I've been writing a paper recently (which will appear in the open access journal JIME soon), and one of the things I wanted to do was compare the traffic at educational resource sites, such as MIT's OpenCourseWare and the OU's OpenLearn with a commercial web 2.0 offering, namely Slideshare. Will Woods pointed me at statsaholic, which in turn led me to register with Compete.com. From these I got this nice graph:
We can see Slideshare is way out in front. This raises several questions:
i) Are people more likely to share stuff through something like Slideshare?
ii) Is the basic unit of sharing (the presentation) at Slideshare, something people understand more than courses and units at OER sites?
iii) Is the comparison fair? Can we consider Slideshare an OER repository of sorts?
iv) Are commercial operations just better at this than educational ones?
v) Are people 'learning' from Slideshare? If so, how does it compare with learning from OERs?
I'm not suggesting OERs are a failure and Slideshare a success, I don't see this as an eithor/or debate, and they are serving different communities. But it is interesting to consider from the OER perspective. Isn't it? Got to be some research money in this somewhere…