You've Created An OER - Now How Do You Draw Eyes To It?

One thing that came up in my #oeg-2020 workshop on Drawing Eyes and Building Awareness Around OERs was that some people thought the sharing and marketing of the open educational resources we create is the responsibility of the institutions we work for. While this is a nice idea, if you work for an institution, it is flawed for a number of reasons:

  • you know your end users better than the institution
  • just because you work for a big institution with a marketing department, does not mean the marketing department understands how to digitally share your open educational resources with your intended audience
  • the institution’s marketing department may not be aware of your open educational resources or have any interest in spending time sharing them

For these reasons and more, it behooves you as a content creator to learn how to share your open educational resources in a way that will draw attention to them, so that they might reach your desired end users.

With this is mind, I invite people to share their strategies in drawing eyes to the OERs that they create in this discussion thread.

I also ask if there is a hashtag that we might wish to start in helping each other share our OERs and educate about what OERs are? One hashtag that was suggested in the #oeg-2020 workshop was #openfirst.

In getting started, here is a webinar on reaching your desired audience through search engine optimization: https://www.openeducationweek.org/resources/demystifying-seo-for-wordpressorg-sites

And here is a list of open educational repositories for sharing and finding open educational content:

What other advice and tips and tricks would you give people on drawing eyes to your open educational resources?

Thanks for launching this discussion topic here, Erica.

I agree I not leaving this to an institution or another department, that you as creator and the person closest to the OER can represent it best. That’s not to say they can’t help amplify.

But I also wonder too if “getting eyes” is really the goal we want to pursue? We create OERs first to meet our needs, we use it. Sharing it as an OER creates the potential for reuse, but to me that’s always a secondary side benefit. Otherwise I think there’s a tendency to slip into what might look as self-promotion.

And I think also there might be a factor of the size, granularity of what we are talking about an OER, should be be thinking about them universally from an image to a full course as the same? This gets to Wiley’s Reusability Paradox (back when what they were talking about were “learning objects”. My openly licensed flickr photo get the most reuse of anything I have created, because they are smaller and specific it’s much easier to reuse.

But that is not the ask.

I think there’s more to sharing by putting into a place where it can be discovered, that’s almost like a Field of [Sharing] Dreams dilemma. My own suggestions of what’s important (and my experiences likely do not map to everyone’s).

  • Be visible as reusing other people’s content in your own work.
  • Be active in communities, networks related to your topic. Not just to share your part, but contribute by sharing ideas, giving feedback.
  • Share it only the thing, but how/where you use it. It’s easier to understand reuse when you see it in context.
  • Write and share about the ideas behind your content, how it was made. Okay for many people blogging is dead, but the most valuable practice for me in getting my work found has been writing back stories in my own site. Telling the stories behind our work is as important, to me, than the works themselves. And it helps me think more deeply about it. My dead media metaphor is DVDs. Yes, I enjoyed watching the feature, but my favorite part were the extras- the behind the scenes, rewatching with director commentary, outtakes, location notes.

I’ve learned not to expect the reuse, or that eyes on it will happen, but the more I actively share and be part of different communities, with time it can happen. I am creating the potential energy for it, But it’s not guaranteed, just a rewarding bonus, not the reason I “make and share stuff” I create because it fulfils and energizes me.

My 3 cents (because 2 cents is cheap now)

The ‘getting eyes to it’ has nothing to do with ego or self-promotion, Alan, but rather everything to do with getting the content we create in the hands of others who can make use of it. I spend a lot of time helping and seeing others create wonderful stories and educational pieces that often never reach their desired end user, as they don’t know how to share their content and make it easy for that desired audience to find it. That is my goal here, is in starting a conversation to change that, and help each other find our own paths forward with that.

Erica, apologies for that poorly worded statement. Nothing in your description suggested self-promotion, that is more of a reflection of how I would hate to be seen that way myself. My Freudian slip slipped!

I thought of another compelling reason to have more eyes (and hands) on your OERs – when others apply, reuse your works, often they use it ways or add ideas you never thought of when creating for your own purpose. You get ideas, feedback that can help you improve the original work. I find this happens a lot for my coding projects, but can see it could work the same for OERs.

More eyes, I am all for it.

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No worries, Alan. It actually represents a bit of a problem that a lot of people need to overcome in sharing their OERs - re not knowing how to share the content they create and fear of doing so, as they’ve tied it up in their head as being self-promotional. Helping teach other people how to share their content and working with a team has helped me disassociate the notion of self-promotion from our work, as if I am not able to get our work to our desired end users, then I am letting my team down.

In my observations, this is a bit of a problem in the OER community as a whole. People are creating useful things that others could be utilizing and remixing, if only they knew they existed. But often they are just shared with a small subset of people and no further beyond that. This is where the idea of a hashtag campaign would be useful in mobilizing people to share each others content in a broader way.

This is one of the things I’ve been really enjoying about my experiments as of late in the web monetization and Grant for the Web Community. The community recognizes that if they are going to educate the broader web on web monetization, they need to collectively come together and amplify each other’s voices and content around. As a result it is turning out to be a lovely supportive community in which we are all learning about each other’s work.

Now that I don’t have busy work day and meetings looming over me, I am diving deeper into all that you have shared here, Alan.

Having a chuckle that it is those flickr images of yours that get repurposed the most. Yeah, I’ve found the same thing. In part, I suspect that is because those items require the smallest amount of engagement, but images are also things that people regularly look up, and flicker has made it easy for people to find those images through a Creative Commons search.

Awesome suggestions. They echo what I share with my students in our niche community building unit. Something that a lot of people seem to struggle with though until they find those vibrant communities that make those concepts click, like what I am finding at present in the web monetization / Grant for the Web community.

As for ‘blogging being dead’ in my humble opinion that is just blow hards trying to sound cutting edge and futuristic. Books aren’t dead, radio is not dead, TV is not dead - rather we just might all access these things in slightly different ways with slightly different names from podcasts to streaming sites.

Love your analogy on the behind the scenes content and director’s cut on DVDs in terms of your writing and blogging on the process and the how. Creating content like that is not going to die, as it is useful and helps others through their creative processes.

Yeah, you are hitting on one of the beauties in sharing educational pieces there, Alan. Back in my natural and cultural history interpreter days, that is exactly what I loved about the Interpscan Conferences. We’d share, build, and alter each other’s ideas in interesting and creative ways. While that community predates Creative Commons licenses and they don’t use the term ‘open education’, what they were doing is still the pinnacle example of open education for me.

I just discovered a comment on one of our mini open ed courses that really demonstrates why it is so important that we share and help spread OERs. Simply put, if we share them, they can help other people.

The beauty of the experience above is also that in this particular sharing scenario, the commenter found the course via Open Education Week!