Some lessons from WMF - how about a layered model of governance?
The idea of a coouncil is a good one. Having different persons with diferent skillsets are important to the functioning of any organization/community. However, the way we are going, it seems we are definitely heading towards registering a Non-Profit Organization(NPO) in some corner of the World. Well, if that is what we are looking for governance of WikiEd, then we may prepare a draft bylaws that can be edited and finalized.
For the first year, we may have 10 members elected (with 2 year term)in the council and say another 10 nomiated members (with one year term). In the second year, we can than elect 5 members (with 2 year term), and only 5 nominated members (with one year term);and in the third year onwards, every year we can than elect 10 members (with 2 year term), and 5 nominated members (with one year term). Thus, all the time the Council will have 20 members.
The Council will decide Chiar/Director, and other functionaries.
For the purposes of clarity, there has been no decision or discussions about registering a Non-Profit Organisation. WikiEducator's infrastructure (server, hosting fees, maintenance etc.) is funded entirely by the Commonwealth of Learning. We don't receive any funding support from third party organisations on the infrastructure side.
In terms of our Commonwealth values - we are bounded to promote democratic approaches in our work, and consequently the WikiEducator project as a community initiative must be governed by the community. At the same time we must be realistic and plan carefully for the long term sustainability of the project.
For example, if WikiEducator were to reach the levels of 3 million users developing a free content curriculum - COL would not have the funding to support a server farm of 300 servers. Conceivably there are two approaches that we could think about:
1) Find ways within existing models to increase funding for the infrastructure - for example requesting member countries to increase their voluntary contributions to COL. or 2) Find new revenue streams to promote and support the project - for example, institutional financial contributions, donor funding etc.
The best thing we can do at this time is to plan our governance models in ways that can support alternative models. WikiEducator has no legal status, and cannot raise funds in its own name. This is not necessarily a bad thing because individual projects can raise their own funding to support free content development on WikiEducator. Similarly, COL can pursue grant funding to support our collective work, as in the case of the Hewlett Grant for the Learning4Content project.
At any rate - we are a long way off from 3 million users and COL is able to support considerable growth over the next few years. Naturally - more financial support to help with technology refinements is always welcome.
Hope this clarifies things.
I considered the NPO option, on the basis of modelling our discussion on WMF (as I suppose they are NPO). If we are not thinking of NPO, and also considering a separate entity, and supported by the COL for the infrastructure, then we are thinking of an informal approach of consensus builiding. Well that is OK, and we have to always depend on COL. If at all other agencies come forward for supporting EikiEd, they will have to support COL.
Well, no problem with that as far as I am concerned.
Hi Sanjaya -
Just to be clear. COL is neither for, nor against a NPO model.
The point is that we should collectively design the best community governance model that we can, in a way that will provide us the flexibility to assume multiple forms in the future.
It's our collective responsibility to act in the best interests of the WikiEd community!
Picking up what Erik wrotex "The council can appoint 10 additional non-community members by majority"
Do we really mean 'non-community' - that is they should NOT be members of the wikieducator community or do we mean 'from among other members of the community' ? Was just wondering.
I agree with Steve on the method to provide continuity over the years. Three year term for one third, two year for the next one third etc. till we get to electing ten people every year with five providing the continuity.
I hope we have agreed on each person having as many votes as the number of candidates to be elected.