Track OER - midweek status, 16 August

Cloud created by:

Nick Freear
16 August 2012

Subtitle: To script or not to script...

At the end of last week and the start of this week I focussed on integrating a Piwik no-Javascript web beacon (web bug) with the HTML-RDFa snippet produced by the Creative Commons choose-license form.

This resulted in an initial OER license-tracker, which currently supports OpenLearn-LearningSpace and LabSpace URLs. It makes requests over the Web for RDF files from OpenLearn, and queries the Piwik API.

There is also an oEmbed-API interface to the OER form - to help with automation and batch processing. It is linked to from the OER form (#alt).

Note, there is the potential to extend the OER license-tracker form to, for example, support OER Commons URLs as input, with the resulting license-tracker snippet referencing the source URL at MIT for example.

However, by the middle of the week, we turned our attention to the other strand of the project - CaPReT: Cut and Paste Reuse Tracking. Guy Barrett and I worked yesterday to add the CaPReT Javascript to a Moodle side-block on the OpenLearn-Labspace test server (behind our firewall). Moodle didn't remove the scripts from the sticky block (yay!) and we're almost ready for our first round of technical testing next week.

Guy is proving to be a great resource to review ideas, and he pointed out very reasonably that many downloadable OER archives (plain Zip, SCORM etc.) provided by OpenLearn, MIT (I checked!) and others contain Javascripts. (It should be noted that the RSS feeds provided by OpenLearn don't link to Javascripts.)

Anyway, the emphasis of the Track OER project on no-Javascript tracking may be mis-placed. Using custom Google Analytics Javascript contained in the downloadable packages would remove the probable reliance on - a long-term support concern in making the Track OER tools production-ready. (Remember, does dynamic server-side processing of the web-beacon request, specific to re-used/ re-hosted OERs, before redirecting to the Piwik web-beacon.)

So, I got busy yesterday and put together a first prototype for a custom Google Analytics Javascript solution. You will need to 'View source' (and/or use Firebug) in your browser to see what is happening...

Which leads to my question - "To script, or not to script...?"

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