RedFeather: A Final Round-up

RedFeather is a lightweight repository alternative that makes it easy for individuals or small groups to contribute OERs

Open Educational Resources promise a new engagement between educational institutions and the public, and potentially a widening of educational opportunity in society Although much has been said about the challenges for larger institutions engaging with OER there has been far less attention paid to how individuals or smaller groups can engage.

Currently there are significant barriers to these kinds of small-scale OER contributor, not least in where and how they publish their materials. Traditional repository platforms such as the research repository EPrints require significant configuration and investment to deploy and even extensions such as EdShare (that provide simplified workflows and improved tools focused on teaching materials) still require significant technical skill to both deploy and maintain For a small or personal collection of OER, the overhead required in hosting such a system often far outweighs the perceived value of sharing.

It is still possible for these types of contributors to upload their work to a public website, but rich media is effectively dark to search engines without adequate metadata. In addition they may forget important licensing information, and materials published this way are invisible to national indexers like Jorum or Xpert.

The lack of simple solutions for sharing OER resources is a serious limit on the take up of OER and the growth of the OER community.

RedFeather is our proposed solution to this problem. RedFeather is a lightweight server-side script that fosters best practice OER sharing without the overheads associated with the installation and use of a full-scale repository platform. By eliminating the need for complex server infrastructure and emphasizing a concise, simplified workflow, RedFeather provides an out-of-the-box solution for users wishing to quickly annotate their OER and make them available in a variety of formats (including HTML, RSS, RDF and JSON).

With RedFeather we have created a system that should satisfy the majority of small-scale contributor requirements (in-line previews, commentary, organisational tools, and high quality, indexable OER metadata) with minimum configuration, while still allowing straightforward customisation through a plugin architecture and design templates.

Our hope is that RedFeather will make a significant impact towards the democratisation of the process of OER contribution, and unlock the long tail of potential contributors.

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