Second FLOSS4Edu WestAfricaReport

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The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) organised a second five (5) days regional workshop on the use of Basic Wiki Editing Skills for Teachers and Educators as part of the FLOSS4Edu project, held at the University of Education- Winneba- Ghana with the following Objectives:

  1. Continue the work started in the previous workshop on capacity building associated with the FLOSS4Edu initiative with the aim of participants creating digital open educational resources and content in the area of their expertise;
  2. Make Content created in (1) above available within the WikiEducator Website; and
  3. To continue teaching basic wiki editing skills required of a WikiEducator and strengthen the newly established FLOSS4Edu West African Chapter

The workshop was attended by Fourty (40) participants grouped as follows:

  • 5 from Nursing and other Health Institutions from within Ghana
  • 18 Educational Practioners from the University of Winneba Ghana
  • 5 Participants from the Ghana Police
  • 12 International delegates from various educational institutions in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Gambia.

Workshop Proceedings

The practical part of the workshop, involving training in Wiki Editing skills, started on the 26th of February where the participants were reminded of what they had learned in the precious session and were divided into twelve (12) groups according to their subject areas as follows:

  • Community Health Nursing
  • Home Economics
  • Introduction and Information and Communication Technologies
  • Energy Technology
  • Human Resource Management
  • Design and Graphics Communications
  • Wood Works
  • Building Technology
  • TV Production
  • Secondary English
  • Higher Secondary Mathematics
  • Police Training

Each of the groups was required to produce content in the area of their expertise. The training was conducted in the following manner:

  1. During the morning session the participants will learn a new topic and in the mid-morning and afternoon session, will work under the direction of the facilitator to produce content in the area of their expertise;
  2. Focus on lessons that taught the participants how to enhance their content with illustrations, images and animation using open source software tools e.g Dia, Gimp, Open Office 2.0 and Cam Studio
  3. At the end of the day, collectively review performance of each group and conduct a peer review on areas of improvement.

All sessions for all the first four days were inline with the above outline and the participants were able to achieve the following:

  1. Learn how to develop illustrations using Dia and were able to successfully develop their illustrations which were in turn uploaded and included in their content within the Wiki Educator
  2. Learn how to perform Image Manipulation and how to incorporate graphics within WikiEducator using GIMP as an Open Source Software Image Manipulation Software. The participants were able to successfully work on their images upload them as part of their content in Wiki Educator
  3. Learn how to develop screen movies and how they can use Audio and Video to enhance their content. Each of the participants worked on creating a screen movies of the main topics in the Introductory Tutorial which were incorporate in CD’s for circulation to all the participants that participated in the workshop

The output of the content produced is accessible on the WikiEducator FLOSS4Edu page: FLOSS4Edu

Workshop Strategic Outcomes

The outcomes of this workshop are:

  1. Continued participation in the Learn4Content project initiative with participants willing to participate online in extending the work they have started in their own expertise group
  2. Produced a total of over 90 new lessons within WikiEducator within a period of one week as can be seen within the website
  3. Established the process for the UEW, to begin engagement with the University and to scale the workshops while supporting the team of participants
  4. Established communication channels to the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) in working together with FLOSS4Edu to participate in the process of the establishment of National Policy Development on eLearning and Open Educational Resources for West African States.

Lessons Learned

The workshop was very successful and all the workshop objectives were achieved. This can be attributed to the following:

  1. Proper logistical preparations even though the group was a large (Over 40 participants) and the preparation time was short;
  2. Support from Senior University of Winneba Management including the Vice Chancellor, who officially launched the workshop
  3. Motivated and eager to learn participants who were looking for specific knowledge of how they can publish their already existing content into digital and electronic formats
  4. Exceptionally good internet connectivity that enabled the participants to work directly on the WikiEducator website. Though there was a back-up mediawiki installation, this was not used as internet connectivity and power was available through out the training session.
  5. Some of the participants had already typed their content as softcopy and thus reduced the time to digitalise this material.

Some of the lessons learned from this workshop are:

  1. As has been noted in other workshops , the presence of good internet connectivity was one of the core component for the success of the workshop as participants would directly work on the WikiEducator website and would publish “directly” to the net
  2. Participants working on the development of content in their area of expertise was of encouragement for them as they would use this opportunity for peer review purposes and critique each other and thus produce better content. The fact that they were publishing content in the area of their expertise was encouraging to them

As a way forward, there is a need to support this group in establishing their own communities within their countries. There may be a need for follow-up workshops on each of the countries represented in the workshop in order to certify and help the participants to establish their own communities within their Universities and Educational Institutions.