Suggestions for future editions of OER Handbook

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The issue tracker is meant for issues regarding the current status of the OER Handbook, while is page is meant to catalog suggestions for future editions.

Conceptual Models of OER Development

We could include representations of both diagrams - one is student-oriented and the other is about oer-development in the large (though it could be applied to OER development in the small too). Both diagrams would need artistic enhancement.

(this issue is being thought about in another context)

Create separate chapters for some of the cross-cutting concerns

Proposed by: Ktucker
Date: 17 Jun. 2008
Idea: See relevant discussion.

Cross-cutting concerns include:

  • collaboration - find, compose, adapt, share, use
  • design - find, compose, adapt, share, use
  • accessibility - find, compose, adapt, share
  • mobile access - find, compose, adapt, share
  • file formats - find, compose, adapt, share
  • quality - find, compose, use (was "evaluation")
  • licensing - find, compose, adapt, share

There are definite merits regarding combining each cross-cutting concern into a chapter. However, the OER life cycle (as presently designed) lends itself to a linear type of creation. Therefore, readers should be informed of decision points as they move through the life cycle, otherwise they risk "painting themselves into a corner." The solution is to refer to the appropriate chapters at those decision points, but that does reduce the independence of that section. --Sgurell 15:34, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Alternative Structure

Part 1- OER Life Cycle

  1. Introduction
  2. Find
  3. Compose
  4. Adapt
  5. Use
  6. Share
  7. Conclusion

Part 2 - Aspects of OER Development

  1. Quality
    • combine the quality sections from Compose and Adapt.
  2. File Formats
    • combine the two file format sections (from Find and Adapt)
  3. Accessibility
  4. Mobile Access
  5. Licensing
  6. Perspectives


  1. List of file formats
  2. Tools
    1. Find OER (list of search engines and repositories)
      1. Search engines
      2. General repositories General repositories (experiment with tables)
      3. Specific repositories
        • Science repositories Science repositories
        • Social science repositories Social science repositories
        • Humanities repositories Humanities repositories (experiment with tables)
        • Open textbooks Open textbooks (experiment with tables)
      4. Individual project sites
    2. Compose OER
      • Audio Editors
      • Image Editors
      • Learning support systems
      • Office suites
      • Web authoring
      • Video Editors
  3. Other Repositories

Organize repositories and tools wrt educator goals

Proposed by: Ktucker
Date: 25 Jun. 2008

Structuring the types of repositories in other ways (and ordering sections accordingly) is tricky.

Ideally, we should think of the educator-reader and the most typical usage scenario which could suggest the order of criteria?

Profile the educator:

   * Subject area (e.g. I am a physics teacher looking for ...)
         o Educational level (e.g. K-12 materials ...)
               + Something ready-made and complete (e.g. OCW full course, text book, reading materials, ...)
               + Something to incorporate or adapt (finer-grain) (e.g. image or other media file) 

Licensing (like file formats and quality) is an important cross-cutting concern, but this is about finding resources.

Dividing among subject area makes sense (and the OER Handbook does a little separation already). Educational level is a little problematic and because standards vary and are region specific. Additionally, some repositories are very broad in their scope (e.g. K-12), making educational level a little less meaningful. But I do agree there is value in distinguishing between educational level. Version 1.0 did not cover educational level, in part, because of time. The ready-made and complete distinction may be a little difficult, as educators can still use a single image from an OCW course.

I agree that the primary focus should be on the actual finding of the resources, but educators should at least be aware the license of the material they find may have downstream consequences for them or others. --Sgurell 18:08, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

This thought may have implications for the ordering of the sections:


  1. Find your own resources
  2. Subject Based repositories:
         * Science repositories
         * Social science repositories
         * Humanities repositories 
  3. General (OER) repositories
  4. Search Engines
  5. Open textbooks
  6. Individual project sites 

This would work if the reality was that specialised repositories (i.e. by subject and edu level) are a better place to start than using general search engines.

(and many of the "general" repositories are aggregations of specialist areas - OCW, Wikiversity, ...)

Organization around case study

Proposed by: Ktucker
Date: 7 Jun. 2008

Ktucker proposed to organize the Compose chapter around a specific case study. It was not implemented because of time. I was concerned about making the case study applicable to most, and hopefully all, readers. Ktucker believes that the case could be sufficiently generic, while still useful to most people. --Sgurell 15:45, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Name of open-access repositories

Proposed by: Ktucker/Sgurell
Date: 23 Jul. 2008

There are a significant number of repositories that are open access, but not open licensed. The problem is finding an appropriate name for these repositories. Some names that have been suggested:

  • Traditionally copyrighted repositories (used in Version 1.0)
  • Restricted use repositories
  • Restricted access repositories
  • Permission repositories
  • Full copyright repositories


Proposed by: Sgurell
Date: 25 Jul. 2008

The motivation behind the educator handbook is important. Initial drafts of the Introduction were focused more on how educators can help the OER movement, rather than how the OER movement can help educators. Future versions of the handbook should ensure that attention is paid to the motivations of teachers. However, it is important for educators to understand that there are collective aspects to the OER movement.

Mobile learning

Mobile learning is a cross-cutting concern throughout the OER life cycle. Given the popularity of cell phones in developing countries as well as the growing number of phone applications, it is important that the OER movement pays attention to this growing area of educational opportunity. However, knowledge about mobile OER phone production is limited and more information needs to be gathered to provide more empirically-grounded sections. --Sgurell 15:54, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Organization of evaluation

Evaluation is a cross-cutting concern which is mentioned in the Use chapter and is also mentioned as the quality sections in Compose and Adapt chapters. The idea of evaluating at all points of the OER life cycle is important and should be incorporated into future editions.

User Stories

The user stories were meant to provide thoughts and perspectives about OER development from people who are developing OER. These sections were placed at the end of every chapter. The general consensus is that each of these little user stories should be distributed throughout the chapter (perhaps as pull-quotes in the print version). Future contributors should be aware that finding these user stories can be difficult and response from the community for such stories proved tepid.