Community success spawns a new era for WE
The WikiEducator Community has become an international exemplar for sustainable OER futures demonstrating the power of open communities collaborating at the heart of the educational endeavour: sharing knowledge freely.
When measured against our planned milestones for the WikiEducator initative, our collective performance has outstripped all reasonable expectations. The strategic plan specified a target of 2500 registered users by June 2009. This target was achieved 18 months ahead of time thus providing early signs that our project was beginning to move into the third phase of our strategic plan. That is, implementing a sustainable OER ecosystem.
Our strategic plan
What are WE doing?
WikiEducator is building a thriving and sustainable global community dedicated to the design, development and delivery of free OERs.
Why are WE doing this?
OER shows considerable potential for reducing the cost of education for both institutions and learners alike with corresponding opportunities to widen access and improve the quality of education around the world.
How are WE doing this?
We are working collaboratively with the freedom culture so that content resources in support of all national curricula can be achieved by 2015. The WikiEducator strategy focuses on;
- Building the capacity and skills of the community to engage meaningfully in the mass-collaboration required for the design and development of high quality learning resources, for example capacity building workshops.
- Developing free content and knowledge to support the development of open communities and free content developers so that resources can be reused in multiple contexts;
- Ensuring smart connections through appropriate networks, ecosystems and the smart implementation of free software solutions to fill the gaps between existing mainstream technologies and the unique requirements of asynchronous learning thus widening the reach and access of free content in the developing world.
The three phases of our strategic plan
Given the complexity and scale of a global OER collaboration among educators, WikiEducator adopted a phased approach as the foundation for future success. The primary focus of each phase is summarised below:
Establishing the foundations
|June 2006 - Dec 2007||This phase focused on setting up the technologies, processes and content resources to facilitate community development and international collaboration on OER using wiki technology. During this phase the foundations for a community governance structure were established.|
Scaling up OER content development
|January 2008 - December 2008||The prime purpose of Phase 2 is to scale up the rate of OER content development building on the foundations established during Phase 1. Phase 2 has focused primarily in building capacity among educators to participate in the project and instituting the first WikiEducator Community Council.|
Implementation and sustainable OER development
|January 2009 - ongoing||The purpose of this phase is to prioritise activities which implement OERs into mainstream educational activities in achieving a sustainable OER ecosystem.|
A concise history of WikiEducator
|Date||Selected milestones||No. Registered users|
|Feb 2006||Wayne registers the domain names for:
|Feb 2006||Installed the Mediawiki software on a desktop machine at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. WikiEducator was originally conceived as an experimental wiki to host content developed by the eXe community and to explore the potential for collabrative development of eLearning content the wiki way.||10|
|April 2006||WikiEducator relocated to a hosted server. Hosting services provided by Erik Möller and funded by COL||12|
|August 2006||Strategic plan for WikiEducator submitted under the eLearning for Education Sector Development initiative as part of COL's three-year plan, 2006 - 2009.||17|
|October 2006||WikiEducator brochure uploaded to the site.||80|
|November 2006||FLOSS4Edu project launched in Kenya||142|
|January 2007||WikiEducator mailing list created by Brent Simpson||285|
|May 2007||WikiEducator achieves 1,000 users.||1,000|
|January 2008||WikiEducator launches the Learning4Content project||2,515|
|May 2008||WikiEducator is the inaugural recipient of the 2008 Merlot Africa Network and eLearning Africa (MANeLA) award in the Free Software for OER Content Authoring category.||3,892|
|August 2008||OER Handbook for Educators goes to print||5,418|
|September 2008||Results of the first WikiEducator community elections announced.||5,941|
|December 2008||WikiEducator surpasses 7,000 users (a 220% increase over 2007).||7015|
|April 2009||WikiEducator surpases 8600 users and the traffic ranking of its website reaches 101K|
Brainstorming the key questions for Phase 3 of WikiEducator
- What are the components that make up a sustainable OER ecosystem?
- What does a sustainable OER ecosytem look like?
- Where does mobile technology fit within the ecosystem? (see http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/564/1039)
- In what ways is Phase 3 of our plan distinctive or different from the preceding phases?
- How can community help in making the third phase a success?
- What are the lessons learned from Phases 1&2 that inform Phase 3?
- How do we empower those with little or no access to participate?
- Do we need to partner with other stakeholders especially in addressing the issue of access and connectivity? Are there emerging technologies or solutions that can be adopted?
- Should we treat all other OER sites / partners / resources equally?
- How do we determine the technical features of WikiEducator? What is the lifecycle for implementing (or retiring) a feature?
- How do we improve the ways users can browse WE content? Can we "tag" content according to subject/content including some indicators of completeness, readiness etc? (Posted by Valerie)
- What should be the organization setup? Non-profit foundation?
- Can we explore the co-operative model? (i.e., shares similar values to WikiEducator)
- What are the ways to mobilize funds for sustainable development and maintenance?
- How to promote use of Qualification Frameworks for the development of right content?
- What should be the quality control measures?
- what are the strategies to promote the project?
- How can we support Newbies in becoming Active Contributors (i.e., in applying their wiki skills to relevant work challenges, or areas of high personal interest)
- How can we support Active Contributors in developing Pilot Projects within their own educational institutions?
- How can we support educational institutions and/or individual departments which embrace WikiEducator as a development platform for content authoring?
- How can we leverage author-educators' interest in their own professional development, with the |Centre of Excellence in Open Education Professional Development --Randy Fisher 16:33, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
- Can we reorganize the content and classify it under Subjects and topics to make it more meaningful for the learner?--Gita Mathur 06:14, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
- Can we ask/request some community members to write on specific important topics not touched by anyone yet. This can make the content more wholistic for the learner?--Gita Mathur 06:14, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
- Newbies and members may have access to a list on which OER's need to be developed.--Gita Mathur 06:14, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
- What exactly is the vision (ultimate goal)? - K 23:07, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
- for WikiEducator (3.0)
- for the OER Foundation
- are they the same?
- If not, how do they support each other?
- How do they augment the other initiatives with very similar goals? (e.g. Open Knowledge Foundation, Connexions, Wikiversity, ... (please add for future reference)
- Does this still apply? (about WikiEducator)) - K 23:07, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
- If so, what is "the education curriculum" referred to under "Strategy"?
- Would it make sense to separate WE from any particular platform (currently MediaWiki-based)? - K 23:15, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
- The wealth is in the network and the services available through it.
- Or, is that the distinguishing feature of OER Foundation?
- On a technical level (and other levels) this would elevate the priority of interoperability.
- Add you questions here ....
- WikiEducator 3.0 refers to the third phase of our strategic plan to implement a sustainable OER ecosystem