Encouragement

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After going through such an extensive introduction into a community with its own quirks and idiosyncrasies it is natural to feel a little overwhelmed. The complex issues that matter in the OER community, such as copyright, are not often discussed by the general public. However, as education costs continue to grow educators will look for ways for reduce those costs. Given the price of textbooks and multimedia for the classroom, it may be inevitable that OER will be considered as a viable alternative. What that means for your individual OER project is it will probably increase in value over time. Of course, some OER (such as software tutorials) tend to out-date themselves faster than others. Still, it is very likely that someone will be able to use your OER.

Like any "first," your introductory OER will not be the best one. However, your first effort should not discourage you from future attempts. The OER community is generally very encouraging of new contributions, and will appreciate any new efforts. However, if you do receive any constructive criticism concerning your OER, try to take it as positively as possible. If someone takes the time to criticize an effort, it is largely because that person sees value in at least some of the OER.

After completing your first OER, try to learn from your mistakes in addition to the things that went well. If you are unsure what was successful, find similar OER (same subject matter, same medium) for comparison purposes. In some cases, you will not be able to find a similar OER. This only means that your OER is even more valuable, because it is unique. In those situations, you should find other educators who teach the same, or a similar, subject to receive feedback.

Finding a community to discuss your OER can be helpful, because they can provide support and guidance. Even people online who are knowledgeable about the subject, but have no affiliation with open education, can be helpful in giving feedback. Given the multitude of possible subject areas that can comprise an OER, it is impossible to list everywhere someone can go for advice and community support. The best place to start is a search engine to find message boards and forums related to your subject.

Creating OER can seem like a risky proposition. To spend all that time creating something without knowing what will happen to it means giving up some control. Given the nature of OER, you may never know exactly who it will affect. But by making your OER available, you create a new world of possibilities.

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