Excellent set of questions

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Last edit: 10:34, 29 October 2007

Hi Sanjaya

We appreciate your guidance and advice. Thanks for joining in on these important discussions. Let me clarify some of the questions you raise - which hopefully will be of benefit to future contributors to this thread.

I am having a variety of thoughts ranging from the need of having a board to what is going to be the future of WikiEd. I can see the COL's objectives of having a WikiEd Board. But what is that the Board will do?

WikiEducator is a community project, and in the early days of WikiEducator COL committed to establishing a community governance model. COL does not own WikiEducator - the project is owned by the community.

For example, if COL assists a government in developing an ICT policy - COL does not own that policy. It belongs to the citizens of the country concerned. Similarly, WikiEducator is a community initiative to facilitate the development of open education resources in contributing to the ideals of a free curriculum by 2015. COL has a responsibility to ensure that our Commonwealth values of democracy, human rights, good citizenship and good governance are enshrined as the foundations of the WikiEducator project. For this reason we must have a democratically elected governance team and corresponding policies that are developed in a transparent way. The purpose of these discussions is to develop a governance policy for WikiEducator and to determine how we elect officials to represent the community we serve.

The future of WikiEducator will be determined by the community. In my view the board is responsible for governance matters and helping to steer the strategic futures of WikiEducator in transparent consultation with the community. The Board should refrain from the temptation of getting involved with operational matters of the numerous projects hosted in WikiEducator.

Is WikiEd is going to be separated from COL in future?

COL's primary objective is to ensure the implementation of a sustainable and scalable international community working towards the achievement of free content resources in support of all national curricula by 2015.

If it is in the interests of the WikiEducator community to be separated from COL in the future - then from COL's perspective this would be a successful outcome for the project in terms of its sustainability. However, this will be a community decision to be taken by the community.

At present it is launched as an activity of COL. How is it going to work by having a different Board. Suppose in future the WikiBoard and COL do not agree on something, what will happen?

WikiEducator was launched as an initiative under COL's eLearning for education sector development. At the time, we set up an Interim Advisory Board to assist with representing the community. You will see that there is only one Commonwealth employee on the Interim Board. We subscribe to a community governance model. So I don't see any substantive difference with the new Board other than the fact that the new board will be elected democratically - which was not possible with a small community of 300 users.

In the event of a disagreement between COL and the future board of WikiEducator, then COL as a member of the community will need to raise and discuss it's concerns openly with the community and resolve these concerns using a consensus model. Similarly, should any community constituency of WikiEducator have a disagreement - these must also be resolved in a democratic way.

Also, WikiEd is an Open Platform, and the "Commonwealth" notion does not work any more, at least here. So why to restrict governance (if any) to Commonwealth alone?

This is a key question for the establishment of the WikiEducator Board. In response to COL's commitment for a community governance model we are discussing these questions in an open and transparent way with the WikiEducator community.

I'm confident that we will find a consensus solution that meets the needs of all involved.

Appreciate your candid and open questions. I'm sure that there are many WikiEducators who have been asking the same questions.

Chat to you soon.

Mackiwg (talk)18:40, 29 October 2007

How do you believe that other potential funders (e.g., Unesco) might feel about WikiEducator enshrining the sort of geographic requirements that we're considering? Not that I'm not grateful for CoL's support, but would that conceivably make it more difficult to diversify supporters?

SteveFoerster (talk)18:40, 29 October 2007

Steve - that's a very good question.

My experience is limited to our traditional Commonwealth regions. Having had the privilege of working in these different regions - I can attest that the differences are tangible. The Pacific way of doing things is very different from Asia. Having grown up in Africa, I can attest that African culture is different from the Caribbean. This cultural diversity is a unique asset of the WikiEducator community and differentiates us from other international projects.

Personally I would like to see the WikiEducator project preserve and promote the regional diversity we have by providing an equal voice to all our regional communities. The advantage of involving another International agency like UNESCO is that we could incorporate the regions we are unable to cover under the Commonwealth. For example the CIS states of the Russian Federation, the Middle East, South America etc.

I don't in any way presume to know how best to incorporate these ideals in a Board for WikiEducator - but I do know that we will be richer for the experience.

Hope this helps ...

Mackiwg (talk)18:40, 29 October 2007

Another way to tackle the issue of regional representation could be to have an regionally elected 'Executive Committee' which could have a much larger representation from the wikied community - say between 4-5 from each zone. The Advisory Board would be directly elected too. The executive with the regional representation should have the role of coordinating activities zone-wise and reporting and coordinating with the Advisory board. This would take care of region-specific issues. What do u think?

I am not comfortable with incorporating regional and gender limitations when seats come up for election each year. This will mean that the gender composition of the first board will decide the gender bias for all future positions!!! I would also agree with additional slots for gender and regional adjustments - of course we set an upper limit.

Also we need to lay out what kind of subcommittees we need - some that I can think of are the finance/funding committee, the technical committee, the social out-reach committee etc. We need collective decision in all our actions/activities.


Savi.odl (talk)18:40, 29 October 2007