Update to the OER community

The following project update was sent to the Athabasca 
OER-community list at the 4th of October 2016.

Dear friends of the OER World Map,

I hope you all had a great summer break! I would like to give you an update of the development of the OER World Map project. As many of you will know, this work followed from the initial discussion in this community 2012. 2013 the Hewlett Foundation decided to fund the project. After an initial development of several prototypes, the North-Rhine Westphalian Library Service Centre (hbz) based in Cologne, Germany, started developing a production system in 2015. All proposals are available online.

The OER World Map can be seen as an Social Education Management Information System which aims at accelerating the evolution of the global OER ecosystem by strengthening the ability of the OER community to organize itself. It combines elements of a social networking platform, a business information system, a geoinformation system and a library catalogue and will contribute to overcoming the challenge of mainstreaming OER by collecting and visualizing the building blocks of the global OER ecosystem. By doing so, it connects OER actors with each other, facilitates sharing of experiences and resources between them and fosters collective learning. At the same time it provides a sound operational information basis for developing infrastructure and policies in favor of Open Education.

During the summer break we launched version 1.1 of the OER World Map platform. Besides many improvements “under the hood”, in the backend of the system, the new version includes a completely reworked layout as well as the opportunity for users to register and create personal profiles. For technical details please have a look at our blog. Since the success of the project depends very much on the participation of the community, we warmly invite all of you to register on the site and create your personal profile on the map!

Besides improving the technical system, we also worked hard on increasing the database during the last months. Our constantly growing Country Champion Network includes more than 30 institutions and experts from all over the world. Together we have already collected more than 270 OER services, like repositories and aggregators. Many of them are carrying qualified information on included subjects and used licenses.

At the beginning of the year we also published the “OER Atlas”, a printed version of the map listing OER actors and activities from Austria, Germany and Switzerland. By publishing the Atlas, which targets especially at OER policy makers, we proved that it is possible to collect the data for a complete country with a reasonable amount of effort. We hope to export this model to other countries in the near future.

All in all I guess it is fair to state, that the platform entered its adolescence and will start to provide increasing value from now on. Our roadmap includes a bunch of great new features like subcategories for our data types, the “Openness Indicator”, as well as the “Fields of activity radar chart”. Another goal is to extend social networking functionality continually; For example we just recently included the opportunity to comment on entries for registered users.

You can contribute to the success of the project not only by creating a profile, but also by becoming an editor or even a country champion. If you want to join us in mapping the world of OER, please write us a mail to info@oerworldmap.org. We are looking forward to hear from you soon!

Best open wishes

Jan Neumann & the OER World Map team

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