites. The project is creating a metadata applicaiton profile that refines the UK LOM Core and a workflow that ensures information is captured and documented at appropriate stages. These will inform collection and cataloguing policies used by the project.

Population from Existing Collections

We have carried out desk research and some questionnaire surveying to locate the outputs of previous public funding initiatives (e.g. TLTP, FDTL, UMI), from these we have identified resources that may be repurposed and repackaged by the project, either in-house or as commissioned work.

One collection of particular importance is the DoItPoMS library of micrographs and the associated teaching and learning packages, which was developed by our partners at Cambridge University. This collection will be expanded and some parts will be repurposed as part of the project.

A summary of information on the status of the outputs of engineering-related projects funded under long-gone initiatives more details on some projects are available on request.

Population from the Community

Once we have developed procedures and guides for repurposing resources we will provide small amounts of funding for people who wish to make their own resources (or resources that they use for which we can get copyright clearance) available through our system. We hope that this sctivity will continue (with or without funding?) after the end of this project.

Maintained by Phil Barker

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Last modified: 18 May 2009.