The Fourth of July
I took a Fourth of July trip to Washington D.C with my family after I graduated from eighth grade. Before we went, we prepared everything, especially different kinds of food. As soon as we got into the train ,I began to eat .when I wanted to have dinner in the dinning car, my mother just told me that the food there is expensive and
maybe not healthy, but she did not tell me that we black people were not allowed to go there. Later I remembered that Phyllis was not allowed to went to the hotel their classmates in because she was black.
After our arrival, we went to a black-street hotel, then I spent all of the next day squinting up at the Lincoln Memorial, at there Marian Anderson had sung after the D.A.R. She was not allowed to sing in their auditorium because she was Black.
Justice was not for us here, we were even not allowed to eat a dish of vanilla ice cream at the counter. For all these things, my parents did not say anything, my family just pretended that nothing unusual and anti-American had occurred.
Response : After reading this text ,I have a better
understanding of American history. It also reminds me of what happened in my childhood.
I was born in a small village ,there lived Yi people, Han people
and Miao people ,most villagers are Han people ,though we have several Yi family（I was one of Yi people）, we were treated as equally as Han people ,but for the Miao people ,they were not so lucky. I still remembered that I wanted to make friends with two Miao people girls, my parents disagreed .They said that these Miao people were dangerous, they may do something to you ,so you would die easily.
Champion of the world
People were listening to the radio at uncle Willie’s store, the store was surrounded by many people .Youngsters, the old ,women, and children were all here. They listened to the radio, hoping that Joe would win the boxing contest. The progress of this game was cruel, people listening to the radio cared so much about Joe, when he lost, people disappointed, when he won, people excited. Finally, Joe won the contest, the black boy, became champion of the world. He was the strongest man in the world. The crowd was filled with great relief and excitement. Response: every people loves his nation, his ethlic, and every one are proud of their hero ,I have the same feeling .when it was the 2008 Olympic Games,I stayed in front of the TV and watched the games, If we Chinese won ,I was excited ,when we lost ,I
became very sad .
No Name Woman
My mother told me a true story and told me to keep it a secret . In China, I have an aunt who was forgotten by others, she suicided.her death was due to her pregnancy.
She pregnanted after her husband left for years, when she was about to give birth to the kid ,the villagers raided their house with masks over their faces. They tried every means to destroy their house, killed animals, broke into doors and smeared blood on doors and walls. when ruining the house, they sobbed and scolded .when they left ,they took everything they wanted. During that night, the baby was born, but the next morning, people found the mother killed herself and the baby.
Response: The writer’s aunt was so poor ,the custom in the village was so bad ,when we can’t change others’ view, what we have to do is to obey the rules, Although we do not like it . whatever the girl had done, the baby was insane ,the villagers went to far,what they wanted to do was to punish the girl ,but their behavior became violence.
Report on dissemination techinques
By Paul Richardson1, Helen Beetham2 and Peter Twining2
1 Centre for Learning Technology
University of Wales, Bangor
School of Informatics, Dean St,
Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 1UT
2 The Open University,
Walton Hall, Milton Keynes. MK7 6AA
This report details a wide range of ways in which the work of the SoURCE project wasdisseminated. Target groups for dissemination, and their spheres of interest, are outlined. Asignificant degree of dissemination took place during the development of the project work: byinitiating the collaborations required to initiate the case studies and the pilot for the re-usablesoftware library, SoURCE staff were able to increase awareness of the existence and the aimsof the project in the partner institutions. As the project matured, its outcomes weredisseminated through journal papers, conference seminars and workshops, and by
collaboration with other projects and institutions. A strong emphasis was placed on interactivedissemination, which allowed user feedback to be assimilated.
All of the target groups were addressed, and a result of the dissemination work has been thatthe SoURCE project and its outcomes have attained a high profile within the learning
technology community. Dissemination work continues via Effects and the Knowledge Network.
1 The Background
The primary aim of the SoURCE project was to enhance the extent to which educational
software was re-used across subject and institutional boundaries within higher education in theUnited Kingdom. The rationale for the project has been described and discussed elsewhere(Twining et al., 1997; Beetham et al., 2001). Two strands to this work were identified: the
customization strand set out to evaluate customization as an approach to re-use; the re-usableeducational software library (RESL) strand set out to investigate the feasibility of a library toallow access to software resources.
Dissemination was a significant aspect of this work from the outset. In the initial stages of theproject the aim was to disseminate information about the purpose of the project, and itspotential benefits, to academic staff who might be willing to participate. This allowed theestablishment of partnerships with willing and enthusiastic teachers. Once the partnershipshad carried out their work, the outcomes were made available to other individuals with apotential interest in development for reusability, mainly via individual case studies, evaluationreports and exemplars published on the project website. Once a significant body of these hadbeen accumulated, it became possible to draw out general conclusions, and these werepublished more widely in the form of journal papers, seminars, workshops and conferencepresentations. This document discusses the strategies which were used for disseminatinginformation about the project and its outcomes, and considers their effectiveness.
2 What was disseminated?
2.1The process of development
During the course of developing the project, the SoURCE teams in each of the institutions wererequired to identify suitable teaching staff, describe the SoURCE project to them, and engagethem in a process which might lead to collaboration. In some cases this lead to the academicsusing the SoURCE software, and participating in the case studies. In other cases, academicsdecided that the software was not appropriate to their needs. In both these cases, effectivedissemination of the project and its aims was needed, as well as a considered discussion of theattributes of the software. These processes occurred in both strands of the project, and theapproaches to these tasks in the different institutions are described below.
2.2Developing the customisation strand
The customisation strand involved informing academics about existing software and supportingthem in their customisation of that software. Concrete outcomes form these activities includedcase studies, exemplars and guidelines for use by people outside the project.
Each of the case studies in the customisation strand began with the process of introducing agroup of academics to the software, and to the rationale underpinning the SoURCE project.Identifying appropriate academics with whom to hold discussions was not alwaysstraightforward - and a range of approaches to this problem were adopted, which are
described in the various case studies and evaluation reports. Essentially, one of two types ofapproach was favoured: either publicising the project to a large group of staff, or discussingthe project with a target audience of academics known to be enthusiastic about the
introduction of new technologies. This allowed the SoURCE staff to take advantage of existingnetworks within university departments, which often helped them to identify and approachteachers with whom they may not have been personally acquainted.
In general, the second approach was more fruitful, both in terms of gathering information onwhat motivates academics to adopt technology, and also in terms of generating usage whichcould later be reported as case studies. However, it was not only the instances of use whichwere valuable to the project, but also the instances where the software was not adopted (e.g.Blake, 2001; Richardson, 2001a). These could be seen not only as information gathering
exercises, but also as dissemination – there were certainly instances where the considerationof a new software application in itself provoked discussion between the SoURCE staff and theacademics, which was of value to both parties.
In those instances where the technology was adopted, methodology of use of the software alsoneeded to be disseminated. The levels at which this operated varied greatly between thedifferent case studies: sometimes they were purely or largely technical, while in otherinstances the SoURCE staff had a significant input into pedagogical decisions. In either case,the role of the SoURCE research fellow included the recording of the issues which arose, forsubsequent dissemination to other academics. In general these ideas were transmitted in faceto face meetings, following this type of scheme:-
? Introduction to the software
? Period of reflection
? Discussion of the pedagogy
? Customisation of the software
? Tuition/ technical support
? Support during teaching
2.3Developing the RESL strand
The RESL strand was entirely focused on the issues surrounding the sharing of good practicemediated by software and other artefacts. Though this strand only set out to carry out afeasibility study it ended up establishing a prototype library. This involved:
? engaging the community in thinking about the sharing of good practice through the
surveys, focus groups and interviews that were conducted as part of the RESL feasibilitystudy – clearly these functioned to raise awareness of the project at the same time ascollecting data about user needs;
? implementing the RESL and populating it with information spanning TLTP3 and other
initiatives – again this helped to raise awareness of SoURCE among other learning
2.4The project outcomes
Outcomes of the customization strand
The main findings of the customization strand are summarized in Beetham et al (2001).Briefly, these were as follows:-
? It is possible and relatively cost effective to produce generic software tools that can be
used across subject areas and across different institutions.
? Generic learning tools have been identified only in two rather specific niches: Tools to
support teacher sequencing of learning activities (e.g. EATS, Colloquia, Virtual LearningManager); and Tools to support learner manipulation of content objects as datasets, for
example in activities of classification, manipulation, annotation etc (e.g. fOCUS,
Elicitation Engine, Digital Kit, Digital Microscope).
? Software which was originally designed for use in a distance education mode does not
easily make the transition into face-to-face teaching situations.
? The academic staff would not have been able to complete the customization of software
without the support of the SoURCE research fellows.
? The prime reasons for decisions not to use the software fell into two broad categories:logistical constraints (particularly over time and timetabling); and pedagogical
dissonance, i.e. a mismatch between the existing mode of learning and teachingpractice and the mode of practice demanded or implied by integration of the software.Outcomes of the RESL strand
? A RESL prototype has now been developed, indicating that the project has addressedthe requirements for metadata use and interoperability.
? Software objects which are most likely to be reused are those at the highest levels (e.g.
VLEs) and the lowest levels (e.g. subject-specific learning objects) of granularity.
? The software needs to be supported by material which enables potential users to
benefit from the experience of past users (e.g. case studies). However, in most casesthe first preference for support is face to face interaction with ‘more experienced’
3 What was the target audience?
In order to benefit from the project in its development phase, academics needed to be awareof the following:
? The existence of the project, and its aims and rationale.
? The existence of software which might suit their requirements.
? The availability of SoURCE personnel to support them in customising and using
software with which they were hitherto unfamiliar.
During the reporting and dissemination phase, academics could continue to benefit bybecoming aware of the project, and of software associated with it. In addition, they couldbenefit by being made aware of the following:
? support materials to enable them to customize and/or embed the software(exemplars, datasets and licence agreements).
? evidence of educational effectiveness and cost-effectiveness (case studies andevaluation reports).
? support materials to help with customisation and embedding of software in general(guidelines for academics)
? further examples of reusable software and associated exemplars, documentation,case studies etc to support customisation and reuse (re-usable software library)
It was considered neither practical nor particularly useful to seek to address all academics:rather the focus was on the ‘innovators’ or ‘change agents’ (Beetham, 2001), who are self-appointed leaders in applying new technologies within their own department and curriculumarea. The dissemination strategy aimed to influence other academics indirectly via thesealready technically literate 10% ‘enthusiasts’. Evidence that this strategy was at least partiallyeffective may be found in a number of case studies which reported effective use of software byacademics who had hitherto rarely, if ever, used ICT in their teaching (e.g. Richardson, 2001b,Richardson, 2001c).
3.2Learning technology specialists
Learning technology specialists include staff and educational developers with a learningtechnologies remit, learning technology officers, learning technology researchers/developers,and some academic staff with specific learning technology roles such as departmentalrepresentatives and secondees. In addition to the concerns listed in 3.1, this group is likely tobe interested in the following:
? more general information about SoURCE, its approach to customisation and re-use,as exemplified by the SoURCE evaluation framework (Twining et al., 2000);
? more general information about RESL in order to use and contribute materials.
3.3Staff of other development projects
Given the significance of ‘re-use’ as a nexus of concepts in educational technology
development (see Beetham et al., 2001, Section A1), SoURCE processes and outcomes were ofpotential relevance to a wide range of other development projects. The individuals who werechiefly targeted were the directors, managers and development staff of other TLTP3 projectsand national organisations such as GLTC, RESULTs and the ILT (note that these individualsform a specialist sub-set of 3.2). Institutional development projects were targeted indirectlythrough presentations at successive ALT conferences and directly within the partnerinstitutions. These individuals were likely to have an interest in the following:
? the evaluation strategy (Twining et al., 2000) and its outcomes
? the RESL development process and the prototype library (as both users and
contributors) – particularly in relation to the metadata specifications andmappings
? the RESL feasibility study.
3.4Software designers and developers
? guidelines on producing re-usable educational applications
? the re-usable software library
? findings of the RESL feasibility study, insofar as they related to the design and
? the evaluation strategy, especially the cost effectiveness strandSoftware designers and developers were likely to be most interested in the following:
Methods of dissemination
1 The RESL database and website
Successive versions of the SoURCE Website have been on-line throughout the life of the
project, and have included background information to the project, news and events, and publicdeliverables such as case studies, which have been added as they have been produced.Similarly, three incarnations of the RESL have been on-line since the first year of the project.The aims have been to
? provide a ‘home’ for the case studies and other public outputs
? advertise the project and specific events
? provide a forum for debate.
RESL has a key function in the dissemination strategy, since it contains the core materialscreated by the project, in which are contained the major outcomes for dissemination. The
RESL strand began as an investigation into the feasibility of setting up a National Library of Re-Usable Educational Software (RESL). This involved looking at user needs, metadata standardsand technical interoperability, resulting in the setting up of a prototype library. Collaboratingwith a number of other TLTP3 projects (e.g. EFFECTS, ASTER, TALENT) formed an importantpart of this process. Early evidence indicated that a library of software on its own would be oflittle benefit, and hence the collection of material was enriched by other resources: metadataabout software, case studies, guidelines, other related publications and web sites.
The RESL database is now available online as a searchable and browsable archive of material,referenced with metadata tags. User needs analysis suggested that the library would be
accessed by four key categories of users (academics, staff developers; software developers;senior managers): hence resources were classified using keywords that matched the interestsof those four potential user groups (subject; pedagogy; technology; strategy respectively). As the project drew towards a close, a key issue was the development of a strategy fordisseminating this material beyond the life of the project. Clearly, it was necessary to providea long-term ‘home’ for the resources, so that they could be maintained on a server, and linksretained and updated. This was not a trivial requirement, and the initial strategy was to exploitan existing relationship with the RESULTs project. As an ongoing JISC project, RESULTSappeared to be very well placed to take on this responsibility. However, during the course ofnegotiations it became clear that such a collaboration was inappropriate. During the
transferability phase, therefore, RESL will be migrated to The Knowledge Network, an IMScompatible database and metadata project funded by HEFCE.
2 Conference papers and other refereed publications
Table 1: A summary of the conference papers and other refereed items which have been published by the SoURCE project. The final columnrefers to the SoURCE code which was ascribed to each deliverable item for the purposes of project administration.
AuthorBeetham, H.Beetham, H.Beetham, H.
Beetham, H. &Conole, G.& Twining, P. Condron, F.,Beetham, H. &Twining, P.
Foster-Jones, J. &Beazleigh, H. 2001European DistanceEducation Network
Learning Research GroupPUB-DMU-1
PUB-OU-43Twining, P. & Hols-Elders, W.Twining, Peter
(Due to be submitted,
Learning Research GroupDE(NADE)
Richardson, P,Boardman, I &Whitehurst, J. Ryan, S. et al.2001
Twining, P.Stratfold, M.
1998ALT-J 7 (1), 4-11
PUB-OU-11bPUB-OU-4Twining, P., Stratfold,M & Sumner, T.M., Kukulska-Hulme,A. & Tosunoglu, C.Twining, P.Twining, P.Twining, P.200020011998ITTE, Cambridge
Table 1 shows a list of the project deliverables which were presented as refereed papers in avariety of forms. These include journal papers, oral presentations, and poster presentations. Itindicates that:-
? Dissemination occurred throughout the duration of the project.
? The full range of presentation media was employed, with a strong emphasis on
? Many members of the project team were active in producing publications, and several
of the people who collaborated with the project also contributed to the publications.
3 National workshops, focus groups and consultations
Table 2 summarises the national workshops, focus groups and consultations. All of these werepublic events, involving dissemination of the project methodology and outcomes to anaudience beyond the institutions which were involved in the SoURCE project. 20012001Warwick visitors
PUB-OU-19Seminar News Bulletin, Issue 1Education Practiceseminar
Table 2 shows how members of the SoURCE project staff have contributed formally to
meetings and workshops, and in some cases the involvement has extended to the organisationof events. In addition to these events, project staff have contributed to discussions which tookplace in other forums. For example,:-? A research fellow has participated in meetings of the Centre for Educational
Technology Interoperability Standards (CETIS) metadata special interest group (SIG),allowing user experience of IMS metadata standards to be fed back to CETIS. ? There has been collaboration with the Australian University Teaching Committee
funded project on flexible learning and ICT. The SoURCE project director was invited tobecome a member of their international reference group and to be an evaluator fortheir learning designs. ? There has been collaboration with the ECLAIRE project. This project aims to set up a
portal to support the EARLI Computers in Learning and Instruction special interest
group, based on the RESL metadata mappings and database designs. (ECLAIRE is partof an EU funded project called EMILE).
4 Working locally in institutions4.1
The Open University
Table 3: Summary of internal seminars and workshops at the Open UniversityH.vocabulariesFoster-Jones, J.Jones, J.Foster-Jones, J.Foster-Jones, J.Jones, J.Kim, Y.
Metadata mapping specification
Metadata Elements used in RESL RESL-OU-5RESL-OU-4OU-28PUB-OU-12PUB-OU-1
SoURCE and the Re-usable Software
Project Newsletter - September 1998.,SoURCE, Milton Keynes
The presentations have been on request. The SoURCE research fellow was asked to run a‘training hour’ session for library staff at the OU, on the RESL project, and also to give apresentation to staff from JISC, so that they could see the work the library was doing on theSoURCE project. The papers on metadata were written as part of the work on RESL, relating toIMS metadata schemas. They were disseminated via the website so that potential users ofRESL could understand what we were trying to achieve.
Other dissemination activities were done on an informal basis, and usually by referral. Whencolleagues showed an interest in metadata, questions were often answered by giving
demonstrations of RESL.
4.2 De Montfort University
The decision was taken to appoint a research fellow to be shared between SoURCE and anotherTLTP3 project (BEATL). The result of this decision was that the RF was co-located in the Centrefor Educational Technology (CETD) and the Faculty for Art and Design.
The identification of possible areas suitable for software re-use was based on work within thatfaculty. Presentations were given, informal contacts were made and demonstrations organised.In addition the head of CETD identified other areas within the university that he thought mightbe interested in SoURCE and meetings were set up with staff. Following these meetings the DeMontfort projects were established.
A range of dissemination activities were organised. These included workshops on software re-use within De Montfort University, and a session for the M1/M69 staff development network.Presentations were made at Learning and Teaching Committee meetings within faculties, aspart of a faculty ‘awayday’. The project was also publicised via newsletters.
The work from De Montfort was also presented at the ALT-C conference (Ryan et al., 2001)and is currently being written up for publication.
Stephen Boyd-Davis presented a poster on the Visual Learning Manager (VLM) at an internalconference on teaching and learning. The response was enthusiastic. Aspects which wereparticularly liked were the support for student-tutor communication, supplementing face-to-face contact, and the possibility of staff observing and assessing student schedules.
4.4University of Wales, Bangor
Table 4. Summary of internal seminars and workshops at UWB.Dissemination at UWB was carried out in two stages: an initial period of development, whenthe project objectives, and the merits of the software were disseminated. In the second stage,the project outcomes were disseminated. Two strategies were employed during the
development period – the first was to inform the teaching staff of the existence of the project,
and some of the ways in which we could work with them by e-mailing lists of staff, and usingthe university intranet. However, this approach produced little response. More interest wasgenerated by the second strategy, which involved networking with the academics who werealready known to be active users of, or at least interested in, learning technology. This led tointeresting conversations with academics about the types of software which they were using,and their rationale for adopting particular software. It also afforded considerable insights intothe reasons why many staff do not adopt learning technologies (e.g. timetabling constraints,anticipated difficulties in embedding software use into the current curriculum, etc.) These
issues were explored in the report on the decision not to use the SoURCE software which wastaken by staff in the School of Biological Sciences (Richardson 2001).
Towards the end of the project, the major priority was to disseminate the outcomes of theproject. Academics from the School of Nursing who participated in one of the case studies werean important asset in this work – they assisted in the production of a poster display whichincluded a live demonstration of their video clips running in fOCUS. This generated interestfrom a number of academics; these included staff involved in teacher education, and also inthe provision of assistance for students with special needs.
In addition, the SoURCE project was disseminated to Coleg Menai, a local FE college whichprovides HE courses which are franchised by the North East Wales Institute (NEWI). Twoteachers at Coleg Menai were involved: Pauline Williams, who used fOCUS in one of hersessions, and Geoff Lees, who is interested in using the software in future sessions(Richardson, 2001b). These staff are aware of some of the issues involved in customising
software – particularly with respect to the costs and benefits of creating their own video clips. The seminar (‘Customising and re-using educational software – exploring some of the issues’)was addressed to an audience of about 40 academics and learning technologists, as part of asymposium on the introduction of ICT into teaching. The content included an overview of ourconclusions from the project, drawing on the case study with the Wrexham nurses as anexample.
5 Collaborations with other projects
SoURCE has worked in particularly close collaboration with the EFECTS, ASTER, TALENT, andFOCUS projects. In the first instance this involved identifying areas of potential commoninterest. The focus of subsequent collaboration was on the sharing of an infrastructure formaking case studies available to the community – which fed into the RESL strand. In 2000,SoURCE worked closely with EFFECTS and ASTER to develop four keyword taxonomies fordescribing educational technology materials. These have since been incorporated into the RESLmetadata schema. As a result of this work the OU research fellow was invited to take part in aseries of national meetings and ultimately to undertake a scoping study towards the
development of a generic learning and teaching portal for UK HE. Collaborators in this projectincluded the Generic Centre, the LTSN network, the ILT, JISC and TiC.
In 2001 SoURCE organised a workshop to enable TLTP3 projects to identify and share lessonsthey had learned in the course of development and evaluation. This is due to be followed up in2002 with another workshop linked in with the SoURCE continuation project. Outcomes fromthe initial workshop include a database of expertise and project outcomes, developed with thepositive support and encouragement of the National Coordination Team. Once work on thedatabase has been concluded, it will be made available to the TiC, RESULTS, JISC, and theGeneric Centre, all of whom have expressed an interest in further development of the content.SoURCE has been particularly involved in the overall evaluation of TLTP3, being represented atthree evaluation meetings organised by the Tavistock Institute and writing detailed responses
on the overarching evaluation issues to both the Tavistock and the National CoordinationTeam.
5.2RESULTS Learning Technologies Portal
In addition to the generic portal scoping study identified in 5.1, the SoURCE Research Fellowundertook a joint feasibility study on behalf of the RESULTS Learning Technologies portal toidentify potential user and contributor needs and to make recommendations on the effectivebuilding of a national learning technologies network and resources. RESULTS expressed aninterest in continued access to RESL and other outcomes of SoURCE.
The aim to develop a single national portal for the sharing of good practice in the area of ICTuse in higher education formed part of SoURCE’s original exit strategy. Initially it was hopedthat the RESL could be customised so as to become the repository for NETCulture’s contentand then a core component of the RESULTS portal. When this proved not to be possible in thetimescale allowed, SoURCE therefore modified its exit strategy to involve working with theHEFCE funded Knowledge Network to enhance their metadata templates and migrate thecontents of RESL to the Knowledge Network.
The Marchmont Good Practice Database is a UK-wide project established to encourage the
spread of good practice in work-force development. Their case study template was adopted bythe SoURCE project as a result of discussions about interoperability.
SoURCE has liased with and impacted on a number of initiatives at the Open University,including:-
? The Programme for Embedding Learning Technology (PELT)
(). e.g. see PELT exit report .
? Help Central, which is a website providing advice re ICT in education for staff in the
Faculty of Education and Language Studies.
? Talking Together, a Nuffield funded project, which used the Elicitation Engine with the
help of SoURCE.
? Metadata work across the OU (via the OU library).
? The Open Source Teaching Project (e.g. contributed to their technical support).
? The Open University Learning and Teaching Strategy.
? The Software Quality Assurance Process Improvement (SQAPI).
? The Virtual Practice Environment, a software shell being developed by the School ofHealth and Welfare.
? The Open Universities Portfolio system, which is designed to help track course materialsand encourage their re-use. SoURCE staff worked closely with members of the Portfolio
team who were responsible for its metadata specification.
? The Course Re-use and Versioning (CURVE) Project.
? fOCUS. A bid is currently being written, which will allow further development of fOCUSin collaboration with a number of other institutions. The SoURCE project will provide
evidence of the effectiveness of the software in support of the bid.
SoURCE has liased with a number of international projects, mainly based in Australia. Forexample, we explored the possibility of using Paul Fritze’s OCCA system within thecustomisation strand. Though this proved not to be possible because of a mismatch in
timescales the OU has agreed to continue to explore the potential of Melbourne University’sOCCA system through our Institute of Educational Technology.
Liaisons with representatives from the Australian University Teaching Committee lead to themexplicitly requiring projects that were bidding for funding under their ‘use of ICT in flexiblelearning’ programme to have made links with SoURCE. The project that won that biddinground has sent representatives to the UK to liase with members of SoURCE and has formallyinvolved the SoURCE project director in their project, both as a member of their internationalexpert reference group and as an evaluator of potential ‘re-usable learning designs’.Discussion
The lists of disseminated items which are cited in this report illustrate that a broad range ofstrategies were used. The project has generated 31 refereed publications to date, including 8papers in refereed print journals (see Table 1). This indicates that the published work stoodup to academic scrutiny, and that it has also reached a wide audience. In addition to the
printed work, a high priority has also been given to conference presentations and workshops.These have the benefit of being interactive, and the audiences have been able to engage indiscussions about the issues involved in reusability, which provided valuable feedback to theproject as well as acting as another vehicle for dissemination. For example, in the sessions atALT-C (e.g. Beetham, 2001; Blake et al., 2001; Foster-Jones et al., 2001; Ryan, et al., 2001),it was apparent that many people are interested in the notion of reusability, but were unsurehow to bridge the gap between theory and practice. Project members were able to engage indiscussions about how SoURCE approached this issue, and how effective it had been.
A recurrent theme in the workshops and seminars was the role of the case study in the
dissemination process. It was generally agreed by many of the participants in these sessionsthat reusable software alone was of limited value – what is also needed is narrative describinghow the software was used in specific circumstances. Such information can add greatly to userconfidence, and enable users to comprehend the attributes of software, helping them to makedecisions on how, or perhaps whether, to use specific software. However, it is unlikely that thelecturers would have time to read complete case studies. The SoURCE project has addressedthe need for readily available advice on using software, in the form of the customisationguidelines. It is intended that these are succinct enough to allow lecturers to read them inconjunction with actual integration of the software into their practice, and hence use the toolsto best advantage and avoid the most obvious pitfalls. Throughout the SoURCE project,however, academics had access to specialist help to mediate the assimilation of informationfrom the case studies into lecturers’ practice. Clearly this approach would require continuedfunding of learning technology specialists and educational developers at institutions.. Dissemination within institutions raised different issues. The initial aim was to engage
academics with the process of using the software, and this was generally approached by usingexisting contact networks which were available to research fellows within their own
institutions. Typically, a very small proportion of the academics who were approached engagedin using the software. However, the staff who were interviewed did shed some light on thereasons for this: for example lecturers were aware of the need to invest a significant amountof time in a development which might only benefit a relatively small group of students.
Typically, the staff who did engage with the process emerged feeling very positive about theexperience. Case studies reveal that several of the teachers concerned had used the softwaremore than once, and many others are seriously considering using the software for a second
time. For example, at Coleg Menai, there was a definite intention to use fOCUS again on thepart of the academic involved (Richardson, 2001b), and other likely future users within thesame department. Similarly, at the School of Nursing in Bangor, there was a clear intention touse fOCUS again. In other instances, SoURCE has mediated the wider dissemination of thesoftware within particular institutions. For example, the Open University is currently in
negotiation with Research Machines PLC over the use of the Elicitation Engine in schools. Thishas emerged directly out of the work on the Elicitation Engine in collaboration with a Nuffieldfunded project called ‘Talking Together’.
These findings indicate that the software itself has been disseminated to a new audience.However, the question of disseminating the ideas and processes underlying the project was ofprimary importance to the success of the project. Of particular interest as been the way that anew understanding of the processes involved in adopting new technologies has been gained bythe academics involved in the project. Several case studies report that academics reflected ontheir teaching in a serious way, and in one instance the teachers were sufficiently interested inthe process which they were undergoing to wish to report it to other members of the teachingcommunity in the form of a poster (Richardson et al., 2001c) and a paper which is due shortlyto be submitted to a journal. These findings support the view that a major benefit of the
introduction of new technologies is that it provides an opportunity of academics to reflect upontheir teaching methods, and to modify them where appropriate. Clearly, the project provided agood opportunity for them to do this, and provided some of the necessary support whichallowed this to happen.
Beyond those institutions immediately involved in the project, SoURCE has been able to raisethe level of debate about software customisation and reusability through a high profile seriesof interventions at key conferences and in print journals. In particular, it has been possible toattract an audience of educational (rather than technical) developers to take an interest inthese issues. The SoURCE project has enjoyed a particularly high profile among other learningtechnology development projects, for which it has played a leading role in collating outcomesand lessons learned.
? All of the major target groups identified in Section 3 have been addressed.
? A significant proportion of the dissemination has been interactive, local, and has led to
the adoption of new processes or ideas into teaching.
? Dissemination products (outcomes) have successfully passed the peer review process? The SoURCE project, outcomes and lessons learned have attained a high profile withinthe learning technology community
? Dissemination work continues via Effects and the Knowledge Network.
Josie & Twining
Richardson, P,Boardman, I &
Ryan,S, et al.
Twining, P.,Blake, C. &
Taylor, J.(2001)(2001)(2001)(2001a)(2001b)(2001c)(2001)(1997)(2000)The SoURCE Evaluation Report, MET-DEL-2, Milton Keynes: The Open University. andEmbedding learning technologiesstrategically: culture, infrastructure andexpertise. JISC ASSIST. A ‘non-use case’ report of the ElicitationEngine in the Faculty of Education andLanguages, EE-OU-3-REP, Milton Keynes:The Open University.Evaluation Report: Factors affectingdecisions not to use the EE in the Schoolof Biological Sciences at UWB, EE-UWB-4-REP, Bangor: University of Wales.Case study: Using fOCUS with SocialWork students.http://www.eres.ac.uk/source/docs/fo-uwb-2-cs.pdfFrom the vague to the concrete;developing skilled helpers. FirstImproving Student Learning Conference,Bangor. Pedagogic assumptions and studentaffordances: a case study of re-usablesoftware. ALT-C.Original bid to TLTP3 for funding forSoURCE, (which was called CLASS at thattime), MET-REP-BID, Milton Keynes: TheOpen University.The SoURCE Evaluation Framework.http://www.eres.ac.uk/source/docs/met-eval-2.pdf
Author: Paul Richardson
Email Address: email@example.com
Institution Name: Centre for Learning Technology, University of Wales, BangorPosition: Research Officer
Author: Helen Beetham
Email Address: H.Beetham@open.ac.uk
Institution Name: The Open University
Position: Research Fellow
Author: Peter Twining
Email Address: P.Twining@open.ac.uk
Institution Name: The Open University
Position: SoURCE, Project Director