Feedback on Membership categories from Andy Lane

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Andy Lane @ the British Open University submitted the following feedback on an earlier draft of the membership categories. We are grateful for Andy's academic commitment to share knowledge, especially give his extensive experience in Open Learning and Open Education at the university level. Andy's reflections have added value and contributed to the ongoing refinement of our collective project.

Question: Do our membership categories present an attractive and/or market related alternative for a university? (See: ) . Thoughts?

Andy's feedback

I like the categorisations based around money and/or staff time input (how will you check compliance) but the exact package and titles do not seem right and standard members may also feel active, just in a different way. The FTE4WE does not roll off the tongue and how will developing world countries been categorised? And why not have such an option (but perhaps higher FTE for developed world HEIs). what about active members either providing FTE and some sort and money (even very small say $100) and contributing members just money with say gold and silver categories where those factors are higher.
In Response
  • Earlier categories of Active member (5K + 0.2 FTE), Contributing Member (8K) now replaced with Gold ((5K + 0.2 FTE), Silver (8K) and Bronze tiers (1K). A new FTE only category with options donation of >USD100 is now included.
  • Re compliance -- the OER Foundation works on an "honesty box" / trust system, and will not be policing compliance with FTE commitments. As an open, and transparent project all edits of institutional coordinators are open for all to see. In the case of FTE-time donations, the OERF will request contact info and Username of the assigned institutional coordinator which will be listed as the contact person in the wiki and activity can easily be accessed by clicking on the special contributions link. We also recognise that lots of co-oridnation work happens outside the wiki -- but hope that community kudos will be a great motivator for action
  • There is divided feeling about the "FTE4WE" label -- some folk love the concept, others find it awkward. I've substituted the term with "Sponsored Member" with "FTE for WikiEducator" in parenthesis. The purpose of this category is to ensure that institutions are not limited from participation because of lack of funding -- and the OERF will secure sponsorships to cover the direct costs of membership benefits.
Further feedback and suggesstion from Andy:
Looking again at the membership side I may not have been as clear as I wanted to be in my suggestion, probably because it ended up being as series of related comments. My idea was to have the gold, silver and bronze categories that could be fulfilled variously either with just money or FTE input or a combination of the two depending on commitment and circumstances:
  • Gold $5k + 02. FTE OR 0.4 FTE (i.e. FTE4WE)
  • Silver $8k OR 0.2FTE
  • Bronze $1k
You may want to vary the cash amount as the FTE element is very local and so priced very differently.
Also while the bottom line will be important to managers the benefits of cooperation and collaboration are also important since this is what is part of most University's activities in some way. What you can offer is a 'meeting place' where new partnerships might arise beyond that simply of sharing the load and benefits of content creation. In other words it should also be a networking opportunity.
In response
The purpose for distinguishing Contributing members who commit funding from Contributions in kind is an operational business decision to ensure cost recovery of the direct costs associated with providing member benefits.
Mackiwg (talk)10:57, 17 October 2009