You might have crafted the perfect institutional OER policy. However, this means nothing if the people on the ground are unaware of Open Educational Practices. Here are four (4) tips to get an institution started (Source):
- Build capacity
- Start by defining what OER are using the 2012 Paris OER Declaration. Tell them that there are many forms of OER available such as course materials which can be found using COL’s Directory of Open Educational Resources (DOER) or OER Commons, images such as the ones found in Wikimedia Commons or [Flickr: Creative Commons] (https://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/) and video from YouTube’s Creative Commons-licensed content.
- Explain that the “O” stands for the 5Rs of OER. Guide them through the ALMS analysis to give them an understanding of how accessible an OER should be and point them to the Creative Commons to make sense of all the licensing mumbo-jumbo.
- Finally, provide some training in free and open source software (FOSS) tools such as Open Office, Google Docs, Gimp, Audacity, VirtualDub and PSPP to empower them.
- Set up a repository
- Now that your teachers are developing new OER, you need to find a central place to put them. The library website is the popular choice. However, since your OER should be accessible freely by anyone with an internet connection (else why use OER at all?) and the library may only be accessible to your students, it pays to investigate a few FOSS repositories such as DSpace to host your OER. This will also help you to manage web traffic better when thousands of visitors come looking for OER from your institution.
- Adopt a metadata standard for marketing your OER to search engines. Two of the popular ones are IEEE-Learning Object Metadata (IEEE-LOM) and Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI). The Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (http://lrmi.dublincore.net/), initiated by the Creative Commons, is now part of DCMI.
- Once you have figured out which repository platform and metadata standard you will be using (when in doubt, ask a librarian), you will want to decide whether to host it internally or on the cloud. As your collection of OER grows, you will need more and more storage space. This need will grow exponentially if you create a lot of multimedia material such as video. As a result it may be wise to consider cloud based hosting, as this is comparatively cheap, reliable, scalable and relatively safe.
- Conduct QA
- Take your quality assurance (QA) seriously when it comes to OER. You are putting the reputation of the institution on the line. Check whether your OER are relevant to your students with respect to content and pedagogy. Look at the licenses and file types to see if your OER are desirable. Use COL’s TIPS framework to guide your OER QA process. Also, make sure you form an OER task force which can help teachers and students with issues or doubts. Let the information available from COL for the general public, teachers, and students be your guiding light.
- Recognize and Reward
- Locating, reusing, revising and remixing OER requires a lot of effort, persistence and perseverance. As an institution, look at how contributions to OER can be openly recognized. This will act as a motivating factor. Including contributions to OER as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) can also be a viable way of recognizing the toil a teacher has to go through to adopt, adapt, or create OER. Providing adequate time and other incentives will also help.
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Abeywardena, I.S. (2016). Implementing OER policy: Four tips. Retrieved from https://www.col.org/news/col-blog/implementing-oer-policy-four-tips