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Information underload, identity, the myth of information overload

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Really interesting talk, I like the idea of information underload, creating and finding tacit content and relational identity. We've been exploring this on process.arts.

Finding tacit content: In support of pursuing the search and find solutions here's some feedback from a recent small survey we did at UAL: (all below feedback is from one survey of 15 students across campus)  

Question: Which digital skill sets are important to you?  

  • Knowing where to search. Because there can be all this stuff out there but if you don’t know where to look… there should be resources to teach others how to narrow things down.  
  • Knowing where to look and how.
  • We should be told more about resources available, more advertising done for them.  
  • Knowing how to search for information.  
  • There should be a search engine in Blackboard to make it easier to find things.  
  • Searching online for the right thing.

One of the key challenges for open practice and research for teachers and students is finding or being directed to the useful open content. Google searches will produce some relevant resources but there are more risks in terms of the quality of the content and the re-usability of the resource. Finding resources for use in art and design teaching is difficult, and even advanced searches in google take time and may return little or no usable open content. The same search in centralised OER repositories would provide high quantity of appropriate results but within a very narrow ‘local’ field of view. There is a strong argument for a ‘national’ centralised subject specific OER repository; however in the current financial climate the long term sustainably of such a resource is questionable. A centralised service could also be seen as insufficiently addressing the needs of particular universities and subjects.  Many courses within Universities wish to manage, develop and host their own bespoke OER environments as far as possible, in preference to going outside and submitting to national repositories.

The problem of OER reuse remains consistently on the agenda for the movement as a whole. For some subjects the proliferation of open content resources in specific subject areas has made finding useful and quality content for use and reuse easier, although has also presented new challenges regarding search and find and surfacing content in the right places. New OER tools and websites are not enough to develop and sustain progressive open educational practice at UAL, cultural change and ongoing open educational ‘stewardship’ maybe a fundamental requirement.

Art colleges like UAL may prefer to publish and manage their OER content in-house, process.arts is a working prototype example of this.  The ALTO UK project team have been in discussions with two other arts institutions and they are potentially interested in installing there own local drupal process.arts installation, stripped out and designed and branded to fit into the institution. If more locally managed OER websites begin to be established there could be a need for new tools and standards for creating an ‘all-in-one’ OER single subject specific search environments, which ‘plug’ into and cluster various stand alone subject specific OERs, websites and archives spread across many different locally managed platforms. A single search environment could enable users to search and find high quality OER content quickly and efficiently from a broad subject-related field. The OER content creators will be better able to surface their content locally and nationally within a focused federated environment with minimal effort. 

Creating tacit content:

On being social media reshapes professional identity" Invited speaker session by Anne-Marie Cunningham, Clinical Lecturer and Academic Lead for eLearning in the School of Medicine at Cardiff University, at Thriving in a colder and more challenging climate, the 2011 conference of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT). Session given in Leeds, UK, on Wednesday 7 September 2011 at 09.00. For information about ALT go to Made publicly available by ALT under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 2.0 UK: England and Wales license

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