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 MELT content audit 

At the end of March 2007, project partners completed work on a major audit of MELT content, deliverable (D5.2), and further updated some of these figures at the end of October 2007 in a deliverable (D5.3) that looks at the Phase I content enrichment by experienced indexers.

  • MELT Content Audit
    Number of MELT resources and assets
    In October 2007, the project is on target to provide provide approximately 94% of the learning resources and slightly exceed the number of learning assets that were indicated in the original Description of Work. The total figures at the end of Year 1 are 35,324 learning resources and 97,747 learning assets.
    The breakdown of content by age range indicates that there is a concentration of resources for secondary level education which is broadly in line with the situation found in earlier projects such as CELEBRATE.
    MELT resources by teaching level
    Basic/Primary 30.05%
    General Upper Secondary 58.12%
    Vocational Education 5.55%
    Teacher training materials/lesson plans 6.26%

    The figures from the March 2007 audit show that the MELT collection is particularly strong in terms of resources for: maths, science and technology (37%); second national language and foreign languages (13%); mother tongue and literature (10%); and History (9%).

  • MELT Application Profile

  • A key issue for the content audit has been to examine the metadata application profiles (the guidelines for how metadata is structured) currently being used by MELT partners and to establish a baseline for the metadata that currently exist for MELT content.
    Starting with the existing EUN LRE application profile (version 2.1 - developed during and after the CELEBRATE project), MELT partners made a number of recommendations for how this LOM-based profile needs to be amended in order to meet the requirements of MELT repositories. The resulting MELT LRE Application Profile is presented Part 3 of deliverable D5.2 where all the elements and vocabularies are given in detail. The mandatory elements of the MELT application profile are:
    1.1 General.Identifier
    1.3 General.Language
    3.2 Meta-metadata.Contribute
    4.3 Technical.Location
    6.0 Rights
    9.1 Classification.Purpose
    9.2 Classification.Taxon Path
    New repositories joining the MELT federation may well have more mandatory fields than this. General feedback from teachers using national portals and from smaller focus groups of teachers confirms that having metadata for a number of additional fields can also significantly improve the search experience. The MELT application profile, therefore, also includes recommended elements. These are:
    1.2 General.Title
    1.4 General.Description
    1.5 General.Keyword
    1.7 General.Structure
    2.3 Life Cycle.Contribute
    3.4 Meta-Metadata.Language
    4.1 Technical.Format
    4.2 Technical.Size
    4.3 Technical.Facet
    5.2 Educational.Learning Resource Type
    5.5 Educational.Intended End User Role
    5.6 Educational.Learning Context
    5.7 Educational.Typical Age Range
    5.10 Educational.Description

  • Enriching content with new metadata

  • In the first phase of the project (Year 1), a group of experienced indexers from across Europe are enriching MELT content with additional metadata, in line with the new LRE application profile. It will be possible to measure exactly how much and what type of metadata is added during this process as the content audit has also taken a snapshot of the metadata in each partners’ content collection.
    It is clear from deliverable D5.3 that content partners are using the funding being provided in MELT to maximum effect and will be able to almost fully index all resources (96 %) and a significant number of assets (51.5%). Moreover, by the end of November 2007, almost two-thirds of MELT learning resources will have been enriched with new metadata. This means that a key project milestone will have been achieved, as there will be a critical mass of resources where the metadata has been enriched in time for the start of the validation with schools.

  • MELT Quality Criteria

  • As a general principle, all content made available via the MELT LRE federation will have undergone, at a national level, a quality check that will ensure: the correctness and accuracy of the content, that no offensive material is distributed to MELT schools and that copyright has not been infringed. Whether the author of a resource is known or not, or whether the resource has been produced by a teacher(s) or commercial companies, it will only be made available in MELT if it has first passed a formal review process administered by a recognised national authority (for example, using expert teachers and subject matter expert acting as moderators).
    The MELT content audit included an in-depth examination of partners’ existing content quality guidelines and produced a checklist to help them decide what content from their repositories should be made available in the project for enrichment. This checklist, which has been particularly inspired by the framework and quality guidelines provided by the Finnish National Board of Education, is divided into five categories – pedagogical, usability, reusability, accessibility and production.
    The list is by no means prescriptive and not all of the criteria can always be applied to all resources. For example, some resources may score strongly in terms of re-usability because they include open source code that facilitates adaptation to different learning scenarios than the one originally intended. However, the same resource might actually score poorly in terms of its interactivity. The checklist, therefore, needs to be seen more as a minimum framework that should be used in a flexible way.
    Further details on the checklist are provided in Part 1 of deliverable D5.2.

  • Content that travels well?

  • In MELT we want to be able to provide access to learning content that meets nationally recognised quality criteria. However, it is also important to appreciate that some very high-quality resources may meet the specific needs of a national curriculum but may not always have the ability to be used as effectively (or maybe at all) by schools in other countries. For example, a text-heavy, lesson plan in a minority European language may work splendidly in a national context but may simply be unusable by teachers in other countries.
    With this in mind during the content audit, MELT partners have begun to develop quality criteria that are defined in terms of the extent to which learning content has the potential to ‘travel well’; i.e. the extent to which resources/assets can be easily used across national borders and in different curricula frameworks. At a commonsense level, some MELT content will obviously travel better than others. Learning assets such as pictures and sounds, for example, are obviously more re-useable than a complex, Spanish language learning object designed to convey facts about the Spanish War of Independence.
    Beyond this, an initial assumption in MELT is that content is more likely to ‘travel well’ if it is:
    • modular: the parts of a content item are fully functional on their own
    • adaptable: the resource can be modified, for instance from a configuration file, from a plain text file or because it is provided along with its source code or an authoring tool.

    Further discussions among partners also suggests that cross-border re-use of content will be more likely if resources:

    • have a strong visual element and users can broadly understand what is the intended learning objective or topic (e.g. resources may have little or no text; and include animations and simulations that are self-explanatory or have just a few text labels or icons/buttons for start, stop, etc.)
    • have been designed to be language customisable ('choose a language option') and are already offered in more than one language.
    • address curriculum topics that could be considered trans-national (e.g. teaching 'geometric shapes' or 'the parts of the cell' are usually covered in every national curriculum but teaching the folklore of a very specific region is not).
    • are adaptable from a technical (e.g. resources are supplied along with an authoring environment or tools) or IPR perspective (e.g. they are not made available under a “No derivatives” Creative Commons license which would prevent users from even translating the resource).lick here to see some examples of learning resources from partners’ repositories that could potentially travel well according to the above criteria.

  • Examples of MELT content that travel well

    OPH – Finland

    Title: Healthy Meal

    This English version of a Finnish interactive Learning Object from the CELEBRATE project (developed by the National Board of Education) allows pupils to plan a meal and learn about nutritional needs and weight management. Although there are more text labels than in the Loudspeaker example, constructing a meal using this interactive LO is fun and would possibly appeal to pupils with basic English language skills. An experienced teacher might also be able to successfully use the resource for whole class teaching.

    NBE – Norway

    Title: Hydroelectric Power Plant

    This Flash animation with sound effects from the CELEBRATE project (Norwegian Ministry of
    Education made available via the EUN repository) illustrates the workings of a hydroelectric power plant and contains no text information whatsoever.

    CNICE – Spain

    Title: Zorro del desierto (Fennec fox

    Example of an asset in the Cnice image collection. Should travel well because it is text free.

    FWU – Germany

    Title: The Climate of Europe (FWU)

    This complex LO provides an introduction to the main features of the European climate in general
    (northern hemisphere, Atlantic Ocean, Gulf Stream) and the differences between Western, Northern, Eastern and Southern Europe. It consists of WMV movies, complemented by images, diagrams, work sheets and didactical remarks.

    BMBWK – Austria

    Title: eteaching-austria, contake (LRs)

    Travels well because content is language customizable

    TLF – Estonia

    Title : Estonian Vertebrates (et: Eesti selgroogsed)

    1. Provides overview of Estonian Vertebrates by texts, pictures and sounds.
    2. Introduces the distinctive features distribution, feeding, reproduction and development of the most common species of Estonian Vertebrates.
    3. Has a database of systematic, endangerment and protection of Estonian Vertebrates.
    4. Provides educational tasks for studying Estonian Vertebrates.
    Travels well because there is an English as well as an Estonia version and also takes full advantage of multimedia (images and sounds).


    Title: Visible part of a future computer

    This image presents an idea for a future personal computer. English language is used to describe the parts of the future computer (glasses). It might travel well
    INDIRE - Italy

    Title: Leadership and relational competences (it: Leadership e competenze relazionali)

    A learning object about leadership and relational competences. It is addressed to teachers and is designed to improve the professional competences of teachers related to class management, cooperation among other colleagues etc. Keywords: competence, interpersonal relations, personality development, teaching.
    This resource could travel well because there is not too much text and the content is rather curriculum- independent since the resource it is about transversal teaching competences.
    Notna gradiva

    Title: V vas pojo, po njo, na njo

    Example of music notes from collection “Notna gradiva”. Although it contains Slovene lyrics, it should travel well because notes are language independent. These notes can also be played using an external player. Materials from “Notna gradiva” are not yet published on the internet, so this example can only be accessed via generic web page.
    NCTE - Ireland

    Title: Irish Mythology

    Do you know the name of the leader of the Fianna? Why not test your knowledge of Irish Mythology? Try this crossword! Reason to travel well: an interactive resource available in English that can be printed.

    Title: La Bicicleta, un bon mitjà de transport (The bicycle, a good way to move around)

    Flash animation to explain the mechanics of a bicycle. Even though the text is in Catalan, the animation is clear enough to be implemented in other languages. It could travel well because the animation is very transferable,

    Title: Thermodynamics – Temperature JAVA/THERMODYNAMICS/THERMO_UK/HTML/Temperature.html

    This resource describes microscopic interpretation of temperature. It is supported by java applet and some questions. It might travel well because it is in English.

  • IPR and MELT Content

  • After September 2007, new social tagging tools will be used to further enrich MELT content. As the goal is to encourage teachers who have used MELT content to create a large volume of folksonomy ‘tags’, it is important that MELT content is available as Open Educational Resources (OER).
    The intention in the project is to make all MELT content available under a range of Creative Commons licenses. This international initiative let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. The Creative Commons licenses are specified by combining the following criteria.
    1. Attribution (by) You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work - and derivative works based upon it - but only if they give credit the way you request.
    2. Non-commercial (nc) You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your work - and derivative works based upon it - but for non-commercial purposes only.
    3. No Derivative Works (nd) You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it.
    4. Share Alike (sa) You allow others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work.
    The content audit has shown that allMELT partners have chosen to use some form of ‘noncommercial’ CC license while ‘attribution’ is also included in the licenses being applied by 14 partners. These two conditions are then combined with ‘no derivative works’ by seven partners and an equal number of partners have elected to combine them with the ‘share alike’ criteria.

  • Folksonomies and social tagging

  • Part 2 of the Content Audit contains a review of the state-of-the art related to folksonomies and social tagging and also outlines the needs and requirements for the social tagging tool that will be developed in the project.
    You will find more information about folksonomies and social tagging in our section on Enriching Content entitled folksonomies.