It is not uncommon for educators to develop instructional software tools which they wish to share with other educators who will adapt them for their own purposes. Frank Wattenberg suggests several requirements for the effective sharing of software.
A clear statement of use restrictions, if any. Ideally there would be no restrictions. If the creator intends to allow modifications, the rights statements should include permission to modify the software.
All necessary files packaged with the software in an easily accessible/downloadable form. If modification is allowed, this would include the source code.
Complete technical and functional documentation.
Software that is designed to be flexible. This might include, for example:
- Software components that provide parameters to change their behavior. This allows modification / adaptation of use without requiring modification of source code.
- Software components designed to be used with general purpose tools, for example spreadsheets. This allows the software to be reused by more people because of the wide availability of these tools.
- Stability - the units in question are housed in and maintained by a dependable Digital Library.
See the "Light Applets" project for an example of sharable software developed with these guidelines in mind (Wattenberg, Stewart & Alejandre 2002).