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Trying to find useful things to do with emerging technologies in open education

The Learning Journey Starts Here: Youtube.edu and OpenLearn Resource Linkage

Mulling over the OU’s OULearn pages on Youtube a week or two ago, colleague Bernie Clark pointed out to me how the links from the OU clip descriptions could be rather hit or miss:

Via @lauradee, I see that the OU has a new offering on YouTube.com/edu is far more supportive of links to related content, links that can represent the start of a learning journey through OU educational – and commentary – content on the OU website.

Here’s a way in to the first bit of OU content that seems to have appeared:

This links through to a playlist page with a couple of different sorts of opportunity for linking to resources collated at the “Course materials” or “Lecture materials” level:

(The language gives something away, I think, about the expectation of what sort of content is likely to be uploaded here…)

So here, for example, are links at the level of the course/playlist:

And here are links associated with each lecture, erm, clip:

In this first example, several types of content are being linked to, although from the link itself it’s not immediately obvious what sort of resource a link points to? For example, some of the links lead through to course units on OpenLearn/Learning Zone:

Others link through to “articles” posted on the OpenLearn “news” site (I’m not ever really sure how to refer to that site, or the content posts that appear on it?)

The placing of content links into the Assignments and Others tabs always seems a little arbitrary to me from this single example, but I suspect that when a few more lists have been posted some sort of feeling about what sorts of resources should go where (i.e. what folk might expect by “Assignment” or “Other” resource links). If there’s enough traffic generated through these links, a bit of A/B testing might even be in order relating to the positioning of links within tabs and the behaviour of students once they click through (assuming you can track which link they clicked through, of course…)?

The transcript link is unambiguous though! And, in this case at least), resolves to a PDF hosted somewhere on the OU podcasts/media filestore:

(I’m not sure if caption files are also available?)

Anyway – it’ll be interesting to hear back about whether this enriched linking experience drives more traffic to the OpenLearn resources, as well as whether the positioning of links in the different tab areas has any effect on engagement with materials following a click…

And as far as the linkage itself goes, I’m wondering: how are the links to OpenLearn course units and articles generated/identified, and are those links captured in one of the data.open.ac.uk stores? Or is the process that manages what resource links get associated with lists and list items on Youtube/edu one that doesn’t leave (or readily support the automated creation of) public data traces?

PS How much (if any( of the linked resource goodness is grabbable via the Youtube API, I wonder? If anyone finds out before me, please post details in the comments below:-)

Written by Tony Hirst

April 27, 2012 at 1:53 pm

2 Responses

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  1. hello. If you look in certain YouTube vid descriptions you will see that some carry a tag in the format of ou_. Mathieu’s YouTube to RDF script http://code.google.com/p/luceroproject/wiki/Youtube2RDF grabs this and it informs the representation on data.open.ac.uk e.g. http://data.open.ac.uk/page/youtube/E8AEFC479EBFA45B/PLVKov4ThQNq5vt1eTR-HnnCWo9iCx3OGa

    Stuart Brown

    April 27, 2012 at 2:03 pm

  2. Hello… I think YouTube may have taken inspiration from MIT in terms of the types of content categories. OU content is difficult to fit in categories that suit more traditional universities, so we’re a bit of a square peg in a round hole. We’re going to need to monitor the user expectation vs reality gap but we hope users will find the content useful, even if it’s not quite what they expect if they have seen ‘lectures’ and ‘course notes’ everywhere else. On the process, its low tech. We’re working in a spreadsheet so we have the basis of something we can share, but nothing more sophisticated than that at the moment. We need to engage the Faculties, so we are asking Open Media Fellows to check the selection of materials, which we’re collating via search and conversations. We could perhaps generate more relevant searches using OU datasets, which we have for some Open Media, but not all (work in progress). @barnstormed will be in touch with more on the detail…

    Laura Dewis (@lauradee)

    April 30, 2012 at 11:25 am

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