Friday, 7 August 2009

Semantic Technologies for Education at ALT-C

We are hoping to get folk to sign up for our workshop on semantic technologies for education which will be held at this year's ALT-C in Manchester in the UK. I'm just preparing the materials and about to send out a mailing, so this blog in a placeholder in the meantime. You may have read the original proposal for the workshop in a previous posting on this blog ALT-09 Semanitic Technologies for Education.

The workshop is numbered 0255 scheduled to take place on Tuesday 8th September at 13.40-15.00 in room 4.204.

Sheila MacNeill, Educational Content SIG Cooordinator (University of Strathclyde) Sheila MacNeill is the Educational Content (EC) SIG Cooordinator. Sheila joined CETIS in July 2004 and is currently seconded 3 days a week to CETIS, based at the University of Strathclyde. When not at CETIS, Sheila is a Learning Technologist with LT Scotland, where she is involved in the development of a range of online learning resources for schools and colleges. She is actively involved in the development of resources which utilise interoperability standards
Hugh Davis, University of Southampton, Director of eLearning and Head of the ECS, Learning Societies Lab.
Thanassis Tiropanis, University of Southampton, ECS Learning Societies Lab, Thanassis is the principal investigator for the JISC SemTech project.
Su White, University of Southampton, ECS Learning Societies Lab is a project team member with SemTech.

Working jointly with Sheila MacNeill from JISC CETIS, colleagues from The Learning Societies Lab at Southampton, plan to use the workshop to stimulate the debate on Semantic Technologies for Education. The ALT-C community represent a significant cohort of educational users who are likely to be working with students and using semantic technologies in the near future, so are a key target audience for disseminating the findings of our survey of semantic technologies for education which was conducted earlier in 2009.

If you want a sneak preview, the survey is online at Researchers reviewed thirty-six tools and services. Most of the tools identified were not purpose-built for education but are valuable to education by virtue of their use and deployment of well-formed metadata or data interoperability and integration.

The survey identified four essential types of application area:

(i) collaborative authoring and annotation
(ii) searching and matching
(iii) repositories, VLEs and authoring tools
(iv) infrastructural technologies for linked data and semantic enrichment.

The use and uptake of related tools and services by UK HE institutions was also investigated, you can find further information online at

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Seminar on iTunesU


The debate ranged from whether iTunesU was a tool for education as well as marketing, to issues about committing to a platform which can be seen to exclude some users. ITuneU isof  particular  interest for two  the ECS research groups (IAM and LSL).  ECS-TV was spawned in IAM (Intelligence Agents and Multimedia) and current projects include work to find effective ways of capturing and accessing video resources in our EdShare institutional learning and teaching repository.  EdShare is hosted in LSL (Learning Societies Lab) and we are working hard to extend and develop its functionality in a way that suits the working lives of academics and students at University.

Lawrence Stephenson from Apple's iTunesU came down to Southampton today to give us a seminar covering recent development from Apple, and the logistics and details of how - a man who is passionate about education :-) Lawrence is driving the iTunesU initiative in the UK

Lawrence gave us an overview of the Universities who have so far committed to appearing on iTunesU, to date there are 10 UK universities already on iTunesU, with more than a hundred institutions lined up to be online via the portal in the near future.

Discussions which arose from the presentation included
  • User generated content
  • Populating the site
  • Relationship between EdShare and any future initiative
  • The role of ECS-TV in as a role model
  • New modes of teaching and interactions 
Unfortunately, because of intellectual property constraints we were not able to record this seminar, so if you want to hear what Lawrence was saying you will have to invite him to a seminar of your own!

sign up process:
there are a series of steps/requirements to be met in order to have a presence on iTunesU these include:
  • High level of institutional commitment
  • Looking for 200 pieces of digital content
  • Process of populating the digital content (Ultimately the institution is responsible for its own content)
  • Formal agreement
  • Launch on a TUESDAY
NOTE: the quickest it has been done is three months

Notes and Links:

Apple's overview of iTunesU
Open University's evaluation of impact
Current UK presence include
University of Oxford, Open University, Warwick, UCL