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Tagging, Rating, and Reviewing OER Materials

Module by: ISKME. E-mail the author

Summary: This module covers tagging, rating, and reviewing OER materials.

The module “Finding OER Materials You Can Start Using Now,” showed how quickly you can find OER materials. In this module, “Tagging, Rating, and Reviewing OER Materials,” we’ll talk about ways you can begin contributing to OER Commons by using tags as well as rating and reviewing materials.

The What, Why, and How of Tags

In general, tags classify content the way you want to organize it. Tags are dynamic and created by the people who use a site as opposed to being a pre-defined set of keywords created by the owners of the site. So, a tag is a keyword created by a person who uses a site. Some examples of sites that use tagging are:

What all these sites have in common are people sharing content in an open community setting. To keep track of their own and others’ content, users classify content of interest by using tags.

The creation of tags give users of a site the ability to participate in classifying and organizing content the way they want to. Because tags come from the people who use the site, tagging is considered a bottom up classification scheme as opposed to top down (an existing pre-defined set of keywords from the site’s administrators).

OER Commons uses a bottom up classification scheme as well as a top down one. The bottom up classification scheme (tags) enables you to create and assign keywords, making them immediately searchable. In the top down classification scheme, keywords are created and assigned by the site’s administrators (in this case, OER Commons). The benefit to bottom up is that it gives users the flexibility to create their own way to classify the materials; top down provides a standardized set of keywords. To learn more, read The Hive Mind: Folksonomies and User-Based Tagging.

Tagging items is one of the ways to become an active contributor in the open source movement, which is defined as a distributed, participatory, and collaborative environment. Why would you want to actively participate in OER Commons? With so many ways to teach and learn, your perspective lends a unique dimension to OER. Others can learn from your OER process.

When you create tags, you are sharing the way you classify items, which can be useful to others who are searching for the items.

Here’s one example of how tagging can help you as an educator or learner:

One person using a lesson plan about the Spanish influenza of 1918 might assign a tag such as flu, while another might assign a tag such as pandemic. Once assigned by users, tags are tied to the given resource, and become a searchable way to find that resource as well as other resources that are tagged or associated with the same labels. These new tags provide additional context for the item and help make it more findable. Your perspectives give others a new lens into seeing the content from a different angle and in turn, may give new ideas on how to use (or re-use) it.

On the OER Commons homepage, the “Top 30 Tags” are located on the right side of the page. (See Figure 1.) Clicking on any tag displays a results page with OER items tagged with that particular keyword. To view all available tags in OER Commons, click on the “View all tags” link located in the Top 30 Tags box. Viewing all tags shows the collection of all tags on a site, which is called a “TagCloud.” The size of the word indicates its popularity. For a visual example of OER Common’s TagCloud, see Figure 2.

Figure 1
Figure 1 (graphics1.jpg)

Figure 1. A visual representation of the Top 30 Tags in OER Commons. This list changes; when you view it, different tags may be shown.

Figure 2
Figure 2 (graphics2.jpg)

Figure 2. A visual representation of OER Common’s TagCloud. This list also changes as people add more tags. And as more people use a particular tag, its font size increases.

Tags and Metadata

Metadata is data that provides information about other data. When you submit your materials to OER Commons, you provide information in the submission form such as the title, author name, type of material, keywords, and tags. This information becomes attached to that material. This information is called metadata. When someone conducts a search, the search engine uses the metadata to find and retrieve the material.

Additionally, when you provide information about others’ materials by rating, reviewing, and tagging the material, you are providing metadata that becomes attached to that material.

The metadata you provide in your own materials as well as the information you provide by tagging, rating, and reviewing of others’ materials enriches the content by giving descriptive information that assists in searching and re-use of the materials.

Read more about how OER Commons uses metadata for searching.

Activity: Tag an OER item

  1. Go to OER Commons. You must be logged in to do this activity.
  2. Locate any OER item by searching with a keyword or clicking on a tag.
  3. After finding an OER item, click on its title. You should see a page similar to the one in Figure 3.
  4. Locate “Tags for This Item” on the right side of the window. (See an example in Figure 3.) Click on “Add Tags.”
  5. The page “Add Tags” appears. Add your own tag or select a tag from the list below. Each tag should be on its own line.(Figure 4.)
  6. When you’re done, click the “Save” button.
  7. Your tag(s) will then appear in “Tags for this Item.”
Figure 3
Figure 3 (graphics3.jpg)

Figure 3. A visual representation of the area where you add tags. When you tag an item, others will see the tag when they view the item.

Figure 4
Figure 4 (graphics4.jpg)

Figure 4. A visual representation of an example of the “Add Tags” page.

OER stories from around the world

A music teacher tags material she found to give it more meaningful context.

Coming full circle with the OER process: 2 chemistry teachers use the same activity.

Your experience using open and freely shared course-related materials is valuable in the reuse and evolution of the materials. Tell us your story; how you’ve used these materials and how their use has impacted how you teach or learn.

Rating Provides a Lens

After using an item in OER Commons, consider sharing your experience by rating it. When you rate items you have used, your rating information becomes attached to the item and provides another lens for others as they make decisions to use it.

Activity: Rate an OER item

  1. Go to OER Commons. You must be logged in to do this activity.
  2. Locate any OER item by searching with a keyword or clicking on a tag.
  3. After finding an OER item, click on its title. You should see a page similar to the one in Figure 3.
  4. Click on the link “Rate Item.”
  5. A drop down menu appears.
  6. Rate the item by choosing a number.

Items that you rate are attached to the item as well as being placed in “My OER Portfolio.” Learn more about “My OER Portfolio.”

Reviewing Provides Even More Understanding

Just as rating an OER item contributes to the richness of its information, reviewing it provides even more understanding. There are 3 categories on the Review Form:

  • Use
  • Overall Quality
  • Usefulness and Recommendations for Future Use.

Each category asks questions that help to provide a deeper understanding of how the material can be used. Your feedback gives others ideas on how they might implement the OER item.

Activity: Review an OER item

  1. Go to OER Commons. You must be logged in to do this activity.
  2. Locate any OER item by searching with a keyword or clicking on a tag.
  3. After finding an OER item, click on its title. You should see a page similar to the one in Figure 3.
  4. Under the title, click on the link “Review Item.”
  5. The page “Add Review” appears.
  6. Review the item by completing this form as appropriate.
  7. Click the “Save” button.

Your reviews are attached to the item as well as being placed in “My OER Portfolio.” Learn more about “My OER Portfolio.”

For More Information

The following resources have been selected to provide more information on concepts we covered in this module.

Other modules in this course include …

This module showed how you can begin contributing to OER Commons by tagging, rating, and reviewing materials you have used. The next module, “My OER Portfolio,” will show how using your OER Portfolio personalizes your use of OER Commons and gives you quick access to materials you have saved.

OER Commons Links

For more information about OER Commons, send an email to info@oercommons.org.

Use this feedback form to send OER Commons general feedback, a feature request, or information about a bug/problem you had using the site.

To see the ever-growing list of the new content providers and contributors to OER Commons, visit the Content Providers page often. You can be one too!

“Quotable Quote”

The form in which information is coded has, itself, an inescapable bias.1

About This Module

The "How Tos" of OER Commons is a set of learning modules evolving out of the development of OER Commons (http://www.oercommons.org), a teaching and learning network for free-to-use educational materials from around the world, created and licensed by the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME).

Course contributors are Lisa Petrides, Amee Godwin, and Cynthia Jimes, and online learning consultant, Patricia Delich.

For more information, visit http://www.iskme.org and http://elearningnetworks.com.

Footnotes

  1. Postman, N. (1988). Conscientious Objections. New York: Vintage Books.

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Definition of a lens

Lenses

A lens is a custom view of the content in the repository. You can think of it as a fancy kind of list that will let you see content through the eyes of organizations and people you trust.

What is in a lens?

Lens makers point to materials (modules and collections), creating a guide that includes their own comments and descriptive tags about the content.

Who can create a lens?

Any individual member, a community, or a respected organization.

What are tags? tag icon

Tags are descriptors added by lens makers to help label content, attaching a vocabulary that is meaningful in the context of the lens.

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