Page 1

Table of Contents 1 2 3

Introduction Frequently Cited Concerns Making the Case 3.1 Benefits for Global users and Society 3.2 Getting Started 3.3 Presentations 4 Creating and Managing an OCW Team 5 Maintaining Intellectual Property 5.1 Presentation on IP Management for OCW 5.2 A Sample Copyright and IP Summary for your faculty 5.3 A Sample License and Release Form 5.4 A Sample License Request Letter 6 Technology 7 Communication: Internal and External Relations 8 Evaluation and Metrics 9 Addressing Accessibility Issues 10 Participating in the Community


1. Introduction The OCWC Toolkit is a result of concerted effort of the OCWC community. We would like to thank all those who participated in it, with special thanks to Terri Bays who directed the Working Group to make a significant contribution to the community. This booklet is a compilation of the material presented online at and at If you are interested in writing for any particular sections of the Toolkit or would like to start a new section, please contact Meena Hwang at Also, we invite anyone who is interested in translation and localization of the Toolkit as well. Thank you and your feedback is much appreciated.

OpenCourseWare Consortium th

1 Broadway 8 Fl. Cambridge, MA 01242


2. Frequently Cited Concerns Reasonable people will raise legitimate concerns about launching an OpenCourseWare effort. In the list below, we provide a selection of frequently cited concerns, along with some suggestions for how you might respond to them. Ultimately, the benefits of OpenCourseWare far outweigh the concerns, and the OpenCourseWare Consortium is here to help us all work around the obstacles that arise. If you have a concern that you don't see addressed here, check out the OCWC Forum. Attendance - "My students won't come to class if the lectures are online" is the form in which this concern is most often expressed. The goal in responding to this concern is to encourage faculty reflection on effective teaching methods. Putting lectures online enables faculty to treat the lectures as part of a student's preparation for class. This allows students to spend in-class time actively engaging the course content. If faculty explain this at the beginning of the academic term, students will come to class. Cost - There are ways to build an OCW project to fit budgets of many sizes. Much depends on the number of courses an institution intends to publish at what rate, what pre-existing resources can be shared with the OCW project, and how (and by whom) the flow of work is directed. In thinking about the cost of OCW, however, it is important not to lose sight of the institutional benefits and OCW project attracts. Acquiring many of these benefits by means other than OCW would require a similar, and often greater, investment of time, money and effort. Drain on Faculty Time - While it is not unheard of for faculty to prepare their own courses for OCW publication, projects generally employ staff or students to vet materials for Intellectual Property issues and to format them for online use. This leaves the faculty member in the role of consultant: answering questions and reviewing the prepared course prior to publication. OCW processes may inspire faculty to spend more time improving their courses. Such improvements are part of a faculty member's teaching responsibilities, however, and thus should count as a benefit of OCW rather than a burden. Erosion of Distance Education Revenue - Institutions with Distance Learning Programs often are justly concerned that providing free versions of their courses online will discourage students from enrolling for credit. What we have found, however, is that OCW sites provide students with an important pathway into for-credit coursework Faculty Resistance to Sharing - Often, faculty members and academic leaders regard their primary course materials as the "crown jewels" of the instructional program – the essence of what they offer to students, the products that generate tuition revenues, and the substance of what they publish in textbooks. Having a core group of supportive faculty can go a long way towards demonstrating to the reluctant that the value of course materials actually increases as those materials are given away. Intellectual Property - Addressing Intellectual Policy issues is complicated, but it often is more a matter of good record keeping than anything, and a number of tools are in development to help streamline the process. Many more people are willing to share their third-party content than might be apparent at first, and many are thrilled to get the exposure. Undermining Potential Publication for Profit - Most faculty are realistic about their likelihood of making much in the way of royalties from their published works. That being said, as long as for-profit publication remains a significant part of the tenure and promotion process, faculty will be concerned about undermining their efforts to secure such publication. Fortunately there is evidence that OCW publication in fact promotes the sale of related faculty publications, as it both widens the market for those publications, increases name recognition and demonstrates uses to which those publications might be put in the classroom.


3. Making the Case An OpenCourseWare initiative aligns closely with the educational and public service missions of a nonprofit institution of higher learning. More importantly, such an effort also resonates deeply with faculty who have a passion for teaching and who have dedicated their lives to the advancement and dissemination of knowledge. Making the case for OpenCourseWare is thus a matter of articulating the value of OpenCourseWare to these and a variety of other interested groups at your institution. There are a number of different approaches one can take to making the case for OCW, and the best approaches are those that best fit the individual character of your institution. We will start with some general concepts and practices before presenting a menu of options from which you can make your own selections. It may be helpful to think of yourself as making not one, but several cases for OCW, according to the concerns of your audience.

3-1. Benefits for users and for global society Your audiences all will value OpenCourseWare's advancement of knowledge by providing resources for educators, students and self-learners. Such users may draw upon OCW for teaching purposes, for advising or for their own personal knowledge development. OCW resources may be particularly helpful for people in regions where poverty, geography or warfare complicate access to formal learning. Furthermore, opening educational resources to the world creates a learning environment with greater freedom for user innovation, customization and intellectual risk-taking than is afforded in traditional settings where grading and accountability is the order of the day. OpenCourseWare has no exclusive claim to global educational benefit. Thus we should recognize that:  

reasonable and well-intentioned people will raise legitimate concerns about launching an OpenCourseWare effort and pragmatic arguments may be needed in order to distinguish OpenCourseWare from other, equally-altruistic options.

Proponents of OCW thus must be prepared to address reservations about such issues as cost, erosion of distance education revenues, drain on faculty time, intellectual property, and other issues. Fortunately, we are including in this toolkit a list of strategies for addressing Frequently Cited Challenges. One benefit of involvement in the OCW Consortium is the opportunity to share such strategies.

3-2. Getting Started Before you even begin to assemble the specific cases you will make for an OCW project at your institution, take some time to think about your institution's individual character. Some interrelated questions you might ask yourself (and your colleagues) include:      

What are the most significant aspects of your institution's mission and culture? What are your institution's explicit short and long-term goals? What are your institution's explicit concerns? What OCW-relevant processes does your institution already have in place? What is likely to be the most effective scope of an OCW project at your institution? What are likely to be the "pain points" for your institution?


An OCW project can attract many different benefits to your institution, advancing your institutional mission, stimulating innovation, and generating alumni and community pride. The answers you make to the questions above will influence your choice of which benefits to emphasize. Those answers will also help you address those concerns which are most central to your institution. Meanwhile, there are a number of practical steps you can begin to take:     

Assemble an information packet about your proposed initiative Get to know other people at your institution who are involved with developments in education and educational technology Promote increased use of Open Educational Resources at your institution Review available evaluation tools for compiling statistics about your site; its number of hits, where users are coming from Talk with us about formal partnerships.

In taking such steps, you are both preparing yourself to make the case for OCW and preparing your audience to hear what you have to say.

3-3. Presentations There are many practical benefits for the provider/publisher of an OpenCourseWare initiative, and how you present the idea of OCW to your institution depends greatly on who you are and what part of your institution has given you its attention at any given moment. We have assembled below a collection of presentations you might make to different constituencies with different concerns. Each should be customized to fit the situation at your institution, and we encourage you to mix and match the slides to suit your audience: 

Making the Case to Higher Administration - having the higher administration behind your OCW project not only provides access to institutional resources but also assures other participants that the institution values their OCW efforts. This presentation focuses on ways in which OCW advances the institutional mission, stimulates innovation, and generates alumni and community pride. Making the Case to the Mid-Level Administration - having the mid-level administration behind your OCW project helps secure cooperation among different departmental and other units responsible for getting work done on your OCW project. This presentation focuses on ways in which OCW showcases departments' offerings, enhances faculty and student recruitment, accelerates adoption of digital materials in teaching, and fosters collaboration among faculty. Making the Case to the Faculty - a key factor for success of an OpenCourseWare initiative is to ensure that a core group of faculty stand squarely behind the effort and can serve as champions of the idea. This presentation focuses on ways in which OCW provides a new vehicle for contributing to faculty members' discipline, affords greater visibility for themselves and their work, provides a valuable service to faculty for enhancing the presentation of course materials, provides an information resource and embraces faculty values. Making the Case to the Information Technology Team - whether you host your own OCW site or opt for an external hosting service, IT will often be charged with the technical implementation of your OCW site (or sites). This presentation focuses on addressing cost, maintenance, security and support issues an IT team might encounter with an OCW project. Providing hard data and giving IT a solid sense of the scope of the implementation from the outset will reduce anxiety. Additionally, this presentation describes some of the IT benefits of doing OCW, such as standardizing a process by which course materials can be published externally, and reducing support calls due to password issues. The goal is to make IT a true partner in your effort.


Powerpoint Presentation may be downloaded at each link. You may also view the Powerpoint slides at the end of this booklet.


4. Creating and Managing an OCW Team 4-1.  

Key Points Organize and staff OpenCourseWare according to the scope of the effort. Most functions may already exist at your institution – leverage them when possible. How you organize will be institution-specific. Make the organization "faculty-centric." A key success factor is to make it easy and worthwhile for faculty to participate.

Staffing for the various OpenCourseWare functions will depend on the scope of the OpenCourseWare effort and the availability of services on campus. In some environments, more than one function might be combined into a single position. For a large implementation, multiple staff might be needed for just one function. Institutions may choose to outsource some functions. The principal functions involved in running an OpenCourseWare are listed below.       

Executive leadership and overall program management. Manage relationships with sponsors, funding organizations, other internal and external stakeholder groups, strategic direction and goal setting, overall organization, and program leadership and management. Faculty relationship management. Enlisting new faculty and managing ongoing relationships with faculty who are providing content to OpenCourseWare. Content production and publication. Plan, build, publish, and support maintenance of the courses. Intellectual property and licensing. Define intellectual property (IP) and end-user licensing strategy and processes, evaluate content for IP issues. Information Technology. Design, build and operate all technical infrastructure and resources required to meet the program goals. Communications and outreach. Create awareness among target audiences and other user groups. Undertake press and other internal and external communication-related activities. Evaluation and Assessment. Measure and evaluate program performance against goals and external benchmarks.


5. Maintaining Intellectual Property Intellectual Property (IP) Management is one of the most serious concerns faced by those seeking to start an OpenCourseWare project. Concern with IP issues can be at once a great motivator and a great obstacle to the advancement of your project. We provide here a variety of materials related to IP management: 1.

Presentation on IP Management for OCW


A Sample Copyright and IP Summary for your Faculty


A Sample License and Release Form

4. 5.

A Sample License Request Letter Tools for tracking IP Management Data for OCW Projects (coming soon)

In addition, there are a number of questions you should ask your institution's legal team in order to acquaint yourself with your institution's approach to IP and related issues:      

Does your institution consider faculty teaching materials to be the property of the faculty member or of the institution? What process does your institution want you to follow in your use of institution-owned content? How concerned is your institution with its own branding and/or the appearance of endorsement? What is your institution's stance on fair use in the classroom? Outside the classroom? What types of legal language does your institution want you to use in license requests? To what types of privacy laws is your institution subject?

The answers to these questions will inform your use of the materials we have provided you. Getting those answers from the beginning may save you a considerable amount of time and frustration, and you may just find yourself a useful set of allies.

A Sample Copyright and IP Summary for your Faculty PLEASE NOTE: The following Copyright and IP Summary is provided as an example only and does not in any way constitute legal advice. It was created according to the specifications of a particular institution within a particular jurisdiction and may reflect a legal situation that does not hold for your institution. Please consult with lawyers for your Institution in the creation of this or any other legal document pertaining to your OCW project. ============================================================================

[Your Institution Name's] OPENCOURSEWARE IP SUMMARY You may be accustomed to using third-party materials in the classroom under the “fair use” provision of the copyright law, and this may well be entirely proper and appropriate. “Fair use,” however, is very limited as to purpose, duration, and audience for the use of the material. Open publication and use as intended by OCW does not, by and large, qualify for “fair use” treatment.


OCW course materials are made available to the public under a license that:  

Grants users the right to use and distribute the materials either as-is, or in a modified form: Allows users to create derivative works: o Edit o Translate o Reformat o Add to, combine with, or incorporate into other materials Obliges users to meet certain requirements as a condition of use: o Use must be non-commercial (optional) o Materials must be attributed to [Your Institution] and to original author/contributor o Publication or distribution of original or derivative materials must be offered freely to others under identical terms (―share alike‖) (optional).

OCW copyright clearance process—when do we need permission to publish material?  

Always Exceptions: [Your Institution] owns material, or it is in the public domain

Who/how/where do we get permission?  

Original faculty contributors (faculty, sometimes students) grant permission by signing the ―Intellectual Property Notice and License Form.‖ Other permissions are obtained by the OCW Intellectual Property Team, based on citation information provided by faculty.

Permission obstacles and issues   

Permission failure: owner unknown, unresponsive, or denies request Restrictions: permission is for limited time/use that is incompatible with OCW intent Royalties: owner wants (too much) money for permission.

What can we do—with faculty approval—when unable to secure compatible permission?   

Find an alternative object that is clear of IP issues Commission our own substitute/replacement object Delete object from OCW version of the published course.

Helpful resources Web research sources   

US Copyright Office—Guide to copyright law, including a useful FAQ list: World Intellectual Property Organization— WHEN U.S. WORKS PASS INTO THE PUBLIC DOMAIN by Lolly Gasaway, University of North Carolina:


        

[Your Institution's] Libraries Books in Print : Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory: Library of Congress Online Catalog: Harvard’s Hollis Library search page: University of Texas Crash Course in Copyright: University of Maryland Center for Intellectual Property and Copyright in the Digital Environment: [Your Institution's] policy on Intellectual Property. [Your Institution's] policy on Reproduction of copyrighted materials.

Open Knowledge sites     

Creative Commons—the source of the OCW license: GNU Public License — AERA SIG Communication of Research—Ejournals in Education: free journals: Connexions—Open Textbook site: —Online source of free e-books. Note: this site has two categories of ebooks: o Public domain books whose copyright in the United States has expired o Copyrighted books whose author gave Project Gutenberg permission to distribute them. Open Educational Resources Development Gateway—educational resources searchable by discipline and level of study:


A Sample License and Release Form PLEASE NOTE: The following release form is provided as an example only and does not in any way constitute legal advice. It was created according to the specifications of a particular institution within a particular jurisdiction and may reflect a legal situation that does not hold for your institution. Please consult with lawyers for your Institution in the creation of this or any other legal document pertaining to your OCW project. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LICENSE AND RELEASE FORM [Your Institution's Name] PARTICIPANT Course Number

Course Title

Author(s) Name(s)

Author(s) Title

I understand and agree to the following:


1. GRANT OF LICENSE: For good and valuable consideration, the receipt of which I hereby acknowledge, I (the "Author(s)") grant to [Your Institution's Name] a perpetual, royalty free, nonexclusive license to use, reproduce, and distribute and permit others to copy, translate, modify, and further distribute via the [Your Institution's Name] OpenCourseWare (“ [Your Institution's Name] OCW�) Web site and in any other media now known or hereafter developed the materials provided by me to the [Your Institution's Name] OCW program for the Course Title(s) and Number(s) listed on Attachment A, as the same may be amended as provided below (the "Materials"). 2. [Your Institution's Name] OCW USE: I understand and acknowledge that through the [Your Institution's Name] OCW program the Materials will be available to third parties who will be granted a perpetual, royalty free, non-exclusive license to use, reproduce, distribute, translate and modify the Materials for educational, non-commercial, and non-monetary gain. 3. ACCURACY OF MATERIALS: I acknowledge that I am solely responsible for the correctness of my Materials, their adherence to high academic standards, and their accurate reflection of the content and pedagogy of the course. 4. ATTRIBUTION: Unless I decline below to have my name associated with the Materials, [Your Institution's Name] will require all users of [Your Institution's Name] OCW to attribute any use of any of the Materials in a form that will include my name, my title or status, the year the Materials were created (as indicated on the Materials), and any copyright information (as indicated on the Materials). [Your Institution's Name] agrees that it will not post my telephone number, email address or any other contact information, and will post only [Your Institution's Name] OCW contact information. Choose I

to have my name associated with my materials on [Your Institution's Name] OCW. Decline

5. STATUS OF COPYRIGHT: [Your Institution's Name] acknowledges that nothing in this license will constitute a transfer or assignment of the copyright in the Materials to [Your Institution's Name]. [Your Institution's Name] further acknowledges that I will continue to own any copyright that I currently hold in any of the Materials. 6. AUTHORITY AND THIRD-PARTY PERMISSIONS: I represent that, except where the Materials indicate otherwise, I am the owner of the copyright or other proprietary right in the Materials and that I have authority to grant this license. I further represent that I have identified and/or labeled all parts, items, and materials incorporated into the Materials that may be subject to a copyright or other proprietary right held by a third party. Where multiple [Your Institution's Name] contributors have added materials through multiple offerings of the course over time, I have identified those contributors, where known. I understand that [Your Institution's Name] will attempt to obtain any required permission or copyright clearances necessary for publication of the Material on [Your Institution's Name] OCW and that I am not obligated to do so. If any of the Materials are based upon work that I completed from a grant or agreement sponsored by a third party, other than [Your Institution's Name], I represent and warrant that I have fulfilled any right of review or other obligations required by such contract or agreement.


Important: Unauthorized use of third-party copyrighted work is illegal, unethical, raises the possibility of significant financial liability, and damages the reputation of [Your Institution's Name] and its faculty. Contributors must exercise scrupulous care to identify the source of every third-party owned element in the Materials. 7. STUDENT WAIVER: If I am a [Your Institution's Name] student, I understand that if I have elected above to authorize [Your Institution's Name] OCW to publicly disclose my name and [Your Institution's Name] title or status, as an author of the Materials to third parties accessing the [Your Institution's Name] OCW Web site, as part of the above-described rights granted by me to [Your Institution's Name] OCW to use my Materials (which Materials may have been prepared by me as part of my class work at [Your Institution's Name]), that I am waiving rights that I may have under [Your Institution's Name]’s Student Educational Records policies, as the same may be amended from time to time (as posted on [Your Institution's Name]’s web site or in [Your Institution's Student Handbook]) and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, to withhold this student information from disclosure, and that my grant of rights to [Your Institution's Name] OCW is perpetual, and accordingly, this student information will remain available following the term of any class in which I may have created the Materials. I retain the right to revoke, in writing, this waiver and the rights granted to [Your Institution's Name] OCW to use my name, title/status or Materials, with respect to any actions of [Your Institution's Name] OCW occurring after the date it receives my revocation (understanding that [Your Institution's Name] OCW has no obligation to address any uses of my name, title/status and Materials by any one accessing the [Your Institution's Name] OCW Web site prior to this revocation). I represent that I am 18 years of age or older, and have voluntarily chosen to participate in the [Your Institution's Name] OCW program. The rights and obligations of this license shall be binding upon my heirs and successors in interest. For [Your Institution's Name] OCW Use Only Author

For [Your Institution's Name]

Name (printed)

Name (printed)



Date Signed

Date Signed

Thank you for participating in [Your Institution's Name] OpenCourseWare! ========================================================================


A Sample License Request Letter PLEASE NOTE: The following license request is provided as an example only and does not in any way constitute legal advice. It was created according to the specifications of a particular institution within a particular jurisdiction and may reflect a legal situation that does not hold for your institution. Please consult with lawyers for your Institution in the creation of this or any other legal document pertaining to your OCW project. Dear X: On behalf of [Your Institution's] Opencourseware Program ("OCW"), I am writing to ask your permission to use the following material (“Material”), which we believe is owned by you: [Fill in citation or description of material here. A description of how that material is being used in the course may help your chances of getting the license because it captures the interest of the IP Owner ] [Your Institution's] OCW is a Web-based electronic publishing initiative funded by [Your Institution's]. [Your Institution's] OCW is described at [URL of your site's About OCW page] Its goals include:  

Providing free, searchable access to [Your Institution's] course materials for educators and learners around the world. Extending the reach and impact of the “opencourseware” concept.

[Your Institution] is making this request in connection with [Professor Name's] course entitled [Course Number and Title], which will be published on [URL of your site] . Specifically, [Your Institution] is requesting your permission for a perpetual, royalty free, non-exclusive right and license to use, reproduce, distribute, copy, translate and permit others to use, reproduce, distribute, copy, or translate in electronic format or in or by any other media now known or hereafter developed, the Material. If you would be willing to grant this permission, could you please have an authorized officer of your organization sign this letter in the place provided below, and return this to my attention. We would be grateful for a response by Date. If you have any questions please contact me at Contact Info. Sincerely, [Your Name, Your Title ] ____________________________________________ Signature

________________________ Date


6. Technology 6.1 Key Points   

Determine what course Web sites and course management systems are in use on your campus. This impacts your content import/export strategy, and defines the infrastructure required to collect, build, and manage course content. Create standards for structure and presentation of content on your OpenCourseWare Web site. Standardization helps reduce cost, improve usability of the Web site and streamline the publication process. Evaluate the content delivery infrastructure needs of your OpenCourseWare initiative. Worldwide distribution of end-users, use of video, anticipated peak/average loads, and other factors determine your metadata strategy. Capturing robust metadata for course content improves site search and the overall manageability of the site.

The type of technology infrastructure required for your OpenCourseWare depends on several factors: your publishing goals, existing systems infrastructure on your campus, any existing publication processes, timelines for publication (initial as well as long-term publishing model), number of end users and their geographical distribution, and budgets, among other factors. Large institutions considering implementing an OpenCourseWare initiative may have existing technology components that can be leveraged. These components include course management systems, content management systems, interfaces to course catalogs, and enterprise application integration standards and infrastructure.

6.2 Selecting Software In addition to tools that exist at your institution, the Consortium members can also provide open source tools to support your open publication effort, including Utah State University's open publishing platform, eduCommons. We have been gathering information to help you compare the most common options for OCW software platforms. This information is available in the form of our OCW Software Platform Comparison Matrix.

6.3 Best Practice Recommendations The Technology Working Group has been collaborating to develop some conventions and standards to foster greater cooperation and interoperability amongst OCW participants. Within each organization there will exist a variety of factors which impact their options for adopting standards. Therefore we are offering the following as best practice recommendations with the understanding that adoption of these recommendations are in the best interest of the community and the OCW movement in general. Recommendation 1: RSS Feeds RSS (really simple syndication) is an easy way to distribute simple metadata, it is lightweight and easy to


create and use, usable with standard tools such as browsers and aggregators. What sort of RSS Please use either RSS 1.0 or RSS 2.0 (depending on which suits your production environment best). It is important to include the Dublin Core and Creative Commons extensions to hold additional metadata which will be used by search aggregators as discussed below. We use the Dublin Core extension because it is a simple metadata structure with wide acceptance and with predefined specifications for use in RSS. Useful links    

RSS 1.0 specification RSS 2.0 specification Dublin Core extension Creative Commons extension

What to include A tag name on its own is standard to RSS. dc: before a tag name means this is a Dublin Core extension tag. cc: before a tag name means this is a Creative Commons extension tag.

 Channel tags 

Mandatory fields o Title - descriptive title for the feed o Link - URL to the site home page or to the relevant course list o Description - a brief description of feed content o Items - the table of contents for the courses listed in the feed o dc:date - the date the feed was published o dc:publisher - the name of the OCW site publishing the feed o dc:language - the language of the feed Optional fields o cc:license o dc:rights

 Item tags 

Mandatory fields o Title - Course title o Link - Course URL o Description - brief abstract of the course o dc:subject - topic or keywords, can be repeating o dc:creator - person or entity primarily responsible for creating the course content o dc:publisher - name of OCW site publishing the feed o dc:date - date the course was published Optional fields o dc:contributor - person or entity making a contribution to creation of the course content o dc:relation - a related course o dc:type - type of content, e.g. Course


o o o

dc:format - file format, e.g. text/html cc:license - to denote a Creative Commons license dc:rights - information about the copyright

How to publicize your feeds While at the Utah Interoperability sprint in February 2008 we talked about who you need to tell about your feed, because there are now a number of different tools harvesting feeds (some of which have been mentioned above. This list may not be exhaustive.   

OERCommons o url o contact CCLearn o url o contact cclearn-info [at] OCWConsortium o url o Clay Whipkey (clay [at]

RSS Use Examples RSS 1.0 :

RSS 2.0 :

Guidelines for use        

Adhere to the standard Validate your feed using a feed validator Keep feed current Maintain persistent location for feeds Consider using multiple feeds if your feed is large, but still offer a single consolidated feed Market your feed Think about how to preserve your brand within your feed Realize that your feed may be presented out of context and may be displayed alongside content from other sites

Recommendation 2: OPML OPML (Outline Processor Markup Language) is an XML format for outlines. It is commonly used to exchange lists of feeds between feed aggregators. If you have a large site it can be helpful to break down your course materials into several RSS feeds, rather than (or as well as) offering a single massive list of everything on your site. An OPML feed can then be used to aggregate all these feeds back together again for those users who really do want everything so that they don't have to subscribe to all the different feeds individually. They also benefit if


you restructure your site, or add new feeds, because you will include these in the OPML and so they obtain the new information automatically without having to visit your site again and notice the new feeds now available. Consider for example breaking down your RSS feeds into different faculty and subject areas. You could even add feeds for all the video or audio content on your site, or static feeds for the content within a single course. Or if your site offers discussion forums, you could offer a single OPML feed aggregating RSS feeds from each discussion area. Examples from OpenCourseWare sites  

OCW Consortium Member Feeds OpenLearn

Recommendation 3: Embedding Licenses RDF in your pages Creative Commons no longer recommends including RDF inside of an HTML comment. If you wish to provide RDF metadata, Creative Commons recommends using RDFa or linking to an external file. Displaying license metadata This code fragment will place a Creative Commons logo on your pages, and link to the Creative Commons site: <a rel="license" href=""> <img alt="Creative Commons License" style="border-width: 0" src="creativecommons.png"/></a> <br/>This work is licensed under a <a rel="license" href=""> Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence</a>. Note that including rel="license" marks the link as the license for crawlers and other software. Don't forget to change the href target to the licence that you have chosen, and pick the appropriate licence image from the Creative Commons website RDFa RDFa is a W3 Proposed Recommendation for including machine readable metadata in [X]HTML. A primer is available. Including the license statement as described above (including rel="license") is enough RDFa to mark your work as licensed. You can include additional information such as subject tags, language, education level and attribution requirements as well. While the exact format will vary depending on your site's templates, the following is an example of how the course History as commemoration might be marked up: <html xmlns:dc="" xmlns:cc=""> <body>


<h1 property="dc:title">History as commemoration</h1> <h2 property="dc:creator dc:contributor">The Open University</h2> <p property="dc:description"> Commemoration - remembering and marking your past - makes an important contribution to our sense of community. Written texts, memorials, letters and photographs can all serve to commemorate events, people and values we wise to remember from our past. </p> <p>Available languages: <span property="dc:language" content="en-gb"> English (Great Britain)</span></p> <p>Subjects: <span property="dc:subject">Arts and History</span></p> <p>Licensed under a <a href="" rel="license"> Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence</a>. Original copyright <a href="" rel="dc:publisher">The Open University</a>. Attribute use to <a href="" rel="cc:attributionURL" property="cc:attributionName">The Open University</a>.</p> </body> </html>

RDF in an external file To link a page to an external RDF file, put the following tag in the <head> section of your page: <link rel="alternate" type="application/rdf+xml" href="Your RDF url here"/> Then your RDF file should open like this: <rdf:RDF xmlns="" xmlns:dc="" xmlns:rdf=""> <Work rdf:about=""> and end like this: </Work> </rdf:RDF> In the middle you should put tags using the Dublin Core extension which suit your content. Further information about these tags can be found on the RSS feeds page. An example from OpenLearn: <rdf:RDF xmlns="" xmlns:dc="" xmlns:rdf=""> <Work rdf:about=""> <dc:contributor>The Open University</dc:contributor> <dc:creator>The Open University</dc:creator>


<dc:date>2008-01-23T09:09:21Z</dc:date> <dc:description>Commemoration - remembering and marking your past - makes an important contribution to our sense of community. Written texts, memorials, letters and photographs can all serve to commemorate events, people and values we wise to remember from our past.</dc:description> <dc:format>text/html</dc:format> <dc:language>en-gb</dc:language> <dc:publisher>The Open University</dc:publisher> <dc:rights>Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence - see - Original copyright The Open University</dc:rights> <dc:subject>Arts and History</dc:subject> <dc:title>History as commemoration</dc:title> <dc:type>Course</dc:type> </Work> </rdf:RDF>


7. Communication 7-1. Internal Communication 7

Key Points 1. Plan for a significant level of effort around communication â&#x20AC;&#x201C; internal and external, proactive and reactive. 2. Expect much initial misunderstanding of the OpenCourseWeare concept among faculty and among external constituencies. 3. Engage senior leadership who can make an important contribution by championing OpenCourseWare.

OpenCourseWare is a new concept and will require a strong focus on communication and outreach from the outset. Internal communications will most likely need to focus on building understanding of and support for the OpenCourseWare concept, while external communications will need to focus on building awareness among target audiences and groups. A large part of the communications effort is dealing with user feedback and questions.

7-2. External Communication The Open Educational Resources Movement (OER), as titled by UNESCO, consists of an ever-growing number of institutions/organizations making available a broad and deep body of open educational content. The OpenCourseWare Consortium (OCWC) is a collaboration of more than 200 higher educational institutions and associated organizations dedicated to advancing education and empowering people worldwide. This OCWC External Communication document has been developed to help institutions/organizations promote and publicize their OER/OCW projects. It offers five suggestions for communications elements that can be employed on any project, taking into account limited resources and expertise. The final section suggests next steps for the OCWC to discuss. Please contribute at: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Communication Plan Press Developing your website E-visibility Evaluation Next steps

1. Communication Plan i. Initial Considerations There are multiple methods of analyzing your communications project, but all come down to this: you want to understand the scope and aims of the project before you jump into it. The heuristic below is not the only heuristic you can use, but it provides a simple way to start thinking about your project as a whole.


Answer each of the following questions.     

Acquisition: Who do you intend to reach and how do you intend to reach them? Conversion: What messages will change your user’s behavior so they use and create OCW? Retention: How will you open dialogue with users and gain their loyalty and support? Mainenance: What will you do to develop the community of users and advance the dialogue? Measurement and optimization: How will you get to know your audience and ensure it can find what it is looking for? Benchmarking and goal setting: How is your site doing compared with other OCW sites, what visitor numbers can you expect, how will you know when things are going well and not so well and adjust? Resourcing and budgeting: Where will you obtain the time or money to implement your plan? How do time and budget constrain your plan?

ii. Who is your Audience? Campaigns that address everybody address nobody; you will have to at some point define a limited group of people you wish to target. Since it is best not to spread limited resources too far, you may want to concentrate on one key audience or find out who else in your institution is already approaching these people coordinate your campaign with them. We've broken potential audiences here into potential users, advocates, and targets. In general, you will want to define your potential users and consolidate some support among potential advocates before approaching your targets. Remember, too, that divisions between users, advocates, and targets are not always clear-cut. Today's communications targets can become tomorrow's advocates, and very often potential users are your strongest supporters.

iii. Some typical Users of OCW 

 

Self-learners Self-motivated learners: younger students, international students, talented and gifted, current students, prospective students, alumni, retired students, self-learners, career movers, refugees, prisoners, homeschoolers, home-bound. Communities of interest: networks of informal learners who group around passion subjects Organizations: colleges, community colleges, AP programs, civil services, armed services, health services Faculty members, training professionals

iv. Some Typical Advocates of OCW initiatives       

Open initiatives and projects: Creative Commons, Free Culture, Public Knowledge Other OER initiatives Current and prospective university students Senior managers/administrators at your university Forward looking faculty Edubloggers Student organizations


 

Related Development initiatives: libraries, unions, museums, charities, local government, online centers Disability services

v. Some Typical Targets of OCW campaigns    

Individuals and institutions skeptical or critical of copyleft/ OER, etc. Funding sources Media outlets: traditional and alternative; analog and digital Policymakers

You can add to the list of potential audiences on the Communications Toolkit wiki at Tools You will find a structured template and advice for creating a Communications Plan at Smart Chart:

2. Press When is press coverage a good tactic? It can be very successful in raising awareness and driving lots of visitors to your site if you get coverage in some mainstream newspapers. It is no/ low-cost and easily scalable. And it can demonstrate to doubters some of the beneficial PR that the project may generate if scaled up. On the other hand, press coverage can be damaging if there are large rifts in your organization, since it can give the impression to those on the inside that debate about the project is over, and that it is moving on regardless of community input. And if press coverage is not coordinated university-wide, chaos can result. Everybody from the press office to your tech team should know when major press coverage is likely to spike traffic or generate inquiries.

i. Research Get to know your University's press office. They are likely to already have many of the resources you'll need, and any press release you send may need to go via them. Ask if they can provide media training for your experts. Do a risk and opportunity evaluation. What topical issues does your OER work relate to? What issues in the University might your press angle have a negative effect on — talk to your PR office! Make a list of press contacts. Review press titles – mainstream and specialist, offline and online and bloggers. Target writers who concentrate on internet, content, education and IP. Include the editors of magazines/newsletters within your University. Create a database/mailing list of contacts that you can quickly contact. Learn the language and format of press releases. Make use of OCWC press releases and review releases from other OCW sites. Create boilerplate text that can be moved into press releases, explaining the history of the project or defining key terms. Seek out awards. Find out what educational awards you can enter as these often give good press


exposure, and make a nice "news peg" to hang a story on.

ii. Build your infrastructure You want to make it easy for the press to write about you. Stories are often written on tight deadline — make it easy for the press to quickly assemble the resources they need to write about your project. Create a media section on your site with:      

Contact details to a named person Links to any press articles on your project on 3rd party websites RSS-enabled news feeds Press releases with social bookmark buttons Podcasts and video features Testimonials

Create a media sheet, detailing who you are (very short bio) and what you're doing, as well as why you're doing it, any articles/coverage you may have received, faqs, testimonials and quotes, case studies, details of experts that could be interviewed. It should look presentable, and convey the message as well and succinctly as possible. Upload it to your media site, and print it out to have beside you in phone conversations.

iii. Create and distribute your message  Before writing consider, why is this news? Is it timely, unique, surprising?  Optimise your press releases to ensure visibility in Google, Yahoo by using appropriate keywords  Write a regular blog and track bloggers in your RSS reader regularly to respond to other blog posts. Try to split your writing time between writing posts and responding to other bloggers posts.  Don't overuse your contacts. Make sure when you send them something it is going to be useful to them.  Don't call a journalist on Monday — they will always be too busy.  Know the name of the person you want to speak to.  Don't send press releases to a generic email inbox.  Always call before sending a press release. Be brief and bring their attention to your release, "I think this may interest you, can I have your email to send you a release/media pack?."  Highlight something unique to your site (particular course, emphasis on field of study, etc.)  Contact organizers of global and local educational events and educational organizations that your university partners with. Ask your internal contacts to distribute news to the people they work with.  Ensure you have time to deal with enquiries in the days following the distribution of a release.

iv. Tracking  Track mention of your project in blogs using Technorati and online using Google Alerts Track comments at


 Log any contact with journalists and links/cuttings of resulting press.

v. Tools  You may want to use services like ResponseSource to find out what journalists are requesting information on: For experts in your organization looking to be quoted, Profnet is also an option.  Use free PR tools to distribute them (PRWeb:, Digg, Newsvine, StumbleUpon).  Track mention of your project in blogs using Technorati and online using Google Alerts  Track comments at  Include your blog posts at:  Consider writing for the OCW group blog:  Post your news stories to the OCWC Forum at:  Press release template Microsoft Office templates for Press Releases can be found at:

3. Develop your website i. Initial Considerations If things go right with your communications plan, your targets will most likely end up at your website. In making the sale, this is the final push, and you want your site to work toward "conversion": getting your readers to take a defined actions favorable to your cause. Don't start with the look of the site. Start with two questions:  Who is coming to your site?  What do you want them to do? Do you want them to contact you? To contact someone else? To show up at an open house? To support an action when it comes to a vote? Start from those end points, then think about what the people coming to the site need to get to that decision point. FAQs? Case Studies? Testimonials? Think about likely paths people might follow, possibly starting out by wondering what OCW is in general, then moving through some questions about cost or credit or university support. Try to imagine every path ending in an action, whether it is signing up for a mailing list, attending a meeting, or submitting a proposal. Think of "low-threshold" types of committment people can make: subscribing to an RSS feed, signing up for updates or a quarterly newsletter, or sharing the page through their social bookmarking account. Seperate support pages out from introductory and marketing pages. Your marketing site is about what people need from you to jump in. Your support site is about what people need from you to do their job once they have jumped in. Mixing the two can confuse both audiences. ii. Tips Website Tips


 Ensure you meet usability and accessibility standards.  Engage in a usability study every time you launch a new feature on your site during the prototype stages and post launch.  Monitor your site to ensure it can cope with anticipated traffic levels and investigate any instances of the site running slowly or not working.  Ensure you have an agreement in place with your front of house staff/ IT HelpDesk for how enquiries relating to your OER will be handled.  Provide orientation documentation if you have functionality on your website that isn't simple to understand.  Ensure visitors can communicate with you.  Be honest — if email is your choice and you can't reply to every email say so, and thank people for their feedback or help your users help each other by providing a forum and moderate this regularly.  Compile the most commonly asked queries into FAQ's and provide a link to these from your 'Contact us' page.  If you are receiving email look into your University's enquiry management systems — you may be able to use these and you should be prepared to forward on queries that aren't related to OER to the relevant people.  Try to answer all questions, even if they don't pertain to your site (ex., they may be interested in applying to a particular program your university offers, and your putting the user in touch with the appropriate department/link shows the potential value of your project to the university at large)  If you publicize an email address online use the format person [normal sign here] dot com to help avoid spam.  Compile positive feedback and include on homepage.  Interview willing users and put their story and photo on homepage saying how OCW has positively impacted them.  Ask people to sign up to a newsletter and publish this on the website  Think about the tone of voice across the site. If you aren't a communications professional it may be worth employing a freelance copywriter to do a few days work.  Show interesting facts about your visitors on your website — where do they come from, how long are they on the site for, how many of them are there.  Publish publicity materials online and ask your visitors to help support the project by spreading the word.  Add a share this resource link to every page and encourage visitors to share links with their friends.  Add social bookmarking links to every page.  Think about using video to communicate with your visitors.  Consider running an online survey to gain user feedback and share the statistics with the users and the press if they are newsworthy

Tools  Socialmarker is a quick way to enable your users to add links to your site to 47 social bookmarking sites:  Templates for usability studies are available at:  An easy way to give a face to your visitor community is to add a free social map:  Create Video blogs using The Open University's free FlashVlog software:


4. E-visibility E-visibility refers to the visibility of your site online. Can people find it? Do people interested in your project bump into it? Do you show up on Google? Are you linked into blog and forum discussions?

 SEO Search engine optimization is the process of making sure that your site floats to the top of relevant search results. While there are no end of guides to show you how tweak your site to improve your rankings, a couple simple things can make a huge difference. SEO Tips 

Give pages meaningful names and titles. Don't name your page on your Ancient History course "anchis.htm". Try "ancient_history.htm", or better yet, use a system like WordPress or Mambo which will handle naming conventions for you. The same goes for page titles: Don't title every page in your site the site name. Give your pages individual, descriptive names. Get people to link to you. Get people relevant to your effort to link to you. Links from authoritative sources boost your rank. If you are an OCWC member we will link to you, but make sure you ask other relevant sites to link to you. Encourage "deep-linking" — where people link not to your main page, but directly to a relevant FAQ, course, or blog post. Forums are great for pulling in visitors, because they often contain unusal combinations of words. If you can make your forums open to the public to read, do it. The same goes for newsletters: archive them on the site, and make sure the archive provides a prominent link back to the main site. Above all, get involved in your area's discussion. A site that is an island will not rank high. Evangelize your project. Get onto forums and link to your site in your sig line, or comment on blogs with your name pointing back to your site.

 Paid Search One of the easiest way to increase your visibility on Google is to use AdWords. AdWords are the paid results that appear when you are searching for an item. They are targeted based on the search term typed in, so they can be very narrowly targeted at just the people you want to reach. Normally running these ads costs money, based on the number of people that click through to your site. However, Google does offer a grant program that provides an in-kind donation of AdWords to 501(c)(3) organizations. More information about that program is here.

 Tools   

SEO Book iGoogle gadgets: Google Adwords grant: Free feed submitter:


8. Evaluation and Measurement 8.1 Key Points   

Start with a clear conception of what you want to measure, and why. This will crystallize your evaluation strategy and methodology. Measure Access (who is visiting, from where, and their profiles), Use (what they are using it for, and how), and Impact (what difference is makes). Internally, measure process efficiency and faculty satisfaction.

Evaluation is important for two essential reasons:  

Tracking the usefulness and usability of OpenCourseWare, and the efficiency of your publication process, will help you to identify and implement improvements to features and services, and will inform longer-term direction to keep your OpenCourseWare relevant over time. Measuring the use and demonstrating the impact of an OpenCourseWare helps ensure continued engagement of key stakeholders.

We recommend early planning for evaluation and measurement, including determining the appropriate metrics to measure, and tools and processes to implement, so that these can be built into your OpenCourseWare design from the start.

8.2 Evaluation What do you need to measure and how? This section looks at evaluating your users so you know how to best develop your site for their needs, measures that might help you gain institutional buy-in and how to measure your communications activity so you know what works and what doesn’t.

 Things you may want to measure            

Use of the website – unique visitors (split into current staff, student and new and don’t include hits from your office), repeat visits, time spent on site, bounce rate, referrals, entry and exit points, geographical location of visitor Number of instances of remixed content Improved brand awareness New partnerships / contacts First time contact with the University through the OER website NA number of users of OER website who convert to registered students NA number of users of OER website who convert more quickly to registered students Registrations on courses with OER content increase Improved retention on University courses from prior experience with OER website Greater number of current students going on to do a new course Increased enquiries from people stating they heard about the OU OER website from a personal contact Number of leaflets distributed


Number of attendees at events

 Demonstrating Value to Your Institution         

If your University conducts an annual study into brand awareness ensure there is a question relating to OER. Include a question about use of OER in course feedback forms. Report quarterly on development of new partnerships/collaborations/contacts. Provide weekly traffic reports. Track movements between OER pages and the registration to course/prospectus ordering pages of your institution's website. If you track how an enquirer came to know about your university/college when they call or sign up for a course, ensure your OER website is an option available for them to choose from. Track the number of enquirers that state 'word of mouth' as a motivator and compare to annual data. Track amount of press coverage in educational media. Amount of traffic generated to website following specific activities (such as adding your site as a link to another site, mention of your site in an article).

 Tools and Tips 

Google Analytics is a quality tool available for free:

8.3 Next Steps   

OCWC to consider employing e-advocacy techniques to capture supporters’ details, keep them informed and set them small, achievable and supported goals to spread the word. OCWC to set up a global educational calendar literacy day, where members can advertise educational events and PR contacts (e.g. for World Health Day we push the courses on your site that are relevant to it). One joint PR could have more impact than several. OCWC to compile and share analytics data for benchmarking and data of useful referrers to target for link building

 What isn't covered…    

Publications / Branding Merchandising Events management (the 'unconference' etc) Internal communications


9. Addressing Accessibility Issues The spirit of Open Access urges us to remove educational barriers wherever we can. When it comes to OCW access for persons with impairments, there are a number of fairly simple steps you can take as a Content Producer that can make a world of difference to thousands of people. Below you will find a list of such steps, followed by links to sites where you can find further suggestions and tools. 

Whenever you add an image to your OCW site, be sure to include a reasonable description of the image as the "Alternate Text" in the alt tag: <img src="../ImageName.gif" alt="This is the Alternate Text." width="275" height="100" />

    

The text in that tag is what a screen reader will read to the visually impaired user. What constitutes "reasonable" will expand according to the significance of the image to the lesson at hand. (visual) Whenever possible, include a text version of content in audio/video files. So, if your faculty member reads from a prepared lecture or a lecture outline in a video, include the lecture/outline as an accompaniment. Developing a transcript of your audio can be both arduous and costly. There are, however, a number of tools emerging to streamline the process and reduce costs (auditory). This is an area where we expect to see significant development in the coming years. Likewise, tools are emerging for the development of Digital Talking Books (DTB) for the audio distribution of texts instead of reliance upon a standard screen reader. When processing an outline or a bulleted list, use the ordered/unordered list formatting rather than typing you own numbers/bullets and spacing. A screen reader can detect the ordered/unordered list formatting and will express that hierarchy to the user. (visual) When creating a table, be aware that a screen reader reads a table row by row, starting in the top left corner and moving from left to right across the row. If you code your header row as a header, a screen reader will be able to indicate that information to the user . (visual) Avoid creating mouse-dependent pages. You can test for mouse-dependency by attempting to navigate your page using the keyboard alone (tab, arrow and return keys). (motor) Whenever you are conveying important information through use of a graphic, make sure that graphic has an alt tag conveying the same information (visual).

 Helpful Links 

Section 508 of the US Federal Rehabilitation Act requires that Federal agencies' electronic and information technology be accessible to people with disabilities. IT Accessibility & Workforce Division, in the U.S. General Services Administration's Office of Governmentwide Policy, has created this website with the goal of educating Federal employees on Section 508 implementation. The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) works with organizations around the world to develop strategies, guidelines, and resources to help make the Web accessible to people with disabilities. The WAI site provides not only guidelines and techniques but also opportunities to contribute to the worldwide effort to eliminate barriers to web access. WebAIM is a non-profit organization within the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University. Its mission is to expand the potential of the Web for people with disabilities by providing the knowledge, technical skills, tools, organizational leadership strategies, and vision that empower organizations to make their own content accessible to people with disabilities. Make a special point of checking out their instructions for using a screen reader to test



accessibility of your pages and their Section 508 Checklist. W3C Techniques for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (WCAG) is a gateway to a series of related documents that provide techniques for satisfying the requirements defined in "Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0," the standard set by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for internet accessibility. The language is on the technical side, and sometimes you have to chase through a few links to get what you need, but sometimes it's worth the effort!


OCW Consortium Toolkit  

A document for newcomers to the project

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you