Josep Maria Boneu1, Maria Galofré2, Julià Minguillón2
           1Centre d’Estudis Politècnics
         2Universitat Oberta de Catalunya

               Barcelona, España

                 EDEN 2007 Naples, Italy
         Table of Contents
Motivation: An experience on how to
virtually train the virtual trainers in the
design and use of learning objects

• Our context: Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
• Main reasons and objectives
• Training experience
• Conclusions

                EDEN 2007 Naples, Italy
        Our context: UOC (I)
• Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC):
  – An online university, a completely Virtual Campus
  – 12 years of existence
  – 20 certified (officially approved) degrees + 3 official
    masters + Ph.D. degree + postgraduate courses
  – 40.000 students + 2.500 people among educational,
    academic and technical personnel
  – Pedagogical model focused on the student
  – Each subject is taught in a virtual classroom which
    contains all the necessary elements and resources for
    the learning process

                     EDEN 2007 Naples, Italy
          Our context: UOC (II)
• Coordination and supervision → teaching staff of the UOC

• Interaction with the students → external consultants

• External consultants are asked to take initial and updating
  training courses on the areas of technological, linguistic,
  educational and institutional competences

• These courses pursue several goals:
   – Providing external consultants with updated training
   – Gaining experience of the UOC educational model from the point
     of view of students
   – Reinforcing the existing links between the university and its team
     of external educational consultants
   – Using the university as a test-bed in which technological and
     innovation projects can be shared by all the teaching community
                          EDEN 2007 Naples, Italy
       Our context: UOC (III)
• Great quantity of learning resources →
  there is a need of:
  – Organization and maintenance
  – Making easier to find them
  – Promoting their reusability in other contexts
• Virtual trainers without enough knowledge
  on standards (LOM, SCORM, or IMS-LD)
  using their own rules and policies

                   EDEN 2007 Naples, Italy
        Our context: UOC (IV)
Several research projects on learning objects will
  eventually change the Virtual Campus:
• PERSONAL(ONTO): Personalizing the Learning
  Process in Virtual Environments by means of
  Adaptive Formative Itineraries based on
  Reusable Learning Objects and Ontologies
• RUBICON: Creation of a Repository of Reusable
  Learning Objects (within the framework of the
  UOC Contents Management Team)
• Multimedia and specific repositories (formulas)
                   EDEN 2007 Naples, Italy
Main reasons and objectives
• Training the virtual trainers in standards for
  the description of learning objects

• Testing the UOC LOM Application Profile,
  included within the RUBICON project

• Detecting limitations of this application profile
  and the particular needs of our virtual trainers
  for their everyday activities

                 EDEN 2007 Naples, Italy
       Training experience (I)
The course “Description of Learning Objects with
E-learning Standards” includes:
  • Standards for the description of learning objects
  • Focused on the LOM standard, its categories and
    elements, and its use in practical scenarios
  • Creation of Application Profiles
  • The use of tools specialized in the generation of XML
    files for creating metadata
  • Facilitating the reflection on the practical use in
    educational situations

                     EDEN 2007 Naples, Italy
        Training experience (II)
• Addressed to virtual trainers of different knowledge
  areas: 118 participants in total

• Two courses were imparted: May 06 and November 06,
  currently now May 07 under development. Each course
  divided in two classrooms: one in Catalan and one in
  Spanish (about 30 participants per virtual classroom)

• Only computer literacy as a user of Internet and desktop
  packages was a requirement to register for the course
  (all our virtual trainers satisfy this)

                      EDEN 2007 Naples, Italy
        Training experience (III)
Two activities and three debates were proposed, focused on:

• Classification system of learning resources used by each
participant, previously to attending the course

• Identification of the necessary attributes to describe the
learning resources and determining the necessity to use an
Application Profile in our working environment, and a debate
on UOC LOM Application Profile (as provided)

• To identify and understand the necessity to define the
smallest learning object to facilitate its reusability, as well as
the advantages and disadvantages involved in this process

                        EDEN 2007 Naples, Italy
       Training experience (IV)
The activities and debates made the participants aware of:

• The necessity to have basic tools for content
management that allow a simple organization of contents
beyond the possibilities that the operating system offers
through the use of folders and files

• The difficulty to find a suitable file name annotation
policy sufficiently descriptive and easy to use (and share)

• The necessity to use additional files that allow formal
descriptions of the resources with the necessary attributes

                       EDEN 2007 Naples, Italy
        Training experience (V)
Debate on UOC LOM Application Profile:

• The Application Profile do not cover all the participants’
  needs, as they are more basic (organization)

• It is necessary that experts in resource cataloguing and
  description conduct a survey of the necessities of the
  institution and the resource kinds that will be stored

• There is a need to establish the rules and policies for the
  description of the resources, respecting the established
  standards to facilitate the interoperability between systems
                       EDEN 2007 Naples, Italy
                   Conclusions (I)
• 80% considered the course satisfactory; 60% considered
  it useful for their everyday teaching practice

• It is necessary to develop a more developed UOC LOM
  Application Profile and the Classification category
  taxonomies. The UOC LOM Application Profile should

   – To fulfill and satisfy all the description necessities of the group of
     users to whom it goes directed (teachers but also students)
   – To maintain the compatibility and interoperability with other
     profiles (i.e. the Digital Library)
   – The granularity of the learning objects will vary depending on the
     domain of application and on the objectives raised in its
     educative program
                           EDEN 2007 Naples, Italy
               Conclusions (II)
• Nowadays the use of a repository of learning
  objects is a main goal at UOC, but not a reality

• To fulfill this goal we need:
   – CMS and web 2.0 tools (DSpace, OpenCMS)
   – Institutional policies for metadata and taxonomies
   – More training for all the teaching staff

• Both research and management staff at UOC
  aim towards accomplishing this objective

                      EDEN 2007 Naples, Italy

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