Monday, 7 February 2011

The downsides of OER

Having recently tried to use some OER in anger, we download a QuestionMark questionset from a well known repository.  On installing the qpack, we noticed that there where questions with graphics missing.  There was a name and an e-mail next to the releaser, so I thought may as well drop them a line to see if they had the graphics handy.  The releaser it seems was not the releaser of the materials but the author of the questionset. So someone else had released the materials without giving it a proper review.  The releaser was very helpful though in getting the images to us, but as they mentioned they are under extreme pressure in the normal work instances.

A lot of people might not be aware of the extra workload and communication involved in OER and really should.  Someone might get in touch and expect an answer, others might be after more information about a specific subject.  Quality control is something that needs to be rigourus especially when releasing materials out into the wild and people need to be aware of the possible extra time after publication.


Lucius Nesterov said...

There was a related discussion on Mark Weller's blog - considering the learner's expectations. I would say in both cases if you are accessing free materials then you should have no expectation of support.

In your case there should have been tighter quality control. As is common in education the creator kindly gave his time for free to help, but that shouldn't be a requirement.

Christopher Jack said...

Yep agreed, In the ideal situation , but as always there is bound to be people out there who expect more than others.

It also highlights the case that the author might not be the publisher, though the authors name is against it, if gets released with errors it reflects on the university as well as well as the author. Its something to think about when setting up repository's and workflows.