Describing OERs in the static collection

For the static collection part of the Delores project we will be creating WordPress posts that describe and preview OERs that have been selected from various well-known sources as being particularly useful for engineering design. This is a first cut at a specification for how we will write those descriptions.

About the Resources
The resources being described for Delores are likely to be fairly substantial pieces of content, i.e. between a lecture and a course worth of material rather than individual images. We believe that lecture-sized resources are probably going to be more reusable (especially by teachers), but describing resources at the course level has the advantage of covering more material for the time spent doing the resource description. One aim is clear: all the material covered should be directly relevant to engineering design, so while it makes sense to link to and describe an engineering design course at course level, it does not make sense to link to a general engineering course which has a few resources relevant to design.

The resource descriptions we need can be thought of as being in two parts: a blog post about the resource and some associated metadata about the resource. These are both entered through the WordPress admin interface

Resource Description
Title: the title of the WordPress post shall be the title of the resource, in sentence case. Taken from the resource.

Description: the body of the WordPress post shall be a description of the resource, which we expect to be 3 or 4 paragraphs long. This should refer to the origin of the resource (e.g. MIT open courseware, OU Open Learn), the date and the details of what is in the resources in terms of resource types, subjects covered, academic level (e.g. first-year, introductory, masters-level &c).

If the resource comprises a number of parts that may be of significant use in themselves then link to those parts when describing them (this includes parts of a course, e.g. problem sheets, lessons, and different formats of a resource). Conversely, where a resource is part of a course, book or similar collection it may be worth linking up to the larger aggregation as well as to the atomic elements.

Include a preview of the resource or embed the resource into the blog post. A preview can be a screenshot of the home page for the resource. Previews such as screenshots should link to the resource. Where a resource is hosted on a site such as YouTube, Scribd, SlideShare that faciliates embedding into webpages by providing copy and paste code then make use of this.

Since these are open resources it’s OK to copy large chunks of the description and images from the resource’s web page, but if you do this please put an acknowledgement in square brackets [] at the end of the post.

Subject: Use the WordPress category functionality to specify the topic of the resource. A hierarchical list of Engineering design topics has been adopted for use in the Delores project.

Other properties: [In development, could become another category tree] Use WordPress tags the resource with an indication of the type of resource / level of granularity, e.g. Courseware (= set of resources associated with a course), Online book, lecture recoding, video, audio, powerpoint slides, simulation.

Custom fields
We have used WordPress’s “custom field” functionality to add the following metadata as name/value pairs.

Identifier, URI: The url of the resource being described. Link directly to the resource not to a description of it in some catalogue. If the resource is found in multiple places, where possible link to the copy on the site of whoever released it/published it.

Author:Author name(s) as on the resource, seperated with semicolons. We’re not formatting these.

Licence: URI of the licence under which the resource is released. Will normally be a creative commons licence. Normally the URI will be a link on the resource.

Date: Date of last significant update of the resource. Use format [yyyy[-mm[-dd]]] e.g. 2011 or 2011-01 or 2011-01-29. Be as specific as you can. Watch out for instances where the release date as an OER or the last updated date for the web page differs significantly from the date of the resource.

Rights: human readable statement of copyright owner and any other significant rights, including the licence under which it is released.

Source: the URL for the home page of the collection or initiative through which the resource is released, e.g. http://ocw.mit.edu/ for MIT OCW.

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