OER1008 Oral Presentation

OER and Marketing Opportunities

Russell Stannard, University of Westminster

Conference Theme: Open Educational Content

Abstract: It is no secret that releasing OER can result in better marketing of courses and institutions. Recent statistics from the Open University have large increases in numbers as outlined in the Open Learn report and UNESCO have alluded to the same point. The presentation demonstrates how releasing screen cast training videos related to the MSC in Interactive Multimedia at the University of Westminster has led to a 50% increase in student numbers. These numbers are even more encouraging when viewed in the light of the falling numbers of computer science students. Students not only decided to apply to the University because of the content, which is held on www.multimediatrainingvideos.com but also found that the content informed them about the course and helped them to make a decision to study at the University. This can be demonstrated through the results of 2 surveys undertaken at the start of the 2008 and 2009 academic years. It demonstrated that the OER resources on MMTV played a key role in their choice of course. The author will also reveal how he used a variety of techniques to promote the site and build up the number of users. The screen casts were loaded onto youTube, Vimeo, work was done on Google to push the search ranking of the host site and Tweeter was also used to build up contacts and promote the content. Results from this aspect of the project are still to be fully understood but early indications are that SEO and Twitter can both play at key role in dissemination What is also clear is the importance of both the quality and quantity of the material that is released. It is vital to have enough content to encourage users back to the site and quality plays a key role in convincing students that the courses related to the materials may be worth pursuing. The study won funding from the JISC/HEA OER project and is one of 8 individual projects to be funded. It offers a possible direction for the sustainability of OER projects in the long run and useful insights into the ways that the dissemination of OER content can be achieved.

Keywords: OER, Marketing, Sustainability, Social Networking, JISC/HEA

Open Learn Research Report 2006-2008