Reuse: the other side of sharing OERs

Pegler, Chris (2010). Reuse: the other side of sharing OERs. In: OER10 Conference, 22-24 Mar 2010, Cambridge, United Kingdom.



Reusing online resources has long been acknowledged as key to developing a sustainable approach to e-learning (e.g. Littlejohn (2003)). Indeed, it is difficult to envisage a productive future for e-learning that does not include sharing of resources. Opportunities to generate content online have escalated. Sharing, in the sense of publishing, comparing, collaborating and combining new resources, is increasingly common and frequently ‘open’. Described as ‘a learning object plus an open license’ (Wiley, 2009), open educational resources (OER) help resolve one of the most significant barriers to sharing – the rights issue. However, sharing of OER is a two-sided process. It requires use of the resources, for the sharing cycle to be completed. Otherwise we simply have intent to share, or ‘planning to share’ Leslie (2008) – the good intentions around reuse identified by McGill, et. al. (2008). OER is more than simply making shareable resources available in a technically reusable guise. It needs to facilitate productive sharing exchanges between participants who may not have met, supporting discovery, adaptation and reuse of resources across different contexts – whether as one-off transactions, or within on-going collaboration. In doing so it needs to engage with complex cultural change – not just in countering resistance to offering resources (Lee, 2008), but also in knowing why reusing resources would be desirable in an academic culture which places high value on originality. This session presents a model for predicting the reuse potential of OER projects within UK HE, and thus improving the chances of reuse occurring. The model is grounded in longitudinal research (2002-2009) based on resource reuse within the UK across a spectrum of sharing contexts, from courses and individual collections, to national and open repositories. It focuses on the influence and interaction of technology (including open licenses), motivation and resource utility on each side of the resource reuse transaction – the supply and the demand (or use) dimensions of resource sharing. Presented as a ‘dashboard’ style tool, the resource reuse prediction (RREP) model will help OER projects anticipate areas of resistance to reuse and suggests ways to address or minimize these.

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