Some quick jottings from today’s road-test for the next things we need to be doing on the technical front:
iLIKE widget in Student Portal
Encrypt user identity from iLIKE to ENGrich [completed 21 Jan 2013]
Pass through student degree programme (course), degree type and current year of study, from iLIKE to ENGrich if at all possible [completed 21 Jan 2013]
- Add ‘My resources’ tab to iLIKE so users can quickly view their own contributions
ENGrich Search/Results Page
This is primary engine of the ENGrich site, using Google Custom Search and overlaying data from LR
Add Image searching functionality [added 7 Dec 2012]
Consider adding text documents, if there is sufficient demand [added 7 Dec 2012]
Check CSS for Internet Explorer 8 [19 Feb 2013]
ENGrich Resource Detail Page
This provides metadata and paradata on an individual resource. Also allows verified users to submit paradata in the form of comments, module alignment and recommendations, likes/dislikes, etc.
We need to make a final decision as to how individual students (or other users) will be uniquely identifiable in our Learning Registry node. At present, we record students’ full name (given and family name), their degree programme and year of study. In the short term, this is likely to provide ‘unique’ enough, but perhaps we should consider either using the students’ University ID number or perhaps create a unique URL for each student and let that act as the unique identifier. [21 Jan 2013]
UPDATE 21 Jan 2013: A separate blog on this subject has since been posted.
Add free text comment field. [added 20 Dec 2012]
Add ↑ and ↓ (or ‘Agree’, ‘Disagree’) UI controls after each paradata statement to allow users to endorse others’ recommendations, ‘alignments’, comments, etc. [added 20 Dec 2012]
- Add ‘privacy’ statement explaining that data submitted to Learning Registry may become publicly available.
Add check to avoid duplicate (<user>, <URI>, <module>, <action>) records being sent into Learning Registry [25 Jan 2013].
- Think about displaying aggregated data, e.g. John Smith and 21 other students recommended URI @ X for Module MATS213.
ENGrich Browse by User/Module Gallery
This is the page where you can browse resources already in the Learning Registry by module or by user (i.e. the person who submitted data). Other browse categories might be added in future.
Add a thumbnail gallery page to allow users to view their own resources [added 6 Dec 2102]
The same page could also be used to display resources by module [added 6 Dec 2102]
Add relevant links from the detail page paradata statements [added 7 Dec 2102]
- Add relevant links from iLIKE
Formatting of resource URLs in Learning Registry
Some of the URLs that we have already published into the MIMAS node contain ‘+’ signs as replacements to ‘ ‘ spaces. [resolved 23 Jan 21013]
LR fails when we try to retrieve these URLs. [resolved 23 Jan 21013]
Before publishing the same documents into the Liverpool node, we need to replace the ‘+’ with spaces. [resolved 23 Jan 21013]
Thanks to all the students who came along to road-test the first alpha test version of the ENGrich visual media search engine. We’ve got lots of notes and video to go through and analyse, but we were pleased to see how well it appeared to go down.
Prototype iLIKE widget in Student Portal
ENGrich search results
ENGrich resource details page
Thanks also to Simon Hatton and Paul Hagan in Computing Services for the work they’ve put in this week and to Phil Barker from CETIS for coming down from Edinburgh.
Following on from earlier work on the iLIKE widget that allows students to view relevant resources by module, we have met again with Simon from Computing Services to outline the functionality of a general search box. We hope to have this ready to try out by the end of this week.
This week we’re working on the functionality and UI of the resource detail page. As well as reading out and displaying relevant data from Learning Registry, we are also adding UI controls to allow Liverpool Engineering students to add their own paradata about the resource. The first set of trials with students will take place on Friday 30 November.
Check out the Learning Registry Community map and you will see that there are just three Learning Registry nodes outside the US, and one of them is at the University of Liverpool (another one at MIMAS, University of Manchester). The node was set-up within the framework of the ENGrich project, and we hope that in due course, other centres and services across the University will find innovative uses for the Learning Registry.
The newest issue of the Educational Technology Magazine (Nov/Dec 2012) presents an article Towards Networked Knowledge: The Learning Registry, an Infrastructure for Sharing Online Learning Resources, which highlights the potential of the Learning Registry in a UK Higher Education context. The ENGrich project case study is show-cased there alongside with two other OER Rapid Innovation projects – RIDLR and SPAWS.
A big leap forward today as for the first time we have linked two important parts of our ‘jigsaw’ together; namely overlaying Learning Registry data upon Google Custom Search results. So far, we have implemented it for Flash movies and presentations.
When a user enters a query to Google, the results are displayed as a thumbnail gallery. We then cross-check these URLs against a Learning Registry node to determine whether it contains any associated data. If so, then we display a tiny Learning Registry icon to flag the resource. At the moment, we have not used the LR data to re-order the search results, though this is planned for the future.
We took part last week in “The Sustainability Workshop” held in Bristol, on Friday 9 November, which was a joint event for Content Programme 2011-13 and Digging into Data programme.
The workshop was led by Rebecca Griffiths and Nancy Maron from Ithaka S+R, tuckling together the questions of defining sustainability and impact, typical funding models, knowing your audience and prioritising your choices in sustaining products and services.
The exercises icluded Framework for Post-Grant Sustainability Planning for Digital Resources and Audience Segmentation Tool from Ithaka S+R Sustainability Toolkit.
Most relevant for our project ways to financially sustain out project into post-grant period are:
cascading the project into different services within the host institution;
corporate sponsorship (from the allies engineering industry companies);
providing extra services for a charge (APIs, customised packages of resources etc);
A productive day working on embedding different media in a resource detail page. It will now successfully embed:
- Powerpoint (via Google Docs viewer)
- PDFs (via Google Docs viewer)
We’re particularly pleased with how well – and quickly – the Powerpoints are displaying, given that GoogleDocs viewer is generating these on-the-fly
- user can make a quicker judgment as to the value of a resource without leaving our site
- some metadata is automatically returned via the API calls
Images and Flash movies are also directly ‘embedded’ – the latter will automatically start playing.
We are well past the mid-point of our project – and are now in a good position to estimate the “value” and “impact” of the project. The project is not finished yet, although a prototype iLIKE ‘widget’ (a portable version of ENGrich visual search) is published – to be incorporated into the student portal at the University of Liverpool (UoL) for access by all engineering students at the university.
The ENGrich project is developing a customised search engine for visual media relevant to engineering education. It is unique in its usage of the Learning Registry (LR) as a web-based storage and a resources retrieval service, and in the fact that it relies on engineering students’ experiences as learners. Both these aspects make the project a truly communal one: the LR is by design a public data store, where resource description and (contextualised) usage on various learning resources are stored in a way that can be flexibly distributed across an open data network and aggregated for re-use by others. Building a community of users and contributors – initially the engineering community at the University of Liverpool – was always one of the sustainable outcomes of the project.
Institutional “buy-in” was instrumental to the project success – we have had the University’s Computing Services Department and the Library on board from the outset. Together we have decided to set up an institutional LR node at the university, which has the potential of significantly changing the way the institution goes about digital resources discovery and sharing practices. With the development of the project, stakeholders at the University of Liverpool (including departments other than Engineering) became interested in expanding the ENGrich service from its initial Engineering focus to include other disciplines. Scaling and cascading the service from its test base at Liverpool to other institutions within the UK and beyond will be possible.
Some examples of how the project affected the institution and student community so far you can read in our case study prepared within the framework of the JLeRN experiment at Mimas.