Talk:New Zealand Schools OER Portal

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Thread titleRepliesLast modified
Suggest creating a category structure422:29, 29 September 2009
Sector representation?403:59, 28 August 2009
No 8 wire013:52, 6 August 2009

Suggest creating a category structure


I've noticed lots of great work here and elsewhere coming from the OERNZ efforts. I think it'd be to our benefit to create a category structure for the resources (at least a starting point), to enhance the usability of the resources. Here's a straw-dog hierarchy to get a discussion going:

1st level -- Category:OERNZ collects the organizational pages related to the project (subcategory of New Zealand and...)

2nd level -- Category:OERNZ_Resources houses collections of resources (everything in level 3 listed as a subcategory and anything else that doesn't fit in level three).

Two (or more) 3rd levels

-- Category:OERNZ_Primary, Category:OERNZ_Intermediate, Category:OERNZ_Secondary (or something like this to indicate level) -- Category:OERNZ_Math, Category:OERNZ_Science, Category:OERNZ_Technology.... to collect resources according to subjects

4th level -- specific name of resource (could be a multi-page project like Deforestation or a collection of lesson plans in a specific area.

If you'd like more info on this idea for hierarchical categoriess see All pages categorized and Multiple categories

Just some thoughts for consideration. I'm happy to help as needed.

ASnieckus (talk)22:16, 28 September 2009

Hi Alison,

I agree and think this is an excellent suggestion. I was thinking along similar lines as well :-). At the moment I'm grappling and thinking how we might overcome the challenge with newbies getting their heads around categories and subcategories. Any thought or suggestions you may have are well received :-)

We might be able to automate some of this. Template:OER_Metadata can help a little, in that it will automatically insert a category tag. We could add an additional filed for "Sub-level" do manage the split between primary and secondary -- Two sub levels for schools.

Currently the experimental input box for lesson templates () sets creates the resources as a subpage of OERNZ -- eg OERNZ/World War II. Do you know of any tricks to remove the OERNZ from the actual alphabetical listing on the category page? The alternative is to drop the OERNZ prefex in the page URL -- but I'm worried how this will scale internationally. For example -- I imagine that there would hundreds of Lessons for Fractions for Grade 3 because of differences in national curricula regarding sequencing, emphasis, approach, links with other areas of the curriculum etc.

Thoughts and feedback welcome -- plus all the help you have time to give :-)

Cheers Wayne

Mackiwg (talk)22:44, 28 September 2009

As I said in an email response this morning, having OER authors complete the OER_Metadata template will go a long way to providing data about developing resources. And as you suggest, we can work in the background to figure out how best to use that data to maximize finding (and thereby reusing) resources. Categories seem to be the current solution to this, but Jim has some good suggestions in his email response below and we need to consider how the subpage structure will play out (agreed, there could potentially be an enormous number of resources for beginning fractions, grade 3 and otherwise, even within one country -- organization of it all will be challenging and ongoing).

As for how to achieve an alphabetical listing of many subpages on a category page, I don't have any ideas, although I have noticed that Wikipedia does something to create an alphabetical listing that ignores the namespace (but I'm guessing you all know about that already:)

To get us started thinking and give us a place for discussion about whether and how to implement categories, Jesse has started Workgroup:Categories. I'll sign on, so with one more volunteer we can initiate a community workgroup and get to work.

ASnieckus (talk)22:29, 29 September 2009

I would lean toward skipping what you've called 1st level and 2nd level. If something is in level 3 (or OERNZ_Something_Not_Mentioned) then it can be found with the correct search. (I would hope the community someday supports installation of the MWSearch (Lucene) extension.) I don't see the value of having a giant OERNZ category whose contents can be determined in other automated ways.

I also expect there should be categories (or ideally tags) for NZ curriculum units.

But I'm also very skeptical of being too prescriptive at the start. I believe the sort of people that like using wikis tend to be more self organizing. This is why I've argued for a tagging system which would associate a tag cloud with each page, with visitors able to see the top ways users have tagged the page.

JimTittsler (talk)00:08, 29 September 2009

I see what you mean (having a hierarchy with OERNZ embedded at every level is redundant) and agree that we need to be careful not to over-prescribe. But with the current less than perfect (IMO) search mechanism we need a way for newbies to provide information about their resource so WE can know it exists.

I think discussion of categorization in general falls squarely in the purview of the style guidelines workgroup. The two proposed guidelines I linked to in my post above suggest a hierarchical scheme (at least to some extent). I've been trying out the ideas in these proposed guidelines and wondered how categories fit with the subpage structure that WE use (it's easy to see the subpage structure when on a low level page, but there's no indication of subpages from the top page unless the author includes the links).

Creating a template for use on the main page, to collect lots of info from users, is a good idea. Maybe our first step should be to collect data. As you suggest, let's see how users "tag" their pages and then we can discuss ways to make the best use of that data.

Let's continue this discussion in the style guidelines workgroup. I'll propose this in response to Wayne's email.

ASnieckus (talk)13:42, 29 September 2009

Sector representation?

I'm wondering how we can put groups of sector specific teachers together to create resources - as a primary school teacher of Year 3 & 4 students content that I create may be too simple or not even part of the curriculum for secondary and tertiary teachers - while I get valuable ideas from colleagues in other sectors it would be great to work specifically with primary school teachers.

I worry a bit when I look at content already here - most of it seems to be aimed at higher secondary or tertiary and therefore note appropriate for me & my students.

Dragonsinger57 (talk)02:49, 28 August 2009

Hi Jo,

That's a very good point and observation. Thanks for that.

Perhaps we need a "Portal block" or sub-portal page for the different sectors. In your professional opinion, what is the optimal or typical division, for example?

  • Junior Primary
  • Senior Primary and Intermediate
  • Junior Secondary
  • Senior Secondary

All advice is well received, and we'll get this implemented.

Mackiwg (talk)03:26, 28 August 2009

That could cause some debate I'm guessing.

Perhaps something like:

Y0-6 (or Y0-3/4-6)

Y7-10 (incorporating Senior Primary/Intermediate/Junior Secondary)

Y 11-13/14 (I see some schools are going to Y14)

That's the kind of Primary/Junior High/Secondary age groups.

Dragonsinger57 (talk)03:38, 28 August 2009

Hi Jo,

Thanks for the feedback -- don't want to initiate unnecessary debate -- which is why we're asking the professionals.

I've also posted an open question to the OERNZ and MLE lists.

Thanks for raising the point -- excellent contribution.

Cheers Wayne

Mackiwg (talk)03:41, 28 August 2009

Yes I think some sort of categorization by level is useful for searchability -but the structure needs to be as open as possible -being able to find a resource at a different level and edit it to suit is part of what OER is about. The dividing lines between levels need to be a bit fuzzy. Is it possible to develop some sort of lo-to-hi continuum on which resources can be placed by the originator, rather than sectorizing things up?

BoogieO (talk)03:59, 28 August 2009

I am looking forward to seeing the progression. New Zealand teachers in classrooms around the world are recognised for their innovative ability to create resources from next to nothing. This portal will give the opportunity for New Zealand teachers to showcase their enterprising teaching ideas from within their own country. Allowing these ideas to be shared and improved for all. Good on ya mate! N

Rekrapenator (talk)13:52, 6 August 2009