OER Synthesis and Evaluation / Collections: Impacts and Benefits
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Collections: Impacts and Benefits

Page history last edited by isobel.falconer@... 12 years, 4 months ago

A page to record impact and benefit issues evidenced in the Collections strand.  This is a section of the Phase2 Collections strand synthesis


Unless otherwise stated, all references are to project final reports



How are different means of ensuring sustainability of OER collections effective?

Technical choices

  • Wordpress chosen because will be easy to maintain post project (C-SAP final report)

  • use CMS with a strong community base: "WordPress is a widely used framework, with an established user and developer community. This gives any project confidence that its development will be more sustainable and offer benefits to others" (Triton interim report) 

  • The FERC admin interface has been refined so that the collection can be maintained and updated by someone unfamiliar with the OF project after the project funding has ended. (OF (GEES)) 

  • JorumOpen used as central repository for project resources to ensure sustainability (Oerbital final report)

  • MediaWiki exportable or re-locatable at end of project (Oerbital final report)

  • use transferable technologies: "The rest of the site’s customisation has been based around a methodology of transferability. Whenever a need was identified an assessment was made as to how to do this with existing tools.  To use OER phraseology, we have reused and remixed existing plugins and code to save development time initially, but also maintenance time in the future. Often using a basic framework plugin (such as the Register redux plugin link?) we could make site-specific changes by adding our own plugin alongside (to handle filtering emails). In doing so the site maintains as generic a nature as possible, with a reduced dependency on any additional or externally developed code" (Triton final report) This minimises difficulties with hand-over at the end of the project plus to maximise the potential for reproducibility in other subject areas (Triton interim report)




Dynamic collections may be more sustainable than static ones

  • The project also questioned the relevance of the static/dynamic distinction made by JISC. Though we identified a desire for a refereed resource along the lines of Intute, our focus group recognised that with ever increasing resources such a model would be difficult and expensive to maintain” (C-SAP final report)
  • automatic web-based discovery techniques mean minimal maintenance effort for dynamic collection (but more development work needed before this can be fully achieved) (Delores final report)  
  • Sux0r is provided with a library that can be configured and set-up readily to look at scheduled intervals for data being fed as raw RSS feeds or returned from automated searches from targeted sites. In response to receiving new data, sux0r updates its indexes and classification database. Sux0r processes and puts out rss feeds for consumption by Waypoint. Although initial manual intervention is needed to tell Waypoint where to look for updates (eg. sux0r) and update interval. Sux0r then provides Waypoint with a single source of ongoing updates, thus reducing the manual intervention required.(Delores final report) 
  • static + dynamic collections acting together: The notion of selecting key materials by hand to form a core selection, and then using these materials to train a filter to recognise material relevant to a community that is then further classified automatically may allow more discriminating search and discovery mechanisms to be achieved than has been the case without excessive expenditure of specialist time and effort.(Delores final report) 


Embedding in learning and teaching practice

  • twice as many respondents (60.6%) who searched regularly for online resources chose to do so only when they had a specific need as opposed to those (30.3%) who undertook searches regardless of whether there was an immediate need. This finding stresses the relevance of the collections project, which offers research methods resources with an emphasis on principles of quality assurance and discoverability (C-SAP user survey report)


Embedding in other institutional activities

  • further development of Waypoint classification rules to improve recall performance (a user requirement shown by evaluation) has been adopted as an MSc project for next year (Delores final report)
  • mainstreaming the current exceptional process that allows external users access to the dynamic collection (currently hosted on a stand-alone server) (Delores final report) 
  • strong engagement with the academic department who will be taking over the site and maintaining it (Triton final report)
  • Capacity building/expertise has been an outcome of the project (Delores final report) 


Engaging wider stakeholders

  • Eevaluation feedback from the Delores expert group suggested that,  "Many companies would be interested in supporting and resources such as these, and the collections could be funded by sponsorship and by advertising revenue generated by the delivery web site." (Delores final report)
  • in short term, technical maintenance by ICO3 (OF (GEES) final report)
  • Greater engagement with professional bodies (OF (GEES) final report) 


Pooling/community resources for technical development 

  • Delores and Triton exploring whether they can work together on plugin development (Delores interim report)
  • "Picture picker plugin was promoted / donated to the Open Attribute project (so that its development is supported sustainably" (Triton final report) Triton picture finder plugin Triton picture finder advanced plugin
  • extending the use of sux0r and Waypoint to other domains, "the methods made available – through descriptions of the methods followed and provision in the public domain of the technologies – for respectively Delores Selections and Delores Extensions will allow educators in other domains an easier means of providing OERs for their own subject material " (Delores final report) Waypoint binary files sux0r bayesian feed filter
  • Encourage further engagement with the Wordpress developer community (Delores final report) 


Community engagement 

  • Quality is a sustainability/community issue, For OER to be a success there are many loops and cycles, which have to be completed to a high standard by the academic community itself for a resource to “get into sustained orbit” i.e. be maintained and enhanced continuously  (Oerbital final report)
  • C-SAP is building a community of practice around the website; seeding site with reviews to encourage further user-contributed reviews to increase awareness of quality and to grow the collection of resources; reviews will be CC licensed and will include information about licensing status of reviewed resources to raise awareness; advice about how to cite digital resources (C-SAP final report)
  • DVD created from the materials generated from the expert workshop will extend the impact of the project beyond the life of the project, raising awareness in the community (C-SAP final report) 
  • "free" user contributions (eg. comments on blog, rating of classification for dynamic collections) will improve the collections  (Delores final report, Oerbital final report)
  • broaden the community base by extending the range of disciplines covered (OF (GEES) final report) 
  • we asked practitioners what purpose they felt a fieldwork OER community should serve. Top among their responses were providing a forum for the sharing and reuse of resources, and acting as a source of information and guidance about fieldwork OER. Perceived advantages and benefits of using OER in fieldwork included the sharing of ideas, saving time/resources, and providing additional support to learners. Among the perceived disadvantages and barriers were variable quality of submissions, the time necessary to develop and repurpose resources, and lack of knowledge of copyright/IPR issues (OF (GEES) final report) 
  • OF (GEES) is developing an interface to allow users to add to the collection (OF (GEES) final report)
  • However, community-building also has drawbacks: the Delores project note that allowing user comments on a web2.0 site has ongoing maintenance implications (Delores final report)


Sustainability barriers

Loss of expertise from institutions after the end of project funding  (Delores final report) 







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