Category Archives: Digital preservation

Information and research for Digital Preservation.

You live, you learn, you upgrade

In our  throw-away society obsolescence is fast becoming a problem that we will all face. Think about when you were younger (ahh the simpler time in your life) when technology was not the driver of all work places.

viewmaster-reels
View-Master

Remember fondly a time when looking through a View-Master was the coolest thing you could do in a library,  a golf ball typewriter was a thing to be jealous of in the workplace or at home

Golf-ball typewriter
Golf-ball typewriter

 

and your portable record player meant you had to carry a box of records with you to entertain?

Record player
Record player

 

Well these things all have one thing in common, they have suffered obsolescence.

As a digital educator it is paramount that you are aware of the tools and software you are using and the interoperability with other systems in case you are required to move your content  such as has been the case in the past for example Google closing down one system and replacing it with Google+. It is useful to have your eggs not in one basket for this reason and to be familiar with multiple systems.

I have been researching for my INF537 final case study, which has involved me pulling a wealth of data from webinar systems around user interaction times, number of rooms created etc. I needed a set of data from last year, but am unable to access it, why? Simply put last year due to a DNS attack on the server  (we are all now familiar to that term thanks to the Bureau of Statistics and the Census) we had to use the USA server to access our webinar technology. This simply means that the valuable statistics is no longer available to me as we had a window of use and then all data was purged from their system. It beggars belief that this can happen in 2016, in the age of enlightenment when digital preservation of data should be in  the topic of ICT minds. But no they forgot to request this data at the time so it is gone forever.

Onto another point I was in a meeting today and thought about these in relation to a problem that the team were discussing; the need to keep backups of the online courses for compliance. It got me thinking of that old issue of is you keep a backup and the system moves how long is that backup relevant and what destroy provisions are around how long we keep these backups. This is a critical issue for the government agency I work for as we now will be servicing the 5 TAFEs and all their online course and managing backups. There is a finite amount of space so how long is too long?

Another key problem is that many of the TAFEs are moving from one LMS to another, so that then leads to questions around currency and the longevity of courses.

To me it begs the question if we have to keep these course backups for compliance why is there little or no action around this?

I work with many Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) across Western Australia with the implementation of elearning systems to support their teaching and learning cohorts.

Make sure everyone is singing the same tune..
Make sure everyone is singing the same tune..

One key part of a strategic implementation is to ensure that everyone  “is singing from the same hymn book” and understand the reason for the system.

 

 

Do not leave people behind and make sure no one is marching to the beat of their own drum, as it can be a huge problem later for organisations.

March to the same beat.
March to the same beat.

Often with the implementation of new systems the baby is thrown out with the bath water with the need to everyone to be working in the same system as soon as practicable.

Don't throw the baby out with the bath water.
Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

Trainers are often the ones who have to do the migration work on an already full workload. But at the outset a set of rules around the course development and final archiving need to be considered at length so that a proper preservation schedule is put into place to ensure that the organisation meets the compliance levels required.

This can happen in a few different ways

Online storage: materials stored on fileservers or other hardware which is immediately accessible to the enquirer via a PC or smart device that is connected to the internet.  Companies offer free storage, sufficient for personal files but you must be mindful that if it is stored on the internet then it could become accessible to anyone.  Commercial and government organizations are also looking closely at the option – but there considerable risks involved for organizations concerned with long term preservation – after all, you are placing your data into the hands of another organization and trusting them to do the right thing. This could outweigh the cost savings for organizations.

Offline and near-line or near-online storage is where materials are stored on devices that are not continuously connected to the computer network or internet. Data can be stored on magnetic tape and might be stored off site in secure storage for long term safety.

Removable media are such things as flash drives (USB sticks) DVD or CDs, removable hard disk drives these are often be removed from the network and stored either locally for easy availability. As these are ‘offline’ devices the content is not available for multiple users.

Consider storage, it is vital in preservation.
Consider storage, it is vital in preservation.

Tips for storage

Conduct regular integrity checks of your digital resources to avoid inadvertent change, deterioration or data loss. Use a checksum for this (will be outlined later).

Refresh you storage devices because of obsolescence.

Store your stage devices in an appropriate location, such as somewhere low in dust and humidity with very little temperature variation.

Points to consider:

  1. It is extremely important to preserve your files in formats that will be robust to survive obsolescence. Consider restricting types of files you are archiving and think about open source, portable and high quality.
  2. File transfer/exchange to others needs to be considered. It is wise to choose file formats that are supported by a wide range of software across a variety of platforms.
  3. Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a meta-language that lets you design your own markup language. XML tags are not predefined unlike in HTML.

A really simple strategy is IDOS

Identify: What do you want to save? Locate the files and identify EVRYTHING that you want to collect.

Decide: what is most important to you as it is not practical to try and save everything.

Organise: The content

Save copies: Save them in different places.

In a nutshell to help preserve the now for later (rule of thumb not just for the online courses I started talking about) it is helpful to think about the following:

  • Build your knowledge about preservation and storage requirements;
  • Talk to others about your preservation needs;
  • Plan your strategy for digital preservation;
  • Identify what you want to save;
  • Decide how you are going to save;
  • Organise what you are saving and build appropriate metadata or information around it; and
  • Save copies in different locations.

No matter what type of file you want to save they all require the same essential preservation strategy. We can preserve our digital possessions to keep them accessible for years to come, but we have to archive and actively manage them and work through upgrades and migrations sensibly to we can ALL survive.

References

Library of Congress (2016). Digital Preservation. Retrieved 1, October, 2016, from http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/

Stuart, Katherine and Banks, Lauren (2012) Making ducks walk in a line – the road to digital continuity, Retrieved 1 October, 2014 from http://members.rimpa.com.au/lib/StaticContent/StaticPages/pubs/nat/inForum2011/JohnstonBanksPaper.pdf

Technology  obsolescence. (2014). In: Business glossary, 1st ed. [online] New York: All Business. Available at: http://www.allbusiness.com/glossaries/technological-obsolescence/4945098-1.html [Accessed 3 Oct. 2016].

Digital Preservation – Submission 2

In the best tradition of our Master of Education (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation) I would like to share my Assessment 2 submission.

In the creation of this assignment I discussed heavily with my PLE. Yvette's PLE

For this assignment we had to create a Microsoft PowerPoint to present to a group of people who had no knowledge of Digital Preservation. It could only be 12 content slides long and had to be presented in a 30 mins time slot with an accompanying script and annotated bibliography. The annotated bibliography was meant to act as a handout for session participants and needed to have a variety of rich media and text resources that a layperson would find helpful.

It helps to be creative when you have limitations like the number of slides, especially if you know how to use the software well, so I also included layered slides – which meant that I only used 12 slides (plus a cover slide) but in fact had 15 slides for a presentation point.

Please note that this assignment was completed in 2014 and in all likelihood the resource sites will need to be reviewed for currency.

Digital Preservation slideshow Yvette Drager

Digital Preservation Script Yvette Drager

Digital Preservation Annotated bibliography Yvette Drager

What has not been included is my reference list, which was extensive 🙂

Enjoy!

Yvette

 

 

 

 

 

The personalized puzzle of INF530

Personal baggage Image by Kolobsek http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/851769
Personal baggage
Image by Kolobsek
# 851769
http://www.morguefile.com

INF530 Critical Review

I came to INF530 with a very different perspective, as I had already completed three other units and this semester saw me working my way through a further two units, almost an information overload! In the past I have seen my previous knowledge almost as unwanted baggage, but in INF530 I think I have now checked my baggage into the plane’s cargo hold for the rest of the trip.

This subject has helped revisit and consolidate a great deal of learning that I’ve already completed. I was challenged and able to delve into topics that were of interest to me and my work such as the impact of the Internet of Things, Big Data, Personal Learning Environments and Blended Delivery.

Personal learning jigsaw cc-BY-NC license Yvette Drager
Personal learning jigsaw
cc-BY-NC license Yvette Drager

Throughout this course I have often felt that we are looking at a giant personalized jigsaw puzzle and we have to search to find the meaning and thus all the pieces will click into place.

The only way to discover what the personalized puzzle looks like is by engaging with the content and peers. Knowing how you learn and working to your strengths along with your peers is the way forward to successfully grapple the content into a manageable and meaningful form. This is why our tasks are designed to be authentic, active learning activities (Buzzard, Crittenden, Crittenden & McCarty, 2011; D’Aloisio, 2006; Day & Kumar, 2010; Herrington & Parker, 2013; Herrington, Reeves, Oliver, & Woo, 2010).
Learning by doing is almost the mantra of the whole of this course, and because of this fits with the makerspaces movement ethos well (O’Connell, 2015). In keeping with this philosophy of active learning and makerspaces to I try to challenge myself to create something different every unit with a new technology as part of my ongoing professional learning. The digital essay enabled me to trial Sway (Microsoft, 2015), so simple and I will be showcasing this again. I also created collage images using Adobe Photoshop and a nice simple jigsaw puzzle creation online software (BigHugeLabs, 2015). All of this means that I take away from this unit a new set of skills and a solid understanding of how these skills can supplement a VET practitioner’s bag-of-tricks in creating a satisfying digital experience for students.

I’m always happy to share snippets with others of information, such as around Digital Preservation – Snow Byte and the Seven Formats.

I featured this video in an INF443 assessment. Reviewing the Digital Preservation content from both INF530 and INF443 bought to light some serious issues in preservation of student’s digital content for audit purposes in the VET sector. This content has formed the basis of a webinar presentation I have created for the Department of Training and Workforce Development to inform organisations of their ongoing obligations.

The Big data topic really made me stop, think, research and reflect on the Unique Student Identifier code that has been rolled out for the VET sector. There is such an impact of big data and how we deal with it that this will be an ongoing issue into the future especially in relation to personal data which of course linked into the Internet of Things (IoT). I specifically chose a book about IoT for my scholarly review, to challenge and enlighten my throughs around this topic so I can inform others.

My journey is far from complete, and my puzzle still has more than a few pieces missing, (I may have to look under the table for them). The final destination of course is not where you learn. The journey and the people you meet and work with along the way will always be where you grow and learn. I look forward to moving onto the next step of my journey and finding the next set of puzzle pieces to help me finally complete my personal jigsaw.

References

BigHugeLabs. (2015). Jigsaw: Create jigsaw puzzles from your photos [Computer software].retrieved from http://bighugelabs.com/jigsaw.php

Buzzard, C., Crittenden, V., Crittenden, W., & McCarty, P. (2011). The Use of Digital Technologies in the Classroom A Teaching and Learning Perspective. Journal of Marketing Education, 33(2), 131-139. doi:10.1177/0273475311410845

D’Aloisio, A. (2006). Motivating students through awareness of the natural correlation between college learning and corporate work settings. College Teaching, 54(2), 225-230. doi:10.3200/CTCH.54.2.225-230

Day, J., & Kumar, M. (2010). Using SMS Text Messaging to Create Individualized and Interactive Experiences in Large Classes: A Beer Game Example. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 8(1), 129-136. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4609.2009.00247.x

Herrington, J., & Parker, J. (2013). Emerging technologies as cognitive tools for authentic learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(4), 607-615. doi:10.1111/bjet.12048

Herrington, J., Reeves, T., Oliver, R., & Woo, Y. (2004). Designing authentic activities in web-based courses. Journal of Computing In Higher Education, 16(1), 3-29. doi:10.1007/bf02960280 Retrieved from http://link.springer.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/article/10.1007/BF02960280

Microsoft. (2015). Sway [Computer software]. Retrieved from https://sway.com/

O’Connell, J. (2015). Hackerspaces and makerspaces [INF530 Module 5.4]. Retrieved 20 May, 2015, from Charles Sturt University website: https://interact2.csu.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-249314-dt-content-rid-635373_1/courses/S-INF530_201530_W_D/module5/5_4_Hackerspaces_makerspaces.html

 

Unique Student Identifier (USI) and Big Data (the highs and lows)

A personal viewpoint

As of the 1st January 2014 all students, in the Australian VET sector, have been allocated a Unique Student Identifier. This code follows the student through their life and enables registered training organizations (RTOs) easier access to a student’s VET records and provides a simpler way for students to provide evidence for credit transfer makes it easier for students to transfer between training institutions (Mills, 2013).

But this got me thinking about Big Data and the relationship that this USI could offer in the future for RTOs. On the positive side there is the possibility of responsive training based on the needs of the client making it a system that can contextualize a learning journey through skill sets for the student to eventually achieve a desired goal, but it could also have a darker side the side where direct marketing and disreputable RTOs denying students training based purely on past performances in previous qualifications. Currently the USI does not store informal comments regarding student’s performance currently, but you have to ask yourself does that mean that the system will always stay like this, especially if K-12 students are eventually linked into it.

Education providers, if engaging in digital learning, have the ability to garner information about their clients easily through the technology that we use.  Every click a student does within a Learning Management System is recorded in the back end database, which will be archived along with the course in the VET sector for audit purposes. If utilizing social media every mention or micro-blog post can be saved to build a picture of the learners and their capabilities and needs. Now imagine this big picture that one RTO is able to build through, careful and critical analysis of the underlying data, an explicit picture of the student’s choices and make accurate predictions on the same students future study choices. If this data becomes part of public record then one bad grade somewhere in your past could in the future severely impact on what you are able to study in a dystopian world.

When you delve closer into USI there are some alarm bells that, for me, are set off. In the  Student Indentifiers Registers Privacy Policy (Office of the USI Registrar, 2014) it clearly states that the USI Registrar may disclose personal information to third parties, which is not limited to the list of third parties provided. Once these third parties have the information, then the student’s details are now no longer secure and safe behind the USI, a critical issue. Though there is a caveat on the USI site that it is finally the responsibility of the student to keep their login detail secure so no one can access their academic records if this data is shared with third parties, it begs the question what security measures are put into place by these other organisations and what data is actually being shared?

The Student Indentifiers Registers Privacy Policy (Office of the USI Registrar, 2014) clearly states that the content is held in a cloud computing solution, which adheres to the Australian Government Cloud Computing arrangements (Finance.gov.au, 2014). However, for me, personally there is also a big concern around security having all of the VET student’s qualification history in one place, no matter the security surrounding the system. Recently we have seen that big corporations using cloud computing systems have not been able to keep people’s personal data or content safe  such as Celebgate which saw celebrities iCloud accounts hacked in 2014 (BBC News, 2014). If this can occur to a high end security space then we do need to review this step into keeping the data in one repository held on a cloud based solution.

In all fairness the USI Registry System has been designed to keep training records and results safe, according to their website (Usi.gov.au, 2015) and goes on in subsequent pages to assure students that their information is safe. But the worry about security when it comes to student academic records is not an isolated concern for Australia but was raised in Education Week (Kamisar, 2014) that discussed issues around security for the organization inBloom which was touted as being the organization that would revolutionize personalized learning and target the needs of individuals based by synthesizing  student data. Admittedly there are marked differences between inBloom and the USI Registry System. One stand out difference is that currently the USI is not being managed by a private third party but by a Federal Government agency, however, given recent privatization and the push to consolidate services to reduce Government employment burdens it does beg the question if this will become outsourced in years to come.

Data mining is big business for organisations and more so the art of predictive analytics. Marketing departments in retails stores have been onto this for years as outlined by Duhigg (2012), so why wouldn’t the education industry want to start move into this field especially with a ready made supply of information. This could become a very lucrative market place with the value of this data being almost priceless, and we the consumers may never even realize that our information might have been shared. One must ask the question do students know that the information stored within the registry may be provided to third parties such as regulators, researchers current and former VET RTOs to name a few for a variety of purposes. When a student is enrolling is this ever explained in full to them and all of the ramifications, as in the current system you cannot enrol in a VET qualification without have a USI. I have to say that I could (if I wanted to) create a USI on the website (Usi.gov.au, 2015) and it would have been up to me to have explored all of the sub-pages to dig into what will happen to my results and who has access to my details, but I am not convinced that all of our VET students will do this.

We do not have a perfect VET system, but we are trying to put in place systems that will streamline workloads for organizations. But I do have to wonder who is looking out for the students? This blog post is really the start of my exploration into this very interesting topic and one that could have ramifications in years to come within all sections of the education industry.

References

BBC News,. (2014). Apple confirms accounts compromised but denies security breach – BBC News. Retrieved 1 May 2015, from http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-29039294

Duhigg, C. (2012). How Companies Learn Your Secrets. The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/magazine/shopping-habits.html?_r=2&

Finance.gov.au,. (2014). Cloud Computing | Department of Finance. Retrieved 4 May 2015, from http://www.finance.gov.au/cloud/

Kamisar, B. (2014). InBloom Sputters Amid Concerns About Privacy of Student Data. Education Week, 33(15), 1-13. Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/01/08/15inbloom_ep.h33.html

Mills, A. (2013). VET Transparency Agenda – what’s in it for me. Presentation, Training Providers Forum, Perth, Western Australia.

MindCET,. (2014). MindCET Snapshot #2 – Big Data & Education. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MrWQUMgcyk

Office of the USI Registrar,. (2014). Student Indentifiers Registers privacy policy v1.1 (pp. 1-8). Canberra: Department of Education and Training.

Usi.gov.au,. (2015). Skills Unique Student Identifier: Training Records and Results. Retrieved 1 May 2015, from http://www.usi.gov.au/Students/Pages/training-records-and-results.aspx

Affordances of Moodle – a multiplatform application

Moodle

Moodle HQ home page
Moodle HQ home page

It is always difficult as an educator to locate tools that are both simple to use as well as giving a teacher solid insight into student behaviors. As part of the online learning journey or even as part of a flipped classroom experience a Learning Management System (LMS) such as Moodle ( Moodle.org, 2015) can become a critical piece of technology.

Bowen (2008) discusses the importance of identifying the affordances of a technology to assess its suitability for particular learning situations.

Moodle includes the below affordances with a short explanation as to why.

Functional affordances

Media affordances: read-ability – students have content loaded into html pages, book and lesson modules, write-ability – students can use wiki, forums, blog, journal tools, view-ability – students are able to see and interact with images and content (where applicable), listen and speak ability – students are able to use plugin integrations for voice shat, teachers are able to post up sound bites and podcasts watch-ability – students are able to watch any video content either loaded or hyperlinked into the LMS.

Spatial affordances: resize-ability –using a mobility option within the LMS configuration for theme setup you are able to set a mobile theme which will resize the LMS interface, move-ability – interactive and non-interactive (text) elements can be loaded into a Moodle course and placed according to the learning design.

Moodle page on desktop computer.
Moodle page on desktop computer.
Moodle course on mobile device
Moodle page on mobile device

Temporal affordances: accessibility – as long as the students have access to the internet then they can access the LMS anywhere/anytime, , synchronicity versus asynchronicity – this is predominately an asynchronous software, but also has the ability for some synchronous work such as through live chat or through a virtual conference software plugin.

Navigation affordances: browse-ability – the content, once loaded by the teacher remains constant so can be browsed, search-ability –students are able to search content within the LMS, data-manipulation – the teacher is able to manipulate sort and sequence content and results.

Emphasis affordances: highlight-ability – the teacher can highlight sections of the content using inbuilt tools and course layout tools, focus-ability – similar to highlight-ability the teacher can give a focus on specific tools using the block area to focus students to a new point.

Synthesis affordances: combine-ability – multiple tools can be embedded, uploaded or created in a Moodle course to create a mixed media learning environment, integration-ability – other tools and systems can be integrated into the Moodle course.

Access-control affordances: permission-ability – a Moodle course site has many levels of permissions from the high end Moodle Administrator (effectively the owner of the site, this role can add users, content modify course site and themes) down to guest access where the site is similar to a website and interactivity does not work. Authenticated users on a Moodle site means that all activity can be tracked and reported on about that user on the whole Moodle site, share-ability –within a Moodle space more than one teacher can be added to a course site, also students have the ability to share content through forums, blogs and wiki assignments.

Non-functional affordances

Technical affordances: this software is multi-platform; depending on the level of interactive content or video links it can use relatively low bandwidth and speed required. For organisations that do not have a LAN to be accessed by all students (such as a prison) Moodle can be loaded on a stand-alone computer that does not point to the internet. Backup of a course created can be reloaded into the system by visiting teachers. The course can be backed up upon leaving which can include users, results and coursework. This can then be re-installed on a LAN enabled system for storage.

Usability: Teachers need to learn to create, manage and teach in a Moodle course. It is a fairly simple tool to use with the edit interface being the same for every resource being added. Students will have access to the resources and activities which are intuitive to use, however, it is recommended that a simple step by step screen grab guide is used for students unfamiliar with the system.

Example Moodle site design
Example Moodle site design

Aesthetics: clean and simple user interface and design. Themes within Moodle give the Administrator and possibly teachers (depending on how the system has been setup for teacher permissions) the ability to contextualize and mimic a website look and feel that will make the experience intuitive for end users.

Reliability: The software itself is robust, however, as it is a web tool internet connection via Ethernet cable, 3/4G or WiFi is critical and if dropouts are experienced this could cause issues. Firewalls of organisations could also cause issues on the initial use if ICT has not opened the port to allow this software to be accessed.

Issues and key considerations

Accessibility – the Government of Australian requires that all websites and web material meet at least level A WCAG3 requirements. The Moodle software is currently rated at a level AA. With the accessibility options enabled it also means that support software , such as screen readers can be used by end users on this site

The outlined affordances demonstrate the possibilities of Moodle in a VET or corporate setting. It allows teacher and presenters to push content out, provide avenues for synchronous sessions and enables the teacher to assess students via a wide range of assessment methods. This is then stored within the Moodle course site and can form part of the backup of the course for archival purposes..

Through the use of plugins this too can be a simple ‘vanilla’ out of the box version or a complex system that fully reports against many key performance indicators.

As this is software can be used across multi-platform, it is an ideal option to use within a VET classroom context.

 

References

Bower, M. (2008). Affordance analysis – matching learning tasks with learning technologies. Educational Media International, 45(1), 3-15. doi: 10.1080/09523980701847115

Morgan, M., Butler, M., & Power, M. (2007). Evaluating ICT in education: A comparison of the affordances of the iPod, DS and Wii. Paper presented at the ASCILITE, Singapore.

Moodle.org,. (2015). Moodle – Open-source learning platform | Moodle.org. Retrieved 12 January 2015, from https://moodle.org/