Learning Object Repository (LOR) project at GUC

Last updated November 9, 2009 by Kjell Are Refsvik


  1. Introduction
  2. Background
  3. Feedback from collegues
  4. The current running server
  5. Challenges and opportunities
  6. LOR used in education
  7. Former and current projects
  8. Learning Object Repositiry (LOR) projects
    1. Hardware and software plattform up and running
    2. Organise structure of the server
    3. Localise and customise the user interface of the server
    4. Establish support infrastructure for users
  9. Terms
  10. References


This web page is maintained by Kjell Are Refsvik to document the progress of the Learning Object Repository server at Gjøvik University College (GUC). The project was initiated in 2008 and is directed by Stian Husemoen and Rune Hjelsvold, supported by the technical help of Einar Jørgen Haraldseid, IT services. Its overall purpose is to establish a Learning Object Repository at GUC. Currently, this project is jointly financed (50/50%) by the IT services and Department of Information Technology - Section of Media Technology.

This page will document the project as it progress and outline future sub-projects, including student projects that ties into the LOR project. This project will also present findings as we progress, and outline special solutions and challenges we find as we go along.

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As a general background for this project is we believe that GUC needs a stable storage and sharing facility for digital objects. We approach this work with the notion that a digital object could be a wide variety of documents types - used in a wide variety of contexts. Having a stable place to store such objects, serves several purposes:

  1. It makes us able to store important data for the future - well described and properly encoded
  2. Having a centralised storage facility could encourage sharing and de-privatisation of data, between people and departments
  3. Would let us look back on historic data and be the foundation for student projects and research in the future
  4. Would promote the importance of metadata
  5. Making a local server would make it possible to have protected and open repositories and let us share material only within the college
  6. Have a local platform from which we can re-contextualise data on the web. Files on our server may for instance be channelled to other sites or local users using RSS.
  7. Enable us to split systems for supporting learning processes (like Fronter/Moodle) from the storing of learning objects/files to reduce dependencies and increase technical and pedagogical opportunities
  8. Address and formalise the legal challenges related to sharing and re-using digital content.

The learning repository is not only thought as a server for binary objects to be used in courses. We also see the server as a platform for storing other types of data that have interest for a group of people and throughout time and have also said so expicitly in our application for funds from the college in march 2009:

  1. Photographs and other types of material that document our history
  2. Past exam exercises
  3. Bachelor and Master projects
  4. RAW data (geo, images, video, sound ++) used as learning material in different courses and departments

We do however fully understand the importance of offering protected access to some of this material.

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Key dates and activities

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Feedback from collegues

We have collected ideas and comments from a selection of GUC employees on what they see as threats and opportunities related to a LOR server. Here is the email invite and the feedback we got (in Norwegian).

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The current running server

After investigating the different alternative software platforms for running a LOR server, we have decided to install and test DSpace to be our demo server platform.

The server can be found at

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Challenges and Opportunities

We see a range of challenges and opportunities on the horison in the context of establishing a LOR server. Here is a table, outlining a few:

Person/individual System/technological Organisation (GUC, Dept, Section)
  1. Learning new technology
  2. New types of projects
  3. Collaboration and reduced workload through sharing
  1. Offer a unified storage service and hopefully reduce the current number of services offered/costs
  2. Promote a unified ways of describing and encoding digital content
  3. Easier to share content across different systems
  1. More knowledge
  2. More activity
  3. More efficiency
  4. More external possibilities
  1. Fear of the unknown
  2. Lack of motivation
  3. Lack of knowledge/skills/guidelines
  4. Lack of time
  1. Server capacity
  2. Bandwidth capacity
  3. Backup/redundancy capacity
  4. Sufficient end-user machines/software
  1. Motivate and educate staff
  2. Facilitate and finance
  3. Outline rules and communicate trust
  4. Legal challenges due to copyright violations

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Questions related to a LOR

If we agree on the notion of sharing, we need to take a look at what we want to share and how it is designed and made:

Do we need to agree on categories of learning material and how to produce them?

  1. Forelesningens rolle i fremtiden?
  2. Synkrone vs asynkrone medier
  3. Pre- vs postproduserte læremidler (med ref. til forelesningen)
  4. Lokale PC-verktøy vs online tjenesteprodusert
  5. Produsert med støtte fra produksjonsassistenter eller laget med utgangspunkt i egne forutsetninger
  6. Ingen kommer på forelesning når alt vi gjør ligger lagret på en server og gjøres tilgjengelig over nettet
  7. Andre kommer til å stjele læringsmateriell vi lager
  8. Andre får innsyn i det vi driver med og den enkelte åpner seg veldig for kritikk gjenom dette innsynet
  9. Vi har læringsressurser som bare er tillatt brukt internt ved HiG
  10. Andre oppdager at vi stjeler læringsressurser og bruker dem i våre læringsaktiviteter
  11. Skape polarisering mellom de som kan og ikke kan digitale verktøy
  12. Uten en redaktørfunksjon blir serveren raskt en pøl av materiell som har uavklarte rettigheter
  13. Uten grundige juridiske og økonomiske avtaler i form av reforhandlede arbeidskontrakter vil ingen bruke dette.
  14. Om vi slipper studentene inn, blir dette bare en ny YouTube full av søppel

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Learning Object Repositiry (LOR) projects

The following project suggestions are hereby offered to students at hig.no/imt. They are all related to establishment of the learning object repository at GUC that is planned to go online by June, 2010.

The college would like it to be a collaborative effort to get the server up and running and with this background we ask for the participation of students.

The list of possible projects below is by no means complete and could also work as the basis for completely new and different (but related) projects ideas. Please feel free to suggest new project proposals based on your ideas or inspired by the list below.

We would also like the students to scale the suggested projects and problem areas into the appropriate size and complexity (course project, bachelor project, master thesis) and the college will offer guidance accordingly.

For more information about these projects, please contact Prof. Rune Hjelsvold (rune.hjelsvold@hig.no, 61135184).

List updated November 4, 2009.


  1. Develop a user friendly end-user tool for metadata marking and delivering files to the LOR server
  2. Develop plug-in for delivering collections of digital photographs to the LOR server


  1. Do a information security survey of the LOR server, the content and use today and suggest improvements


  1. Describe the end-user challenges and solutions related to the production and delivery of colour consistent visual learning objects to the LOR


  1. Re-design the standard user interface for the current DSpace LOR server using stylesheets and structural descriptions
  2. Design template documents and design guidelines for the key types of visual learning object document types
  3. Design a set of icons for iPod Touch and iPhone (courses, and key pages)
  4. Design a PowerPoint template that fits the need for lecturers.
  5. Design GUC homepage for iTunes U and a template for cover art that could be adjusted for every course
  6. Design a library of relevant illustration material that could be used in the production of visual learning objects
  7. Design a mobile stylesheet for the LOR server


  1. Describe the challenges and opportunities related to delivering material directly from the Final Cut server to the LOR server
  2. Research and describe the issue of sustainable and open file formats and discuss this topic in relation to the available software a the college and provide suggestions.
  3. Describe, test and document different methods of recording lectures and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.
  4. Describe, test and document different methods of pre-producing lectures/learning objects and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.
  5. Can a pdf contain multimedia objects and be used as a wrapper/container format for both written and multimedia objects?


  1. Discuss the connection between open software, file formats, and services and outline what challenges and opportunities that relates to the development and distribution of learning objects.
  2. Research, try out and discuss different technologies for recording lectures
  3. Learning objects on mobile devices - challenges and opportunities
  4. Self-delivered lectures, lecture notes and student projects into the LOR server - challenges and solutions
  5. Make portal for CC-lisenced material to make it easier for everyone at hig.no to reach it
  6. Build a connection between open content on our LOR server and iTunes U so that the college can syndicate its content dynamically
  7. Find, discuss the challenges and solutions that is connected to the self-publishing of learning objects of different types and suggest solutions that are applicable for different types of users and material
  8. Using pattern maching - find ways of indexing recorded lectures (audio/video) to provide navigation instruments/wayfinding


  1. Create and maintain a resource webpage outlining the key legal challenges and solutions related to creating and sharing learning objects
  2. Create and maintain a resource webpage with links to raw materials that could be used in the creation of learning objects
  3. Have someone look at the practices and learning objects made at GUC through legal eyes and find challenges and opportunities.


  1. Establish a production server solution (IT dept)
  2. Data modelling: Design/model the data collections, user access levels, metadata schemes and workflows (IT/IMT)
  3. Fears and suggestions. What do do people fear with regards to sharing learning objects and how do we address that?
  4. Design and build a information portal for the LOR server

Organising content and workflows

The following is list represents the current suggested structure of collections on the server.

  1. TØL:open
  2. TØL:protected (only available to GUC network users)
  3. HOS:open
  4. TØL:protected (only available to GUC network users)
  5. IMT:open
  6. IMT:protected (only available to GUC network users)
  7. ADM:open
  8. ADM:protected (only available to GUC network users)

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  1. Digital Library
  2. Learning Content Management System
  3. Learning Object
  4. Learning Object Metadata
  5. Metadata
  6. Open Access Publishing

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  1. Evaluations, guidelines, opinions
  2. Server products:
  3. Standarder: NorLOM, NOARK, ...
  4. Fagartikler: Delingskultur, Web2.0, ...
  5. Archiving
  6. Accessibility and Universal Design:
  7. DSpace/Manakin:
  8. DSpace/Manakin used as a photo archive:
  9. DSpace servers:
  10. Special Interest Groups:
  11. Interessegrupper:
  12. LOR-related references in Norway:
  13. Legal:
  14. DSpace
  15. Books:
  16. Technology and scalability:
  17. Diverse