This session will examine how the open source software development model can be applied to Open Educational Resources, and, in the light of the retirement of Jorum1, how the new Jisc App & Content Store can aid this.
The session will be split into two main parts: we will look at the three main ways that the Open Source Software (OSS) development model2 can aid the development of OER, and then at the development of the Jisc Content & App Store and how it applies to the priciples of OSS development to OERs. These principles are actually already things that are in use within the OER community (though some to a greater extent than others), although the terminology used in OSS development may be different that that used within the OER community:
- Version control & tracking
The challenge is showing educators how these above concepts relate to their use of OER and are concepts that they do understand, despite the difference in culture between software developers and educators. The most helpful way would be to highlight simalrities:
- OERs and Open Source Software are often both stored in repositories allowing access to anyone who wants it
- Both use licenses that allow people to take resources or software and reuse and remix it, giving credit to the originators.
One people are aware of how similar the concepts are, the session will go on to show what concepts can be taken from OSS development into the world of OER, for example
- Version tracking. Used in OSS to show who made changes, when and why. A system of being able to track and see who has remixed a resource and what changes and improvements they have introduced would be extremely valuable. Version control with OERs would allow the authors to refresh their resources to ensure they stay relevant. It also makes it easier to ‘retire’ resources which are no longer fit for purpose.
- Forking – or as we know it, remixing resources. IN OSS development someone can take a codebase, make improvements and then merge it back into the main software tree. IN OER this concept means someone can take and improve upon existing resources. It also allows educators to track how resources are being reused, providing data t about how much remixing and resharing does occur. This information can be shared with the OER community to help encourage further resharing (Or shock people with how little/much resharing happens, depending on what the tracking data tells us!)
Jorum, currently the largest repository of OERs in the UK, is being retired as a service by September 2016. During discussions between the Jorum team and Jisc colleagues it became clear that, while the new Jisc Content & App Store will not be a like for like repository replacement, or contain all the resources that Jorum contained, it will have resources available for reuse and remixing. The emphasis, however, should be placed on greater ownership of resources by the author(s), and making it easier to keep resources updated, whilst at the same time allowing end users of these resources to be able to see what changes have been made, when and why.
We will cover what aspects of OSS development methods are already in use within the OER Community, and the things that the OER community could take from the OSS development model to make OERs even more open, available and easier to remix, whilst keeping the available resources in the Content & App Store relevant and current. The aim is to help both practitioners who want to use and share resources and perhaps never used Jorum, and at the same time bring the existing OER community along.
We will also be giving a quick demonstration of the current development version of the Jisc Content & App Store.
1 Jisc. 2015. Jisc to retire Jorum and refresh its open educational resources offer. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/news/jisc-to-retire-jorum-and-refresh-its-open-educational-resources-offer-24-jun-2015.
2 Wikipedia. 2005. Open-source software development. [ONLINE] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_software_development.