Community communique: 10 May 2009

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Hi everyone,

At last -- a long overdue update.

Moving country with my family, starting a new job and setting up the OER Foundation (a new independent non-profit entity) have kept me away from active posting on our community list. Dealing with the withdrawal symptoms of active participation on our list hasn't been easy ;-). I've also been pretty busy working on our first funding proposal to the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation under a general operating support bid.

The good news is that I will now be working full time in open education supporting WikiEducator in achieving its strategic objectives.

Apology for the long post -- but lots of news to update the WE family.

Exciting futures for WikiEducator

The growth of WikiEducator has far outstripped reasonable expectations and our strategic plans for the initiative. Our success is driven by a large and growing number of educators around the world who spend hours volunteering time in support of the core value of education -- namely to share knowledge freely. This commitment has enabled WE to claim the accolade of spearheading the world's largest wiki training project in education under Learning4Content, not to mention hundreds of exemplary projects hosted on the WE site!

As a result, WE have outgrown our founding home at the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and will now be moving forward as an independent initiative. This is a significant milestone and confirmation of our collective work.

Applauding COL's support for WikiEducator

On behalf of our community -- I would like to express our public thanks to the Commonwealth of Learning for the foresight and commitment from an international agency in supporting a bold and progressive project. Notwithstanding the international success of WE, COL has remained true to its commitment to ensure a community governance model for the project. There are few organisations in the world who measure performance by the successful projects they allow to leave the nest and mature in their own right! This attests to COL's commitment to learning for development.

Moreover, COL has confirmed a financial contribution to the OER Foundation to support WikiEducator's technical infrastructure (hardware and software) for the next three years. Our collective success would not have been possible without COL's ongoing support.

My new role -- standing on the shoulders' of OER pioneers

As of 1 May 2009, I have taken up a new role as founding Director of the International Centre for Open Education based at Otago Polytechnic in New Zealand which we announced back in September 2008 at the Open Education Conference in Utah.

Otago Polytechnic is a global leader in the OER movement as evidenced by an OER friendly intellectual property policy. The pioneering work of our WE Community Council Members, Leigh Blackhall and Bronwyn Hegarty, with support from Terry Marler at the Education Development Centre has been instrumental in establishing Otago Polytechnic's leadership in open education and supporting a large number of early adopters among teaching staff at our institution.

While the major focus of my new role will be external, that is, building sustainable OER futures for WikiEducator -- I look forward to learning from the wealth of experience from our open education mentors based here at the Polytechnic.

The OER Foundation

The OER Foundation Limited is a new non-profit entity established to support WikiEducator and open education. The OER Foundation is registered as a non-profit company and will be the legal entity for raising and administering funds to support our projects. The vision of the OER Foundation is to foster the development of a sustainable open education ecosystem --- after all, OER is a sustainable and renewable resource.

The activities of the OER Foundation are restricted to charitable education purposes and the Foundation will be subscribing to the practices of "open philanthropy" .

In practical terms, this means that our planning documentation, funding proposals etc will be developed openly and transparently. In this regard, I've set up a page node for the OER Foundation on WE. You're not going to find much content there yet -- that's the point -- we'll be developing this as we go along. Over the next few day's, I'll start populating these pages so you can watch as we go along and if you have the time --- I'd welcome your help and support in moving this process forward.

Bookmark the OER_Foundation planning page or add this to your watch lists if you want to keep up to speed with what's happening:


  • Wayne Mackintosh (Founder of WikiEducator) joins the International Centre for Open Education at Otago Polytechnic.
  • OER Foundation Limited, a new non-profit has been registered to support the achievement of WikiEducator's objectives.
  • COL confirms it's financial contribution to support WE's technical infrastructure.
  • The OER Foundation has prepared and submitted a grant proposal for funding to the Hewlett Foundation (See: )

Again -- apology for the relative silence on the list these past months. As you'll appreciate, I've have had a lot on my plate but its great to be back again in full force! If there are any questions or suggestions -- please feel free to post these to the list, and we'll do our best to answer them.

Chat to you soon. Wayne

Wayne Mackintosh, Ph.D. Director, International Centre for Open Education, Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand. Founder and Community Council Member, Wikieducator,