While installing and using the bookmarklet is fairly easy, figuring out some of the non-technical bits for submitting an OER is a bit trickier. The language used by OER Commons implies that you can submit any resource to the Commons.
And I think that is the intent of the bookmarklet. So I began to look for some guidelines for what could be contributed. I was thinking primarily about licensing (could you, for example, submit something that wasn’t explicitly an OER, or tagged with a Creative Commons license?) and how do you give author attribution for a submitted resource?
OER Commons does have a wiki that covers submitting materials to OER Commons, but it seems to be written much more for authors who want to submit their own content and not for a third party person who wants to contribute a resource they stumble upon on the web. There is a section entitles Recommend New OER, which got me wondering; if I submit an OER via the bookmarklet, am I actually submitting an OER to the Commons, or am I just submitting for consideration to be added to the Commons?
Despite these issues, I decided to move ahead and submit an OER, the fantastic Mission: DS106 Anthology of New Media Projects. If you are not familiar, this site is the assignment repository for UMW’s open, online ds106: Digital Storytelling course (which, as an aside, will be running again this Fall).
There are a couple of wonderful things about the Mission: DS106 site. First, this collection of digital storytelling assignments has been submitted by…well, by everyone. Anyone who has an idea can submit an assignment into the mix, and students can pick and choose which assignment they want to complete as part of the course (which, as Jim Groom points out, helps with student engagement by allowing students to program and participate in the creation of their own assignments).
Additionally, each assignment has examples attached to it so students can see what the finished assignment will look/sound like (for WP buffs, Alan Levine touches on how they did this using WordPress tags). And, once a student completes an assignment, they can then rate the difficulty of the assignment on a scale of 1 to 5 stars for the benefit of future students.
So, with OER in hand, I head to the Mission DS106 site and click the Submit OER bookmarklet, which pops open step 1 of a 3 step form for submitting.
This was a tricky bit. I figured that (knowing a bit about how Alan and Jim operate) that these assignments would at the very least be Creative Commons resources. But I couldn’t actually find the license type on the site. So a quick tweet to Alan and, well… you can read for yourself how he feels about sharing these resources.
Update: since Alan posted a response regarding licensing, I have gone back to the OER Commons site and changed the license type with a link back to Alan’s blog post which should make it abundantly clear to anyone who finds this in the OER Commons that this material is there to be used.
I clicked submit and the resource is now….well, not yet on the OER Commons site. If I log in, I can see the resource. But it doesn’t appear to be live on the site. I am not sure if it now has to be vetted by someone before it appears on the site, or ????? I’ll keep you posted as to where the resource has gone now that it has been submitted.
Well, technically that was pretty easy, but….
As you have probably guessed, submitting an OER right now is not a straightforward process, but not for any technical reason. What would make this process infinitely easier and more transparent is a set of guidelines specifically targeted at third party users who want to submit OER’s from the web that explains the entire process a bit clearer and spells out exactly what the heck happens to that OER when you submit it. But technically, the bookmarklet does its job and is an easy way to tag and add resources to the OER Commons.