From the West African experience - what's different in New Zealand
Note - I've posted this question/comment primarily in Proposal Outlines discussion area as it relates to a project there.
Have just read the FLOSS4Edu WestAfricaReport and note the encouraging success. I have run similar workshops here in New Zealand with similar success, but with one notable difference - the teachers see it as alternative work practice, not a sollution. I would like to see a change in practice where working in wikieducator or similar become a primary process in resource development. Concerns raised have been "how can we control the content?", "how can we be sure of accuracy?", "what do you mean anyone can edit!?". These are typical questions coming from teachers who are very used to publishers providing text books and assured resources. The report does not mention any such concern in West Africa. Does this mean it isn't present, or are they simply not seen as important concerns?... --Leighblackall 22:42, 18 February 2007 (CET)
Here, these issues should be more intense because, of course, of the economic situation. However, it a surprise they do not prevent the spread of open content production. As I have discussed above, this is being handled effectively at the individual level. The individual is getting skills that he/she can use for his personal recognition through contribution and also for the benefit of the institution he/she is working for. So this becomes a win-win situation for both the individual and the institution.It is very clear that content that has been published for their respective Universities/Institutions should not be put on wikieducator and what should go there should be their personal content. Of course there are those personal benefits affiliated with developing content in a community.This is what we highlight and this is what we are looking for.There are other factors that are making our ways easier:
- There is no African content out there. There is pride in being the first to take this initiative and to begin the process of "putting Africa" out there.
- In Africa, we do not have a problem of sharing and it is natural to many people to share as it is certainly in our upbringing.
- There is alot of regional co-operation between educational institutions especially in the area of elearning and ODL. Most of the proprietary solutions adopted (say by AVU) have been costly and have prevented many Universities from participating in this. The Universities and other educational institutions are seeking for low cost solutions. Fortunately this look promising as it also involves collaboration with other institutions therefore "costs" are bound to go lower.
So in light of the above, it is easier for us to adopt this approach as it favors both the community, the person and the big boss - "The University/Employer".
Nicholas 21:58, 27 February 2007 (CET)