Fragment: Reversionable Open Educational Resources

I seem to be running out of hours in the day, and the blog is suffering as a result (I need to reprioritise…). So this is just another fragment…

One of the attractions for me of creating OERs that incorporate computational objects is that you can often express them in different ways. A musical score as a computational object can be displayed graphically, or converted to an audio file. A chart object can be rendered as an interactive HTML chart, or embedded as a publication quality flat image in a PDF file. Your report can be published as HTML on the web, distributed as a PDF document, or converted to Word for the folk who like that sort of thing.

That is, the object can be reversioned…. (I’m not sure that’s the right word? Reformatted? Exported?)

Here’s another example: assessment material. Via R-Bloggers, I come across R-exams, an R package for creating assessment activities as computational objects, of which it is claimed you can create:

PDFs for classical written exams (with automatic evaluation), import formats for learning management systems (like Moodle, Blackboard, OLAT, or Ilias), live voting (via ARSnova), and the possibility to create custom output (in PDF, HTML, Docx, …).

Exercise types include multiple-choice or single-choice questions, numeric or text answers, or combinations of these. Formatting can be done either in Markdown or LaTeX with the possibility to generate dynamic content using R, e.g., random numbers, graphics, data sets, or shuffled text blocks.

There’s a recent tutorial here which I think I should probably have a quick play with, if I can find an hour just so I get a proper feel for it, and an earlier review presentation here.

Time was when I would have played with this package before the blog post, then included some of my own tinkerings in the post. Not doing that in a blog post, and just passing off the PR blurb, feels wrong to me…  The blog is recording what I’ve learned through doing / using, not just read about… Maybe I need to go down to 3 days a week, not 4, to get blogging time back, though I’m not sure I can afford that, given the blog is a purely selfish pleasure, albeit one that acts as my “professional” life log.

PS here’s something else sort of related: a pitch from BBC R&D for Object-Based Media (originally via @charlesarthur):

Object-based media allows the content of programmes to change according to the requirements of each individual audience member.

The ‘objects’ refer to the different assets that are used to make a piece of content. These could be large objects: the audio and video used for a scene in a drama – or small objects, like an individual frame of video, a caption, or a signer.

By breaking down a piece of media into separate objects, attaching meaning to them, and describing how they can be rearranged, a programme can change to reflect the context of an individual viewer.

The “object based media” project has been around for some time, with demos going back several years. But one thing I did spot that was new to me (I try to follow BBC R&D…) was this BBC Taster site (“Taster is where you can Try, Rate and Share new ideas from the BBC and its partners”) and this BBC Pilots listing.

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

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