Unconference: OER World Map at #oer2015

Today, myself and Felix are representing the OER World Map project in Sausalito, California this week at the meeting of grantees of The Hewlett Foundation.  It’s been great to get the chance to connect with some of the key players in the OER world and exchange ideas about the future aspirations of the movement.  The conference has included lots of group activities as well as some interesting speakers, and as part of the proceedings there is an unconference session which includes time for delegates to come and speak about the OER World Map project and tell us what they would like from the system.  We’ve been joined by, among others, Patrick McAndrew, Susan D’Antoni, Fred Mulder and Tel Amiel for stimulating discussions on the possibilities.  Susan provided some background on the project and its origin in the 2012 consultation she organised.  Many OER practitioners at the time complained that it was hard to know about OER initiatives and activities taking place near them, and so the map was conceived as a way of sharing this information.

Here are some of the take away points and reflections from the session:

  • What is the correct balance between human curation and automatic collection of data?  (It’s worth noting that the privacy laws in Germany may restrict some of the automatically harvested data that it is possible to publish on the map)
  • Country champions – can we use the Creative Commons network to identify and co-ordinate our country champions?  (They could also be specially identified as CC champions on the map.)
  • When will there be something more on offer through the map?  It was hoped that we would have something in place before this meeting and by the time of OER15 and OE Global next month we are hopeful that organisations and services will be added to the map.
  • How do we help the person who is looking for OER? Repositories
  • Connecting OER expertise around the world
  • How do we identify the core audience?  Are they OER advocates who want to improve the scope and range of what they do and the connections they have?
  • What kind of information can we provide to policymakers?
  • Including stories on the map – communicating the messages from around the world
  • Put yourself on the map, share your story – this idea was very popular with the discussants, especially in light of yesterday’s presentation on communication
  • Emphasis on the visual:  talking heads, video content, conversational style
  • Focusing on user stories provides greater focus country champions – and could also improve the long term sustainability of the project beyond its current funding cycle
  • We can start collecting these stories now!  Can we start with the ‘Super 7’ Hewlett grantees?  These are expert stories about the impact of OER in their own contexts and already have a pitch of appropriate size
  • What kind of format? a word limit (500? 1000?), at least one picture, and a location
  • From these stories we can extract the next priorities
  • Exercising editorial control by making sure that people send their stories by email
  • After telling stories and making connections between people, what is the next most important user case? A calendar of events? Services?
  • What does OER Commons do with the data that they have?
  • How will we deal with stories that are not written in English (or German)? The feeling in the room is that people should publish in their own language if they prefer and Google Translate is used to check basic content and country champions used where possible. Use of native languages will support regional conversations, such as around Latin America.
  • Activity / lack of activity can be a fundamental category that is easily understood

4 thoughts on “Unconference: OER World Map at #oer2015

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