E.3 Sustainability

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The two open university partners are leaders in their countries in OER: this will continue. The University of Leicester and Université Nancy 2 have years of experience in projects with the UK and French Ministry/agencies in this area. Sero and SCIENTER are leading consultancies in their field and expect to continue to advise national/international agencies in times to come, in e-learning and OER.

This means that even small sums of additional money have useful value - when they are invested in an ongoing activity.

EADTU and its members have been particularly strong in the area of project sustainability since at least the time of the JANUS project for Framework 3 in the early 1990s which continued for several years after the original FP3 (DELTA) JANUS project funding ceased - eventually the satellite network became obsolete but the software and pedagogic approach had by then become mainstreamed.

There are some challenges when wikis are involved since if a wiki ceases to be maintained it rapidly becomes unread by clients. A good case study was that of Re.ViCa. The Re.ViCa partners signed a 1-year extension as part of the Exploitation agreement and a core team of three partners maintained and developed the wiki over the next year until such time as it became clear that VISCED was to be funded - and now updates to the former Re.ViCa wiki continue under the VISCED project. Since summer 2010 a series of discussions have been held with Wikipedia and various international associations with a view to ensuring that there is always an operational wiki which EU projects such as Re.ViCa, VISCED and hopefully POERUP can use for gathering and storing information. These discussions are still ongoing and because of this POERUP does not commit in this bid to use a particular wiki, only that it will work within a spirit of "no new educational wikis". Indeed, discussions have opened recently also with COL and with WikiEducator and this is why COL is providing a senior delegate to the VISCED IAC and WikiEducator will be collaborating with POERUP.

It used to be thought that one good guarantee of sustainability was stability of institutions, universities in particular. However we have seen in Europe in recent years (Finland recently, Wales currently) that closures and mergers of universities are increasingly common and often very disruptive to ongoing projects or projects in "between project" situations. A similar situation applies to agencies (Becta being only the best-known example).

So our view is that nowadays the best guarantee of sustainability is with individuals.((personal names omitted))



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