Open Education Handbook/Editor tools for building and remixing OERs

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Once OERs have been created then building on them, remixing them, forking them and restructuring them requires editor tools. Currently tools are available but aren’t always suitable.

Software carpentry describes the problem:

"And then there's the maintenance problem. Software Carpentry's lessons are constantly evolving; how can someone who depends on them know whether everything they require is still there a year or two down the road? With software, they can recompile their program or re-run its unit tests and see whether things still work. There's no equivalent for lessons---no easy way to find out whether dependencies that used to resolve are still there. Sooner or later, any large, multi-author project has to find a way to track and manage dependencies. Conversely, I believe that if a project can't do this, it won't be able to scale up. It isn't the only obstacle to collaborative lesson development, or the biggest, but it is an obstacle, even within Software Carpentry itself. If we can figure out how to solve it, we'll be one step closer to helping all the potential Lorena Barbas out there create a network of wonderful lessons."

Tools[edit]

There are many possible solutions including:

  • Github - is a repository web-based hosting service, it provides a web-based graphical interface and desktop as well as mobile integration.
  • Mercurial - a cross-platform, distributed revision control tool for software developers.
  • CrossFork - a WYSIWYG Git editor
  • Kathi Fletcher's OER ePUB editor - open-source tools for authoring, adapting, remixing, and publishing open education resources and then delivering them to the web, mobile, tablet, and print, based on github too.
  • OpenStax and Connexions - developer tools.
  • ePub - a free and open e-book standard by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF).
  • Grabmy books - application that allows you to grab content from the web and easily convert it in an ePub file.
  • Booktype - The open source platform to help you write and publish print and digital (used to produce this handbook).
  • Pressbooks - makes it easy to create files you need to publish your books and ebooks.
  • Calibre e-pub editor - free and open source e-book library management application developed by users of e-books for users of ebooks.
  • Xerte Online Toolkits - is a learning object editor. It is open source, integrates with Moodle, allows LOs to be shared between users and you can allow people to download the entire LO and import it into their own system.

Case studies[edit]

Siyavula have been working with Kathi Fletcher on the OERPUB editor, helping to test it and also at an actual workshop with educators. In 2013 they facilitated a workshop to remix one of their Physical Sciences textbooks using the OERPUB editor. This was initiated and driven by a group of South African teachers.

They intend to use an instance of the OERPUB editor once it is finished to enable educators to come and create their own versions of our textbooks and export their own pdf/ePub/etc. They have already seen cases where teachers have created their own versions of our content by adding some of their notes, taking out images for tests, etc. But, they often just do this by taking screen shots. Megan Beckett at Siyavula believes that for OER to be remixed, we need to break it down into its parts again. She has had many requests for the images and concept maps in textbooks as teachers want to re-use these to create their own summary notes for learners or tests. So, although they have created the whole, nicely packaged, open textbook, when they actually want to reuse it, we need to break it down again to make it accessible.

Raniere Silva and Rémi some time looking at these questions at the Mozilla Science Lab Sprint. Their notes are available at https://softwarecarpentrylessonmanager.github.io/lesson-manager/04-howto.html and https://etherpad.mozilla.org/sciencelab-2014summersprint-lessons-package-manager.

Further Resources[edit]