Reviewing Module 3 of SupportDM – Data Management Plans

We met with our subject librarians on Monday to review Module 3 (on Data Management Plans) and to introduce Module 4.

A chunk of the blended learning course is the online module produced in Xerte and imported into our Moodle VLE.

Despite Stephen’s best efforts to create a thrilling online module covering DMPs it wasn’t fully appreciated by all of our librarians, however.

“Online learning isn’t really my thing.”

“I speed read through the online  modules”

“I get more out of these [face-to-face] sessions than I do from reading online”

“I’d rather do everything in one session, like today”


It seems to reinforce what we’ve done in the meeting.

It’s not just the structure of “blended learning” that is at issue it seems. It’s the actual technology too. It was revealed that one of our librarians has been unable to properly view the Xerte module in Moodle because of screen size issues which are likely related to the Zip file that’s been imported, although not everyone has had this problem.  There was a also a feeling that more photos were needed in the online course in order to enliven an admittedly dry subject and there was a desire for it to be more interactive than it was. Again it is likely down to Xerte’s functional limitations.

Which is all leading towards a reconfiguration of the blended learning course to perhaps one that is less online-dependent. You can see our course for yourself in a week or so’s time when we release it for reuse. We like to think it’s good! Keep your eyes peeled for the next release.

The task we gave to use as homework looked at four approaches for supporting researchers writing DMPs. Our Librarians were asked to read the short case studies of the following institutions:

  1. Guidance & training at the University of Edinburgh
  2. The Digital Curation Centre’s DMPonline & the DMP Tool (USA)
  3. Embedding data management into grant application processes at the University of Leicester
  4. Consultation at Monash University, Australia

They were then asked them to consider the merits of each approach:

  • Which approach do you favour?
  • What may be feasible to implement at UEL?
  • Are there other types of support you would consider providing?


We wrote down the responses to the questions and aligned them with each case study and there were some useful contributions.

  • Edinburgh’s Data Management Planning page featured a check-list and was seen as “essential”  and seen as a good model for researchers getting started and something we should emulate at UEL.
  • The Digital Curation Centre’s DMP Online tool was described as “awesome!” as well as “structured, and “properly helpful” – East London style. It was also suggested that we should have create a similar template for use at UEL just as Queen Mary, University of London have done. It was also suggested that this include a template for use by our Post Graduate Researchers and for those who are without funding.
  •  The embedded help flag alerts (tick boxes) for grants being made at the University of Leicester was seen as a “good idea” and “simple” but perhaps “too simple” as it would put more onus on the researcher to actually know that they need advice and may slow down their bid application.
  • Monash University’s institutional data planning consultations were described as “good” in providing expert advice. However, there was a comparison of a research university such as Monash and a teaching university such as UEL which raised the question of whether there would be a demand for this type of support or service here at UEL.

This exercise had me thinking that it would have been useful to see the “traffic light” checklist system of asking researchers about data management planning from the Archive and Data Management Training Center at Gesis Leibniz-Institut für Sozialwissenschaften in Cologne, Germany.

Some of the other feedback covered the schedule of the course such as perhaps making it less than every fortnight in order for memories to be fresh on the online course they had. Monday mornings were also bemoaned. But Steve and I love Monday mornings!? Scheduling has been very much based around the best availability of our librarians but it’s something to consider again for any future iteration.

The meeting then moved onto what would be covered in Module 4: What data to keep, and why by looking at the DCC publication onHow to Appraise and Select Research Data for Curation” by Angus Whyte, Digital Curaton Centre, and Andrew Wilson, Queensland State Archives. More on Module 4 in a fortnight.


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