"What We Have" (to work with)…
Normalized, tightly structured content.
The structure amounts to buckets.
A static publication of html and pdfs.
More like a book than a “living” website.
The MIT OpenCourseWare website has achieved the by no means small feat of
gathering in one place and within one overarching structure the myriad types
and kinds of pedagogical materials in use at a large research university, much
of which was not even digital.
In so doing, they have established what had to be --if they were to succeed--
a highly normalized single model within which to present every possible MIT
course, in all their variety and distinctiveness.
They brought order where there had been
none before, since there never was reason to establish it.
One big plus coming out of the normalization of courses is the set of "Sections"
that OCW has derived from the range of materials and purposes to which it's
put in MIT classes.
This set of some
15 or so heading labels to organize the content according to use or kind or
type is a very useful first cut at organizing a course's content, and is the
first (and only) <organization> we use in the IMS Content Package
Other future organizations may be used by other future consumers
of the content, but this initial contribution of organization has been
critical to a successful user experience of OCW material widely.
You know what you are getting, from course
to course, thanks to these Sections.
The resulting "Object Model" lends itself well to a process of
mapping onto a digital archive, as, at the end of the day the rendered
publication that is OCW is a large statically served website.
It is this that we capture into a content
package and hence to the digital archive.
The drawbacks to this process of heavy normalization is that the raw materials,
while they would have been unwieldy to maintain closer to the publication
engine, are in large part left behind in terms of repurposing or
disaggregation or even of editing.
was in practical terms not possible, especially with the time pressures to
publish the essential first representation of the content, namely the public
Hence the publication of most
material to the Portable Document Format (PDF) and similar decisions.
Subsequent more varied uses of the content are now being looked at (E.g.
archiving; distribution to other audiences - faculty, translation partners,
education partners, etc.) and some prospects of making available some of the
editable originals (e.g. MS-Office files) is being investigated.
NEXT SLIDE SEGUE
O.K., so … TURN … What Do We Want To Do With It ?