Open Educational Resources on GitLab
oer at GitLab collects
Educational Resources (OER).
In a nutshell, educational resources are open if they are distributed
under free licenses
(such as suitable variants of Creative Commons licenses),
5Rs of Openness, namely the rights to
reuse, redistribute, revise, remix, and retain.
Consequently, OER promise to reduce entry barriers towards
educational resources as well as to avoid redundant work when similar
educational resources of high quality are created in different
organizations. I explain
basics of OER in this OER presentation;
OER video recording (October 2019) entitled “Open Educational Resources: What, why, and how?” for that presentation is available.
According to the UNESCO’s Ljubljana OER Action Plan 2017 OER can play a “pivotal role […] toward achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and above all Sustainable Development Goal 4 on Quality Education.” However, several barriers have been identified that hinder a widespread adoption of OER, and the Action Plan proposes actions to overcome them, in particular for “building the capacity of users to find, re-use, create and share OER.”
Subsequently, the Action Plan shaped the 2019 UNESCO Recommendation on OER, which addresses five objectives with corresponding Areas of Action, among which the first reads: “Building capacity of stakeholders to create, access, re-use, adapt and redistribute OER”
oer group of projects is well aligned with UNESCO’s Action Plan
and Recommendation in that it (a) respects the 5 Rs of openness
[Wil14] for Open Educational Resources, (b) observes the
requirements of the ALMS framework [HWS+10], and (c) additionally
employs best practices from software engineering [Lec19].
Currently, OER collected here were or are being created at the
Department of Information Systems
University of Münster, Germany,
mostly with the
and open source software
(some details on emacs-reveal below);
additional OER projects based on free licenses are welcome.
2. Current OER projects
- OER presentations for a course on Operating Systems (source files for OER on OS)
- OER presentations for lectures on Distributed Systems (source files)
- In German: OER presentations for a course on the fediverse (source files)
- Mix of German and English
- OER presentations for a course surrounding Solid (summer term 2019, repeated in 2021) (source files)
- OER presentations for a course on Open Educational Resources (OER) (winter terms 2019/2020 and 2020/2021) (source files)
- Presentations on selected topics such as
- Howto for emacs-reveal (source files)
- Presentations created by students as part of specialization module on OER
- Miscellaneous OER presentations, including:
- A text on functional dependencies and 3NF normalization with the synthesis algorithm (generated from doc strings of this Python module)
- OER explaining aspects of the infrastructure of emacs-reveal such as an Introduction to Git and an Introduction to Docker
- OER figures used in some of the above presentations
- Docker images for the infrastructure of emacs-reveal
- Source code (using Jekyll) for my German Web page on digital self-defense for privacy in times of mass surveillance and surveillance capitalism
3. Technical Background
- OER should be usable (for learning) with FLOSS on (almost) any device, also mobile and offline.
- OER should be editable with FLOSS (this requires source file access).
- OER should be re-usable under the Single Sourcing paradigm (see [Roc01]), which enables reuse and revision from a single, consistent source without copy&paste (copy&paste creates isolated copies, where the reconciliation of changes and improvements by different individuals would be almost impossible).
- OER should offer a separation of contents from layout (then, experts for content do not need to be design experts as well; also, cross-organizational collaboration is supported where each organization can apply its own design guidelines).
- OER should be defined in a lightweight markup language, which is easy to learn and which enables the use of industrial-strength version control systems such as Git for the management of OER collaboration (comparison, revision, merge).
The above requirements are met by emacs-reveal [Lec19-jose]. Emacs-reveal supports the creation of OER presentations (HTML slides with audio explanations and PDF variants) from source files that are written in Org Mode as lightweight markup language (see [SD11] for a general introduction to Org Mode), which can be read and written as text files in any text editor. However, an editor with “real” support is recommended to benefit from Org Mode’s features. The native text editor for Org Mode is GNU Emacs but other editors support Org Mode as well.
With emacs-reveal, HTML presentations based on
reveal.js are generated from Org source
files. Thanks to features of the HTML presentation framework
reveal.js (with plugins) and Org mode, usual and advanced
presentation features are provided (e.g., animations and slide
transitions; speaker’s view with preview, notes, and timer; embedding
of images, audio, video, mathematical formulas; table of contents;
bibliography; keyword index; hyperlinks within and between
presentations; themes for different styling; responsive design with
touch support; quizzes for retrieval practice; code highlighting and
evaluation for programming languages). Besides, emacs-reveal allows
generating concise PDF versions from Org source files (in addition to
the PDF export of reveal.js).
With emacs-reveal, license attribution for OER figures is simplified, with machine-readable licensing information represented in RDFa in HTML [Lec19-delfi]. Besides, emacs-reveal supports the specification of an OER’s primary license with SPDX headers as used in the REUSE project, from which license information can be generated (“Except where otherwise noted, the work x by y is published under the license z”), e.g., the note at the bottom of this HTML file as well as the final slide of the howto for emacs-reveal, display generated license information in human-readable form and contain machine-readable RDFa markup (PDF versions just contain human-readable variants).
For the above OER presentations, the generation of
presentations from Org sources happens automatically in a continuous
integration infrastructure of GitLab based on a special Docker image
(about details of which the users of emacs-reveal do not need to know
Your contributions are very welcome! Please check out some hints in a separate document.
- [HWS+10] Hilton, Wiley, Stein & Johnson, The four ‘R’s of openness and ALMS analysis: frameworks for open educational resources, Open Learning 25(1), 37-44 (2010).
- [Lec19] Lechtenbörger, Erstellung und Weiterentwicklung von Open Educational Ressources im Selbstversuch, MedienPädagogik 34, 101-117 (2019). https://doi.org/10.21240/mpaed/34/2019.03.02.X
- [Lec19-delfi] Lechtenbörger, Simplifying license attribution for OER with emacs-reveal, in: 17. Fachtagung Bildungstechnologien (DELFI 2019), 2019. https://dl.gi.de/handle/20.500.12116/24399
- [Lec19-jose] Lechtenbörger, Emacs-reveal: A software bundle to create OER presentations, Journal of Open Source Education (JOSE) 2(18), (2019). https://doi.org/10.21105/jose.00050
- [Roc01] Rockley, The Impact of Single Sourcing and Technology, Technical Communication 48(2), 189-193 (2001).
- [SD11] Schulte & Davison, Active Documents with Org-Mode, Computing in Science Engineering 13(3), 66-73 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1109/MCSE.2011.41
- [Wil14] Wiley, The Access Compromise and the 5th R, 2014. https://opencontent.org/blog/archives/3221