The FLOSS4Edu East African chapter was established in November, 2006 at a meeting held in Nairobi under the sponsorship of the Commonwealth of Learning ( COL). In this meeting, Educational Practitioners from across the East African region declared their interest in participating in the development of Open Educational Resources and in the WikiEducator project.See the report for this meeting here.
It was also during this meeting that the FLOSS4Edu Physical Chemistry for Higher Education Content Development group was formed. This group, under the support of COL, embarked on a pilot project to develop Physical Chemistry Educational Content for Higher Educational Institutions.This Content is available in WikiEducator in the Educational Content Section. Two very important lessons were learned from this pilot phase:
- Educational practitioners are willing to share and interact with peers in the same field in collaborative content development as this greatly improves their professional skills and will showcase their individual competencies and expertise
- That expertise groups will serve to provide for a more 'unofficial' yet powerful and effective form of quality assurance mechanism powered by intergroup peer review and quality control mechanisms
- That though Educational Practitioner may not have the highly competent technical skills necessary in the production of Digital Content, they have spent considerable time in the development of 'non-digital' educational content which can be easily converted using a group of technical experts to quality digital educational content with interaction with the relevant subject matter experts.
- That it is possible to achieve cross-institutional collaboration through the establishment of expertise groups within the existing Educational Networks.
In line with the above observations, the FLOSS4Edu East African Chapter embarked on a mission to seek collaboration with relevant Educational Networks in the development of Open Educational Resources that can be shared among educational practitioners within the East African Region.As a push in this direction, the FLOSS4Edu Chapter has been able to achieve the following:
- Content Development Partnership with the Kenya Educational Network-KENET: The KENET is an Institution comprising of 18 Universities with one of its mandate being to spearhead the development of Educational Content for these institutions. FLOSS4Edu engaged with KENET to support the establishment of Expert Groups and development of Digital Educational Content as OER's which can be shared with the WikiEducator community and all the members within the KENET family
- Establishment of the AMREF Medical Practitioners Content Development Group: Africa Medical Research Foundation (AMREF) is a medical research organization and has the responsibility of the improvement of livelihood through proper medical practices and education to the health providers. AMREF agreed to make available its training content on various medical fields as OER available within the WikiEducator portal in the hope that this will inspire other Educational Practitioners to do the same. You can read more about AMREF in their website here.
- Conducting WikiEducator Content Development Capacity Building Workshops for AMREF, Members of KENET and the Agricultural Community of the East African Region including Zambia: With support from COL, FLOSS4Edu organized a three day workshop for members of the Agricultral Research Institutions and Agricultural Educational Institutions in selected parts of Africa to build capacity in the development of Agricultural Open Educational Resources (AOER). See here for more details of the workshop
FLOSS4Edu East Africa is seeking continuous collaboration and partnership with other stakeholders and key decision makers within the Governments, Private Sector and the Civil Society Organizations in the area of Education. The FLOSS4Edu community in East Africa is preparing to participate in the Software Freedom Day Celebrations and will be announcing its plans when ready.The FLOSS4Edu East Africa Community will soon embark on a process to establish governing structures and embark on fund raising initiatives to drive its strategy.