Navigating multiple adaptations of an original resource using the new QUBES Resources System: an example and opportunity for discussion

  1. Elia Crisucci

    The new QUBES Resources System for Sharing OER is designed to support a scholarly approach to teaching by making it easy to 1) find, adapt, and share materials, 2) document our scholarly practices, and 3) track the impact of our work.  Here I’d like to describe an example of how the system is being used to share multiple customized adaptations of an original resource, discuss how the QUBES Resources System can be used to explore different adaptations of a resource, and start a discussion about the challenges that may arise as more and more resources are shared using this system.   

    The ESA-sponsored Data Discovery – Bringing research data into undergraduate classrooms Faculty Mentoring Network (FMN) brings together faculty from across the country who are interested in using ecological data in their classrooms.  With the support of peer mentors, the participants in the Spring 2017 ESA Data Discovery FMN focused on customizing selected Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology (TIEE) modules for use in their own classrooms.  

    Collectively, the FMN Fellows generated 26 products that have been shared using the new QUBES Resources System, all of which are adaptations of original TIEE modules.  For example, browse through the entire collection and you’ll find 12 resources that are adaptations of an original phenology module published by Dr. Kellen Calinger (The Ohio State University) in TIEE in 2014.  Dr. Calinger’s original module was a lab designed for ecology students.  The FMN participants tailored the module to their classrooms, which included both lecture and lab courses for both upper level and introductory students, by altering its length, modifying the dataset used, adding activities, and even switching the primary focus of the module, which has resulted in a rich collection of resources customized for a variety of educational settings.  Cumulatively, this collection of resources has had a huge impact, with a whopping total of 2000+ views and 300+ downloads! 

    So how can you navigate between different adaptations of an original resource using the QUBES Resources System?  First, browse the whole collection of FMN products from the 2017 ESA Data Discovery FMN and you’ll notice that the cards displaying adaptations of Calinger’s phenology module all display the same picture of a red columbine flower (Aquilegia canadensis for the botanists out there).  The cards also indicate that the resource was “Forked from: Investigating the footprint of climate change on phenology and ecological…”, which is also an active link to go to the full record of the original resource.  In the full record, under the “Forks” tab, you’ll find a complete list of adaptations of the resource.  If you click on the title of a particular adaptation in the list, it will take you to the full record for that resource, where you’ll find important information about the implementation of the resource in the “Description” (e.g. course level, instructional setting, implementation timeframe) and information about the changes that were made from the original in the “Notes” at the bottom.  Back on the “Forks” tab in the full record of the original resource, click on the “Diff” button to the right of one of the adaptations in the list to see a comparison of the full resource records for the original and the adaptation, which shows changes to the authors, title, description, and attachments.  

    Using OER best practices, the QUBES Resources System captures the relationship between different adaptations of a resource and allows you to navigate between these different adaptations, explore the differences between them, and ultimately find the resource best-suited for you to adopt or adapt.  

    However, as more and more resources are shared, we expect the relationships between adaptations to become more complicated and difficult to navigate.  We’d like to hear from you!  Please tell us what parts of the system are helpful?  What parts are problematic?  Imagine the perfect system - what would that look like?  

    Also, if you haven't yet had a chance to do so, please give us feedback on the "cards" used to display resources and the prototype for the new full resources record here.

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  2. Jeremy M Wojdak

    This new system is fantastic, and should be of real value for faculty searching for, sharing, and repurposing teaching materials.  I know there are always constraints and tradeoffs, but I'd make these suggestions:

    • Right now when you see all the forks from one resource, like here, many have the same title and the name of the "forker" rather than the author of the forked material.  Arguably, the title and forker are not the most relevant pieces of information for faculty searching through forked versions - if they've checked out the original, they probably know the main ideas, topics, content, approach. What might be most relevant are the course level, instructional setting, pedagogy, and implementation time frame. 
    • I could imagine filters that could be applied to a list of forked resources, where a faculty member searching would be able to select "lecture", or "<1hr", or the real-world constraints that make teaching materials fit or not fit for a given purpose.  Kind of like product searches on commercial websites... you can filter by brand or price or color, etc.. This would just reduce the number of "clicks" and "clicks back" necessary to navigate and find what one is looking for. 
      • Maybe both of these points only pertain to resources with lots of forks... 
    • Again, tradeoffs... but for a forked resource, that main "about" page might be better structured as below, to allow someone to recognize the connection to another resource and what makes this one difference, very quickly:
      • title
      • author, institution
      • "Forked from" link
      • description paragraph, with emphasis on changes, like the "notes" that appear at the bottom
      • content
      • cite
      • tags
      • etc.

    Just brainstorming. This is an exciting new way to share and collaborate!!!


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  3. Sam S Donovan

    First off, I'd like to say that I think this is a great problem to have. I love the fact that faculty have a place to share their curriculum development work and that the attribution is tracked so that everyone gets credit for their contributions. That said, Elia's post raises a whole host of real challenges to making these resources accessible to other teachers. While it doesn't seem realistic, or particularly efficient, to ask faculty to manually compare and contrast a dozen versions of a resource there are some low hanging fruit that we should not overlook. 

     - Documenting interest in the resource. If there is one clear message that comes out of this it is that many people are finding this resource useful and that they are using it. This has traditionally been very difficult to document and share in online collections. We are all interested in high quality teaching resources and this system provides new ways to capture that interest. 

     - Rich information about teaching practices linked to the resource. The materials shared here goes further than "likes" and "downloads" to capture teachers' reasoning and priorities that link together their particular use scenarios and the ways that the materials were tweaked and implemented. In some ways it elevates the discussion beyond  - how do I address this topic or skill in my classroom to how to I effectively address this material with my students. 

     - The potential for fostering ongoing communications and collaborations around a group of teaching resources. The contributions described here are the products of a semester long, mentored experience called a Faculty Mentoring Network (FMN) and a lot of hard work by the contributors to share their materials publicly. However, I think that down the line the bigger payoff may be the use of this rich collection of materials by other teachers particularly if there are ways for them to communicate around these modules, ask questions, share notes, and otherwise participate in a peer community of users. 

    Ok - this got a bit more "big picture" than I expected. I'll come back and think more about interface later. 

    My question to you is, "Have you had the experience of collaborating with colleagues on some teaching materials and, if so, what are the most important aspects of those interactions that we need to be able to support with this system to make those types of conversations possible?"

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  4. Hayley Orndorf

    One of our main challenges up to this point has been working without examples of adapted resources in the QUBES Resource System. Our FMN participants have had a variety of different mock-ups to work from, but not the actual resource collection on QUBES - but now we have that, this being our first real iteration. After each FMN, we can now provide participants with a better picture of what adapting a resource looks like, and should encourage them to think about how they would want to browse through adaptations when submitting their own. That should be a key difference as we move forward.

    I think we really need to think about noting key adaptations in the Title and Abstract. As others have mentioned, the "Notes" section is a bit hidden, and most of the time the Titles and Abstracts are all the same between the original and adaptations. How can we promote title and abstract writing that highlights changes, incorporating info from the Notes section?

    Tags could be incredibly helpful in displaying differences between adaptations - and with the new ontology they are easy for the user to select during submission. But at present they're a bit hidden on the record and card. It's also difficult to filter just forks of one resource. I'd like to be able to have the original resource on a page with all of its adaptations, and then filter/sort by the different tags. 

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  5. Elia Crisucci

    Thank you for following the discussion about the new QUBES Resources System.  If you haven’t had a chance to share your feedback, please feel free to join the discussion.  Your feedback is powerful and this is an active area of development.  

    In fact, new features are being added to the system this month, including the ability to customize the system by creating your own resource tagging ontology, publication type, and resource curation pipeline.  QUBES Sneak Peek!

    We will continue to share updates as the system evolves.  

    Please feel free to be in touch if you would like to use the system. 

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