WikiEducator:M and E Overview
This section describes the nature and context of the WikiEducator project. It provides an overview of the project and how it fits with COL's three-year strategic plan, concluding with an identification of which Millennium Development Goals have informed the design of the project.
Overview of WikiEducator
WikiEducator is the flagship project of the eLearning for Education Sector Development initiative in COL's development programme.
The concept of "project" is used here to distinguish WikiEducator from the results based management terminology of initiatives, activities and actions because the project spans multiple sectors and components of COL's logic model. WikiEducator is the hub of all activities under COL's eLearning initiative. In addition, WikiEducator provides support for other intiatives in COL's programme, including the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC); Open and alternative schooling, Learning and Skills for Livelihoods; and National/International Community Development.
|Vision||Turning the digital divide into digital dividends using free content and open networks.|
|Mission||Working collaboratively with the freedom culture to develop free content resources in support of national curricula, for all sectors by 2015.|
|Strategy||To build a thriving and sustainable community of practitioners and policy makers throughout the Commonwealth who have the capacity to work collaboratively on the international development of free content by leveraging the connections that are enabled by strategic networks and relevant digital technologies.|
|Values||The activities of the WikiEducator community are underpinned by a core set of values. WikiEducators believe:
Sir John Daniel is the patron of WikiEducator and the project has adopted a community governance model.
eLearning in COL's strategic plan
eLearning for Education Sector Development is an initiative in the Education sector of COL's strategic plan entitled Learning for Development. The strategic plan commits COL to:
- "engage resolutely with eLearning because in the longer term it holds great promise for developing countries, as well as being a powerful symbol of bridging the digital divide". At present, the promise of eLearning lies less in the online delivery of materials than in the possibility of developing those materials through international online collaboration. .... in the spirit of the FLOSS movement - it will be possible to create, distribute and adapt open education resources much more easily (page 20, Learning for Development, COL's Three-year Plan.)
The strategic plan directs the eLearning initiative to focus on the following activities:
- Increasing awareness, building capacity and developing content for eLearning in the education sector.
- Facilitating the use of open education resources. (page 32, Learning for Development, COL's Three-year Plan.)
COL's corporate priorities for eLearning provide the foundation for WikiEducator's strategy and corresponding logic model.
Millennium development goalsMDGs) taking into account the limitations of the programme budget:
- 2006/2007 fiscal year: CAD117 500
- 2007/2008 fiscal year: CAD316 000
However, emerging models of mass collaboration using social software combined with the scalability associated with the principles underpinning the free software movement hold considerable promise for achieving much more with limited resources. Working together, we believe that it is possible to develop free content resources to widen access to the world's knowledge as a global common good. The prioritisation and selection of activities under the eLearning initiative are directed by the following millennium development goals:
- Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. We believe that free and unencumbered access to vocationally relevant, free content for skills development can contribute to the fight against poverty. WikiEducator encourages and promotes the development of open education resources for agriculture to improve the livelihoods of rural and peri-urban communities. In particular, the WikiEducator project subscribes to the free cultural works definition in our choice of free content license as we do not permit the use of the non-commercial restriction of the Creative Commons license. WikiEducator does not wish to deny the right of entrepreneurs in the developing world to earn a living from free content and we pro actively encourage the development of sustainable business models derived from free content educational resources. Finally, WikiEducator recognises that the overwhelming majority of citizens do not have access to the Internet and would therefore not be able to access WikiEducator's content resources. For this reason COL has invested in the development of technology that will enable customised, printed study materials to be produced, without restriction directly from WikiEducator site.
- Goal 2: Achieving universal primary education. We recognise that conventional face-to-face education will not be able tackle the demands for universal access to education at all levels. WikiEducator works in close collaboration with COL's open and alternative schooling initiative to develop free study materials which can be modified and redistributed for learners around the Commonwealth. The free content model holds considerable potential for reducing the costs of materials development for distance education. Furthermore, WikiEducator aims to support the development of Free Textbooks as a contribution to the quality of education throughout the world.
- Goal 3: Promoting gender equality and empowering women. In the field of information and communication technologies there are huge disparities in participation from women, particularly in the use of digital technologies in education and software development. In this regard, for example, COL is dedicating half of its workshops under the Learning4COntent to women across the Commonwealth to acquire the necessary skills to participate in this initiative.
- Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development. WikiEducator actively promotes and encourages collaboration among partners in the freedom culture in realising the vision of a free curriculum by 2015.