Speaking of usability sessions, my colleague from the C-SAP collections project has recently published two very relevant posts on the session we had as part of an expert workshop looking into research methods teaching in social sciences and online resources, the two posts are: http://csapopencollections.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/in-google-we-trust/ and http://csapopencollections.wordpress.com/2011/03/03/notes-from-the-c-sap-expert-workshop-the-value-of-small-numbers/
Subject Centre for Sociology, Anthropology and Politics
From: Open Educational Resources [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Fred Riley
Sent: 10 March 2011 13:21
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Usage of OER and Usability sessions
Thanks, Peter, that's a *very* interesting and instructive post. Yes, usability is the key to OER usage by students and teachers, though it'll be quite a tech challenge to implement a simple interface to the mass of OER out there.
The point about contributor profiles is well taken, and it's certainly something I'll bear in mind in the OER 'aggregator' (I don't know what to call it yet) I'm designing. I suppose it's an obvious point, in that users need guidance and quality assurance to sift the diamonds out of the web dungheap. I notice that the long-running and highly-reputable MERLOT 'repository' (www.merlot.org) is adopting scholarly peer-reviews for resources. As a contentious aside, it's a shame (and IMO an act of vandalism) that Intute, which provided such an important quality review service for web resources, has been killed by JISC.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Open Educational Resources [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> On Behalf Of Peter Robinson
> Sent: 09 March 2011 15:57
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Usage of OER and Usability sessions
> Dear All,
> During the talk yesterday I mentioned some insight we'd gained from a
> usability session with a group of students looking at our Politics OER
> A report will go up on the web but because of the general interest
> yesterday we've placed a blog post up with some thoughts on how the
> student feedback might help us in the Triton project. There is some
> good general advice on presenting Open Resources and also some
> interesting ideas on how people might search.
> Blog post:
> Some clear messages from our student focus group included:
> * The students preferred a simpler design with less cluttered menus.
> * The key factors influencing their use of the site were frequency of
> posts, global coverage, and quality of materials.
> * Contributor profiles are essential as they help the user assess the
> value of their content. They were very interested in anything that is
> connected with academics they've heard of.
> * Students love audio and video lectures but need them to be
> presented in a very obvious way.
> * They were less interested in widgets/ categories so we need to
> adopt simpler approaches for presenting OER. Filtering was important;
> fewer, high quality results are better than lots of noise.
> * Articles and posts require more links to introductory materials and
> to other materials by the contributor.
> * Students seem quite sussed on finding and rating quality material
> but don't know about alerts and feeds.
> I'm struck by two things
> * Would academic staff have said anything different in their feedback
> session ??? ( ...We'll find out later in the project)
> * As a community should we organise some more usability work on
> searching and storing subject sets from the corpus of UKOER material?
> Peter Robinson
> Manager LTG Services & Oxford on iTunesU Learning Technologies Group,
> Oxford University Computing Services,
> 13 Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 6NN. Tel: 01865 283282
> [log in to unmask]
> Free lectures from Oxford University - http://itunes.ox.ac.uk
> OpenSpires project - http://openspires.oucs.ox.ac.uk Triton Politics
> project - http://openspires.oucs.ox.ac.uk/triton
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