Excellent set of questions
At this moment, 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? How they will do that are being planned to do? Is WikiEd is going to be separated from COL in future? 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? I am having so many questions in my mind. Also, WikiEd is an Open Platform, and the "Commonwelath" notion does not work any more, at least here. So why to restrict governance (if any) to Commonwealth alone?
I think, we may consider to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the Board Members as well. Let me give my suggestions, point-wise:
1.Number of person on Board should be finalized after identifying major stakeholders. So, you have 4 regions in the commonwealth, to that add 'rest of the world'(2), and add representations from other stakeholders (COL, UNESCO, any other funding agencies, etc)+ Executive Director. The Chair of the Board should be elected amongst the Board Members. As for Gender Parity, the Board should have power to nominate 1-5 members if the elected representation is not 50-50 parity. Thus, I am proposing a Board that is definitely more than 9. But, it is flexible.
2. The term should be for 3 years for elected members and 2 years for nominated members. On this Steve's suggestion of 1st Board having members for one year, 2 years and 3 years also sounds interesting.
3. Elections should be open, and left to only registered members having a completed User page (in a specified format. Members may be allowed to self nominate, and everyone should be voting for all constituency, and not just their region. Roles and responsibilities of members be clearly defined, and WikiEd members should have the right to re-call the elected representatives, if they do not perform satisfactorily. Am I sounding too complex?
4. COL President should be patron of WikiEd Board, but, ideally he/she should be the Chair of the Board and the Executive Director as the Member Secretary.
5.Elections should be open for a specified period, and for all positions all votes should have one vote only. Is is possible to add a field to WikiEd registration process to identify whether a memeb is willing to be a "Full Voting Member" or "Associate Member"? If so, we can send email to all users and ask their option. This is to give preference to all users to participate in the election. Many may not want to particiapte in the lection, even if they are doing edits regularly.
So much for now...
As for Gender Parity, the Board should have power to nominate 1-5 members if the elected representation is not 50-50 parity. Thus, I am proposing a Board that is definitely more than 9. But, it is flexible.
That's an interesting approach. So if after an election cycle there aren't enough of a certain gender, or there's no one from, say, the Pacific, then the new Board's first order of business would be to appoint people to join their ranks to meet those requirements? I could support that, in fact I think I like that better than not seating nominees who have received enough votes to hold a seat.
Roles and responsibilities of members be clearly defined, and WikiEd members should have the right to re-call the elected representatives, if they do not perform satisfactorily. Am I sounding too complex?
No, I think you're raising a good point. There should be some sort of extraordinary procedure to recall Board members and even to hold new elections should the Board somehow have been dissolved.
COL President should be patron of WikiEd Board, but, ideally he/she should be the Chair of the Board and the Executive Director as the Member Secretary.
My understanding is that Sir John is our patron in a personal capacity, and that he'll remain such even should he leave his post at CoL. I do not support the patron being on the Board itself, instead I see a role in which as an interested, respected, yet impartial figure he could, hopefully rarely if ever, be called on to make decisions under extraordinary circumstances, such as an electoral irregularity or something like that.
In other words, imagine the Board as parliament, the Executive Director as PM, and the patron as sovereign.
We are very privileged to have Sir John Daniel as WikiEducator's founding patron.
For the record, around the time of the Tectonic Shift Think Tank meeting in Vancouver, members from the community asked whether we could invite Sir John as the founding patron of the WikiEducator project. This request was circulated to the Interim Advisory Board. With unanimous support we extended an official invitation to Sir John which he graciously acceppted.
Therefore, Sir John would be able to remain as Patron of WikiEducator in the event that he leaves his position at COL -- assuming that he chooses to continue in this role (and we all hope he will). However, this is Sir John's choice.
In Sir John's official capacity as CEO and President of COL, he has been a pillar of support for the WikiEducator project. I am grateful for Sir John's foresight and leadership recognising the strategic importance of OERs in learning for development and the conviction to provide COL support for the WikiEducator project. WikiEducator, to the best of my knowledge, is the only wiki project of its kind that is officially supported by an International agency. This attests to Sir John's leadership.
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.
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?
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 ...
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.