:sync: Designing an OER Platform to Support Continuous Learning and All Educational Sectors

Author: Anna Lindfors
Institution: CSC - IT Center for Science
Country: Finland

Topic: Technologies for Open Education
Sector: Lifelong Learning
UNESCO Area of Focus: Building capacity
Session Format: Lightning Talk


In this talk I will present how the Finnish Library of Open Educational Resources approaches designing a service for all educational sectors and continuous learning. The Library of Open Educational Resources (aoe.fi) is a new service by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture for publishing and finding OER in Finland. The service, coordinated by CSC, was designed to function as a joint platform for all educational sectors to support joint teaching and learning between different organizations (in between educational sectors and within an educational sector) and enable learners and teachers to find resources that match their learning or teaching needs regardless of their current affiliation. The service started development in late 2018 and teachers, learners and experts based in Finland have been able to publish their OER starting this year. The OER are all CC-licensed and free to use from all over the world without the need to log in. During this talk I will highlight our designing principles of interoperability, openness and strong cooperation with stakeholders and tell how they shaped the service to be what it currently is. I will give concrete examples on how we as a platform try to facilitate cooperation between the educational sectors. These examples include our social tagging system and the decisions we have made in building our search system as well as the first choices a user makes. Taking the social tagging as an example: during our development process we found that after finding a resources the user still needs to understand how to use it (this was a shared struggle in all the educational sectors). To battle this we made changes to how we utilize our metadata model (a profile of the Learning Resources Metadata Initiative) and what choices we give to users to curate the resources in the service. We added new keywords with which to describe the use and purpose of the resource (it’s educational use and the educational role it targets) and gave the users the ability to add new metadata to other users learning resources. This enables the resource to find audiences the maker did not see it having, for example an introductory material in higher education statistics can be used in secondary education advanced studies. We also added the possibility for users to tell how they utilized the material, enabling them to inspire other users in finding new ways to utilize the different materials. During the presentation I will deepen these highlights. I will conclude in the presentation that learners and teachers from different educational sectors have similar needs in regards to finding and using OER. It will also be demonstrated that to meet these needs, some comprises need to be made. I will also conclude that for a platform to successfully increase the use of OER both having enough quality OER and functioning tools and api’s for using the OER outside the platform are essential.


OER, open educational resources, continuous learning, higher education, secondary education, primary education, k-12, lifelong learning, Learning Resources Metadata Initiative (LRMI), service design, interoperability, metadata

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Welcome to my lightning talk! I will add the slides later, but to get a first glimpse on the topic, you can head to https://aoe.fi to see what our service looks like. This is the first operating year of Library of Open Educational Resources (aoe.fi), but we already have many learning resources from different teachers, students and other makers of open educational resources. You can use the service in English and narrow the search results to the languages you speak (we currently only have learning resources in Finnish, Swedish, English and Russian). Hopefully you find learning resources that are of interest to you!

If you have any questions - please ask them here or during the presentation. I’d be very delighted to answer any questions and to discuss this interesting topic.

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You can find the slides for my presentation here: https://wiki.eduuni.fi/x/D8yKCg I Hope to see you next Wednesday during the presentation! Please if you have any questions, do not hesitate to leave them here.

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Hi Anna, I am very curious about your use of social tagging. Do you use user-generated tags to inform formal metadata fields later?

Due to time difference, I might not be able to attend your session, but I will go over the slides and see if some of my curious questions were answered :slight_smile:

This seems like an excellent user-driven way to approach metadata!

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Thank you for the question Ksenia_C! Yes we do. We actually in some sense have two approaches to user-generated metadata. Firstly, our metadata is created by people that share their OER in our service and those people are mostly not experts in metadata, so in a sense all of our metadata is user-generated. For these creators we have a guided path to adding the needed metadata with vocabularies from ePerusteet and other educational and multipurpose vocabularyservices.

In addition to this we are currently impelmenting a way for other users to add metadata to OER they find in the service. The idea is that sometimes the OER is suitable to an educational level or educational subject the creator did not understand that it might be suited for. Other users can then step in and tip the creator and other users that the resource is suitable also to other levels or subjects. We also encourage users to complement the original metadata in other ways, so that other relevant information about the resource can be shared (we hope that this will for example increase the amount of information on accessibility). Metadata generated by other users is seperated from the metadata generated by the original creator. Here you can find a picture on how user-generated metadata looks like / will look like in a weeks time. I cropped the image straight to the user-generated metadata, but to understand how it is positioned, the user-generated metadata and the reviews come after the OER files and creator-generated metadata.

I will gladly tell more of this, so if you have any more questions, do not hesitate to ask! :slight_smile:

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Thank you so much for the information Anna, I will reach out if I have more questions :slight_smile:

Recording of the session: