Offline Versions

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Image courtesy of Milovan

"Offline" or "local" versions of OER are OER that can be used without being connected to the internet. Bandwidth is limited in many countries and there are places that have very little access to the internet or where internet access is prohibitively expensive, even in so-called "developed countries" like the United States (Associated Press, 2008). For educators in these areas, "offline" versions of OER are tremendously valuable.

Local copies of OER save on bandwidth costs and greatly increase the speed at which users can access the resources. Having a local copy of the materials also enables new ways of modification and collaboration in the local context. For example, copying a course from MIT OCW into a local wiki enables a teacher to assign students to update and modify the course materials to make them more locally relevant.

To enable offline access to your OER, make the OER (or as much of it as possible) available for download in a format that is convenient for re-use and modification, and under a license that permits adaptation.


Offline-ready resources include:

Resources which require modification for offline use include:

Methods to provide offline OER

There are a number of ways local copies of materials can be provided:

Typically, large repositories of OER (such as Connexions or MIT OCW) like to offer their pages as a collection in ZIP format. ZIP is a type of file that actually works more like a folder; it can contain several different files that can be expanded using a unzipping program. A ZIP file uses compression to make the ZIP file smaller than the size of all the files put together normally, making ZIP perfect for distribution over the internet. There are several different ZIP programs such as 7-Zip[6] that you can use to unzip files in the ZIP format.

A simple way to test how well your OER works in an offline setting is by disconnecting a computer from the internet and trying use the OER. If it does not, others may have a hard time making an offline copy of your resource.

Notes

  1. http://www.httrack.com/
  2. http://www.gnu.org/software/wget/
  3. http://curl.haxx.se/
  4. http://www.tenet.ac.za/
  5. http://ocw.mit.edu
  6. http://www.7-zip.org/

Sources

Associated Press. (2008, April 4). Navajo Nation likely to lose internet service. Retrieved April 4, 2008, from http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/04/04/navajo.internet.ap/
Schmidt, P. (2007, November). "7.2 Local hosting of materials." UNESCO OER Toolkit Draft. WikiEducator. Retrieved March 21, 2008, from http://www.wikieducator.org/UNESCO_OER_Toolkit_Draft#Local_hosting_of_materials

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