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"Open Educational Resources (OERs) are digital learning resources made freely available online under open licenses. Most OERs are educational content like simulations, animations, videos, lesson plans and educational games. Although they can be embedded into learning management systems, they are generally online objects that can be viewed, downloaded or played from a web server. Their increasing number and popularity have led to the creation of online catalogs that reference them. These catalogs consist of searchable collections of metadata (i.e., machine-readable descriptions of the OERs). Metadata aims at facilitating the management, discovery, and exchange of OERs and at allowing users of these resources (e.g., teachers, learners) to more easily evaluate their usefulness. Typical metadata is generated by indexers (humans, software, or a combination of both). They look at a resource and its context for information that describes it and use this information to create a metadata record. Metadata in a catalog is obtained either by creating new records (i.e., describing OERs) or by exchanging already existing records with other catalogs. These exchanges are enabled by the use of standard metadata formats (e.g., Dublin Core, IEEE LOM ) and standard metadata exchange protocols (e.g., OAI-PMH , SPI ).
Each time a teacher or a learner interacts with an OER, these interactions produce data. This "interaction data" includes "artifact data" routinely captured during any online interaction by Web server logs (e.g., users' browsers, users' IP addresses) and "social data" created during Web 2.0-style interactions with resources (e.g., tags, comments, ratings, favorites). This interaction data can serve a number of purposes. Interaction data is a very valuable source of analytics about OERs and typical audience profiles. Moreover, combined with metadata, interaction data can be used to enhance searching, ranking, and recommendations of OERs. However, obtaining this data is not always easy since OERs are generally dispersed among different systems where the interactions between resources and their users take place. Moreover, in most countries, interaction data is governed by privacy protection laws that restrict the way it can be stored, collected, exchanged, and used. Nevertheless, having a way to assess the quality of OERs by collecting data indicating their actual uptake and to understand which OERs are of most relevance for particular regions is of critical importance for current OER initiatives worldwide .
This paper explores different methods for overcoming barriers in collecting and exchanging interaction data. From a strictly technical point of view, the exchange of interaction data requires the participating systems to agree on a common data format and data exchange protocol. The main limitation of these approaches comes from the fact that they require the active collaboration of the systems where the interaction data is produced. Each of them has to capture interaction data, export it into the desired format and publish/expose it using one or more of the available protocols. All of this is rather cumbersome and usually of limited interest for most of these systems since there is little incentive to share interaction data with metadata catalogs of OERs."