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Approaches to supporting open educational resource projects

Robertson, R. John and MacNeill, Sheila and Barker, Phil and Campbell, L. and Yuan, Li (2010) Approaches to supporting open educational resource projects. In: OpenCourseWareConsortium 2010, 1900-01-01.

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This paper examines CETIS experience of supporting a nationwide programme to release Open Educational Resources (the JISC Higher Education Academy UKOER Pilot Programme ). We consider how our model of support could inform others and be adapted to encourage sustainable technical support networks for Open Course Ware initiatives. As a national initiative involving universities throughout the UK, the UKOER programme involved a diverse range of OER providers, including individual educators, discipline-based consortia and institutions. Given this diversity it was recognised from the outset that no single technical solution would fit all projects, and therefore no specific tools, descriptive standards, exchange or dissemination mechanisms were mandated (apart from a requirement that the resources produced be represented in a national repository of learning materials ). In supporting this programme we have had to address diverse approaches and communities and it is likely that any similar pan-institutional initiative for supporting the release of OERs would face similar challenges. Our approach to programme support has sought to move from the detail of specific support issues towards underlying support principles; thereby anticipating other issues and promoting good practice. Our method has been: to provoke conversation through technical presentations and discussion opportunities at meetings or through blog posts; to investigate the technical choices made by individual projects through technical review conversations and record summary details of these conversations publicly online through an interface supporting searching and browsing; and to respond to issues arising from these calls or from project blogs. In considering how this approach could be used more widely we will look at the challenges of working openly, the organisational overhead of this approach, its adaptability, and the role we think it has played in supporting the management and dissemination of OERs for this programme.