AOER WikiEducator Training Workshop Report

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The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) organised a 3.5 days regional workshop on the use of Basic Wiki Editing Skills for Educational Practioners in Agriculture with the following objectives:

  1. Carry out a capacity building initiative associated with the FLOSS4Edu initiative with the aim of testing the developed Online Version of Workshop Toolkit for Holding WikiEducator Open Educational Resources (
  2. Establish a group of OER Content Developers in the field of Agriculture with representatives from institutions of higher education, Non-Governmental Organisations and Research Institutions; and
  3. Integrate key outcomes of the workshop to the Forum for Agricultural Research for Africa (FARA) meeting that was held on the 10th – 16th of June 2007.

The workshop was attended by Twenty three (23) participants (See Appendix 1 for a list of participants) grouped as follows:

  • 8 from Institutions of higher education
  • 3 from Non-Governmental Organisations
  • 1 Ministry of Agriculture- Kenya
  • 9 Participants from various Research Institutions
  • 2 from other institutions

Workshop Proceedings

The workshop was officially opened by a representative of the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Agriculture, Kenya (See speech here) and introductory remarks were made by Dr. Krishna Alluri from COL, and group introductions before the Facilitator (Mr. Nicholas Kimolo) embarked on the practical sessions on the use of WikiEducator (See enclosed agenda). A discussion on the role of Free and Open Source Software was also conducted and participants were introduced to its principles. A standby wiki installation was done on one of the lab machines and was used whenever the internet connection would degrade. The facilitator started by introducing wikieducator and the FLOSS4Edu initiative and outlined their objectives and asked participants to consider the power of OER’s for Africa. Various licensing options for content development purposes were also discussed and it was impressed on the participants to use the CC-BY-SA license whenever publishing in WikiEducator The Facilitator then focused on the practical use of WikiEducator. Each of the participants had access to a computer (though some shared) with internet connectivity and all participants registered on the WikiEducator website. The participants were working on the WikiEducator website.

On the second day of the workshop the participants were also introduced to relevant agricultural educational resources some hosted within CGIAR. The participants learned new wiki skills and were able to work on their profiles and share their experiences. See link: for participants shared experiences

Each of the participants was required to evaluate the participant binder and the training materials offered. All the components (Invitation letters, agenda etc) were developed as part of the WikiEducator OER training kit. See here for the workshop toolkit.

Workshop Strategic Outcomes

The following were the outcomes of this workshop:

  1. Two content development groups were established for Kenya and Zambia. The groups agreed to work out modalities of developing OER’s for hosting within WikiEducator;
  2. The participants agreed to share and evaluate the OER training kit and the training materials so developed in the toolkit to organize their own capacity building workshops;
  3. The participants recommendations for creating screen movies for each of the lessons within the toolkit. This was seen as a way of enhancing the usability of the OER Training toolkit
  4. Establishment of a Techmode L3 based group interested in using ODL techniques for the promotion of mushroom growing community in partnership with the KRep Bank, University of Nairobi and the Ministry of Agriculture in Kenya

Lessons Learned

Most of the participants in this workshop were educational Practioners from Universities and Research Institutions not used to the development of educational content in an open manner. As a result, developing content as OER will be a new phenomenon which naturally will make them hesitant. To address this issue, it is important to get to know the participant’s fears and try to address them at the beginning of the workshop. Some of the common fears highlighted are:

  1. Issues relating to loss of intellectual property rights: One will need to address this through discussion on the various license options that can be applied on content and maintain its openness most notably the CC-BY-SA license
  2. Issues relating to security of published content as it can be “vandalised”: It is important to explain the concept of “security by community” in comparison to systems that lock out access. It is also important to explain the benefits of producing content in an open format
  3. Issues relating to lack of motivation as there may not be financial rewards: Lead the participants through other reward mechanisms like professional recognition, refinement of published content etc