Second Life – your experience may vary

I was planning a serious piece about the educational uses of Second Life, not least because a session from the recent JISC online conference was conducted in SL. This is an interesting example and something that deserves proper discussion. I was thinking about how the Second Life environment enhanced or detracted from the conference session participation. Did people get too distracted for example by being in an unfamiliar environment, did they feel part of a group, etc. But I’m afraid I got completely side-tracked while discussing this with a colleague who pointed me at this hilarious SL spoof. Well I thought it was hilarious, because it matched my own early experience of SL beautifully.

Are learning object repositories struggling to find content too?

In a timely parallel post D’Arcy Norman reflects on why many learning object repositories are bereft of content (other than mandated content from large projects). If you’ve been following the comments on my last post about JISC repositories you see a raw nerve has been touched about a similar lack of activity in institutional ePrints repositories. D’Arcy (and James in a follow-up post) come up with some valid arguments why this may be the case. My tuppence also includes the fact that formal [institutional] repositories were created as a solution to a problem the target audience (academics, teachers, even students) did know they had.

It’s no longer necessary to point out the staggering amounts of content created and submitted every minute to informal so-called social repositories. So why the difference? Who knows, but give an easy to use tool to a person with a desire and motivation to create content that interests them and share it with like-minded individuals, is probably part of it.

Digital repositories: Dealing with the digital deluge

I’m at the JISC digital repositories conference. So far a real mixed bag. As you might expect there’s a lot of waffle about web 2.0 and how disruptive technologies are changing the nature of repositories. I say waffle because the discussion about web 2.0 largely seems to be limited by web 1.0 or 0.1 thinking. It’s no longer sufficient I think to put up a slide listing so-called 2.0 services, you know, the usual suspects, Flickr, MySpace, YouTube … etc. You don’t get insight into how these technologies are changing the teaching & learning landscape just by naming them. Sadly the conclusion after one of the keynotes was to the effect “we need to learn what makes web 2.0 services so successful and apply that to repositories of the future”. Sorry mate, the world won’t wait for you and by the time you’ve figured it out it’ll have moved on.

A question was asked in one of the sessions. “What will a web 2.0 repository look like?” I don’t know what the repository will look like, but for me the interface will be my RSS aggregator.

Oh and also at the conference the JISC launched Depot. Another repository, this time for ePrints. It’s aimed at UK academics who don’t have access to their own institutional ePrints repository. The FAQs are great:

4. What can I put in the Depot?

“Typically this will be an electronic duplicate of a peer-reviewed journal article […] this is the version of your article after all of the changes due to the peer review process have been incorporated into the text.”

5. Will my publisher allow me to do this?

“This depends on the Copyright Transfer Agreement that you have signed with your publisher. Most publishers allow some sort of self archiving. […] If your publishing agreement does not allow you to deposit in a repository, it might be possible to negotiate with the publisher to give you a right to archive your article.”

So that’s likely a ‘no’, then, at least if you want to share your work with others via the repository.