About the E-archaeology Content Repository

The E-Archaeology Content Repository is the database of e-learning resources in archaeological and natural heritage. It contains didactic materials covering a wide range of issues in this domain. The materials are available for use in the form of smaller entities relevant to teaching according to the nomenclature of the Universal Curricular Taxonomy System (UCTS). They have the form of learning objects, which are then grouped in the logically arranged larger units of material, such as modules (UCTS Module) and curricula (UCTS Curriculum). Until very recently they were built in DHTML (dynamic HTML) or flash technology, both of which are recognized by major web browsers. They are now constructed using HTML5 and Java script to facilitate the use of didactic materials on mobile devices. The availability of didactic materials in a SCORM format provides a technical means for launching the e-learning course on multiple platforms for distance education.

The learning object (LO) is the smallest didactic element. It refers to a coherent piece of knowledge or relevant case study. Altogether, in the current version of the E-Archaeology Content Repository there are about 8,500 LOs in German, English, Italian, Latvian, Polish, Portuguese, and Spanish. The availability of e-learning content in the form of learning objects makes it possible to (1) sort out existing resources in a flexible way, (2) describe them in a systematic manner, and (3) construct an infinite number of e-learning training curricula. In particular, it makes it possible to collate a coherent set of LOs in an infinite way to meet the requirements of ever-changing training goals for a wide range of target groups.

A module is defined as a coherent set of didactic materials covering complex but coherently related issues. Modules are annotated in the E-archaeology Content Repository as UCTS Module components. Each module is composed of a number of learning units (UCTS Unit) that are internally integrated and cover different aspects of the training curriculum. Altogether, there are currently about 350 modules in the E-Archaeology Content Repository in all languages mentioned above.

A curriculum is a set of well-designed didactic materials tailored for the needs of different trainee groups. Curricula are annotated in the repository as UCTS Curriculum components. From the technical viewpoints, a curriculum is composed of a number of modules. The content of these curricula is constructed in such way as to meet needs and expectation of each such group, as well as their competencies and different training intensity. Altogether, there are currently about 35 curricula in the E-Archaeology Content Repository. They are directed to a wide range of end users with different degrees of competence. Their number is rapidly growing as the trainings are executed.

The E-Archaeology Content Repository is first and foremost designed for constructing new content out of available didactic materials. This process can be compared with the editorial works. The transfer of any selected element into a newly created content is made by a simple drag-and-drop operation. The authored e-learning course can then be downloaded in the form of SCORM package. The system makes it possible to download different categories of material, such as curricula, modules and units. Such ready to use packages can then be uploaded to any LMS compatible platform (such as Blackboard or Moodle) to run the training. Hence the Repository, along with a coherent methodology of building up potentially endless e-learning modules and curricula out of the stored materials, is an ultimate resource for the production of wide range e-learning courses targeting different audiences.

One of the major functionalities the E-Archaeology Content Repository is the advanced searching engine of the available didactic materials. It is facilitated by tagging of all content based on the PMAH (Protection and Management of Archaeological Heritage) wordnet based ontology in addition to the standard SCORM metadata. A semantic search using tags makes searching the Repository significantly easier and much more efficient. The other functionalities comprise browsing and filtering, downloading content as SCORM packages, and supplying it with a new content.

The E-Archaeology Content Repository is hosted at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland. In order to get further information how to access the E-Archaeology Content Repository and compile your own training materials, please contact hep@e-archaeology.org