It's helpful to think of the groupings of content that should be in the top-level category. My opinion on each grouping:
- Educational content -- definitely
- Navigational content -- I'm not convinced that this is needed. I don't think we have many of these kinds of pages. Portals should be accessible via content-based categories and main content navigation pages. My opinion is to put this off until there's a clearer need. (But the current map could tell a different tale when it's done.)
- Content maintenance -- definitely (but I don't think Wikieducators as a category would belong here, need a different name to describe people like us who work on maintenance)
I wonder if there's another grouping --- Wikieducators or WikiEducator communities. This would ultimately lead to the main country pages, teacher collaboration, community media, specialties...?
I think the challenge will be to "categorize" the educational content. My first thought was to call it all OER, cause all educational content on WE is open, so it's all OER ;). My concept of OER includes direct learning resources, research, foundations, institution-based efforts and other promotional efforts. But the OER Foundation defines OER more narrowly: "Open Educational Resources (OERs), are educational materials which are licensed in ways that provide permissions for individuals and institutions to reuse, adapt and modify the materials for their own use. OERs can, and do include full courses, textbooks, streaming videos, exams, software, and any other materials or techniques supporting learning." from OERF FAQs. So, should we define OER to be just learning materials, make a separate category for OER related efforts, and make other main categories for educational research, institutions,...?
Hopefully the completed current map will give us more insight into members' natural inclinations.
Using OER more narrowly may help the categorization. The big problem I see with stuff in WE
- more or less finished / published with the expectation that it be used by others - learners, other instructors...
- work in progress that may become OERs
- personal notes, research and collection information, experiments, small group collaborative writing
I would like to see more adoption, reuse and remixing by educators other than those who created the OERs. As it stands it is very difficult to even know where to start looking in WE for well crafted OERs that are "ready to use". Most searches turn up fragments, stubs and sandboxes, and the searcher is discouraged or turned off. We need several mechanisms to ensure that the searches are more productive. Identifying OERs that conform to the OER Foundation definition is a good start.
Then how do we categorize the other stuff? Or is "OER" or "not OER" a good high-level categorization?
There need to be a couple of big, cross population groupings eg. animal, vegetable, mineral - so that just applying 2 or 3 of the big selection criteria yields a more specific set to research further.
Agree that defining OER narrowly will help the category be more focused. And agree that WE has (and probably will always have) lots of OERs in progress. I wonder if we should create a separate "OER development in progress" template with the WIP template used in all other situations. This would help us identify OERs in progress.
It'd be great to have a way to identify finished/published OERs in a category listing, e.g., bolded or including an icon to indicate ready for use. Somewhat relatedly, I'd love to see the Quality assurance framework implemented to provide a mechanism for identifying completed resources.
So, thinking about what high level categories should be under "Educational content":
- OER projects
- Featured works -- see the Featured works portal; not all of the kinds of featured works would be educational content
I think something is an OER if its creator says so. But it should be designated as an OER only when the creator is "releasing" it for use/reuse/remix by others.
Perhaps there can be another family of designations (maybe a subset or OER) for resources that have "passed" various level of quality assurance review - assessed by creator, peer or third party, certified WE reviewer?
All content on Wikieducator is legally licensed as OER in the sense that the license permits reuse and remix by others. Every edit in WikiEducator the use agrees to licensing content under the standard CC-By-SA license or CC-BY where specfied. So technically all content in Wikieducator is "OER" from a legal perspective.
However, an author may want to say -- "Please don't edit this material because I'm using it in a class" -- but this does not restrict anyone from making a copy (forking) and remixing for their own purposes.
I'm not sure that we can say that OER is only OER once it has passed various QA processes -- it would be better to thing about:
- Unreviewed OER and
- Peer reviewed OER.
Thinking about categories -- I'm not sure that the category OER is a useful category for education materials in WikiEducator -- because all content in wiki educator is legally licensed as OER. Perhaps the type of resource would be better, for example learning activity, online course, handout, open text book etc.
There may be very specific OER pages like the OER Foundation stuff or content covering the topic of OER -- so I think a narrower category focus would be more useful.
I think you are right, Wayne, that we shouldn't use the term OER to mean learning resources. But it seems too fine-grained to be listing specific types of resources in the highest category. I think the list could be quite long. Maybe in the educational content grouping, we want a category labeled "types of learning resources", along with categories for subjects, levels, and any other criteria that could be used to create broad groups of learning resources.