Track OER in a nutshell

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Nick Freear
8 July 2012

The Track OER project is funded as part of the Rapid Innovation strand of the UKOER programme by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC).

The aim of Track OER is to develop and demonstrate software and techniques that can give quantitative data for the use and reuse of open educational resources. Currently, little data of this type exists. When an OER is taken from its host or origin server, in order to be used and reused the origin institution and the community generally lose track of it.

Day #23 - Chatting with the Nessman by edtechie99, on Flickr

The project contains two strands to address this problem. The first strand is the development of an easy to use no-Javascript web-bug. A web-bug is the 1 pixel transparent image that when included in a web page can be used to log its usage. While most analytics systems like Google Analytics and the open-source Piwik wrap the web-bug in a Javascript library for ease of use and extended data-logging, a no-Javascript web-bug utilizes the image alone.

We will base our work on code developed in collaboration with Scott Leslie of BCcampus as part of the OLnet project ( | The existing code will be comprehensively re-worked to provide a working service linked to one or more analytics systems such as Piwik.

CaPReT 'timemap' mashup by Martin Hawksey. Image license: CC-by

The second strand is based on CaPReT - cut and paste reuse tracking. CaPReT has been developed by  MIT and Tatemae ( & to track the informal use of OERs. It is an innovative and promising tool that is currently limited to text resources. Our work will seek to extend CaPReT to log the copying of image and multimedia resources.

Both these strands will be piloted on OpenLearn-Labspace and initially on the Bridge to Success OER modules.

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