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Between 2009 and 2012 the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) funded a series of programmes to encourage higher education institutions in the UK to release existing educational content as Open Educational Resources (OER) and to embed open practices in the institution. The HEFCE funded UK OER Programmes were run and managed by the JISC and the Higher Education Academy. Over the course of three years about £15M (€17,5M) was invested on projects that investigated the release and collection of OERs by individuals, institutions and subject communities. The Cetis “OER Technology Support Project” provided support for technical innovation across this programme.
In this conference paper we will present our reflections on the technical approaches taken, issues raised and the lessons learnt from the Programmes and the Support Project. The issues covered include resource management, resource description, licensing and attribution, search engine optimisation and discoverability, tracking OERs, and paradata (activity data about learning resources). Technical solutions discussed will include the use of social sharing platforms such as flickr and WordPress for resource dissemination; metadata embedded in HTML documents as RDFa, microdata and using the schema.org ontology; and sharing metadata and paradata using the Learning Registry (a network of schema-free data stores). As well as describing the achievements of the programme, we will also discuss the difficulties encountered and identify areas where further work is required.