PALATINE_FinalReport REVISED_September08rev_v2_PALA

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					                 JISC / Academy Subject Centres
                 Distributed e-Learning II Programme
                 Final Report
                 Guidance on Project Reports


DeL II Project Report

Please use the headings below to help you write your report (max 3 sides).

Name: Miriam Murtin

Subject Centre: PALATINE

Project name/acronym: PRISM


1. Project description
Please outline the aims and objectives of the project. Note any objectives that changed
during the project and why. Do you feel the project fulfilled the need originally
envisaged, or perhaps a new need?

Original aims and objectives

       To provide feedback to PALATINE, HEA Subject Network, JISC/Academy
        DeL Programme about the uptake of PRISM and how it is being used
    To enhance the student learning experience in performing and creative arts
        subject constituencies
   It is difficult to measure to what degree the student learning experience has been
   enhanced through PRISM.
    To provide examples of RLO uptake and embedding
    To identify how the PRISM website is best used in learning and teaching
   Those users who provided feedback felt that the site had not generated sufficient
   content in order to provide examples of how it was being used (rather than how it
   might be used). Feedback indicated that the website has real potential but the
   lack of submitted content has proved a stumbling block in getting more people to
   use PRISM as a resource for sharing.

   An unexpected outcome was that several people introduced to PRISM thought
   the site might be useful as a more general collaboration tool, and function as a
   VLE. To make this work would require further modifications but the basic
   structure of the site and the way it allowed users to collaborate was seen as
   something very positive.

    To find out about challenges in repurposing Reusable Learning Objects
   The challenges in repurposing RLOs included:
   - Copyright and sustainability (how best to clear copyright; how to select
      resources based on copyright clearance; how to maintain the site and
      introduce new content)
   - Difficulties in building a user community for the website
   - Contributors not feeling compelled to submit content (incentives needed)




                          DeL II Final Report Template 2008
       “The reality is that “average people” don’t create a lot of content — at least
       not the commercially viable kind. Most people are too busy. Those that do
       “create content” — and who do it well — are those who are predisposed to
       being content creators. The[y] have some relevant skills, training, raw talent,
       motivation, something.” (from Scott Karp, ‘The User-Generated Content
       Myth’, Publishing 2.0 – The (r)Evolution of Media, October 26th, 2007).

       “I saw [the call for contributions] and I thought: I really don’t have the time”
       (PRISM usability tester)”.


2. Project Outputs
Please list the main outputs of the project – if possible / appropriate please provide
access to deliverables (links to websites/reports /materials etc alternatively relevant
materials can also be included as appendices if necessary).

      Feedback from usability case studies (resulting in list of modifications to
       website www.prism.palatine.ac.uk).
      Paper by Miriam Murtin at Digital Resources for the Humanities and the Arts
       conference, September 2007: ‘Exploring PRISM: an e-Learning Resource for
       the Performing and the Creative Arts’.
      Hands on demonstration sessions by Jo Richler, PALATINE’s adviser for HE in
       FE.
      Evaluation report – work in progress.


3. Dissemination
Please identify dissemination opportunities taken or pending and those which will be
explored in the next 6 months.

Publication of the PRISM evaluation report


4. Project Outcomes
Summarise key project outcomes and impacts on your Centre and the subject
community (include examples of use - relevant supportive quotes etc.) Have there
been any unexpected outcomes, opportunities or synergies with other work? What are
the main lessons learned that you will pass on to your community.

Project outcomes

The uptake of the site has perhaps not been as high as we had hoped. We are still in
the process of finding out exactly how people have been using PRISM. At the time of
writing this report there are 170 registered users to the site and feedback has been
that people are using PRISM or hope to use it more in future.

       “I'm usually unable to attend activities organized by PALATINE, but I find the
       online resources excellent and I access them very frequently. I will be using
       PRISM as well more in the coming months.” (from PALATINE Impact survey
       2008).

Out of 93 people surveyed in the PALATINE Impact survey 2008, 17 said that they had
found PRISM either useful or very useful, 3 had accessed it but did not find it useful, 8
had accessed it but not used it while 65 people had not accessed it or used it. The last


                            DeL II Final Report Template 2008
figure, which accounts for almost 70% of the responses given, would indicate that
people either do not have a use for the site or did not get round to trying it out.

However, it is clear that there are issues with growing content on PRISM. Hardly any
new content is currently being suggested to the site, which indicates that people are
perhaps not aware of its full capabilities.

PRISM received positive feedback at events where it was demonstrated to small
groups, and people were actively introduced to the various parts of the site. Feedback
from the usability testing indicated that a clear user guide would be essential to help
users find their way on PRISM. Jo Richler designed such a user guide, a first edition
of which is now on the website.


Unexpected outcomes

      On several occasions, the suggestion was made to repurpose the PRISM
       website as a more general collaboration tool.
      A case study on accessibility issues raised by the creation of PRISM, funded
       by TechDis, produced a report: http://www.techdis.ac.uk/index.php?p=2_1_8

Main lessons learnt

      Seeing through the development and construction of a website from
       beginning to end has been an interesting experiment… as well as a massive
       undertaking.
      Communication issues with web developers who were not “on site” and who
       did not necessarily have an appropriate level of pedagogic understanding
       delayed the project at times. Instructions for modifications were sometimes
       misconstrued.
      Issues of sustainability were not considered sufficiently and should have been
       built into the project plan from the start.
      Overall, the timescale allocated to the development and testing PRISM was
       perhaps too generous, with the project losing momentum. The project would
       have benefited from a different, more intensive type of project management.
      It is questionable whether there is enough capacity at the Subject Centre to
       continue managing the PRISM site alongside other activities, particularly if
       suggestions for new content to the site are not forthcoming and PALATINE
       staff are expected to generate new resources.


5. Remaining Project Activity
Please outline any tasks or work packages which have not yet been completed but
which you hope to complete and any timescales.

Completion of evaluation report (January 2008)


6. Future Work
Have any issues emerged from the project which merit further investigation or future
development work? Explain if any project outputs will be further developed after the
project ends, who will take them forward, and how?

      Create updated version of user guide on website


                           DeL II Final Report Template 2008
      Include introductions to art movements on the website
      “Road shows” to demonstrate PRISM
      Gather further feedback on how people have used the site (a final call has
       gone out to users of the site)

7. Key messages
Briefly outline the key lessons learned through the project to inform future projects, the
wider Academy, JISC and HEFCE

The PRISM project, to all intents and purposes, was an experiment. This has
resulted in a valuable resource for PALATINE’s subject communities and an
interesting and useful experience for PALATINE as a subject centre.

The project was generously funded, which meant that quite a lot of time could be
devoted to research and development of the design and structure of the website.
However, the scale of the project was significant and what it wanted to achieve
perhaps overambitious, particularly as this was PALATINE’s first foray into building a
learning and teaching resource of this kind. It would have been interesting to see
what a smaller scale project could have achieved (or indeed a larger scale project
with more capacity and a different, more intensive type of project management).
With the PRISM project running over almost three years (from submission of the
project bid to launch), there are questions to be raised about how a subject centre,
for which the project was not its sole focus, should lead and manage the process of
building a sustainable website.

The usability testing of PRISM was useful and gave PALATINE important feedback
on how to improve the functioning of the website. It also provided insights regarding
the kind of content to which users wanted to have access. These included overviews
of/ introductions to art movements, replicating what might be found on other websites
or in books. It is interesting to observe that users wanted to have this kind of content
appear alongside the RLOs, possibly indicating a need for a different kind of sharing
resource.

A final observation to be made is about the limited engagement with the website.
From experience, PALATINE knows that performing arts practitioners often prefer to
face-to-face engagement, with some people still feeling a little intimidated by
“technology”. There is potentially a wider issue to be explored in the uptake of e-
Learning in the performing and creative arts disciplines and the kinds of tools people
would prefer to use.




                            DeL II Final Report Template 2008

				
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