Using Open Technologies to Support a Healthy OER Life Cycle
Vivien Rolfe, De Montfort University, UK Simon Griffin, Griffin Internet Marketing, UK
Conference Theme: Innovation
Summary: We report on the use of on-line tools and techniques to create a healthy OER life cycle of discovery, use, reuse and sharing.
Abstract: The aim is to illustrate a number of on-line tools for promoting discovery and reuse of OER. With an increasing abundance of open educational resources (OER) available through the internet, one of the challenges is how to create a healthy OER life cycle. This includes the means to easily search for resources, use and/or improve them, and a means of sharing the results (Yergler 2010). Another important consideration is understanding how to sustain these open practices within the framework of an educational setting. Currently OER are spread across multiple global repositories and are available in open spaces such as YouTube and Flickr for example. Searching and finding relevant material is often time consuming and in itself a challenge to academics and students. Also critical, the notion of being truly open, accessible and reusable, the OER need to be in multiple formats or at least be easily adapted using technology solutions into new usable formats. The aim of our research is to develop effective strategies for enhancing the discovery and reuse of resources in order to support the OER life-cycle. Our approach for three UKOER projects has been to house OER on search-engine optimised websites and to use a social networking strategy mediated by Posterous.com to publicise resources and news items (Rolfe & Griffin 2011). The Virtual Analytical Laboratory (VAL); Sickle Cell Open (SCOOTER) and Health and Life Science Open Educational Resources (HALS) contain multimedia resources that rely on web-based search engines for their discovery, and they therefore reach a broad audience including educators, students, other professionals and the general public. Whilst we have endeavoured to produce files in multiple reusable formats, for example a narrated Flash animation (swf) will also be converted to video (MP4) and have an accompanying transcript (PDF), we have not been systematic in our approach. The latest on-line marketing techniques aim to produce different modalities from one content source in a more systematic way (Williams 2011). This approach offers an interesting model for widening the interoperability and accessibility of OER, and also could provide a framework for users to adapt the resources themselves. We have modified this system to produce OER in a multiple file types which are then deployed to multiple internet locations. This presentation will report on which strategies for enhancing discovery and maximising reuse of OER are most effective. This will be determined by interrogating analytical and social networking data, and by obtaining user feedback via questionnaires, comments and emails. Exploring the notions of discovery and availability are essential to the OER life cycle. Employing the myriad of on-line services and tools in a time-efficient manner is essential for a healthy and operable life cycle within the constraints of a busy academic setting.
References: Rolfe VE & Griffin SJ (2011). Building online communities. OER11 Conference. Manchester 2011. Williams P (2011). Content Leverage System. Available at: http://www.nobelsamusai.com Yergler NR (2010). Search and discovery: OER’s open loop. Open Ed 2010 Proceedings. Barcelona.