CAPPD Draftproposal.

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Commonwealth Action Plan for Digital Divide (CAPDD)


Commonwealth of Learning (Pan Commonwealth)

Programme/Project Title

COLlaborations - Quick 'n Easy

Brief Description

Online communities need places where they can work together quickly and easily, but this assumes that users know how to use the respective technologies. This project will develop a free, digital guide to build capability on how to use selected technologies. In this way member states of the Commonwealth will be able to participate with confidence in the growing global phenomenon of collaborative authoring of knowledge and information on the Web. The project is unique because:

  • The guide will be freely available without any restrictions for use and or modification by individuals, institutions and agencies throughout the Commonwealth. The guide will use a Creative Commons License with attribution to the funders plus the share alike requirement to ensure future freedoms for users including the rights to modify and share the resource as may be required for local contexts
  • The quick-start guide will be flexible and will be designed for use in a variety of situations, for example: as a self-help, just-in-time training resource; as interactive materials for use during a hands-on, face-to-face workshop or packaged for delivery as an eLearning resource for institutions that may not have connectivity challenges, alternatively as print-based learning materials for users with connectivity limitations.
  • The project will demonstrate the potential to leverage the multiplier effect by offering two pilot workshop sessions modelled on a “train-the-trainer” approach whereby these participants will be required to train another group of participants using the same resource.
  • The project will focus on sustainable innovation by developing practical activities in the workshop alternative which will contribute to further development of free shared resources.

Support for CAPDD Focus Areas

  • Building Policy Capacity (no)
  • Modernising Education And Skills Development (Yes)
  • Entrepreneurship for Poverty Reduction (No)
  • Promoting Local Access and Connectivity (Yes)
  • Regional Networking (Yes)


The project is primarily a skills development initiative aimed at enhancing the use of ICTs in Education. As an open and free education resource it has the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of users across the globe. Relevant practical knowledge and experience promotes local access to technology and demand push facilitates the motivation to pursue connectivity issues at the policy level given a growing local demand for connectivity.


Relevant capability is arguably the greatest barrier to participation by members from developing countries in the Commonwealth to engage meaningfully in two significant technology developments, currently taking the world by storm:

  1. Collaborative authoring of content using wiki technology. A wiki is a type of website that enables anyone to easily add, modify or remove content without the need to become proficient in the standard markup used for web pages. Today its much easier for individuals to participate in content creation for the web. Wikis are an ideal technology to work collaboratively on shared content resources. Wikipedia, the free online encyclopaedia (, is an excellent example of the power of collaborative authoring using this technology. Wikipedia is currently the sixteenth most visited website in the world reaching more than 40 million people everyday. Working in the field of ICTs for development, we have an obligation to leverage the power of Wiki technology for education and skills development throughout the Commonwealth.
  2. Exponential growth in the focus on Open Education Resources (OERs) to support education. Following the pioneering move by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to make teaching materials freely available on the Web, interest in the OER movement is growing in both the developed and developing regions of the world. This is evidenced by a recent online forum convened by UNESCO's International Institute for Educational Planning, on OERs. This forum involved more than 500 participants from around the world, and this community has emphasised the need for resources on how to develop, use and modify open education resources. In November 2006, at the Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning in Jamaica, the UK Open University will launch its Open Content Initiative aimed specifically at making learning resources available to developing countries as OERS.

Regrettably, in the absence of accessible, free content on how to participate in the collaborative authoring of content using these technologies, many countries are destined to become net consumers rather than active contributors to this global phenomenon.

Design of the programme/project

The project will be developed in accordance with the tried and tested practice derived from the experience of designing open distance learning programmes. This involves the following phases:

  1. Needs analysis, identifying the potential user audience so as to customise the development of the resource according to identified needs. A competency requirement specification will be produced.
  2. Constituting a development team comprising content experts, an instructional designer and multimedia developers.
  3. Design phase, drawing on the information from the needs analysis a concept design is developed where after a representative sample of the materials is produced to refine the design of the project
  4. Development of the resources. The materials are developed in accordance with the refinement to the concept design.
  5. Pilot testing and evaluation using an online workshop format. This will include practical activities whereby participants develop examples of OERs using wiki technology.

Importance to Country / Region

This project will produce a set of concrete resources to build capacity for active participation in the "next generation" Internet -- sometimes called the read-write web. The project will facilitate developing societies to become net contributors to digital knowledge as oppossed to net consumers of information. Creative use of wiki technology will enable members of the Commonwealth to establish virtual communities for any task that requires collaborative work on ideas, processes or content. COLlaborations is a tangible contribution to assiting communities to particpate in the new web turning the digital divide into digital dividends (see

Potential Partners

This project will see the Commonwealth of Learning working in consultation with other organizations having expertise or interest in the project objectives (such as UNESCO), and working collaboratively with selected member states from the Commonwealth -- especially small states of the Commonwealth. This resource will be distributed as an OER. The project will model the process by using wiki technology as the vehicle for collaborative design and development of the content resources. As an open development, anyone is free to join and collaborate on the development at any time during the process.

Anticipated Outcomes

  1. 30 study hours of interactive digital materials covering the basic skills necessary to edit content on a wiki. In other words the equivalent of an intensive four-day skills development workshop.
  2. The final publishing and hosting of the completed resources on both UNESCO's (If confirmed and appropriate) OER wiki and the Commonwealth of Learning's wiki for easy access. (As an open resource, the materials can be hosted, published and distributed throughout the Commonwealth without any restrictions.)
  3. As an open resource, the materials can be hosted, published and distributed throughout the Commonwealth without any restrictions.
  4. The presentation of two pilot workshops (online) using a "train-the-trainers" approach so as to demonstrate the scalability of the project, but also to evaluate the outcomes of the project.
  5. Promoting the resource globally by: publishing a brochure for distribution, postings on relevant electronic forums and other communities of interest.
  6. Commissioning an evaluation review of the project to identify the lessons learned. This will be used to guide future projects of this nature.

Risk assessment

  1. Costs of installation, reliability and administration of wiki software (Both UNESCO and COL administer Mediawiki software. This is the same software that is used by Wikipedia and has a proven track record for reliability and scalability. Low risk.)
  2. Availability of skilled professionals to assist with the design and development of resources. COL has an extensive network throughout the commonwealth in open distance learning. Low risk)
  3. Completion of development objectives on time given tight development timeframes. (Low to medium risk, hence 7% loading on project management to manage the risk)

Budget in USD

Project total: $197 664

Contracts for Service $137 547.


  • Instructional design $ 8830
  • Content development $32100
  • Post-authoring editing $9300
  • Multimedia design and development (Screenshot movies & Video vignettes $48000)
  • Project Management $9800
  • Marketing (Design, production, printing & distribution of flyer) $8 800
  • Evaluation review $8600
  • Honoraria for developmental testing (40 participants) $ 8000

Accommodation & International Travel $56 000,


  • Steering group planning meeting(s) $23000
  • Design planning meeting(s) $33000

Administration overhead $4117 (6% of contracts for service)

Schedule and Milestones

Project duration: 28 Weeks

Milestone Details Schedule
Milestone 1: Establishment of project
  • Constitution of steering group
  • Establishing development team
3 Weeks
Milestone 2: Needs analysis and competency specification
  • Draft specification and prioritisation of competencies
  • Consultation and review of specified competencies
  • Establishing aims and objectives for the resource pack
4 Weeks
Milestone 3: Concept design template
  • Draft design blueprint
  • Multimedia development specifications
  • Representative sample materials developed
  • Refined blueprint produced
6 Weeks
Milestone 4: Development and production
  • Development of multimedia components
  • 30 Study hours of resource completed
  • Resources packaged for interoperability (to enable use in different systems)
  • Development of promotional brochure
8 Weeks
Milestone 5: Pilot online workshop
  • 40 participants from Commonwealth complete the online workshop
  • Additional OERs developed as defined outcome for the workshop
  • Workshop evaluation completed
4 Weeks
Milestone 6: Project evaluation
  • Evalation data collected
  • Independent evaluation review
  • Evaluation report completed
3 Weeks

Alignment with National Strategies

The project is well aligned with the majority of national srategies associated with ICTs for development in the Commonwealth. Moreover, the project has been designed to support COLs contribution to the Millenium development goals, in particular:

  • its contribution to universal primary education through distance methods of teacher education;
  • improving maternal health associated with our work in utilising mass media in the health sector;
  • promting global partnerships for development.


This is a high priority project for the COL as capability in this area is a critical path requirement for a wide range of projects planned for the next 3-year strategic plan of the agency. It will enhance the productivity and effectiveness of the majority of initiatives at COL, given that wiki technology can be used for collaborative planning and development of our initiatives.

Long term sustainability

The project is scalable and has been purposefully designed for sustainability.

  • The open content approach removes traditional barriers that limit ongoing reuse and adaptation of the resource to changing needs
  • The inclusion of the share-alike requirement in the Creative Commons license will promote an exponential return on investment as the resource will always open for utilisation in a wide variety of contexts
  • The project will be developed in a way to facilitate localisations in different languages thus promoting psychological ownership in local contexts
  • The sustainability of the resource is extended beyond this specific project because it will used to support a wide range of external projects including UNESCO's work in the area of OERs, COL's strategic work in the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth and other open content initiatives based on wiki technology including Wikipedia and the project.