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How to become part of the OER World Map Country Champion Network

The idea behind the OER World Map ‘Country Champion’ network is to develop a group of people and institutions who will support the World Map project by collecting OER data and stories from their country and ensure its quality through editorial control. This post describes who can become a champion, what a champion should do, how you can benefit from being a champion and what to do next if you would like to become a champion. The post is an updated version of an earlier post, which reflects the development of the concept within the last months.

1. What does it take to become a country champion?

As an OER World Map Country Champion you should ideally be:

  • Dedicated to openness as defined by the Open Definition and the 5R framework. This dedication is absolutely mandatory and should be proven by prior activity in the field of OER or the related fields of Open Access, Open Education, Open Source etc. 
  • Networked and well connected to your local OER community.
  • Representative of an institution, since we believe that institutions do provide a certain sustainability. However, this is not compulsory. Especially for small countries (which have not yet been in the center of the OER movement) we are happy to cooperate with engaged individuals. Examples for institutions would be private or public education institutions, research institutes, libraries or NGO`s like Creative Commons, Wikimedia or the Open Knowledge Foundation. Even commercial cooperation’s could apply, but only if truly dedicated to openness!
  • Willing to develop a national networks of volunteers.
  • Able to speak English.
  • Comfortable dealing with metadata, databases, categorization systems and other forms of structured information.
  • Someone who has fun engaging for OER!

2. Things to do as a country champion

Get used to the OER World Map platform

A good way to start is looking at the OER World Map. Interesting pages are the country views as well as the service descriptions. Other sources of information are our blog, our initial data model as well as our GitHub system. In the future we might also offer some training webinars in order to demonstrate how to handle complicated data entries and share experiences.

Send us one or several OER stories.

We recently raised a call for OER World Map ‘stories. The stories should describe different kinds of OER related activities (e.g. teaching with OER, producing OER, etc.) and should give the interested reader a chance to learn. We will extract the data included in the stories and put them onto the map. Until we offer templates (planned for October 2015), this will be the exclusive method of data input. 

Raise awareness of the OER World Map Project in your country

e.g. by using Twitter, Facebook, you blog or speaking about it at conference. 

Develop the needed know-how

We try to develop the platform to be intuitive and easy to use. Nevertheless, we have learned that there can be many challenges in collecting good quality data. For example, it can be difficult sometime to distinguish between an institution, a project which is driven by the institution and a service, which is developed within a project. (According to our data model these are three different entries.) Furthermore, it can be difficult to decide on the level of openness a service provides. All in all some intellectual preparation for sure will do no harm. One approach to preparing is reading the published stories and seeing how the integrated data was extracted. We intend to provide a short explanatory video as well as webinars for country champion networks.

Collect and input data

Data collection and input will often be done by using our input templates, which will be available from October 2015. If you already have lots of data, which should be put on the map, it will also be possible to import it by using our API.

Participate in the “OER World Map Edit-A-Ton”

This will be a community event, which will be hold at the end of 2015 or the beginning of 2016. The aim will be to populate the World Map with lots of good quality data in a short space of time.

Assure data quality

We hope that, as soon as a critical mass is achieved, new OER projects will start to input their data automatically in order to increase their profile. We trust that it will be easier for volunteers to refine and enrich data once the amount of curated data increases. In the long run we expect that the focus of the country champion networks will move from data input to data quality assurance. 

Look for opportunities for data reuse

The data provided by the OER World Map will be very helpful in many contextes in- and outside the OER community. Country Champions should be aware of this importance and look for local opportunities of data reuse.

Grow the network

Last but not least you should rise awareness of the network and find new members so that the work is spread on many shoulders.

3. What is the minimum amount of work you have to do?

If all this sounds like a lot of work to you, don`t panic! At the moment it is very difficult for us to estimate how much work editing the world map will be. We believe that for many countries it will make a good start to spend a weekend on data collection. But for sure this varies according to the size of the country and the intensity of its OER activity. The entry of a complete data set can take minutes or hours, especially if it is a service which you want to classify according to the provided subjects. Nevertheless you should not forget that you are not obliged to do anything. We understand that you do this work voluntarily and that your time is restricted, so not every point of the list has to be provided, and not every entry has to be complete from the beginning on. Litlle information is better than no information and others can help make an initial dataset complete.

4. How to benefit from being a country champion?

We believe that there are many ways to benefit from being a country champion:

  • You will receive an overview of the OER and Open Education movement in your area.
  • You can enlarge your national and international OER network.
  • Modeling data might provide an interesting learning experience. We already have learned a lot about OER and you could do so, too!
  • You will gather understanding of a very powerful dataset, which potentially can be used for the development of a number of OER servcies.
  • You can contribute to a mission you believe in. If you think that speaking about OER is all very fine, but now the time has come to act, contributing to the OER World Map might be the thing to do!

We are grateful that so many people believe in this project an offered us their help. Nevertheless we understand that volunteer contribution is limited by nature. To support country champions, which operate under difficult conditions we would like to offer micro grants in the long run. But unfortunately we cannot offer this at the moment and we are not sure if and when we will be able to do so. 

5. What to do next?

If you are interested in becoming part of the OER World Map country champion network, please contact us under info@oerworldmap.org. We are looking forward to hear from you!

To apply to become part of the OER World Map ‘Country Champion network you should write us an email which shortly describes who you are, what you do and why you are dedicated to openness. Please add your address including email and other channels to contact you. You can also add a photo of yourself! 

We are looking forward to hear from you!

Foto: “Kansas Jayhawks 2008 NCAA Basketball National Champions–Street Party” by Mircea, CC BY 2.0 Generic

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2 thoughts on “How to become part of the OER World Map Country Champion Network

  1. Pingback: OER World Map Project Interim Report |

  2. Pingback: Platform progress report v0.3 | OER World Map

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