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Release, Dissemination and Sustainability

Page history last edited by christopherdtaylor@gmail.com 13 years ago


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When OER have been released it is possible to find out some information about (potential) reuse. You may be able to gather some useful information from the repository or web site to which you have uploaded the OER, for instance there may be a record of

  • page views
  • visitor comments
  • number of times the OER was downloaded
  • number of times the OER was embedded
  • peer reviews
  • (star) rating 



Because an OER has an open licence, adopters are not obliged to ask permission to reuse it. So its creators may never be contacted directly by someone reusing the OER they have created, and hence not know that this is happening.


It is possible however to track OER in such a way that if they are shared electronically and openly by a reuser they can be found. A simple way is to add a distinctive 'tag' or unique keyword (such as bioukoer or sfsoer) into the metadata of the resource. This tag can then be searched for and any instances of resources with this tag on the web will be found. This will work as long as the reuser does not remove the tag from the resource prior to sharing or only shares the existing resource in an environment that is not open (e.g. an institutional VLE).


This is important, as if the original OER is covered with a CC-ShareAlike licence the adapter has a responsibility to re-upload the adapted resource back into the community under the same licence.


Certain repositories, such as the US-based Merlot, will allow for comments and ratings to be left directly, alerts to which are then automatically fed back to the author via their registered email address. Merlot however only points to resources hosted elsewhere, and is not itself a storage facility. So, a useful technique here is to upload and catalogue the resource firstly into JorumOpen and then point to JorumOpen's record from Merlot. This is a fairly painless process, as part of it is done automatically, as detailed on the Bioscience OER blog, and also serves to increase awareness of the resource at an international level.


A number of more technical methods of OER tracking are currently being investigated by JISC CETIS, and further information on those is available on their wiki


It is important to remember that making an OER available on the web is only part of its dissemination. Uploading it to a popular site (e.g. YouTube) potentially puts it front of a very large audience but it doesn't guarantee it will be viewed even once. More importantly, it may not be seen by its target audience unless attention is drawn to it.  Use should be made of existing means of communication to draw communities' attention to OER just as you would any other new resource.


Effective dissemination strategies should include the use of Web2.0 technologies to ensure the resources can be surfaced, shared and promoted as widely as possible.


OER themselves form part of the trend toward greater sustainability in education, reusing resources that are available rather than continually 'reinventing the wheel'. However, for the practises of creating and reusing OER to be sustainable such activities need to be become embedded in everyday practice [see Sustainability - JISC OER Infokit (external link)].



Although short-term funding can be useful to get involvement in OER off the ground, no additional funding should be required to create or release OER that cannot be relied upon in the long term. This includes employment of specialist staff to work on such matters as IPR. Likewise, sharing should be done through repositories and other means that have long-term funding assured.



Knowledge of how to create and share OER should be cascaded through communities to ensure as many people have the required skills and knowledge as possible. This will help ensure that there is not a huge reliance on a limited number of staff (which could become a problem if staff leave) and as many staff as possible are able to get involved, either producing OER of their own or reusing the OER that are available.



The technical barrier needs to be set as low as possible to enable as many as possible to become involved in OER as wish to. This can be achieved by making use of tools for sharing which are as straightforward as possible. If technological expertise must be relied upon, it must have long term funding and be able to cope with the volume of requests for assistance so not as to become a 'bottleneck' to sharing and reuse.


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