The last week of the virtual workshop was dedicated to the issues dealing with quality within the documentation system of ETB. The idea reflected
in the background paper is in short - the more transparent the documentation on the selection criteria is, the better it serves the information need
of the users, thus higher quality can be achieved. Available at http://www.en.eun.org/eun.org2/goto.cfm?did=8472
In the ETB-network the repository
curators and managers hold a key position, they are the ones able to insert
records about learning resources into the network. A lot of responsibility
therefore relies on the concept of 'trusted source'; the origin, and the
availability of the selection criteria and quality policy implied to the
selection of these resources. This view seemed to be reinforced by the
two representatives of repositories, Tommy Byskov-Lund from the
Danish Infoguide (www.infoguide.dk)
and Marisa Trigari form
the Italian national educational repository
(http://www.bdp.it). (Both are ETB partners)
From the Infoguide's user
feedback it is understood that the end-users, here teachers, appreciate
'a brief description of the resource, and the knowledge that somebody has
actually had a closer look at this resource and found it valuable for educational
Along the same line is the comment
of Trigari 'As for specific educational resources, at least in our
educational setting, teachers keep trusting the opinion of eminent scholars/institutions,
of the repository itself, if it has good reputation, of valued colleagues,
as a quality mark... Good technical features and user friendliness (in
great demand) are asked for; as for the contents, what's important for
the teachers is that selectors and selection criteria are made explicit,
in order to - so to say - evaluate the evaluation.'
Another remark form the Infoguide
deals with reassuring feature of a community of colleagues behind the quality
selection. It notes that 'they [teachers] are happy that some of their
colleagues have done most of the job, sorting out relevant hits from the
often massive number of hits you get using major search engines, but the
final evaluation of whether it is useful is of course done by themselves'
As for information of the resource
itself the 'bare necessities' of metadata, such as title and description,
seems to be sufficient in the first place. Even in the Infoguide's
services it is reported that only 20% of users actually take a look at
the additional information, which includes fields about author, publisher,
keywords etc. Although some teachers have indicated that having the author/publisher
information adds value to their decision making process.
On the Italian side Marisa
Trigari notes that the teachers using their Internet catalogues services
value, in order of importance:
- the richest possible access to
the documents by content (specific topic)/ context (school/age level, discipline)
- the possibility of free
searching including all the elements of the record;
- presence of an abstract;
- accurate but not redundant description.
A piece of evidence for the above
stated priority is that searching by subject covers the 90% of the search
statements in the Italian data-bases.
These temoignages lead us to suspect
that the documentation system the ETB is planning to build upon, including
metadata on the collection and resource level, is well in place and answers
the needs of teachers and other end-users of such services.
Other issue in the contributions
of the third week dealt with the class room situation and how little actually
is known about it. This was written by Gunther Dippe from Göteborg
University. He strongly believes that 'we cannot discuss quality factors
within the ETB project as separate entities but rather as part of a very
complex system - the educational system'.
Dippe goes on 'When we suggest teacher
quality work in schools within this project, we should be aware that we
most of the time presume that we know what is going on rather than that
we actually know what is going on. The quality work we suggest might fit
into one teacher's work but it might as well not fit.'
In was commented by Riina Vuorikari
from European Schoolnet that there are good examples of teachers
involvement and usage of resources, a resent event eSchola was brought
up (eschola.eun.org). There were over
1000 schools participating and submitting their classroom- and school projects
for the event. About 2/3 of all submissions are presented in the Leading
Edge database, where the most interesting projects are made searchable.
This gives a versatile outlook on how teachers use ICT in their everyday
practices. It also gives some ground for the idea of a wider use of ETB
quality recommendations for teachers in the classroom, as Dippe also suggested.
The issues of classroom use of web-based
learning resources was commented by Marisa Trigari too. She classifies
the learning resources according to the possible teacher-users who could
be called 'early adapters' and 'followers', touching the theme that was
also presented during the first week of forum.
She prioritised the following issue:
'how effectively and ingeniously teachers use WEB resources' and proposed
that 'no short recommendations or teacher guides can solve that. As I wrote
in the first round of this forum, this problem deals with the wider and
extremely more complex issue of the teacher education nowadays.'
Other issues dealt with the quality
factors that ETB judges valuable, and some concrete examples of 'attractive'
learning material were given.
Unfortunately the discussion of
the controlled vocabulary of 'Quality Policy Level' was not activated,
which leave us to believe that it actually fits
to its purpose. This remains to
be tested in the pilot face of the project, which will be launched in coming
All the contributions of all the
three different fora are archived on the collaboration platform, and also
on the ETB-website (http://etb.eun.org),
available for everyone under the subsection 'Quality'. The platform remains
functional, and if wanted, the communication can continue.
As organiser of the Virtual Workshop
of Web-based Learning Resources and work package leader of Quality Issues
in ETB, I'd like to thank everybody for contributing in this workshop.
The correspondences have been the most interesting, inspiring, and certainly
The ETB-group thanks and withdraws
to elaborate the ideas for further development!
European Treasury Browser
||Thursday, 11 Oct 2001
||Friday, 12 Oct 2001
||etb, quality-issues, virtual forum, summary