Open Educational Resources (OERs) include educational materials, normally digital in nature, such as learning objects, open courseware, etc., freely available online with minimal or no restrictions. Even though OERs are multiplying on the Web and plenty of data is published online with the aim of being re-used, it is still difficult to find learning resources since they are not uniformly classified and organized, and there are no clear interface/tools that facilitate searching. What is required is a search interface that helps non-technical users in searching and finding materials useful for learning in different scenarios (at school, at work, or in their private life).
This project focuses on the needs and requirements of non-technical users. Relevant research questions are:
- How do final users search for resources on the Web? In what scenarios are OERs better than other materials provided on the Web?
- What are these users actually looking for? What kinds of resources and what datasets should be included in the catalogue to be searched. What attributes are most important to select relevant resources?
- What is the best way to present the data to the users, and to make the contents searchable to be easily reused? What user interface and what type of information do they prefer?
We will therefore work intensively with potential users to receive appropriate feedback on what they need, and observe their search and selection processes in this context, drawing inspiration from approaches in social anthropology and requirements analysis. The contributions of this project will help researchers in the Linked Data domain to better understand the needs of users in educational scenarios and to support these users through appropriate technical infrastructures and interfaces.