Research

The Chair is intended to contribute to building knowledge societies, including by drawing on information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the internet, as stated by UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, in the introduction to the Draft 37 C/4 and 37 C/5 documents. The project addresses via the use of OER and Open learning directly both UNESCO priorities, Africa and Gender Equality, in all its fields of competence. It is also articulated to other programmatic priorities such as the integration of activities linked to ICT in education and open educational resources into Major Programme I, and those linked to ICT in science and open access to scientific information into Major Programme II, as OER clearly presents a potential for achieving the 2015 goals set for Education for All. JSI already has firm relations and strong links with many institutions from the developing countries. In the project special attention will be paid to Africa and the creation and building of strong partnerships with academic institutions/organizations like OER Africa, African Virtual University, Association of African Universities and social driven communities like Voices of Africa. However this will not neglect creating partnerships in other world areas such as in Asia and Latin America, where we will also expand and build upon the corresponding partnerships.

The following activities are already part of the research strategy and efforts of Jožef Stefan Institute and will only be up-scaled and enforced by the work of the OER chair:

  1. OER Research – research activities on OER ICT– enabled learning environments, learning analytics and educational data mining with definition of case studies – Digital technologies are being developed and “marketed” for educational use since decades but a large implementation gap exists. There is a slow adoption rate of technologies in education, because of mismatch between real needs and supply. The lack of use of technologies is particularly affecting the primary and secondary education. There is a need for building the evidence base for more effective learning with technology. This will go hand in hand with tools and processes for collecting, storing, exploring and reasoning on large-scale educational data We will collect “big data” from students’ technology supported learning activities, transforming the data into information and producing, recommending actions aimed at improving learning outcomes.
  1. Prototype development, installation and deployment of state-of-the-art tools and ICT technologies, measure feedback and analysis of contexts, processes and environments – In order to have feasible research data, a real-life and functional ICT based network for OER based video educational content creation, consumption and harvesting needs to be setup. For this purpose the Opencast Matterhorn free and open lecture capture for classes and events, process the recordings, and distribute those recordings over an Open content delivery network to learners alongside a suite of tools for engaging with the recording to support learning, among those are the transLectures language modules, cross language multimodal content analysis and modelling tools from Xlike and Xlime, user modelling services from Quintelligence (JSI spin-off company), the export to the VideoLectures.Net platform and MediaMixer fragmentation services. In addition the following services for cross-language cross-media analytics will be adapted for use in OER: Newsfeed (realtime news collection service), Enrycher (realtime text enriching and contextualisation services), ArchiveExplorer (offline large collection content analytics services), DiversiNews (real time content analytics), ScienceAtlas (online social network analytics services), EventRegistry (knowledge extraction, trend detection services), LaVie (recommendation engine) and textgarden set of tools for text analytics. The prototype development will be done in cycles depending on the related RTD projects. Each cycle will finish with the phase of testing and validation. Testing will be done in the controlled environment while the validation will use for external users (existing members and visitors to videolectures.net portal). Both phases will follow already running procedures at JSI. The testing phase is being done at the development portal dev.videolectures.net while the validation phase is being conducted with the selected registered members of videolectures.net (currently there are more than 21.000 registered members mostly researchers, academics, lecturers and students.
  1. Dissemination and demonstration – development of joint or single business plan, exploitation of results, investigate service models, clustering and liaison, active community building and standard means of dissemination (presentations, publications, events, meetings, data exchange) – The main visibility objectives of this project are to make scientific, industrial and educational communities aware of the project and its results; to disseminate project activities and results in related fields or application sectors. Additionally to build a community around the project results and actively maintain a communication channel to its members. The project will follow a dissemination and community building strategy and will ensure that the technology deployed and data collected and created within the project are available beyond the end of the project. It will actively communicate with communities outside of the project, collect their feedback and involve them in the software development and research activities.
  1. Exchange of research staff – supervision, training of PhD and other research staff interested in computer science and technical aspects of OER.
  1. Networking – sharing and promoting best practices, case studies, prototypes and research results. Here we define two types of research projects. The first type (Type 1) reflects the research program of the OER Chair and therefore has its focus ICTs for online learning for OER, underpinned by advanced knowledge and context technologies. These research projects will be supervised under the OER Chair. The second category (Type 2) is a set of ongoing FP7 research projects involving Jožef Stefan Institute in a variety of OER related subjects from the domain of Language technologies, Multimodal content analytics, Text understanding, Information and communication technology applications and Community set-up and networking. These will be connected to the OER Chair in order to enhance synergy with UNESCO OER ‘Chair for Studies on strategy, implementation and impact’ in the overall OER research agenda at Jožef Stefan Institute. The OER Chair is fully involved in these (Type 2) research projects. In the first year and part of the second year the research activities (A) will build on ongoing FP7 research projects (Type 2). At the same time Jožef Stefan Institute will bid and develop new research projects under the Horizon 2020 research program and the research program of the OER Chair and in collaboration with the other partners listed in c. partnerships/networking (Type 1).