Key Points

  • Determine what course websites 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 OER website. 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 open education 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.

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 open education movement in general.