Content and OSP

Sean Keesler smkeesle at
Sat Nov 10 19:19:18 UTC 2007

It might make some sense for the resources/fluid groups interested in
working on resources as it relates to OSP to get familiar with some high
level concepts around the tool suite and their purpose. I'd be happy to do a
Breeze session to try to walk users through some of these concepts.

I'm not sure how best to participate yet. However, there are a few themes
that pop up in my head when I think of the connections between portfolios
and resources:

1. In one sense, "My Resources" IS a learner's portfolio. It is the
collection of all I have done. It isn't a finished product and I probably
wouldn't think of it as something I would want to publish to others, but it
is an ever changing pile of stuff I need to make sense out of. When we talk
about OSP, its really hard to draw a box around. It is bleeding into other
Sakai tools, like Resources and Assignments.

2. One way I can make sense of my raw material is by organizing it in
folders. It is a good first step, but I outgrow it quickly as I identify a
file as having multiple meanings or uses. A long time ago the OSP designers
referred to creating "collections" of files. That design goal has yet to be
realized in Sakai. We've heard talk of tagging and smart folders...I think
its all very similar. There may be something that distinguishes the
"collections" idea from simple tagging, however. I have heard many portfolio
people say that capturing some metadata about the
grouping/tagging/collection (date and some reflections or notes) is
important. It provides a log of "what I was thinking" when I tagged all
these things together. You could think of a "learning portfolio" as these
loose groupings and musings that I use to make sense out of the world around
me. A "tag cloud" idea makes some sense when I think about this "emergent"
representation of self.

3. As I figure out what the connections between my stuff is (and
catalogue/tag/group it so I can find it easily) I may be asked to present
some of it for program review or as part of some project. I may end up
adding files to scaffolding structures (matrices and wizards) in response to
a series of prompts. The entire wizard/matrix data structure (and all the
stuff I jammed into it) may be fed into the OSP portfolio tool to present to
an audience. I could share it with users in Sakai (my class, my friends, my
teacher...) or outside of Sakai (my future employer, my parents, etc). I
mention this because there is security built into that tool that SHOULD
supercede the resources tool's security. If I share my portfolio with
someone, the security permissions in the resources tool should never prevent
a published portfolio from being shared. There is a block diagram of the
jist of this idea on confluence:

4. Other tools create XML "structured data" that lives in my resources. When
I fill out forms in a wizard or a matrix, special folders are created in My
Workspace to store the XML files. If I visited those folders, the data is
there, but it is "out of context". I wouldn't want to delete those files.
They are upstream of my wizards/matrices and portfolios. Removing them would
"break" the data flow. As such, the tools "lock" the XML files so I can't
cause myself harm.

5. I personally believe that a case could be made to expand the creation of
"structured data" from merely filling out forms to completing other Sakai
activities. Completed assignments, test and quizzes (with their associated
assessment data) would be a fine start. Consider it "validated content" that
would make good fodder for institutional portfolios.

Sean Keesler
The Living SchoolBook
030 Huntington Hall
Syracuse University

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