June 9-10, 2014. Berkeley, CA, USA
Call for participation
Please mark your calendars and plan to join us for a 2-day summit focused on OER annotation, co-hosted by Hypothes.is, the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education (MITE), and Lumen Learning. The meeting is being supported in large part by an OER technology grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. This meeting is one of a series planned to explore opportunities and barriers to fostering greater collaboration in solving shared technology challenges for open education (OER) projects. This particular meeting will focus on annotation and metadata challenges and solutions for OER, especially with an eye toward integrating tools that allow for more distributed and participatory mark-up. Questions about metadata standards, protocols, and presumed benefits, as well as associated tools for facilitating search, discovery, and engagement, have been a significant part of the discourse around OER for years; however, we believe we may now have the necessary elements (and not just technologies) and distributed support to turn a corner on this front.
The precise agenda remains to be decided, and much of the final firming up will happen within the meeting itself. Our intention is for the meeting time to consist to a great degree of actual hacking and deployment of cross-cutting solutions. We would like to emerge from the meeting with use-cases in hand and plans of action for broadening the impact of identified solutions. As such, meeting participants should be ready to “get their hands dirty”, and should possess the skills and contextual knowledge to evaluate and improve on existing code and work on teams to put possible solutions to the test.
There are a number of contextual underpinnings to this work that might help to better understand our motivations and aspirations. For example, one persistent challenge with annotation on the web has always been a tension between annotation as “categorization” versus annotation as “conversation and analysis.” If objects on the web are not mutable (and are therefore most likely to remain in the original singular context in which they were first published), then annotation requirements are akin to building a card catalog for the web. We could debate about the most accurate and efficient way to do that, but in theory it’s something you really only need to do one time (for any object). In contrast, if the objects of interest actually change – by design – over time, you have a very different annotation challenge. By keeping our focus on OER, which at minimum are intended to be recontextualized and at maximum can be substantially transformed, it forces us to imagine a solution space for annotation that benefits from these properties rather than just gnashing our teeth at how hard it is to “properly label” everything.
We are particularly interested in the opportunity to ground this OER annotation framework in practical procedures that bring immediate and lasting value to those engaged in education. It seems likely that many people believe that “annotation as conversation” necessarily means that things will be freeform, messy, and of limited practical (as opposed to academic) value. But we think these tensions can be reconciled, and we hope we can make real progress on that in the course of this convening.