Openness in Eduction: A Curated Topic

In this module of EDTECH 543 (Social Network Learning) we are learning about content curation. I don’t think I had heard of content curation as it relates to education. Curation is not just about collecting information. It’s about collecting the best information, arranging it in an organized fashion, contextualizing it, and sharing it. It’s the adding of our expert perspective that provides value. You want to tell a story with your content so the ordering of the content you present it and what content you present is critical to your message. Because of this, you need to be somewhat expert in your curated topic area. You need to be able to know what content is most useful and be able to add your perspective.

I have been interested in openness since taking Fred Baker’s Introduction to Openness course (EDTECH 597) this summer. I curated a broad overview of what openness is. It was a more of a challenge to decide which tool to use to curate than to choose the curated content. Ultimately I used ScoopIt. I liked the way it presented the material and is fairly easy to use (though I wish it were easier to put things in the order I want). LiveBinders looked interesting too but I couldn’t figure out how to add my perspective to the content I curated. I also couldn’t get PearlTrees to do what I wanted.

curationworld

In this module we also developed criteria to evaluate the quality of a curated topic. Below is my self-assessment of my curated topic.

Current:

  1. Is the content out of date?  While some of the content is several years old it is still current.
  2. Has the content been regularly updated? NA- this is a newly curated topic
  3. Is the date of last revision documented? I dont see a way to put a date field other than in the topic title but each content entry has the date it was curated so a user would be able to tell when it was last revised.
  4. Does the content contain stable and reliable background material that will not go out of date soon? Yes. The content from David Wiley and Martin Weller are classic descriptions of openness.
  5. Do all of the links work? Yes

Credible:

  1. Is the content from credible sources? I know they are but not sure how a user would know that.
  2. Is the content free of bias? I think so. I tried to post content that offered alternative perspectives and that was free of commercial bias. I found it could be difficulty to find quality counterperspectives. Most were just opinions of some blogger whom I didnt recognize and who didnt offer references to support their opinions.

Organized:

  1. Is the content is well organized? I put the content in the order that it was presented in the course I took. It goes from more general information to more specific.
  2. Is the content consistent with other content? It all ties together as I curate various components of openness.
  3. Is there a contextualized organization beyond the general theme? I add my perspective to the content. I organized it from general material about openness to more specific about components of openness.

Varied:

  1. Is the content from a variety of sources? Yes
  2. Is the content format varied? (text, video, pictures,etc) Yes

Valuable:

  1. Does the content provide new knowledge? Yes to someone unfamiliar with this content.
  2. Does the curator add value through summaries and descriptions? I do add my perspective to each piece of content.
  3. Is the content relevant to the learner’s needs? It would be to someone wanting to get a good overview of openness.
  4. Is the content appropriate for the level of the learner? This is geared toward an adult learner.

I think the challenge of using these criteria are several fold. One, they are probably more useful for the curator than someone who is consuming the curated content. Several of them require some content expertise and the curator would likely have more content expertise than the consumer. Next, some of the criteria require content expertise to know if the material is current, reliable and properly contextualized. This might be difficult for a novice in a curated topic area. While I dont know how I would alter the criteria we developed I think it just needs to be realized that some (if not many) learners might not be able to utilize these criteria themselves.

Now it’s your turn. Do you think my curated topic is useful? Why or why not? What could I improve?