University of Vigo (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2018 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 1254-1260
ISBN: 978-84-697-9480-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2018.0190
Conference name: 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2018
Location: Valencia, Spain
Open educational resources (OER) refer to any kind of learning and research materials that reside in the public domain or have been released under a broad open license. The Paris OER Declaration, released on the UNESCO World OER Congress in 2012, provided a set of recommendations to foster the sustainable development of quality learning resources through the adoption of appropriate standards to encourage open licensing of educational materials produced with public funds.

Since January 2017 the authors are involved in a Horizon 2020 project, Up to University, aimed at developing an innovative ecosystem to facilitate open design and use of digital content adapted for high school students preparing for University. Following the guidelines and recommendations from various organizations (UNESCO and the EU among others), we need to adopt clear licensing as well as sound copyright policies. Furthermore, rights including permissions, access control and (when needed) anonymity must be carefully designed and thoroughly upheld. Besides meeting compliance with guidelines, resolutions and recommendations from international agencies, adopting effective curation policies becomes paramount to ensuring the sustainability of the project.

Curation at source, involving the faculty in charge of generating OERs through an LMS platform, is arguably the best curation policy for an institution. At the same time, curation is made easier if all the learning objects are stored in a centralized repository. Hence, content creators are usually asked to carry out an additional task: cataloguing and uploading OERs into a centralized repository, thus facilitating their proper identification, access and reuse by third parties. That requires an additional effort from faculty with no obvious added value. This is, we believe, the reason behind the lack of success of a great deal of institutional repositories, since only a few faculty will take the necessary extra step, no matter the willingness to share. Being the repository in a position to integrate all the learning objects is therefore a necessary but not a sufficient condition for the solution to the curation at source problem. Within Up2U we understand that a new architecture for the OER service, in which the central repository can effectively become the curation hub, is the best path to success

In this paper, we present a novel approach to OER curation, in which the repository plays a key role as the integrator of the other components the e-learning service: Open Content Creation, Learning Management System(s), and Data Analytics. For the central repository to become a curation hub, we propose to link it with the applications by means of suitable plugins to streamline curation at source. Within an architecture in which this application-linked repository takes a central place, content creators will not be asked to perform additional duties; they will just continue uploading learning objects to their courses through the institutional LMS, while the materials will first be stored and catalogued in a repository, external but linked to the LMS, and then seamlessly added to the e-learning platform.

Once this application-linked repository takes its place as the central unit of the learning resources management, curation policies and procedures become embedded in the operational workflow of the OER based e-learning service in a seamless way. We believe that our approach will be useful for any other OER initiative.
Curation, application-linked repository, OER, open educational resources, open access.