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Blackboard xpLor officially released with OER and CC license options

Jane Park, June 25th, 2013

In January I blogged about Blackboard xpLor — a new cloud-based learning object repository that was being piloted at 70 institutions. Blackboard officially released it today, giving educators the ability to discover, create, and share resources across learning management systems (LMS). As part of its launch, xpLor has integrated support for CC license options for creators of content as well as the search and discovery of existing OER under CC licenses, such as the Khan Academy’s rich collection of videos and exercises. xpLor currently offers four CC license options for course creators (CC BY, CC BY-SA, CC BY-NC, CC BY-NC-SA) in addition to the CC0 public domain waiver, which allows you to waive all copyrights to your work should you choose to do so.

From the press release,

Users can create and store materials in xpLor, and then extend their content by sharing and making it discoverable to instructors across working groups, courses and institutions. Content is delivered through the cloud to users’ LMS; xpLor currently supports Blackboard Learn™, ANGEL, Joule® from Moodlerooms and Sakai. Users can tag and rate content, making it easy to find items their peers found to be valuable.

Content can be adapted over time by multiple users. Content authors can control who can see and change their content, and can apply to their work a variety of rights and permissions from All Rights Reserved to Creative Commons open sharing, to enable crowdsourcing collaboration and remixing of content.

For details with screenshots of the CC license implementation, see my earlier post. If you want to check it out yourself, you can via CourseSites or an existing LMS account with your institution (as named above). If you use a different LMS, xpLor may work with it if your LMS employs IMS standards — since xpLor is cloud-based and built to work across systems. To find out more, see the form at http://www.blackboard.com/sites/xplor/.

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Blackboard’s xpLor: Cross-platform learning repository adds Creative Commons license options

Jane Park, January 28th, 2013

Earlier this year, Blackboard announced xpLor — a new cloud-based learning object repository that will work across the various learning management systems (LMS) in use at educational institutions: e.g., Blackboard, Moodle, ANGEL, and Sakai. xpLor’s goal, as stated by Product Manager Brent Mundy, is to dissolve content boundaries between LMS’s and institutions so that instructors can more easily share, discover, and reuse course content. While the LMS is good at administering courses, LMSs are not particularly good at large-scale content management. For example, you can only manage content within an individual course, and you can’t easily share course content with other instructors using a different LMS or even with instructors using the same LMS at different institutions.

Now, with xpLor, which is currently in beta at more than 70 institutions, you can. Since xpLor is cloud-based and built using IMS standards (such as Common Cartridge and Learning Tools Interoperability), any LMS employing IMS standards can work with it. And now, xpLor has added Creative Commons license options, which means that instructors and institutions can create, share, and even build on each other’s CC-licensed content all through the same interface.

The default license for adding content is Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY),

but instructors can opt for a different CC license or their own custom terms. Here’s an example of what a CC-licensed resource via xpLor looks like:

xpLor also integrates CC-licensed content from existing open education projects, like the Khan Academy and Blackboard CourseSites’ CC BY licensed courses.

Instructors can find resources from these projects in addition to content added by their colleagues via xpLor’s search interface. As shown below, the CC license mark is clearly displayed next to each resource. In the future, instructors will be able to filter their searches by the CC license they desire.

In addition, xpLor offers instructors the ability to directly copy, edit and remix CC-licensed content in its system, as long as the resource is one of the basic common content types found in all LMS’s, according to common cartridge standards. As instructors pull from various sources to create content, the resource’s attribution and license will automatically be retained and carried into the new, derivative work, thanks to xpLor’s built-in support for authoring and versioning. In future iterations, content will also be exportable according to the same standards, with the license metadata attached.

For those interested in learning more, Blackboard has produced an infographic site on how it all works, where you can also sign up to receive additional info. If you want the back story on how xpLor originated, including the technical details of how the different systems will operate, we recommend reading project consultant Professor Chuck Severance’s post on xpLor.

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Agrega, the New Educational Digital Object Platform

Jane Park, June 19th, 2008

Agrega, a new educational initiative promoting internet in the classroom, is a collaborative effort on the part  of the Spanish Ministry of Education, Social Politics and Sports, Red.es, the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce, and the Autonomous Communities and Autonomous Cities of Spain (CC.AA). Agrega is Spain’s new educational digital object platform, “which consists of a central repository and other autonomous repositories which have educational content for non-university level centres.” Its emphasis is on content creation and development for primary and secondary educators by providing a space where various digital content of Spain’s Civil Service and the private sector are joined. One way of “commonizing” the content is to catalogue it under common criteria and thereafter to share these cataloguing efforts in Agrega. This will serve to expand the pool of online educational content available to Spanish educators and students, particularly in the fields of finance education and teacher training. The website offers engaging tutorials on how to search for, download and view content on Agrega, in addition to a content catalog.

The digital educational materials in Agrega can be used and adapted according to CC-BY-NC-SA.

And also in Spanish, thanks to ccLearn intern Grace Armstrong:

Agrega, el nombre de la nuevo iniciativa española que busca promover el internet en el aula, es un esfuerzo colaborativo por parte de red.es, el Ministerio de Educación, Política Social y Deporte español, el Ministerio de Industria, Turismo y Comercio y las Comunidades y Ciudades Autonomas. Agrega es la nueva plataforma de objetos digitales educativos de España y consiste en “un repositorio central y otros de carácter autonómico de contenidos educativos para centros de nivel no universitario”. Su énfasis está en la creación y desarrollo de contenidos curriculares para profesores de la enseñanza reglada no universitaria y pretende proporcionar un espacio para juntar los varios contenidos del Servicio Civil de España y el sector privado. Una manera de “comunizar” el contenido es de catalogarlo bajo criterios comunes y después de compartir eses trabajos de organización en Agrega. Así servirá de aumentar el fondo común de contenidos educativos disponibles a profesores y alumnos, especialmente en las áreas de la educación financiera y la formación pedagógica de profesores. El sitio brinda tutoriales que muestran como buscar, bajar y ver el contenido de Agrega, ademas de un catálogo de contenidos.

Se puede usar y adaptar los materiales educativos digitales de Agrega segun los terminos de la licencia CC-BY-NC-SA.

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