I’m just starting work on a new project to share “paradata” – things like reviews, ratings, comments and download/embed stats – between several new educational app stores being developed. The idea is to use an infrastructure developed in the US called the Learning Registry as the sharing network for this information, and to connect this with – initially – three web app stores.
The app stores are an initiative from the Open University to create store for UK Higher Education, ITEC, aimed at secondary schools across Europe, and the Widget Store created by the ROLE project aimed at independent learners and educators.
We’re working on EDUKAPP, which is a white-label open source web application store (based on Apache Wookie and Apache Shindig) that can be customised and deployed by organisations targeting different sectors and regions.
However, once you have multiple app stores – and the evidence so far is that different communities in education do feel you need this – then you fragment useful information such as download and embedding statistics, comments and ratings. So we want to make it possible to share this information across stores, so that if multiple stores are providing the same web app, they can pool this info and provide a better user experience.
A key aspect of this is how the data is formatted and exchanged using the Learning Registry; they have a subject-object model in JSON based loosely on Activity Streams that we’ll use as our starting point. However, the Learning Registry infrastructure is set up for sharing of metadata structures without any kind of de-duplication or post-processing, which means we have to be very careful about over-counting statistics and the like. I think we’ll have to encode in the actual software module we produce some conventions that will make it easier to aggregate things like download statistics without double-counting, for example.
The project name, incidentally is SPAWS – sharing paradata across widget stores and has been funded by JISC as part of its OER Rapid Innovation Programme. I’ll be posting more updates on it here so you can see how we get on.