The members and teams of this network have been developing in the last years different activities such as three R&D&I funded research projects (EDU2010-15432; EDU2013-41974-P; EDU2013-41952-P), that have created new products and services, like, for instance, tools for competency-based assessment (eRubric) and, more recently, the use of CoRubric, which is an improved service used by these projects. The five universities that make up the network and their corresponding research teams are considered of excellence thanks to the projects they have carried out (UB, UGR, UMA and UVigo). In 2012, their projects were presented at the NMC conference (MIT, USA) and some American institutions such as the Hellenic Center Harvard University and edX Harvard University showed interest in them. As a consequence, a collaborative project named Open Video Annotation was set up in 2013 by a team from UMA (University of Malaga) and the Edx team (Harvard University). This Project resulted in the Video Annotation service Open Video Annotation, created and managed by the Gtea team from Malaga. It also allowed some members of edX (Harvard University) to participate in the funded research project EDU2013-41974-P, which will finish next year. Other universities were interested in these projects and expressed their willingness to participate in this thematic network, as it has been the case with the Comparative Media Studies/Writing Centre (MIT, USA).
Importance of the Thematic Network for the Participating Groups and Necessity to Create One.
There are two aspects that motivate the creation of the network “VidaNet” and that explain in further detail the points exposed above. On the one hand, generally speaking, numerous institutions are currently beginning to create repositories and MOOCs, which make and intensive use of video resources. Consequently, creating a network seems like a good strategy to collaborate and share experiences between universities that already have a trajectory in this topic but still need some feedback regarding the future increase of this practice worldwide. The list of participating institutions shows the diversity of the experiences and competences necessaries. On the other, the different research teams from Spanish universities are competitive teams of excellence whose funded R&D&I research projects are coming to an end. This Network intends to explore the viability of new competitive projects of excellence while delving into the applications of the above-mentioned technology.
- Academic importance. The work of the most prestigious universities in the world is based on principles such as excellence, innovation, open knowledge and the creation of networks. Sharing experiences and best practices in a collaborative manner by fostering the outcomes of previous projects will facilitate the development of new ideas and solutions for a topic as specific as that of the Network. At the same time, the Network will strengthen the collective commitment to searching for solutions and applications of the results of the projects that will have already finished. The fact that this collaborative work will create a network of researchers and institutions that will address other research projects together in the future is highly important too.
The Comparative Media Studies/Writing -CMSW-. Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT (USA) research centre is, as the MIT itself, a prestigious institution that conducts advanced research with technology while acting as a centralised support centre that works with all the departments at MIT towards the application of different technologies in Higher Education as well as on research and development in this field. This project hopes to open the way for collaboration with this centre and other departments at MIT.
- Scientific/technical Importance. To fill in the gaps in the scientific production about the accessibility of technology (ICT) regarding repositories and MOOCs. As we are talking about a new phenomenon, aspects regarding this matter have neither been studied yet as much as it would be necessary, nor with a conscious pedagogical intent. The Network will have a huge technological impact in the sense that it proposes user-based tools that provide MOOC platforms with greater interactivity such as eRubrics and multimedia annotations. Simultaneously, it draws attention to the legal challenges posed by intellectual property and data protection regarding open educational repositories, and regarding MOOCs in particular.
The above-mentioned R&D&I funded research project created a technological product called CoRubric that contributes to formative and competency based assessment of the learning process in Higher Education (self-assessment, peer-assessment, assessment of groups…). Furthermore, it developed the service OVA (Open Video Annotation) and a number of psycho-pedagogical studies that allowed to understand and put into practice the education models of the European Higher Education Area (Gallego-Arrufat & Raposo-Rivas, 2014; Cebrián de la Serna & Bergman, 2014; Cebrián de la Serna, Serrano Angulo & Ruiz Torres 2014; Bartolomé, Martínez-Figueira, & Tellado-González, 2014) in order to assess the learning process in Higher Education and their involvement for the design and creation of MOOCs.
To summarise, the network and its activity will contribute to giving impulse to the fruits of the research projects while dealing with other contexts that could neither be tested, nor studied in those projects. For example, the use of educational materials from open repositories and their applications in MOOC platforms.
- Social importance. We hope to generate new knowledge related to the creation of content that will contribute to content inclusion and access; to create new tools and improve those that already exist; to provide MOOC platforms with a higher degree of interactivity and communication; and to organise events and write scientific publications that will transfer knowledge to institutions and public and private formative companies. We follow the law regarding the creation of repositories and believe in the principle of social responsibility. For this reason, knowledge transfer from universities towards society through MOOCs will be a valuable asset in the future. Universities participating in this network will be the first to receive this knowledge as well as private companies such as Euroformac, which participates in the R&D&I programme Euroformac-Uma. This programme provides services and support to the teaching departments of all the institutions that depend upon the National and Regional Governments, and to other researchers, teams and institutions.