OpenScout Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the added value of OpenScout?
- OpenScout provides a free platform and a community around open content for business and management education. OpenScout interconnects a large pool of open content repositories in the area of business and management education and enables users to search in these repositories using a uniform search interface. This flexible access to a large amount of open learning resources fosters self-directed competence development better and faster than formal courses and study programs. With its tool library OpenScout supports users to adapt and improve their learning materials for their specific needs and context. Certain OpenScout functionalities can be neatly integrated through Widgets / Apps into professional Learning Management Systems, Social networks or personal platforms and thus allow access from the learner’s familiar environment.
- How OpenScout is different from Google?
- Google or many other search engines match your search terms to contents on any publicly accessible Website. As a result the retrieved material is unfiltered and often inappropriate for your needs. Moreover, search engines cannot search inside all learning repositories. In OpenScout a learner interested in management education searches only in repositories or Websites that have been judged as containing quality content related to management. Also, OpenScout is able to search inside repositories where Google has no access to. Moreover, OpenScout offers learners to filter search results according to additional criteria like domain category or competences. OpenScout does not claim to compete with Google in terms of the number of search results. OpenScout is a domain specific search engine focused on contents suitable for business and management education.
Who can use OpenScout?
- Who can benefit from OpenScout?
The key user groups of OpenScout are:
- Educational institutions
- Instructors, professors and trainers
- Learners, students and participants
- Librarians and documentation experts
- Entrepreneurs, freelancers, small, medium and large enterprises
- I am a lecturer, what can OpenScout bring me?
- OpenScout allows you to search for open educational content (slides, texts, videos, etc.) in the field of management. OpenScout references the content of numerous databases and content providers over the world. It saves you time and efforts, as you don’t need to search individually these databases anymore. OpenScout also provides you with easy-to-use tools to rate and comment the materials you found, to customise and re-use them in your own lectures and presentations. The information is free to use and to reuse.
- I am a student, what can OpenScout bring me?
- OpenScout allows you to search for open learning content (slides, texts, videos, etc.) in the field of management. OpenScout references the content of numerous databases and content providers over the world. It saves you time and efforts, as you don’t need to search individually these databases anymore. OpenScout also provides you with easy-to-use tools to rate and comment the materials you found, to customise and re-use them and to send them to your contacts. All the information is free to use and reuse.
- I am an employee of a big company, what can OpenScout bring me?
- OpenScout allows you to search for open learning content (slides, texts, videos, etc.) in the field of management. OpenScout references the content of numerous databases and content providers over the world. It saves you time and efforts, as you don’t need to search individually these databases anymore. All these materials are sorted according to disciplines (such as Marketing, Finance, etc.) but also according to the professional competences they correspond to. This innovative approach allows you more efficient search and ensures that the information found will help you solve your managerial question and enhance your learning while at your workplace.
- I am an SME owner, employee or consultant, what can OpenScout bring me?
- OpenScout allows you to search for open learning content (slides, texts, videos, etc.) in the field of management. OpenScout references the content of numerous databases and content providers over the world. It saves you time and efforts, as you don’t need to search individually these databases anymore. All these materials are sorted according to disciplines (such as Marketing, Finance, etc.) but also according to the professional competences they correspond to. This innovative approach allows you more efficient search and ensures that the information found will help you find a solution to your managerial problem. All the information is free to use and reuse.
How to use OpenScout?
- How to search for content?
- In the top menu of the portal choose the “Search” tab. There are two main searching functionalities
- Search on learning objects metadata (filtered search)
- Social (tag-based)search
1. Search on learning objects metadata (filtered search)
User can search content based on keyword(s)/phrases or author name by selecting (button pressing) between the “keyword” and “author” options. Keyword search: fill the keyword or phrase to be used for the search and press “Search” or hit the “Enter” key to get the results. For complex requests (search phrases) the lucene language syntax is used. Author search: enter the desired author name and fill to be used for the search and press “Search” or hit the “Enter” key to get the resultsAuthor search
2. Social (tag-based)search
Follow the “social-tag search” link. User is presented with a tag-cloud page. By entering the tag to search for in the text box and pressing “Search” or by choosing one of the tags, learning objects tagged with the chosen/inserted tag are retrieved. Entered keywords in both filterd search and tag search can be translated,prior to performing the search, by using the drop down menu on the right and choosing the languge to which we like to translate the provided text.
3. Content Browsing
One extra and very useful functionality is the content browsing. In the filtered search a list of all the results is presented distributed according to some helpful information: the language used, the format of the resource, the content type, their competence information and the repository they originaly come from. So for example if user looks for “manage business” and gets a total of 13 results, they can choose to further retrieve just these that are in German language or just these that have content type “full course” e.t.c.
- What is a competence?
- A competence is the effective performance in a domain at different levels of proficiency. Competences are used by educational institutions to determine whether a person has a particular level of ability or skill. Content that is enriched with competence information allows users to identify on a fine-grained level which resources to study to reach a specific target competence. This is the approach we are following in the OpenScout project.
- What is a competence level?
- A competence level is the level of performance for a competence. Often the 8 levels of the European Qualification Framework (EQF) are used to describe these levels. In a nutshell, a competence level is the same as a proficiency level ranging from beginner to expert.
- How to tag a resource?
- Registered users can add tags to a resource. In the detailed view of a resource users can add tags into a tag box. If a users wants to add more tags, these should be divided by a comma. A tag is a short keyword that explains the content of the resource.
- How to add a comment to a resource?
- Registered users can add comments to any resources on the OpenScout platform. In the detailed view of a resource users post their comments in a text field.
- How to register?
- In the top right corner of the portal just press the link “register”. In the registration form that appears provide the required information (username, first name, last name, email, password), then press “Create account” and that's all you are registered.
- What is the tool library?
- The Tool Library helps people discover software or services to adapt learning material. These "tools" can be used for adapting, converting, modifying or re-purposing pieces of content such as documents, presentations (slides), diagrams, images, audio, video or complete courses like those found in the OpenScout portal. For example, changing the format, layout, language, adding or removing sections etc. Adapting and re-using educational resources is often done in collaboration with colleagues. Therefore other useful tools are those that support collaborative discussion and communication such as annotating, instant messaging, shared documents, video conferencing etc. Browse the list of currently included tools or read scenarios to see how others have used tools to adapt learning material. We have also produced a handbook discussing open educational resources (OER) and adaptation processes.
- What does federated search mean?
- When you do a federated search you simultaneously search in multiple online databases. As a result of the search you get a list results from each source database with clickable links that will connect directly to the source database.
- What is the OpenScout Community?
- In order to achieve large scale use of open management content, OpenScout establishes an Open User Community of users and stakeholders (with a focus on content providers and learners), who open up their content to the community through repositories, contribute metadata (such as skill-data, user evaluations, ratings, etc.) and furthermore support design and evaluation of OpenScout prototypes.
OpenScout meets the needs of a large variety of target groups along the competency chain for management education - from high schools over academic institutions to business schools and further education organisations (enterprises, public sector). Within OpenScout, these target groups are being clustered in order to meet their individual needs and to be able to address them specifically.
- What are the OpenScout community services?
- OpenScout offers to its registered users the possibility to:
- Develop a profile
- Receive notifications about new content, comments or discussion topics
- Rate, comment and tag content of interest
- Share own materials
- Participate in discussions
- Participate in special interest groups
- Communicate with other community members
- Use guidelines and benefit from personalised assistance or advice
- Participate in events – virtual and face-to-face
- Expand their networks
What kind of material can I find on OpenScout?
- Which disciplines are covered by OpenScout
In OpenScout you will find freely accessible material from the business and management domain. In particular the content can be devided (not exclusively) into the following fields:
- Organizational Behaviour and Leadership
- Decision Sciences
- Strategy & Corporate Social Responsibility
- Accounting and Controlling
- Management Information Systems
- Technology and Operations management
- Human Resource Management
- Language and Communication
- Project Management
- Business and Law
- Which repositories are integrated in OpenScout?
- OpenScout integrates the contents of various distributed repositories and makes it accessible through a single access point. For a list and description of all integrated repositories please refer to the page repositories.
- How to add new content or new repositories to OpenScout?
- There are various possibilities to make new management related content accessible through OpenScout.
You can upload your file(s) using the OpenScout publish form. OpenScout will host the content for you. You can upload the metadata of your content through the OpenScout publish form while your content is stored on your local page. You can have your existing repository automatically connected to OpenScout through standardized interfaces. Every night OpenScout will harvest the metadata of your content so that any changes in your local repository will be reflected on OpenScout on a daily basis. Please refer to our "Guide for Repository Providers" for the technical details.
- How is an external repository connected to OpenScout?
- The integration of distributed repositories into a federated OpenScout repository is done by harvesting metadata through an OAI-PMH (Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting) Target of the external repository. This means that OpenScout users will be able to search and find material from external repositories within the OpenScout metadata federation, but the material itself remains in the external repository. To open the material users are automatically directed from OpenScout to the external repository. If your repository already offers an OAI-PMH target, the connection requires only little effort. In case you do not yet provide an OAI-PMH target OpenScout will give you technical support to set up the target. For more collaborative actions, we can discuss your needs and wishes. In any case, you will increase the distribution of your contents and increase user traffic significantly.
What is Open Content?
- What is the definition of Open Content?
- Open educational content is referred to as Open Educational Resources (OER). The UNESCO defines OER as “technology-enabled, open provision of educational resources for consultation, use and adaptation by a community of users for non-commercial purposes”. However, OER are not always altruistic or non-commercial. In principle, OER just mean that they are freely accessible and re-usable in different licensing conditions. We define OER as “Any digital object which can be freely accessed and used for educational purposes”
This broad definition includes a lot of different objects, such as digital learning objects, software tools like wikis or authoring systems, simulations or animations, electronic textbooks, but also lesson plans or experiences shared. The main aspect is that the object is usable to improve education. The following classification shows parallels to other initiatives:
- Resources: Currently, the main research field is how to make learning objects (specific digital objects created for learning purposes) available and re-usable. This includes multimedia documents, simulations but also simple html web resources.
- Articles, textbooks and digital equivalents: This class of resources contains typical objects provided by libraries, such as articles, papers, books or journals. When becoming freely available, this class of objects is connected to the concept of Open Access.
- Software tools are used for different purposes, such as producing / authoring learning resources but also for communication and collaboration. Objects of this class are usually referenced as Open Source or Free Software.
- Instructional / didactical designs and experiences: Educators are highly dependent on successfully planning and designing their learning experiences – this class of resources includes access to instructional designs, didactical plannings such as lesson plans, case studies or curricula. It also includes one of the most valuable resource: sharing experiences about materials and lessons between colleagues. This class of objects is also called Open Educational Practices.
- Web assets: This class of objects regards simple resources (assets) like pictures, links, or short texts which are not usable on their own in a learning context but can be used to support or illustrate a certain topic. In many ways, these are objects found by google or similar search engines.
This list is not intended to be complete, it just tries to distinguish the main concepts and to explain how other “open” concepts are related.
Taken from: Pirkkalainen, H. & Pawlowski, J (2010). Open Educational Resources and Social Software in Global E-learning Settings. In Yliluoma, P. (editor), Sosiaalinen Verkko-oppiminen. International Multimedia & Distance Learning Oy Ltd, IMDL. [More]
- Which repositories are integrated in OpenScout?
- OpenScout integrates the contents of various distributed repositories and makes it accessible through a single access point. For a list and description of all integrated repositories please refer to the page repositories.
- How to work with Open Content?
OpenScout has created an OER handbook to support the users to adapt learning materials for their own use and context. This easy to use guide tells how teachers and learners can approach OER and what they should take in to account while working with OER. The guide also gives some of the best practices people should take in to account when adapting materials.
The handbook will be extended by further knowledge from multicultural adaptation experiences and case studies constantly.
The entire OER and adaptation handbook is accessible from the tool library at http://openscout.kmi.open.ac.uk/tool-library/pg/pages/view/656/.
Content License Issues
- Can I freely use the OpenScout Content?
- Yes. The OpenScout System and all of it's content is free to use. However, be aware that the content might follow different licensing schemes. These schemes might include, that no commercial usage of the content is allowed or that the content may not be edited. To learn more about licensing also check the section “What is Creative Commons?”.
- What does OpenScout cost?
- OpenScout is free to use.
You enjoy more features if you register - also for free.
- What is Creative Commons?
Creative Commons provides a set of copyright licenses and tools that create a balance inside the traditional “all rights reserved” setting that copyright law creates.
Creative Commons gives a simple, standardized way to keep their copyright while allowing certain uses of their work — a “some rights reserved” approach to copyright — which makes their creative, educational, and scientific content instantly more compatible with the full potential of the internet.
Creative Commons offers 6 different licenses reaching from completely open to just download and redistribution (with giving credit to the author).
Attribution CC BY
This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.
Attribution-NoDerivs CC BY-ND
This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you.
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike CC BY-NC-SA
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms.
Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to “copyleft” free and open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. This is the license used by Wikipedia, and is recommended for materials that would benefit from incorporating content from Wikipedia and similarly licensed projects.
Attribution-NonCommercial CC BY-NC
This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND
This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.
For more information see here.
- What is an OpenScout Regional Agency?
- Regional agencies are institutions that serve as contact points for a given country or region, and/or certain categories of users (such as SMEs or academic institutions). Their role is to provide information to the OpenScout users about the use of the portal, to help them reference their material and more widely to answer questions about the portal. Their role is also to promote the use of OpenScout in their respective communities and networks.
- Why should my institution become an OpenScout regional agency?
- If your institution is willing to contribute to the usage, improvement and distribution of open learning resources in business and management education and training, it can become a regional agency. The OpenScout consortium is composed of prestigious institutions around the world and will be honoured to count your institution as a member. Your contribution as a Regional Agency will be duly acknowledged. This means that your institution will increase its visibility among the OpenScout users.
- How to become an OpenScout regional agency
- Please contact us at openscout AT efmd.org and we will be happy to provide you all the information.
About the OpenScout Project
- What is the OpenScout Project?
OpenScout (www.openscout.net) is a European initiative which creates an educational service for business and management education across Europe and beyond. OpenScout provides a Web-based access point and search interface for open management related content and aims at creating a large community of educators and learners from the management domain. The project brings together contents from different repositories, and provides value-added tools and services for learners, educators and technology providers. The OpenScout community is consisting of both Academics and Companies.
The project OpenScout is co-funded by the European Commission within the eContentplus Programme as a Targeted Project in the area of Educational Content (Grant ECP 2008 EDU 428016).
For more information about the OpenScout solutions visit http://www.openscout.net/solutions.
- What are the project partners of OpenScout?
- You find all project partners on the OpenScout partner page: http://www.openscout.net/partners.
- What are the benefits of becoming an external OpenScout content provider?
- OpenScout aims at entering into partnership with repository providers in order to create new access pathways to contents. The partnership can take different forms and will bring mutual benefits. OpenScout will provide its content metadata as well as share tools and services with its partners (e.g. for communication, adaptation and content packaging). As OpenScout will attract new user groups in the field of business and management, this mutual sharing and partnership will create additional traffic on the OpenScout partner side. Moreover, partnering with OpenScout is all about the open paradigm: sharing of contents, ideas and values. By joining OpenScout you contribute to the productive future of the open sharing of educational resources. Furthermore you will not only gain visibility, international recognition and exposure but also user enhanced metadata (e.g. competence information according to the OpenScout Competence Taxonomy, context specific metadata targeted at enhancing reuse and many more) and access to OpenScout services and tools. You can find more detailed information about joining OpenScout in the partnership guide.
How can organizations benefit from Open Education?
- What are the advantages of Open Education?
Recently, many organizations have announced that they promote open education, open content, open access. Is this a viable business model, and if so, could this be an option for universities or businesses?
Open Education means that learning materials, publications or good practices are made openly accessible for re-use. Even though this sounds rather altruistic, organizations can benefit from this, both, idealistically and economically.
The main advantages for enterprises and educational institutions are
- Open Education should be considered to create strategic, economic and career advantages
- Open Education is a feasible, cost-saving, as well as promotional activity
- Open Education is not altruistic - it creates new business opportunities
- Open Education for universities should be a must. Universities seldom create revenues by selling learning materials but by awarding degrees - thus, open education does not negatively influence the business but improve reputation and visibility
- Open Education happens in groups of trusted people and organizations - find appropriate colleagues and use the community to improve your training activities in a cost-saving way!
OpenScout promotes open education in the domain of business and management topics:
- OpenScout is the key access point to open management education - re-use our contents and use our expertise to develop your open education strategy.
- OpenScout increases your visibility in the community - join the network or even become a Regional Agency to fully use the potentials of the OpenScout community.
- Why Universities go open?
Universities develop a variety of learning materials as part of their daily business. This is a costly process, thus, many universities do not provide their materials openly. However, revising this closed model - which most universities follow at the moment - can be beneficial. First of all, re-using learning materials and collaboratively improving materials can save costs. We might not use a Wikipedia-alike approach for developing learning materials with all potentials colleagues, but we might develop those in smaller, trusted networks. Avoiding to re-invent the wheel, developing materials with trusted colleagues in the same domain is a very feasible, cost-saving solution.
Secondly, let us look at universities’ business models. Universities do not earn the revenues by selling learning materials. The core service of a university is that they can award degrees - and this is what students pay tuition fees for! Thus, making learning materials available is more a promotional activity which can significantly improve visibility - in the community, and for potential students.
A very recent example is Athabasca University, calling themselves "Canada’s Open University". This registered trademark shows that it can be beneficially used as a marketing tool. Athabasca University Press also provide plenty of teaching materials (such as textbooks) for free, increasing the visibility of the lecturers and professors greatly.
To sum up, open education can be a cost saving as well as promotional activity with positive impact on visibility, reputation and development cost. Side effects are potential new fields of activity, e.g., running consulting services on top of the "open" activities. Being open will be a major sales and management instrument in the very near future. Efficient collaboration utilizing open materials is a future-oriented, feasible model.
- Why Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) go open?
- Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) often have a small training budget and even less clear career development programs. However, training is essential for them to stay in the competitive market. Using open education is thus a cost-saving opportunity. To make real use of it, we see the model that a small network of enterprises share and re-use materials in a trusted community for non-competitive training aspects. An example could be training on basic ICT skills or on transition between generations in family enterprises. Those contents are highly important but not a (main) competitive factor. OpenScout facilitates the process to bring SMEs with similar training needs together. We can recommend starting contents and support the adaptation process to tailor contents to the needs of the enterprise. Sharing materials with colleagues across Europe can bring down training costs as well as creating small but also strategic partnerships in trusted networks.
- Why joining OpenScout?
OpenScout helps organizations to go open! We can propose business models and support to promote open institutions. We also provide a place to retrieve and publish open learning materials and creating groups of colleagues in our portal learn.openscout.net. OpenScout appoints organizations and individuals as Regional Agencies which further promote open education as the forerunners of the open education initiative.
Open education is an economic alternative for all kind of organizations. Open Scout helps to implement this from a strategic and technical point of view!
- Your question is not listed here?
- Your question is not listed here? Please feel free to contact us.
Open Educational Resources and Licenses in OpenScout
This short tutorial explains the OpenScout view on OER and open licenses.
Creative Commons Kiwi
Creative Commons licences explained.
Short tutorial on how to use the search function in the portal.
Community in the OpenScout portal
Screen capture illustrating community interaction in the OpenScout Portal.
Personal Development Planner
Tutorial on how to use the PDP or Personal Development Planner tool for individual competence development and independent learning using OERs