Methodology & Implementation

Over the course of the project we worked together to document and record as much of our expertise as possible related to setting up and managing of institutional multimedia (podcasting) services. Through this collaborative approach and through contact with the various national networks of which we are part, the project attracted and grew an active community of peers within other UK HEI who are keen to learn and share their own experiences with the widest audience possible. Indeed, this community has become the leading UK participant in both the European media community (the Terana organised TaskForce-Media group) and the international educational media community, OpenCast. For example, the work started as part of the Steeple project, and continuing to this day via our community Wiki, on Metadata standards for sharing and aggregation of content, has become the focus and lead for international cooperation and standardisation.

The key areas of project work were:

We set out with a specific goal of not reinventing the wheel, nor of creating a monolithic technical solution that was only supported through our work – Peter Robinson, PI Steeple

The planned work was broken down into discrete areas, and then distributed amongst the contributing partners based upon their own specific interests and resourcing. Open University led on the policies and process work, building on their long standing background as a high production value, high quality, method driven institution, though they also worked to compare and contrast our different approaches to the same problems. Cambridge took the lead on portal developments, having an institutional desire for a solution to an existing problem. Oxford led on the infrastructure development having an interest in supporting a fledgling podcasting service. Whilst all areas were of mutual interest and all partners had direct experience, this division of labour worked well as a way of spreading control and resourcing.

The proposed work packages were reviewed in the light of early feedback from community. Universities who are in the process of signing up to Apple's iTunes U portal have been keen to learn from our successes, and this increased the amount of individual dissemination time needed and also prioritised and expanded the management oriented policies and processes work.

The collaborative approach taken led to these observations: