Although we are only really halfway through the Mosaic project it is providing some real food for thought about how reuse actually works in practice and what it means for a lot of the assumptions underpinning other work we are part of through projects such as the LDSE and Phoebe in the area of learning design.
There is no question that engaging in reuse in earnest has clarified my thinking about the ways it really happens – we have always reused content up to a point but a commitment to producing a course which is made up of over 85% existing materials really focuses the mind.
Obviously at his stage if the project all our findings about reuse are only from one course, but from what we have experienced so far I really believe that really reusing involves:
- Using content found through Google overwhelmingly more than that found in repositories
- Using anything that might enhance teaching, text, images, videos, databases, simulations, learning designs and very occasionally “learning objects”
- Using things that may be large- a course, or small- an image, but the larger they are, the more likely they will be changed.
- Getting the materials into your course which ever way makes your life easiest, linking to the things you want to use or if you are really cutting edge bringing them into your space through mashups etc
- Working alone or collaboratively but more often in ad hoc rather than formal ways
I am sure none of this seems particularly radical, especially in the blogosphere, but what it does do is undercut certain assumptions which are in play in a lot of educational technology research and development projects.
- Learning content is exceptional
- It lives in repositories
- It requires specialized metadata
- It will be delivered to students through a course in a VLE
I think it can be all to easy to design tools for how you think the world should work, rather than how it is. It is too late to make learning content work this way – and thinking about how our field has changed in the last decade would you even want to?