Evaluating eduhack.eu

I was recently contacted with the request to contribute to the internal evaluation of an EU project within the Erasmus+ programme, the project Eduhack, which aims to “improve the skills of teachers-in-training and recently-graduated teachers in developing and delivering eLearning courses, with particular attention to OERs and MOOCs”, with a focus on higher education. So this is what I was asked to do:

  1. Register at the project website and indicate the address of your blog (or set up a new one);
  2. Choose one of the project ‘courses’ within the areas of ‘digital resources’, ‘teaching’, ‘assessment’ or ’empowering learners’;
  3. Read and watch the relevant elements/materials;
  4. Carry out the ‘do’ activity;
  5. Post your results/write up a report on your blog (sic);
  6. Fill in the evaluation questionnaire

Topic: Curate and organise digital resources

As a long-term content curator, I was curious about this topic, so that was my first choice. Each topic/item seems to have a standard structure containing 4 elements: Read, Watch, Do, Resources.

The ‘Read’ element provides a short summary of what content curation is, why you would use it as a teacher in HE, names to possible platforms, and how they can be used. The ‘Watch’ element has two video fragments illustrating the use of curation. The first one has short snippets of interviews with expert curators about the why and how. The second one is a mini-lecture (using a Prezi’) about curating. The ‘Do’ element suggests creating an account on either Pinterest or Scoop.it, or – if you already use Pinterest or Scoop.it – to write a blog post on ‘how you are using or could be using these tools in your teaching’. The ‘Resources’ element on the page contains to links to relevant introductory articles.

My reflection on curation (is also my #CMALTcMOOC specialty)

I have been in the business of digitally-supported learning for about 15 years now, and I am still trying to find the right mix of instruments for curation that fit me best. I have given presentations about content curation both in Dutch and English for colleagues.

  • Starting from social bookmarking, I first had a del.icio.us account until the service ended, and in 2007, I moved over to using Diigo, which I still use in the background, meaning that all my tweets that contain a URL are being stored in my library. Only very rarely do I actively add a bookmark to my library.
  • Since 2004, I have experimented with a blog on blogger.com (mainly at conferences), but quickly found that I am too ADHD to keep up writing well-thought-out and profound reflections. So my blog has a very uneven history. Recently I moved to this WordPress blog, in an effort to build a portfolio for the CMALT accreditation.
  • So when I discovered tools for content curation, I started using several different platforms, such as Netvibes (since 2007), paper.li (since about 2010), and eventually also scoop.it.
    • Netvibes was/is a content collector, where I combined a number of relevant RSS feeds for myself and for my peers and students, trying to bring together academic sources and more popular contributions in a number of domains. With the ‘demise’ of RSS as a broadly used standard, the value of Netvibes in my daily professional practice has all but disappeared.
    • Paper.li was/is an automatic news-clipping service, which takes the twitter-feeds of my network, and publishes the content of the most popular tweets on a daily or weekly basis. I used this for a short period with my students within a course on Quality of Education where I asked them to tweet and use the course code as a hashtag. The paper.li would then harvest all those contributions. Currently, paper.li still produces a weekly paper, but admittedly I don’t read it anymore.
    • Scoop.it has become my favourite platform, and I use it regularly, but intermittently. I curate a number of topics (both in English and Dutch), and I have co-curated two topics with colleagues (one on networked learning with Prof. Em. P. Sloep). Co-curation makes very good sense in situations where all teachers are flooded with high workload.
      The educational subscription also allows me to co-curate a topic with students, but I have not started doing that yet. The course that I teach is only a 10-week course, and as such s not really suited for co-curation woth students. I am considering using a co-curated topic with a small group of thesis students, though.
  • My main sharing platform has become Twitter, which suits my ADHD the best. I keep track of what people in my network are tweeting about, and often retweet relevant contributions. If these contributions fit with one or more of the topics that I curate on Scoop.it, then I will add it on Scoop.it, write a short paragraph with a personal opinion or reflection, and then also tweet the link to the scoop.it post. Currently, this approach works well for me, but I would still like to further explore content co-curation together with colleagues and students.

Tablet view of my scoop.it interface

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Author: sverjans

Multi-disciplinary researcher and lecturer, currently at the Open University of The Netherlands.

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