In today's world of online publishing the challenges of staying in business are manifold. Online resource providers have to ensure quality that can be accessed by various means and devices to retain their client base. We have seen that an important part of the OER project sustenance strategy lies in quality assurance which includes keeping material up to date and accessible.
At the end of this unit you will be able to understand
If you examine the resources posted by existing OER projects, you will find that they are collaborative in nature; there are multiple team members who have contributed to material development in a collaborative environment. This is not only an efficient way to build resources but also more effective in terms of ensuring deliverables. The technolgies available today permit more collaboration in the web space. There are systems that permit collaborative writing of documents - with attribution to the author contributors; collaborative review and editing of content and the content sharing/management system that your project uses may also allow users of your resources to post their views and comments. The online education environment can be very dynamic, both from the user as well as the project team member's perspective. OER projects are able to sustain only if the dynamics of the web world can be planned and interwoven into the project, so that project materials remain useful for their intended users over time.
Let us consider the example of traditional book publishing companies which have moved to the web. Learning from online resources such as blogs and wikis, popular book publishers O'Reilly now make the first draft of their books available online for the public to read and post feedback. This is part of the improvement of in-progress books. The authors are out in the open, the whole manuscript is published in HTML with a comment box under every paragraph, figure or table(http://labs.oreilly.com/2009/05/collaborative-publishing-based-on-community-feedback.html). O'Reilly publishes technical books(computer programming) and there are two technical reviewers per book; but an amazing number of people have commented on the draft of the manuscript posted online. See the link to get a feel for the numbers that might be willing to help you update your material.
Version control is the process by which each revision of a document is accounted for. Version control applies to documents, programs, and other information stored as electronic files. It is most commonly used in software development where a team of programmers could be working on the same file. Most of us implement version control with our documents in our own way, like using the 'Save as' option in our word processing software. So you have anew copy of the document without obliterating the old one. The older document is your 'backup' copy. Some of us may add a timestamp(date and time) and the name of the person making the change. Having a version number is also effective along with a timestamp. Version control is all the more important since you may have several versions of the same document in a single folder and might wish to share the folder or over email. This will work if the project size is small and all collaborators are within the network to be abel to access the shared folder. Fast changing projects may wish to use a version control system. If your project uses a content authoring tool such as Drupal(http://drupal.org/), Joomla(http://www.joomla.org/); version control is built in. In Moodle, saving a revised document saves only the revision and you could lose the old one. One could either backup the previous version first and then move the older version of the document to the archive so they can be accessed when needed. Having a version control system allows multiple people work on the same material, reduces reworking and number of files, improves document quality and facilitates documenting the development of the learning material.
From wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Versioning_file_system
Version control with your word processor:
Look for the following tools on your word processing software and use them on a text file -