Broken Links and OER

The problem with OER…

 

Broken links

 

And students who don’t tell you a link doesn’t work…

 

One of the examples I use in Intro to Soc when we talk about gender is the John/Joan case. I had a lovely reading linked from the Canadian Broadcast Corporation. I asked my class to tell me about hte John/Joan case. Crickets. I remind them that it was one of the readings. A couple of minutes later a student tells me that the link is broken to that article.

 

This tells me a couple of things:

 

  • Most students are doing any of the reading and never encountered the broken link.
  • Those students who did encounter the broken link chose not to report it to me.
  • OER that relies on linking to websites is risky. I’m not going to go back and assign a new reading at this point to account for that particular broken link. The reading will be missed. I’ll have to reevaluate what reading should be used in its place.

 

Supplementing an OER textbook with articles linked from the web is necessary to maintain coverage, but the risk of broken links has to be taken into account.