OER1119 Oral Presentation ppt

Wednesday 11 May 12.00 Breakout Room 6

Building online communities to sustain the Open Education movement

Vivien Rolfe, De Montfort University & Simon Griffin, Search Engine Optimisation Specialist, Leicestershire

Conference Theme: OER strategy and sustainability

Abstract: UK Higher Education is about to undergo a rapid change. The Open Educational Resource (OER) movement will offer educators much needed flexibility and the ability to access to good quality materials for free, and the movement will provide learners with access to resources to tailor-make their own educational experience. Adopting sustainable approaches are central to growth of the OER movement - how can individuals and institutions ensure that their resources thrive and not gather dust? The JISC/HEA OER Phase 2 project SCOOTER (Sickle Cell Open, Online Topics and Educational Resources) aims to use social networking tools to build a community of users as part of a sustainable approach.
The SCOOTER project will use social networking tools to build an online community. Commercial companies now strive to develop viral marketing campaigns via social networking that can reach millions of people instantly. The SCOOTER project’s OER are contained within a WordPress Direct blog (SCOOTER 2010). The project uses Posterous to send data (images, blog updates, news) to additional social networking spaces including Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Picassa, Tumblr and others. As well as passively populating these areas, the project team are actively joining relevant groups and following them on Twitter and Facebook.
The SCOOTER project aims to evaluate which networks are best. SCOOTER will track user activity through Google Analytics to see which networks are effective in referring traffic back to the project website. It is important that the network activity is not light and paying fleeting visits, but builds towards being an active community with dialogue. The user statistics will be gathered from each of the social networking spaces, and qualitative data from comments and forums will be used to determine some extent of impact and richness of the discussions.
Building a vibrant community of users is an essential goal in order to sustain the OER movement though what might be a rocky road in the years ahead. Building a community starts with social networking and evaluating the effectiveness of these networks.

Keywords: open educational resources; online communities; sustainability; scooter; sickle cell anaemia


SCOOTER (2010). Sickle Cell Open – Online Topics and Educational Resources project website. Available at: http://www.sicklecellanaemia.org