January 04, 2007

More OpenLearn RSS Feeds...

A quick pointer to a handful of RSS feeds I've just generated from OpenLearn/LabSpace content. Quite a few of them have audio and flash movie resources in them which has raised a few interesting questions I'll post about later (already wasted enough of tonight on this palaver!).

It's too late just now for me to find the course titles, so you'll have to check out the feeds or look the courses up on LabSpace to see if there is anything that interests you... feel free to post the titles into a comment so I can just cut and paste them into a revision of this post.

(Okay then, some clues - the L course is French for Beginners, sort of; the B course is Marketing/Business; the S courses are on evolution, I think; the E courses are on the environment, maybe? The K course is something on healthcare, I think.) - thanks for the titles above, Patrick;-)

Notes to self to post about another day:

- how to deal with crap (no other word for it) in the original XML; things like weird punctuation, or punctuation that has been encoded into something undecipherable. I think someone in the OpenLearn team needs to lock down exotic punctuation. The simple stylesheet I'm using gets confused by all but the simplest punctuation...

- some of the courses have no metadata at all, not even course title, which is (IMHO ;-) inexcusable.

- some of the courses may not always work sensibly as a feed using my literal "1 page=1 feed item" heuristic. For example, in the feedcycle regime, where a new item is delivered every day, the flow from one item into the next may break if the content has been chunked (paginated) so that one page sets up, and leads immediately into, the next.

- rather than make life easy using multimedia formats that everyone has their browser (and server) set up for, a lot of the multimedia resources I came across tonight use things like flv and mp4 (rather than swf or mpg, for example). This led to an interesting diversion into potential embedded players (like this http://www.jeroenwijering.com/flv Flash video player).

Although I'm sure a lot of OpenLearn/LabSpace decisions were taken for good reasons, it's obvious that no-one was really encouraged to play with (i.e. try to (re)use/(re)mix) any of this stuff at a file-format and document processing level while the architectural decisions were being made...

I'd said that was a big oops...

PS if anyone from the OpenLearn team is listening, am I allowed to put the movies etc. onto YouTube (from where it'll be easy to play with? ;-)

Posted by ajh59 at January 4, 2007 11:36 PM

Hi Tony,
As you are doing so many interesting things with OpenLearn it seems the least I can do to give you a mapping from the course codes to the names and sections:
A103_1 Studying the arts and humanities. Arts and History
B700_1 The Market-Led Organisation. Business and Management
E500_1 School Governors: Being strategic. Society
E500_11 Global warming. Science and Nature
K100_6 Life Stories. Health and Lifestyle
L120_1 French: Ouverture. Modern Languages
M150_1 Crossing the boundary - analogue universe, digital worlds. IT and Computing
S103_1 Evolution Through Natural Selection. Science and Nature
S103_5 Meiosis and mitosis. Science and Nature
T171_1 Computers: bits & bytes. IT and Computing
T180_8 Living with the internet: keeping it safe. IT and Computing
T206_1 Why sustainable energy matters. Technology
T206_2 An Introduction to Sustainable. Energy Technology


Posted by: Patrick McAndrew at January 5, 2007 04:57 PM