Archive for November, 2010

Information Architecture and Design Solutions Scaffolding Authoring of Open Educational Resources

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

LeMill – Web community for finding, authoring and sharing open educational resources – will next week reach 15 000 community members. The growth rate is now about 100 new members every week, thanks to some new online publicity and our new and improved user interface. The number of monthly visitors is about 100 000 per month.

Some months ago we published an article about the design of Open Educational Resource services. The article is online and available full text in many University Libraries (unfortunately not open access).

The main point of the paper is that — as Erik Duval has pointed out several times — design is difficult, but with a proper design process, working with all stakeholders, prototypes, thinking, freedom to think and do things differently, courage to do decisions and ability fail fast you may get it right or at least close to right.

In the paper we do not discuss about the hidden curriculum embedded to LeMill. The idea is that when teachers will see the benefits of collaborative authoring of open resources it will have an effect on their daily practice. Experiences are powerful teachers.

New LeMill 3.0 beta: the best OER (wiki) repository ever

Monday, November 1st, 2010

We just released a new version of the LeMill service — web community for finding, authoring and sharing open educational resources (OER). I think our design with LeMill is finally getting the right shape.

lemill front small New LeMill 3.0 beta: the best OER (wiki) repository ever

I think it is better if I do not explain the design, as the service is just a click away. Feel free to try it. I am, however, pretty convinced that the interaction and usability design of LeMill is better than in any other OER repository today. It is also worth to mention that LeMill is not only OER repository, but a wiki — a collection of content that anyone can edit. LeMill’s user interface is clear, fast, minimalistic and beautiful.

LeMill community is still relatively small; close to 15 000 teachers. The small size of the community causes challenges, especially as it is divided to 14 language communities.

The good news is that we now have friends in Brazil and the user interface is translated to Brazilian Portuguese. With the fast growth of Internet connections, commitment to Open Source and investments to education we may expect some growth in Brazil. That is good.

What I would like to see in LeMill would be more teachers from the US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand and other English speaking countries. I think the low numbers from these countries have an effect on the growth of LeMill in other locations, too. People everywhere read English online media and today LeMill does not make the headlines.